Hiring Across Time Zones: Leveraging tech to manage remote software teams

By Isaac Kohen, Teramind

“For programmers, the ultimate office perk is avoiding the office entirely.” — 

2017 Quartz Poll

While remote work in all sectors has increased, the number of distributed development teams is growing at an incredible rate, outpacing other industries by a wide margin. In fact, in a survey investigating the needs and desires of computer programmers, remote work ranked as the second highest priority.

There are many ideal factors to this setup. For instance, remote work can boost productivity while reducing the costs of office space and other accouterments. As a study on the habits of computer programmers revealed, “a programmer is likely to get just one uninterrupted 2-hour session in a day.” As a result, for many development teams, remote work is an unquestioned reality, but that’s not to say that it’s not without its own set of challenges.

Especially for project managers, overseeing a distributed workforce can seem impossible. Productivity issues, project timeliness, and communication protocols can slow a team’s progress, making the product more expensive and less efficient. Fortunately, the right technology can make all the difference.

Employee monitoring software, once a clumsy product that harkened the ethos of big brother, is having a renaissance in the age of remote work. The newest iterations are sleeker and more competent, offering companies a granular approach to employee monitoring that prioritizes data-driven personnel decisions that impact the bottom line.

Ultimately, while employee monitoring software can’t fix all of the problems associated with a distributed development team, it’s an important tool in the company’s toolkit, making specific improvements to the decentralized workflow.

Here are just a few ways that employee monitoring software can help companies manage a remote, distributed, multi-time-zone development team.


To be sure, remote work offers an unprecedented opportunity for developer productivity. Computer programming requires immense concentration, and when developers are not required to be in an office, they can choose a work time and a location that is most conducive to their habits.

Of course, it also presents an opportunity for employees to disengage, which some studies indicate happens frequently. However, with employee monitoring software, managers can quantify a developer’s work time, and they can verify that programmers are engaging with apps that indicate productivity.

More than counting the number of hours worked, managers can gain useful insights into an employee’s work habits, allowing everyone to work more collaboratively and intentionally.


Software developers frequently operate under tight deadlines, and managers need to remain informed about a job’s progress. When development teams are working across different locations and even different time zones, communicating and evaluating this progress becomes complicated.

Therefore, by deploying employee monitoring software across the company, it’s possible to monitor effort into prioritized tasks and to measure progress towards delivering projects within established timeframes.

Data-Driven Decision Making

Employee monitoring software provides managers with insider access to the quantity and the quality of the work produced. Everything from time spent on project-based applications to customer interactions can be captured using the software, and that information equips companies to be strategic with their personnel.

For example, talented programmers who consistently engage in poor client communications can be shifted to a position that is less customer facing, which maximizes the developer’s strengths while also protecting the company.

Since distributed development teams will continue to proliferate, improving that process is tremendously important. Without insight into a development team’s work, managers are blind to potential problems until they become disastrous. In contrast, employee monitoring software creates an informed environment that fosters communication, collaboration, and content creation.

About the Author: Isaac Kohen is the Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Teramind, a leading, global provider of employee monitoring, insider threat detection, and data loss prevention solutions. Follow on Twitter: @teramindco and connect on LinkedIn.

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