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Tracking Remote Employees: How To Not Cross The Line

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With the COVID-19 on the current agenda, the offline work seems to be far away. However, remote work is trending now because more and more businesses realize which benefits it drives. However, hiring top talent from different parts of the country and saving from rent come with the liabilities of remote working employment law.

One of the frequent questions that entrepreneurs discuss during a labor law free consultation is tracking remote employees. It’s only logical that they want to know how much time their workers dedicate to tasks daily. But what about the related remote work legal issues?

Tracking Remote Employees: Definition and Advantages

Basically, tracking remote employees implies the usage of special software that monitors the activity of a worker during the day. It tracks the amount of working time and presents them in an Excel or CSV file.

However, some programs offer much more. They can monitor keystrokes. Record videos or make screenshots, track the location, and assess productivity. Thus, employers can know almost everything about their remote employees.

Since Gartner claims that almost 80% of the businesses will monitor the employees with tracking software by the end of 2020, we can conclude that they see a number of benefits. Among them can be:

  • Privacy and Security: Remote work increases the risk of a cyberattack. Some of them can be even initiated from inside since employees can use personal devices and store valuable data on cloud storage. Monitoring their activities allows detecting an unreliable employee timely.
  • Improved Productivity: Its human nature to be more productive when being under control. Therefore, workers are likely to be more diligent working remotely if they are monitored.
  • Tracking of Assets: In case a business provides hardware for remote employees, it’ll want to locate it for the safety measures. Tracking applications show the data.

A Sustainable Approach to Tracking Remote Employees

Not all employees can be satisfied with the tracking apps being installed on the working computer. Therefore, it’s vital to prepare them, preferably at the hiring stage. But before we move to the educational and psychological part, let’s cover some legal issues.

The legal aspect of employee tracking highly depends on the implementation. The answer that will solve all the problems is a remote work policy that will state how the management can use the collected data. The policy should be clarified, signed and accepted at the recruitment. If you implement it when the company already employs workers, they also need to sign the acceptance.

As for the psychological part, it’s essential to adhere to several principles in implementing a tracking system:

  1. Gradual percolation
  2. Systematic education on what benefits the tracking system drives
  3. Communication with every employee to resolve any issues
  4. Periodic training in order to reinforce the initial message.

As you can see, implementing a tracking software is pretty easy. You just have to prepare a special policy and communicate it to the employees. Would you use tracking software for your remote employees?

About the Author: Yuriy Moshes is the CEO of Moshes Law and attorney with broad expertise. He has two bachelor’s degrees. Being an experienced expert, he is considered one of the most in-demand specialists in the employment law field. Apart from that, he provides labor law attorney free consultation for everyone who faces discrimination in the workplace.


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Cyberbullying: What to Do If You’re Being Bullied or Abused During Remote Work

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Many people are enjoying the opportunity to work from home, perhaps for the first time, during 2020. But remote working can be tough if you miss in-person interaction with colleagues. 

It can also be very difficult if remote technology has opened up the possibility of co-workers harassing, bullying, or abusing you. If you were bullied as a child, this can bring back awful memories. You may find it tough to stand up for yourself. You may worry that you have somehow caused the bullying, or even that you deserve it.

Don’t put up with cyberbullying. It can feel difficult to tackle because it may happen in subtle ways or through non-work channels. But in some cases you have specific rights that mean employers must take action.

Here are two specific types of cyberbullying, your rights, and what you can do.

Sexual Cyberbullying

Is a colleague making unwanted flirty remarks in your DMs? Or is there a culture of unwelcome sexual innuendo or sexual advances from colleagues?

Sexual harassment is a form of sexual discrimination. This means it violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

To be considered harassment, sexual cyberbullying needs to meet certain requirements. For instance, it might involve:

  • The implication – or outright statement – that you need to put up with this conduct in order to advance in the organization.
  • Interference with your work performance.
  • The creation of an intimidating, hostile, or otherwise offensive work environment.

Sexual harassment is often from a man toward a woman, but this is not always the case. Men can be sexually harassed by women too, and sexual harassment can also be same-sex.

Racial Harassment

Racial harassment can take a lot of different forms. It might be deliberately designed to seem innocuous, such as “jokes” or name-calling that’s racist.

It doesn’t necessarily need to be obviously racist conduct, though. It could involve someone constantly ignoring your ideas or gossiping behind your back, because of your race.

There’s quite a high bar for racial harassment. The conduct needs to be severe and pervasive, not just unwelcome.

Other Types of Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying in the workplace can also involve things like leaving you out of meetings, making false allegations about you online, sharing photos of you that you wouldn’t want shared, and many other forms of bullying.

It’s important to recognize that cyberbullying doesn’t need to involve work systems. It may not be happening in your email or Slack account (though that’s common too) – it could be on personal social media accounts.

What Can You Do About Cyberbullying?

Even if the bullying or abuse you’re suffering isn’t likely to meet the bar of legal action, you can and should still speak up.

Your company may well have policies against sexual or racist abuse, or against any kind of bullying. They have the power to discipline or even fire colleagues.

Talk to others in your company in private, perhaps through email, through Slack DMs, or on a phone call. You may find that your co-workers are being harassed too.

Talk to your supervisor about what’s happening, and show them what’s taking place.

Don’t let the bullying intimidate you into leaving a job that you’d otherwise enjoy. But equally, if the problems stem from poor management and leadership, consider whether you’d be happier in a different job.

Talk to people you trust outside work – perhaps family members, friends, or even a legal advisor, depending on the extent of the cyberbullying. Sometimes, you may feel that a behavior is “normal” when in fact it’s far outside the bounds of a healthy workplace environment. Getting an outside perspective can help you see what is and isn’t reasonable, and may help you feel supported in standing up for yourself.

It might seem to go without saying – but don’t join in any kind of bullying or harassment of others. Even if you feel it’s warranted because that person has bullied you, don’t be tempted to retaliate. Otherwise, you could be disciplined instead, or the incidents could be dismissed as little more than a “personality clash.”

Above all, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and your rights in the workplace.

This blog is printed with permission.

About the Author: Erika Rykun is a content strategist and producer who believes in the power of networking and quality writing. She’s an avid reader, writer, and runner.


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Why You Should Let Your Employees Work from Home

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To achieve a better work-life balance, a growing number of people are looking for flexible work arrangements.

From an employee’s perspective, working from home has several perks that make their lives easier.

Numerous studies show that remote employment results in a win-win situation for both employee and employer.

Here are six reasons you should explore the option of letting your employees telecommute regularly.

It Increases Worker Productivity

Surprisingly, most workers tend to be more productive in work from home arrangements than in an office environment.

Remote workers tend to be more productive because they are spared the myriad of distractions present in a busy office environment.

Productivity killers that range from loud colleagues, endless meetings, office politics, heavy foot traffic, walk-in clients, and more are rife in most office environments.

For employees whose jobs call for deep concentration, a quiet home environment eliminates distractions to allow them more time to crush their tasks.   

It Makes Your Workers More Committed

Telecommuting comes with the risk of workers binging on Netflix or embarking on long shopping trips when they should be working.

Surprisingly, only a small portion of remote workers get suckered in by the newly found freedom.

Allowing workers to telecommute sends a strong message that you value and trust them enough to afford them such privileges.

Research shows that workers who enjoy work from home employment are not only innovative and productive but also tend to be fiercely loyal to the company.

You Get to Streamline Your Workflow

A smooth workflow is central to the success of your business.

Embracing a telecommuting business culture forces you to take a deeper look at your workflow.

With deep insights into the amount of work that needs to be done, you can eliminate bottlenecks and optimize the execution plan.

A smooth workflow improves business productivity and efficiency while letting you increase your turnaround time as well as the quality of service.

You Get to Lower Your Overhead Costs

Utility bills alongside the payroll take a massive chunk out of monthly revenue, drastically reducing your net profit.

Switching to a telecommuting model lets you cut down on each of these costs and grow your profit margins.

For starters, it eliminates the need to rent a vast office space since you only need to accommodate a few essential personnel or none at all.

Secondly, you can switch your hiring models and strictly work with independent contractors instead of full-time employees.

Working with freelancers and independent contractors eliminates some payroll obligations such as medical insurance, retirement benefits, overtime, and more.

You Get to Hire the Best Talent

Skilled workers routinely turn down lucrative job offers if the position entails uprooting their entire life and relocating to a new city.

You can hire the best workers without forcing them to abandon their friends and family in the pursuit of their dream jobs.

Better yet, hiring remote workers lets you tap into the global workforce and staff your company with skilled experts from around the world.

A diverse workforce comprising of top experts from around the world lets you come up with innovative products and increases your global appeal.

You Can Cherry Pick Your Clients

During the growth phase, it’s only natural to go after every client who promises you a payday.

Problem clients tend to be too demanding, slow to pay and dispute every invoice, all of which can suck the joy right out of your work.

They can take up so much of your time with endless complaints to the point of leading you to neglect your other clients, negatively impacting revenue generation and customer satisfaction.

High caliber clients trust your capabilities and won’t set impossible deadlines or try to micromanage your operations.

Don’t Get Left Behind, Let Them Work from Home

In addition to saving time and money on the commute, remote workers are able to tend to their personal needs without asking for time off.

At first glance, it seems working from home skews in favor of the employee, which, naturally, is likely to put employers on edge.

However, you stand to reap benefits by the boatload if you allow your employees the option to work from home.

Printed with permission.

About the Author: Katrina McKinnon is the founder of Small Revolution, which started as a knowledge base for online store owners and has now expanded into offering training for virtual assistants and copywriters. Through Small Revolution, you will learn the skills in a fun and practical way.


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