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How to Discourage Time Theft When Employees Must Work From Home

Trust employees to do the right thing and keep them engaged to reduce your risk.

Posted by Ann Snook on April 7th, 2020

When employees who don’t usually work from home are in a situation where they must (such as the COVID-19 pandemic), they may have a hard time adapting. Not only do they have to work in a new environment, often with roommates, partners and/or children at home, but they also might not have good productivity strategies in place.

Trusting employees and encouraging them to be productive are the best ways to combat time theft, especially in uncertain times. Get started with our tips below.


If employees aren't clear on the rules, they're more likely to break them.

A strong code of conduct outlines the kinds of behavior the company encourages and prohibits, and give employees guidelines to follow. Download our free template to start writing yours now.

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Check In Regularly


Remote employees often feel lonely and isolated, especially if they aren’t used to working from home. As a result, they might have trouble seeing where their work fits into the big picture of their team, leading to lower motivation.

Managers should check in with their employees regularly (around once a day). Ask what they’re working on and how they’re feeling. Staying connected reminds remote employees that they aren’t alone, and also of their work-related goals.


RELATED: 4 Fraud Risks You Face with Employees Working Remotely


Provide Productivity Resources


It’s easy to be in “work mode” at the office, but working from home can make it hard to stay productive. Help remote employees stay on track (and reduce your risk of time theft) by compiling resources to help them manage their time.

Try one or a few of the following ideas:

  • Compile a list of articles on productivity and time management methods (e.g. The Pomodoro Technique, MoSCoW, etc.)
  • Offer virtual time management training or workshops
  • List productivity and time management online courses or webinars and reimburse employees for enrolling if they charge a fee
  • Ask employees to share their favorite productivity tactics with their colleagues on a platform such as Slack or Quip


Keep Employees Engaged


Employees who are working from home may commit time theft because they don’t feel engaged. Maybe they’ve lost sight of their career path. Or, in troubling times like the pandemic, they might wonder if their work really matters.

Managers should remind their employees of how their work fits into your organization’s overall goals as well as with their personal goals. Focus on performance, supporting remote employees through both challenges and successes.

Finally, be sure to reward a job well done. Even if it’s just a shout-out in a team email, employees who feel appreciated are more inclined to keep working hard.


RELATED: Employees Working From Home? Beware of These 6 HR Issues


Write Clear Policies


When employees are thrust into a new working situation, they might be hazy on what behavior is and is not acceptable. Working from home rather than at the office can be especially confusing.

Make sure you have clear policies that detail exactly what is expected of your employees. If your current policies don’t include remote employees, update them.

Be sure to send these documents out to everyone working remotely for a refresher:

  • Anti-theft and fraud (including time theft and data theft)
  • Schedules (work hours, breaks, attendance policy)
  • Appropriate use (of company devices, internet, social media)


Need help writing or updating your company policies? Download our free employee handbook template to get started.


Be Flexible


When employees are working remotely, their typical nine-to-five schedule may not be ideal. They might have children or family members to care for, errands to run and appointments to go to.

Offering flexible hours can reduce time theft by giving employees options. Rather than stealing time because they have another commitment, they can make it up with an earlier start or later night.

A flexible schedule also allows employees to work when they are their most productive. While they should still be present for video meetings with their coworkers, allowing employees to customize their schedules a bit can boost productivity and reduce wasted work time.

Ann Snook
Ann Snook

Marketing Writer

Ann is a marketing writer at i-Sight Software. She writes about issues related to investigations of fraud, employee misconduct, corporate security, Title IX, ethics & compliance and more.

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