It's safe to say that for many businesses, the world has been turned upside down over the last few weeks. For small businesses, especially, the transition to having an entire team working from home has been a real challenge. Many simply weren't set up to suddenly have their entire workforce out of the office and working remotely.

There is a whole different set of considerations, challenges, and issues, from how to keep your team connected and engaged when physical proximity is replaced with Zoom meetings and Slack channels. Of course, there are also legitimate technical and security issues to keep in mind as well. 

Some experts are even asking workers to turn off smart home devices so their microphones won't pick up potentially sensitive conversations. When it comes to employers keeping an eye on what those workers are doing, however, it's another story altogether. A report from Bloomberg says that more companies are deploying software tools to monitor employee activity, even down to tracking keystrokes. 

I get it, going to an entirely remote workforce is complicated. If you aren't used to managing a team of people who aren't sitting at desks nearby, it can be easy to default to trying to control everything. But, spyware is not the best way. In fact, there are several better practices to help your team be productive without snooping in on them every moment. 

Here are two you should consider:

Provide a VPN

If it's security you're worried about, that's certainly a reasonable concern. I'd suggest it's a good idea to have security in mind as your team is working at home and you no longer have the ability to manage their devices and their connection to the internet--and, for that matter, your network.  

Even if your team isn't dialing into your network, a VPN (or virtual private network) is a no-brainer. It'll keep hackers from intercepting not only your proprietary business information but your employee's personal information as well. 

Stop Using Activity as a Measure of Productivity

One of the bigger questions you might ask yourself is whether measuring activity is really the best indicator of productivity. Instead, it might make sense to focus on outcomes and achievement. If your team is able to get their work done, then see that as a success.

I wrote a few weeks ago about tips for managing a remote team, and one of the most valuable things I can suggest is to have a regular stand up meeting with your team members. Tracking the progress on a project at regular intervals is a far more effective way to measure performance than counting the number of emails sent. Most of the time, you'll probably find that trust goes a lot further anyway.