Control and Motivation: What Makes Employees Work Well

Control and Motivation: What Makes Employees Work Well

A 2021 study on the impact of COVID-19-induced remote work on motivation revealed that employees find it harder to "focus" and keep their working "routine" intact. This was very much in line with a range of surveys carried out between 2010 and 2015 to draw on the difference in motivation between working remotely and working in-house.

While this was way before the advent of the pandemic, the surveys did show remote work in a bad light - pointing at a stark 17-point gap between motivational factors. In fact, the authors went on to say that this was the "equivalent of moving from one of the best to the most miserable cultures."

Currently, however, different working models (in-house, hybrid, remote) are sufficing the workplace needs worldwide. And it's only natural that as businesses are adapting to the new modes of hiring, they must also devise ways to improve employee motivation in the modern workplace.

Quite naturally, companies that can manage workers effectively have a better chance of keeping them working harder and longer, with more focus and determination. This explains why there has been a steady rise in the use of performance tracking tools over the years - a sure way to monitor and improve employee results. These control systems are also becoming more and more complex, offering more information that can help improve employee performance results.

Control Systems Soaring High

A recent study by Top10VPN reported a 54% increase in the inclination toward employee monitoring solutions — with the pandemic being the primary driver behind this rise. In fact, even in the pre-pandemic era, Gartner's survey of 239 large corporations affirmed the demand for better control tools. The analysis reported that more than 50% of the organisations employed different types of performance management systems — up from 30% documented in 2015.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 32% of the remote employees in the UK, an Opinium survey, mentioned that they were being monitored. Recently, Capterra came out with a survey of the Canadian workforce, revealing how different functions (employee attendance, time management, workload management, computer activity, and digital communications) are being monitored in order to improve performance. A similar study targeted South-East Asia and highlighted that 78% of the businesses are using performance tracking systems to bolster the hybrid workplace.

Along those lines, Mark Turner, CEO of Instant Group, said that the strategic use of "monitoring" can help "identify resourcing issues, streamline processes and identify gaps" while aiding employees in prioritising and managing workloads.

Curbing the Distractions with Control Systems

Employees working within a strategic control system are more likely to be aligned with the organisation's goals, objectives, and values. Instead of being distracted by external information or influences, they'll be more focused on their work. Moreover, when your employees know you care about how they perform at work, they're more likely to be motivated.

This, however, begs the question — is activity monitoring really beneficial? The answer is, in fact, yes. It can help quantify the actual impact of different strategies so that limited resources can be directed more accurately to give the best results. But more importantly, it's key to reduce workplace distractions, especially in the times when the workforce is distributed across the globe and working remotely.

That said, here are five ways in which employee monitoring solutions can help curb workplace distractions and improve employee performance.

  1. Internet Usage Management.

    The internet is a great source of information; however, it can also be a big source of distraction. For example, anybody who's ever been stuck on Facebook or Instagram for hours knows how bad the instant-gratification-selling algorithms can be. This cyberslacking results in wasted time and productivity.

    What's alarming is that around 40% of the employees' internet activity doesn't pertain to their job. The problem compounds in remote settings when employees use their personal devices on a regular basis. Simply put, it's an expensive distraction that eats into the company's core productivity.

    To avoid this, it's essential that employers develop a policy around internet usage, which covers key areas like:

    • The hours of internet usage (preferably during scheduled breaks)

    • Allocation of specific devices and connections for work, rather than relying on personal devices.

    • Feedback on internet usage to understand effectiveness and areas for improvements

    Favourably, all these areas can be monitored and regulated through an internet monitoring tool. For instance, features like URL filters, app blockers, website blocking, and automatic reports can help identify issues in real-time for proactive resolution.

    How is this related to employee motivation? Instead of allowing distractions to creep in, employers can make space for gamification, give employees an incentive to be productive and stay on track with the company goals.

  2. Time Tracking and Management

    A recent study by researchers at the University of North Dakota found a positive correlation between effective time management and the nurturing of self-motivation. The research further elaborated on the fact that time management reinforces the "perceived success."

    Along the same lines, a 2019 study documented a positive relationship between time management and goal setting, prioritisation, interruption management, and scheduling. While both these studies put academia at the forefront of their research, trends in the business world have also validated activity monitoring and time tracking as a way to improve employee motivation.

    How is an effective time tracking and management practice realised?

    • By keeping tabs on the clock-in and clock-out times, employers can document the time spent on both pre-established and urgent tasks. They can also ensure that no one's overworked.

    • By keeping tabs on the inactivity time, employers can identify "downtime" in their employees' day and take necessary steps to curb productivity-sapping distractions.

    • Hourly tracking can further ensure optimal attendance and address the need for short- or long-term breaks.

    How is this related to employee motivation? Tracking and monitoring help identify both peak and low periods in employee activity. It can also be used to identify productivity-enhancing opportunities like the ones that arise during breaks and after-work hours. More profoundly, such real-time monitoring can help:

    • Prioritise urgent tasks

    • Schedule breaks and rewards

    • Identify distractions and provide relevant solutions to curb them

    • Proactively adjust workload, etc.

  3. Performance Management

    A study assessing 800,000 employees for two years post the advent of the pandemic affirmed that remote work contributes to an increase in productivity. In fact, in a report published by Prodoscore, it was revealed that YoY productivity increased by 47% since 2020.

    However, the latest research also claims that those working from home are 70% less productive than their counterparts. Well, what to believe? It's natural to assume that working remotely or in a hybrid setup would add to the convenience and increase productivity, but, in the end, it's a double-edged sword. To be more specific, as much as remote work enhances productivity, it's also a breeding ground for distractions and procrastination.

    And this is where control systems come in handy — they can help keep the performance metrics intact by implementing a keylogger, taking screenshots of real-time activity, establishing control over printing, and fostering webcam and mic video and audio recording, etc. Insights from this data can be used to manage the workload, reassign tasks, and give instant feedback to employees.

    More profoundly, such data can help:

    • Review employee activity patterns and identify disruptions in productivity

    • Create meaningful goals and benchmarks for improved performance

    • Provide an interactive platform for real-time coaching and feedback

    • Make informed decisions in terms of succession planning and hiring.

    For getting even more detailed information about different tools of monitoring we would recommend to read the article about 20 the most popular monitoring software in 2022.

  4. Behaviour Analysis and Management

    Issues like cyberbullying, insider threats, and sexual harassment have been consistently in the news lately. And these are exactly the types of problems that human resource managers ought to be looking at.

    According to the Ponemon Institute's 2022 Cost of Insider Threats Global report, financial services organisations have had to deal with a 47% increase in the cost of managing insider threats. It's not that the cases are more severe or acute, but the risks are certainly higher.

    Furthermore, video surveillance can further help in identifying and apprehending insider threats. For instance, remotely installed surveillance equipment can keep a lookout for online movements that might indicate an impending breach or theft.

    How is this related to employee motivation? Keeping tabs on employee behaviour and identifying a potential threat can help build an effective behaviour management system which in turn helps safeguard the company from a number of misfortunes and issues.

    Apart from all the models elaborated above, aspects like payroll management, access management, etc., can also be tied hand-in-hand to employee motivation. And this is best accomplished using a holistic employee monitoring program.

CleverControl - Adding Muscle to Employee Monitoring Endeavours

At CleverControl, we've built a suite of tools that aim to make employee monitoring as easy as possible. The end result is a robust reporting and analytics platform that can be used to pursue the monitoring goals – enhanced productivity, improved uptime, better morale, and above all, motivated workforces.

Here are two case studies that illustrate how our solutions can be used to tackle different business goals.

Case Study 1: Dealing with Insider Threats

An organisation faced a peculiar problem of identifying the employee who was illegally accessing data and stealing highly confidential information from the company. This was a matter of grave concern because the organisation was working on some sensitive projects. The company tried to put in place and enforce a code of conduct; however, it was too reactive in nature.

Favourably, using the CleverControl platform, they were able to identify the culprit pretty quickly. The culprit was a well-known part-time employee who also worked on several other projects in the company. The actions of the employee were recorded and uploaded as evidence to back up their claims. To add to this, the solution, on the back of screenshots, also helped uncover the fact that half of the office was using company computers for mining.


The company was able to mitigate the risk of another similar occurrence and enforced a number of security measures. The new measures included mandatory audits, regular awareness sessions with employees, employment background checks, etc. They were also able to save nearly 500 hours of IT administrator time through automated access management and thousands of dollars annually.

Case Study 2: Reducing Employee Attrition

This company was struggling to find a solution to the problem of employee attrition. Every year, the concerned department had many employees terminate their services and leave the organisation. Most IT specialists took all of the access with them, which compounded the problem.

The company needed to identify the cause of attrition and prevent it from happening again. They installed CleverControl to monitor all employees and also keep access control in place. They started tracking the metrics to find some commonalities in the employee data.


The company was able to identify potential issues and troubleshoot them before they struck. Some of the issues uncovered included: salary, benefits, work culture, access control, etc. In fact, via the web-searching tool, they were able to identify an accountant who was searching for a new job. The company offered them a better salary and related benefits, which they gladly accepted.

The Bottom Line

"Whether it's a matter of spotting an insider threat or keeping tabs on employee productivity, the above case studies clearly show that employee monitoring is a powerful tool that can be leveraged to solve complex business problems."

"Along those lines, it's essential to understand that employee motivation is a key factor in ensuring the longevity of an organisation. At CleverControl, we make sure that no company goes without effective employee monitoring, which is a key element in improving employee morale."

To learn more about our solutions and how they can help boost employee motivation, reach out to us today!