The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown has exposed weaknesses in many organisations’ workforce management practices.

While the unique circumstances forced companies to quickly embrace remote working, many were completely unprepared to manage users in their homes. This is the word from Graham Fry, MD of local software developer Saucecode, who points out that remote workers have been shown to be happier and more productive – if they are managed correctly.

“Plenty has been written about what workers should be doing as they adapt to the new remote working paradigm. But it’s what their managers do that means the difference between success or failure,” Fry says.

There are many tools on the market that let companies monitor their workers, some quite authoritarian, Fry says. “The real value is in not monitoring your workers, but rather in managing them.”

Saucecode has developed Tistro, an agent-based tool that lets managers measure productivity and helps workers to stay efficient. The company is offering free Tistro subscriptions until 30 June 2020.

“As a South African company, we felt it was our duty to do something to help the country during this time of crisis, so we have made our workforce management tool available as a free subscription,” Fry says.

“Tistro gives managers visibility into what workers are doing while helping to improve productivity and efficiency.”

Brian Little, co-founder of Saucecode, adds that managing productivity is not something that should only happen when workers have to work at home, but the current lockdown has helped to throw the issue into focus.

“What the lockdown has done is expose problems with worker management overall, and shown us that we need a different way of doing things so users can be equally well-managed whether they are in the office or at home.”

Tistro helps managers to quickly identify which workers are performing well, which need help, and which are super-performers. They can also identify what methods or applications increase productivity and which are counter-productive.

“It’s data, so it’s accurate and unbiased,” Little adds. “With a tool like Tistro you can see what is actually happening.”

Reap benefits in an hour

Companies with as few as 20 users, right up to the largest enterprises with thousands of users, can quickly deploy the free Tistro subscription and start reaping the benefits literally within an hour.

Little explains the process: “Once a company requests the free offer, we set up their profile on our cloud server – which takes just 30 minutes; we then send them their user name and login and the links for the client-side agents; the manager sends these links to the workers in their team; the workers click on the link; and the agent installation takes place.

“As soon as its installed, the device will start reporting into the system and there is visibility into the user’s work.

“It really is that fast.”

Fry says a lot of effort went into developing a smooth and fast user experience.

“You can’t make it difficult for people otherwise they won’t use it,” he says. “It needs to be easy to set up and to manage. Network administrators are busy people, especially in the current circumstances, and they don’t need additional headaches, so we have made Tistro really simple to set up.”

Once the initial set-up is done, line of business managers can align the data space with their business, deciding which applications can be accessed and ranking their relative importance to the task at hand. Again, this is a simple process and Little estimates that managers should take no more than an hour to do this.

“It is easy to set up the system so it accurately reflects the business and, after that, the administration is minutes per day,” he says.

Saucecode will generate reports based on the criteria set out by managers, giving them realtime visibility into their workforce almost immediately.

Confidentiality is important, and Tistro allows the right hierarchies to be set up so data is viewed only by the correct managers and the users themselves. The company also has comprehensive tutorials and self-help videos on its website which can help IT administrators and line of business managers to quickly set up and become productive.

As an added bonus, the tool offers an accurate look into what applications are being used which can help administrators correctly manage their software licenses and potentially save money.

“All of this ties into a product that is less about monitoring people and more about management, enabling users and business to work together in a trust relationship,” Little says.

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