Complete Guide to Remote Work, Time Tracking, and Productivity

Remote work has the potential to completely change the way the modern business landscape looks and how companies operate today. 

While it’s true that remote work offers more flexibility and autonomy to employees, it also demands a more proactive approach when it comes to structuring daily work schedules, maintaining focus, keeping productivity levels high, and striving for that perfect and healthy work-life balance. 

So, to help you navigate remote work in the modern work landscape and inform you about the main benefits and potential challenges, we’ve created this comprehensive remote work guide.

Complete Guide to Remote Work, Time Tracking, and Productivity
In this guide, you’ll learn:
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Understanding the Concept of Remote Work

Remote work is a type of work arrangement where employees perform their tasks and various other job responsibilities in a non-traditional office setting (i.e., outside of a traditional office). 

In a typical remote work arrangement, there’s no need to commute to a designated workplace or, in the case of hybrid work arrangements (which we’ll talk about down below), commuting is limited to just a couple of days a week. 

Remote work is mostly managed and made possible through the use of various work software, digital communication tools, project management software, time-tracking apps, and similar. These types of solutions allow remote employees to perform their work, finish their tasks, and stay in contact with their co-workers, managers, and clients.

Types of Remote Work

Types of remote work

Remote work can be systematized into several broad and loose categories, such as:

1. Freelancers and Independent Contractors

Both freelancers and independent contractors can work in a remote work environment as long as their jobs and services fit within a remote landscape. Freelancers and contractors usually have more flexible work hours, are more frequently hired on a per-project basis, and often work for several clients at a time.

2. Work From Home (WFH) or Fully-Remote Work

In this type of work arrangement, employees work remotely on a full-time basis. The company that employs them usually doesn’t have a physical office space. These types of remote employees perform all of their tasks and other work obligations from a remote work setting (e.g., home office, co-working space, coffee shop, library, etc.)

3. Hybrid Remote Work (WFH + In-office)

Hybrid remote work allows employees to split their work days between remote and regular office settings. In conversation with their managers or team leads, employees enter an arrangement in which they agree to work remotely for a specific number of days per week or month (e.g., they can work two days per week remotely and three days at the office).

4. Flexible Remote Work

Flexible remote work arrangement allows employees to pick whether they want to work remotely without consulting their company’s higher-ups. This means that employees have the freedom to choose the days when they’ll work in person and the days they’ll work remotely. Additionally, they have the option to work either fully remotely or fully in person.

Pros and Cons of Remote Work

Just like regular in-person office work, remote work comes with its own set of positives and negatives for both employers and employees. Let’s have a look.

Pros and cons of remote work

Pros and Cons of Remote Work for Employees


  • More job opportunities – Many remote positions are available to candidates from all around the world, regardless of their country of residence. Employees are no longer limited to working for companies based in their city or country, thus expanding their career prospects and widening the range of job opportunities. 
  • Increased work flexibility – Remote employees, in a lot of cases, have more control over their work schedules and can choose their work hours as they see fit. This type of work flexibility has been shown to have a positive impact on remote workers’ productivity and overall well-being.
  • Improved job satisfaction and productivity – Many aspects of remote work, such as flexibility, increased autonomy, and time saved on commuting, have been associated with increased levels of job satisfaction. All of that combined can have an impact on remote employees’ job motivation and overall engagement levels with the company they work for.
  • No daily commute to the office – Remote work completely removes the daily office commute from the employees’ work schedule. This helps remote workers save both time and a good amount of money they would otherwise spend on gas or bus/metro fares. Additionally, avoiding heavy traffic or traffic jams can significantly reduce stress levels, potentially leading to an increase in remote employees’ morale and work efficacy. 


  • Blurred lines between work and personal life – Working remotely, especially from the comfort of one’s home, can be tempting. At the same time, the lack of boundaries between work and personal spaces can make it harder for employees to disconnect from work. This can cause or worsen burnout and lead to a poor work-life balance. Trying out various time management strategies and using time tracking can prove helpful. 
  • Loneliness or social isolation – Some studies suggest that remote work can cause feelings of loneliness and social isolation. The general lack of social and in-person interactions can negatively impact the mental health and work engagement levels of some remote workers, which is why they’re encouraged by their workplace to engage in online communication via different digital platforms. 
  • Communication and collaboration between remote teams – Maintaining communication channels and properly collaborating with other members of a specific remote team can prove challenging. Luckily, thanks to all the tech solutions we have today, many of these problems can be mitigated with the right remote work software, including time-tracking and various types of communication apps. 

Pros and Cons of Remote Work for Employers


  • Increased team productivity – Some studies have shown that remote work can have a positive effect on organizations and teams that operate within them, leading to better company performance overall. 
  • Larger talent pool – Remote work enables employers to have access to a wider talent pool. Companies can hire workers from various locations without geographical restrictions. Expanded talent pools allow companies to hire more qualified workers with higher output and produce better-quality work. 
  • Reduction of costs – Remote work can significantly lower the operating and overhead costs that companies have to incur. By hiring remote employees, businesses can reduce expenses related to renting office space, utility bills, various office equipment, and general labor costs.


  • Managing remote teams and their performance – Managers might find it more difficult to keep tabs on remote employees and ensure their productivity levels are on par or exceed the performances of regular office workers. Ensuring employee accountability, tracking tasks and work progress, as well as providing remote workers with timely and objective feedback can prove troublesome for some remote managers. For the most part, these issues can be successfully addressed via the use of time-tracking and other digital solutions. 
  • Security risks – Remote work heavily relies on the use of digital and online work platforms. The use of these platforms introduces new types of security risks and challenges. To address this problem, companies should look to implement top-notch security measures to protect their customer and employee data.
  • Employee engagement – Creating and maintaining high levels of remote employee engagement is more challenging in a remote work setting. This type of work environment doesn’t allow for the natural and spontaneous building of relationships between team members and other colleagues. However, digital communication tools, coupled with an intentional effort on the part of managers, can do wonders here.

The Main Challenges of Remote Work

Remote work, just like regular office work, comes with its own set of unique challenges and obstacles. Here are some of the main challenges that can affect remote employees and their employers: 

Communication Issues 

One of the main challenges when it comes to remote work is how to deal with communication and collaboration issues. As good communication is one of the main factors of successful remote work, both remote managers and employees should work together to tackle this problem. The most obvious solutions include various communication platforms, online work collaboration solutions, digital conferencing tools, and more.

Accurately Tracking Work Hours

Another common challenge is implementing a proper remote employee time-tracking method. Ensuring work hours are properly tracked and recorded is crucial for various reasons, such as maintaining payroll, billing clients, tracking costs, staying compliant with various labor laws, and more. One of the easiest ways to tackle this challenge head-on is to implement time-tracking solutions and tools into the overall remote employee management process. 

No In-person Oversight

Similarly, it might be hard for employees to get real insight into the work their employees are getting done on a daily or weekly basis and vice versa. Employees, too, might need extra oversight from their higher-ups to get their job done more quickly and effectively. The best way to address this issue is to set up daily or weekly company calls. The frequency of the calls will depend on the nature of the work and the level of teamwork involved. 

Technical Issues

Remote work greatly depends on technology. Almost every remote working position requires at a minimum a working computer (desktop or laptop) and a fairly decent internet connection. But as technology is not without fault, it’s not uncommon for remote employees to experience some form of technical issues or glitches. If they occur very often, these technical problems can negatively affect remote employees’ workflow and capability to perform specific tasks, resulting in missed deadlines, unfinished projects, etc. 

Work-Life Balance and Time Management 

A healthy work-life balance can be difficult to maintain in a remote work environment. Not having clear boundaries between work and personal spaces can cause difficulties for remote employees, especially when it comes to disconnecting themselves from their job obligations. This can negatively affect remote workers’ work productivity and ability to focus and even lead to burnout or overworking. 

Remote Hiring Process: How Does It Work?

Remote work allows employers to hire talent from all around the world. It can help reduce costs, improve productivity levels, and increase work flexibility. But just like most things in life, the remote hiring process does come with some peculiar obstacles and challenges. In order to make it easier for you to find the right talent for your company, we’ve created a short step-by-step guide.

Remote hiring process

1. Figure Out What You Need

The first step when looking for that perfect remote employee is to ensure both you and your hiring team are on the same page when it comes to the responsibilities of that particular job position and the profile you’re looking for. You should also have a clear idea of how this employee will fit within your company and how you’ll benefit from their work engagement. 

If you don’t have a hiring team and it’s just you at the helm, follow the same process and try to answer these questions yourself. To do it successfully, you should:

2. Write Down the Job Specification

Try and write the job description in such a way that it will excite potential candidates. You want anyone looking at your job ad to feel good about the prospect of working for your company. If you want, you can use the following format:

  • Intro to the job description – Apart from the usual, you could also include details on what sort of impact the potential client can have on your business;
  • Information about the role – General information about the specifics of the particular job position you’re hiring for;
  • Details about you or your company – Any success your company had, future plans, mission statement, and similar.
  • Some info about the team – Just some general information about your team, the company’s culture, and the like.
  • And lastly – This part could include details about benefits, salary or wage range, information about reward systems for high-performers, etc.

3. Create the Hiring Task

When looking for a remote hire, it’s a good idea to have them complete a short task or a project. This helps reduce risks, further inspect candidates’ skills, and ensure they’ll be the right fit for your company. 

If you want, you could also pay a fee to potential hires for completing the short test task or project. This will help you garner goodwill within your industry and stand out as an employer that respects the time and effort of your (potential) employees.

Additionally, when creating a hiring task, it’s important to include clear guidelines and expectations. All potential candidates should understand what the task entails, what the deadlines are, and approximately how long it will take them to finish it. As a general rule, you should try and create tasks that won’t take longer than 8 hours to complete (i.e., one work day).

4. Prepare Questions for the Interview

Before you begin interviewing potential hires, you should prep the questions for said interview. 

Note that this doesn’t mean you need to ask every candidate the same questions. 

Having a bank of questions from which you can draw is important because it will help you keep the interview on track and allow you to better assess the candidates' skills, experience, and suitability for your company.

5. Publish the Job Listing and Wait for Applicants

The next step of the remote hiring process is to publish the job listing. There are various remote hiring platforms that allow businesses to post and promote their job offers that you could use. Alternatively, you could post the job listing on your company’s social media accounts (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.).

6. Do the Interviews and Hire Your Perfect Candidate

Sift through the applications and source the candidates based on their experience, eagerness, and suitability. Next, schedule an interview and find your preferred candidate.

Successful Transition to Remote Work: Some General Tips

One thing that every employee transitioning from regular office to remote work wants to know is how to do it successfully. Although there is no one universal answer to this question, there are some universal tips and advice that you can apply to ace this transition.

Tips on successful transition to remote work

Set Up a Dedicated Remote Work Space

The most important thing for anyone transitioning to a remote working environment is to set up a designated workspace. This space doesn’t have to be in your home, it could be a co-working space as well, but it has to be a separate area with as few distractions as possible. This place or corner of your home should allow you to focus on and complete your work tasks effectively.

Have a Set Work Schedule

To ensure that the transition from regular in-person work to remote work is as smooth as possible, remote employees should try and define their weekly goals and create daily and weekly work schedules. Having a set work schedule can help you prioritize your tasks, finish your work obligations with more efficiency, and send in your deliverables within predetermined deadlines.  

Work on Your Time Management Skills and Try Using a Time-Tracking Software

Having a modicum of time management skills can greatly help remote workers with their productivity, efficacy, and overall job performance levels. Additionally, the use of time-tracking apps can sufficiently supplement the lack of natural time-management skills that some remote employees might be dealing with. 

Time-tracking software can help remote employees keep an accurate tally of their work hours, track both task and project progress, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and more.

Take Regular Breaks

One of the biggest challenges that remote employees are facing is how to disengage from work. This can be due to the lack of distinctions between living and work spaces, especially in the case of home offices. This inability to disengage from work can lead to burnout, decreased job satisfaction and morale, increased stress levels, and more.

That’s why one of the most important parts of successfully transitioning to remote work is taking regular breaks. Remote employees should set regular reminders (e.g., every hour, every two hours, etc.) to remind them to take a break. It's essential to make regular pauses from work to rest and clear your head. In fact, some studies show that taking regular breaks can significantly decrease stress levels.

Practice Self-Care

Practicing self-care is important for any type of work arrangement, including remote work. Apart from taking regular breaks, it’s also important to exercise regularly, get a healthy amount of sleep each night, and have a clean and healthy diet. All of these things combined can have a positive effect on a person's mental and physical health, greatly reduce stress levels, and improve the overall work-life balance of remote workers.    

Managing Remote Teams: 6 Things to Keep in Mind

Tips on successful transition to remote work

Going from a fully in-person work arrangement to a remote work setting can be a daunting task for both employees and businesses that employ them. Here are some general tips and advice on managing remote teams:

1. Use Online Communication and Team Engagement Platforms 

The first one on the list and arguably the most important advice we can give to prospective remote managers is to use an online communication platform. Using email as the main communication method between team leads and remote employees is oftentimes not enough. 

So, the best thing managers should rely on to ensure they are successfully managing remote teams are online communication and collaboration platforms, such as:

  • Slack;
  • Basecamp;
  • Microsoft Teams;
  • Trello;
  • Asana;
  • Etc.

These platforms allow all remote team members, including managers, to communicate with each other, share documents, receive and give feedback, have insight into the overall project details, and more. 

The best way to view these types of digital platforms is as sort of a virtual office space, where all of the employees can gather and share information about their work, tasks, and projects, thus improving collaboration, team motivation, and engagement levels.

2. Enable and Promote Casual Conversations

Having casual non-work related conversations and social interactions is something that remote workers might be missing. Some studies suggest the lack of social connections at work can worsen employees’ mental health, making them unfit to perform their job. 

So decision-makers should find a way to encourage and even facilitate non-work related communication between team members to increase the overall team spirit, engagement levels, and motivation. 

3. Use Time-Tracking Software

Time-tracking tools and time management, in general, are of major importance when it comes to remote working environments. They offer many benefits to both employees and employers. 

Time tracking apps allow employers to:

  • Accurately track work hours – Having clear and accurate records about remote employees’ work hours is an important part of managing remote teams. These records allow remote team managers to keep tabs on their employees' work habits and ensure everyone is putting in the appropriate and contractually pre-agreed-upon number of work hours;
  • Measure productivity and provide objective feedback Time-tracking apps can help businesses in many different aspects, and one of them is connected to measuring the productivity of remote employees. By collecting information about how much time a specific remote worker spends on a particular task, employers can identify team members who are more suitable for specific tasks and can use the collected data to provide more honest and objective feedback;
  • More easily prioritize tasks – Time-tracking software allows managers to more easily identify tasks or parts of specific projects in need of “extra hands.” This can improve project management, as managers will be able to clearly see the hiccups and delays and immediately address them by delegating and distributing the workload; 
  • Accurately bill clients – With time-tracking apps, employers can ensure that their clients are billed correctly. The use of these types of apps promotes transparency with the clients and can foster more honest and positive client relationships;  
  • Stay in compliance with labor laws – Labor laws in many US states require employers to keep accurate and up-to-date records of all employee work hours, including overtime. Time-tracking solutions can help with creating those types of employee records, as well as ensuring businesses are in full compliance with various labor laws.  
  • Estimate project timelines and budgets – The data collected from the use of time-tracking apps can help companies generate more accurate time estimations, as well as budget and cost estimates.

4. Create a Timesheet Policy

A clear and concise timesheet policy can greatly help manage remote teams. Apart from allowing businesses to keep accurate records of employee work hours, timesheets can also help companies stay consistent and ensure everyone on the remote team follows the same practices. 

Some of the main benefits of having a timesheet policy include:

  • Accurate payroll – A timesheet policy and timesheets in general provide companies with an accurate record of all employee work hours, including overtime. These records ensure the accuracy of payroll data and lessen the burden on HR professionals by affording them more time to focus on other types of administration tasks.
  • Billing clients – Timesheets facilitate more accurate and transparent client billing. They are the basis of the entire billing process, especially if clients are billed on an hourly basis. Additionally, a timesheet policy can prevent client misunderstandings by serving as proof of the hours put into the work. 
  • Always ready for an audit – Many labor laws across the world require businesses to always be ready for a potential government audit. With a timesheet policy, companies can ensure all of their records are accurate and easily accessible for any tax or government audit processes. Furthermore, timesheets can serve as proof/legal documentation that shows a specific company is fully compliant and in adherence with various government rules and regulations.

5. Create a Remote Work Policy

Creating and having a remote work policy is of vital importance to any business employing either fully-remote or hybrid workers. A remote work policy is there to guarantee that all of the various processes inside a particular business are homogeneous, meaning that every remote employee follows the same protocols and regulations that further promote and ensure business success.

A remote work policy outlines the exact types of tools and/or digital solutions (including project management tools, time-tracking apps, and more) that remote employees should use to perform their work obligations.

Some of the main benefits of instituting a remote work policy include, but are not limited to:

  • Increased remote workforce efficacy – A remote work policy will create a clear framework for remote employees to follow. Clear expectations regarding remote work are the first step to ensuring the entirety of the remote workforce is more productive and efficient.
  • Better quality talent – By having a remote work policy, companies can send a clear and loud signal to any potential talent that they are fully committed and serious about remote work. This can lead to attracting higher quality talent from all around the world.
  • Easy onboarding process and fewer misunderstandings – A remote work policy can make the entire onboarding process easier as it will contain the company’s expectations regarding remote work. Additionally, it can help answer a lot of questions new or old employees might have, as well as establish clear rules and protocols around remote work. 

6. Don’t Micromanage

Micromanaging remote teams can have some temporary advantages, but it inevitably causes more harm than good in the long term. 

Good remote management relies on creating accountable employees capable of operating and performing their jobs with little input from their higher-ups. Micromanagement is the opposite of that. It doesn’t create responsible employees and increases the risk of hurting the overall trust between a manager and their team. Employees who don’t feel trusted tend to be less satisfied with their jobs and show lower morale and productivity levels. 

That’s why, if you want to be successful at remote team management, you should definitely avoid micromanagement techniques. 

Building Remote Work Culture 

Tips on successful transition to remote work

Time tracking plays a crucial part in building a positive remote work culture centered around accountability, productivity, and collective success. It can provide your team and your company with numerous benefits, some of the main ones being:

Increased Productivity

Remote employee time tracking facilitates transparency and gives managers a detailed insight into how their team spends their time. It gives information about how much time remote employees spend on each individual task, whole projects, and more. With this information, it’s much easier to identify potential bottlenecks before they even occur, as well as areas that might need improvement.  

With a clear insight into how your remote employees spend their work time, you can help them optimize their work processes, improve their workflow, and increase their overall efficacy and productivity.

Increased Employee Accountability

Time tracking and its successful implementation into your business promotes accountability among remote employees. Knowing their higher-ups are keeping track will help remote employees finish their tasks on time and send in their deliverables within the pre-assigned time frame. In short, they will be more likely to meet their deadlines while ensuring the quality of their work is up to the company's standards.

Objective Performance Evaluations and Feedback

Objective performance evaluations and feedback are crucial aspects when it comes to increasing and maintaining the productivity of remote employees. The data from a remote employee time tracking software allows you to do just that. You can create more honest feedback for remote employees, which is the key to increasing remote employees’ performance levels.

Better Allocation of Resources

With remote employee time-tracking tools, managers can gather not only information about how much time individual employees need to finish their tasks but also accurate data about workload and resource allocation. That data allows team leads to identify overworked employees (dealing with too much work on their plate) and employees who have some free time in their daily work schedule. This further facilitates managers to make entirely data-driven decisions about distributing or redistributing tasks, projects, or other work duties to their team.

Increased Transparency

Implementing a remote employee time-tracking solution in your company helps create a culture of increased transparency and honest communication. By completely removing the option to skew the truth about their work hours and performance from your remote team, you’ll create a more honest and transparent relationship with them. This can help further improve your performance, as some studies suggest that managers operate better when they and their teams have an honest relationship.

Remote Work Cybersecurity

Remote work cybersecurity is a term that encompasses all measures, protocols, and practices aimed at protecting the confidentiality and availability of data and various types of systems while working in a remote capacity. This type of security centers around the safekeeping of different types of digital assets, networks, and network-connected devices from any and all cyber threats and attacks. 

Why Is Remote Work Cybersecurity Important?

Tips on successful transition to remote work

Remote work cybersecurity is important for several key reasons, such as:

  • To safeguard company data from unauthorized access – Remote work can sometimes entail the sending and receiving of sensitive data/information outside the regular office setting. Having robust cybersecurity protocols can facilitate increased security levels for these types of “delicate information.” It can prevent any unauthorized persons or personnel from gaining access to this data, as well as the theft of such data and its divulgence to malicious actors.   
  • To ensure businesses continue to operate – Any security breach can negatively affect general business operations. It can lead to loss of data, prevent remote employees from accessing information necessary for them to complete their work tasks, cause project management issues, and have costly financial implications. With a competent remote cybersecurity plan, companies and businesses worldwide can ensure that the impact of any potential security incident is minimized or fully negated.
  • To protect the privacy of remote workers – One of the things remote workers are usually concerned about is the privacy and safety of their data (including the security of their devices and personal information). A huge part of what remote work cybersecurity focuses on is ensuring remote employee information is protected and secure.
  • Government compliance – Many governments and nations around the world have specific cybersecurity regulations and requirements regarding the protection of data. Remote work cyber-security protocols can help companies stay in compliance with these rules and regulations, thus avoiding any potential legal fines and issues.