Photograph — WIRED

One of the biggest reservations employers have about remote working is that it is difficult to track employee activities and work hours. The idea that they won’t be able to keep an eye on their employees and be aware of where they are during work hours makes them uncomfortable.

Many employers also don’t trust their employees enough to let them work remotely. According to Phil Flaxton, CEO of Work Wise UK, “The fear factor for many managers is: ‘If I can’t see you how do I know you are working?’” Even though employees have to get up very early in the morning to beat the traffic (or get stuck in it) and then come sit down for 8 barely productive hours, that seems to be a better option for employers than allowing them to work remotely and complete tasks during their peak hours.

Except manual labour is a necessity for the job, open offices and fixed 9-5 working hours might just be the most suboptimal inventions in the history of work.

So, what happens if employers could get one of these monkeys off their back? What if they could easily track the time and activities of their remote workers on remote working apps like Slack? What if they wanted to hire across time zones and make sure everyone was putting in the hours required? These questions are the foundation for Nigerian software developers Yomi Eluwande and Olayinka Omole’s new Slack integration, Worklogs (because Slack is the most common remote working app used in Nigeria).

In a blog post, Yomi Eluwande explained how the idea came about: “Sometime last year, a couple of friends and I had this idea of building a product that solved a problem, which is, helping creatives and sellers get paid easily. We got to work and started building and we promptly faced some hitches. One of them was that we were all not at the same place so that meant we were more or less a distributed team working remotely.”

Yomi goes on to explain that they came up with a solution on Slack, where they did all their communication, that let them track “when the work was being done and when anyone was available to work.”

To use the integration, the company’s Slack admin will create a #worklogs channel and add other members of the team. These members of the team can then sign into Worklogs to access the dashboard. Once a team member is signed in and has typed in his reason for signing in (basically, what tasks he is currently working on), the rest of the team is then notified. Once he is done with all his tasks, he then signs out.

Olayinka Omole says they will be making changes to the app in the coming weeks. One of such is the addition of “slash commands and a bot so users can clock in without leaving Slack.” They will also be adding filters for reports so the admin and other users can “ have more insight into their work habits.”

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