Workpuls Teramind ActivTrak Hubstaff DeskTime Time Doctor RescueTime Kickidler Veriato Work Examiner
OVERVIEW
Price $6/user/month $6/user/month $7.20/user/month $7/user/month $7/user/month $9.99/user/month $6/user/month $9.99/user/month $150/licence/year $60/licence (lifetime)
Free trial 7 days 7 days No 14 days 14 days 14 days 30 days 7 days Yes 30 days
Ease of use Very easy Difficult Very easy Easy Easy Very easy Very easy Very easy Very difficult Easy
TRACKING METHODS
Unlimited (tracker working 24/7)
Fixed (defined working hours)
Automatic (when computer is connected to a specified network)
Manual (start/stop)
Project based (track time only on projects)
GENERAL MONITORING FEATURES
Stealth mode
App and website usage
Real-time monitoring
Offline time tracking
Attendance
Activity levels
Keylogger
Geolocation
Remote desktop control
Website/activity blocking
SCREENSHOTS AND RECORDING
Screenshots
Screenshots on demand
Screen recording
PRODUCTIVITY FEATURES
Productivity trends
Websites and apps labeling
Category labeling
Productivity alerts
ADVANCED SECURITY FEATURES
User behavior analytics
Data loss prevention
Advanced file and web monitoring
REPORTING
Productivity reports
Team reports
Timelines
Email reports
Access management
PLATFORMS
Web
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app
Mobile app iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android Android
Browser extension Chrome Chrome Chrome
Other Citrix, VMware Chrome OS
OTHER
Support Phone, email, online Phone, email, online Phone, email, online Email, online Phone, email, online, in-person Online Phone, email, online Email, online, Viber, Whatsapp Phone, email, online, support ticket Phone, email, online
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Integrations comming soon
API
Deployment cloud, on-premise cloud, on-premise, AWS, Azure cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud on-premise cloud, on-premise on-premise
Kronos Humanity Timeclockplus Tsheets Wheniwork Deputy Replicon Jibble EbilityTimeTracker OnTheClock BeeBole
OVERVIEW
Price(per month)Available upon requestFrom $2 per userAvailable upon requestFrom $6.40 per user+$16Free for up to 75 usersFrom $2.50 per userBasic plan:$30 for 5 users+$5 per additional userFrom $1.50 per employeeFrom $4 per user+$8From $2.20 per user$5.99 per user per month
Free trial30 days14 daysYes14 days14 days14 days30 days30 days,no credit card required
Ease of useDifficultEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasyEasy
FEATURES
Timecard management
Scheduling
Shift Trading
Timesheets
Break time management
Real-time tracking
PTO Management
Payroll
Invoicing
Client billing
GPS tracking
Clock out reminders
Alerts
Manual time
PUNCH-IN METHODS
Web app
Mobile app
Time clock device
Time clock kiosk
Facial recognition
Fingerprint scanning
Geofencing
Group punch-in
REPORTING
Visual reports
Email reports
Time rounding
MANAGEMENT
Permissions
Manager approvals
Add time for others
Integrations
PLATFORMS
Web
Android app
iOS app
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app
OTHER
SupportPhone and onlinePhone and onlinePhone,chat and onlinePhone and chatEmail and onlineChat and phonePhone,email,chat and onlinePhone and onlinePhone,email,chat and onlinePhone and onlineOnline chat and video support in English,French,and Spanish
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Community forum
API
Workpuls Hubstaff Toggl TimeDoctor Harvest TimeCamp Timely Everhour Tick TMetric
OVERVIEW
Price (per month) $6 per user $5.83 per user $9 per user $9.99 per user $10.80 per user $5.25 per user $99 for 5 users $7 per user $19 for 10 projects $5 per user
Free trial 7 days 14 days 30 days 14 days 30 days Yes 14 days 14 days 30 days 30 days
Ease of use Very easy Difficult Difficult Very easy Easy Very easy Easy Difficult Very easy Difficult
TIME TRACKING METHODS
Manual
Start/stop buttons
Automatic time mapping
IN-DEPTH TASK AND PROJECT ANALYSIS
Screenshots
App and website usage
Activity levels coming soon
Real-time tracking
TASK AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Project adding
Project templates
Project status
Task assignment
Task priorities
Budgeting coming soon
Mark billable/non-billable hours
Payroll calculation
Invoicing
ALERTS
Idle time reminders
Deadline alerts coming soon
Budget alerts coming soon
REPORTING
Client login
Productivity analysis
Email reports coming soon
PLATFORMS
Web
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app coming soon
iOS app Beta
Android app
Browser extension Chrome Chrome, Firefox Chrome Chrome Chrome, Firefox Chrome Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge
OTHER
Support Phone and online Email and online Email and online Online Online, email and phone Email, online and support ticket Email and chat Email and chat Email Chat
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Integrations coming soon
API
On-premise hosting

Key Takeaways:

  •  There are strategic advantages to building a virtual workforce in 2024.
  •  AI can play a hugely pivotal role in your ability to go digital without slowing down.
  • Software solutions, including attendance software that doubles as an insight tracker, can be the key to managing your workforce in a digital landscape.

Read time: 7 minutes

2020 was a whirlwind that scattered thousands of centralized in-office teams into remote positions. 2021 made software solutions like ‘Zoom’ and ‘Slack’ that facilitated communication in a remote setting ubiquitous in businesses across the world.

2022 and 2023 sparked debates over whether employees should return to the office in their masses, and many businesses struggled with the challenge of juggling remote and in-office work.

Which brings us to 2024.

Businesses are making cuts across the board, determined to tackle 2024 with as streamlined a workforce as possible. LinkedIn, for example, removed 668 roles from the company at the tail end of 2023.

With the perpetually looming threat of another economic recession, we’ve witnessed a trend in lean teams and strategic hiring.

Which brings us to the question - is it necessary to have a virtual workforce in 2024?

Decentralizing the Workforce

‍It only took the world a few awkward months to transition from taking meetings in suit slacks in boardrooms into pajama and yoga pants, virtual meetings, and makeshift home offices back in 2020.

The idea of decentralizing your workforce isn’t an entirely new one, but it has become a burning topic of discussion now more than ever. 

Over the past year, working from -- and managing -- has become the norm for millions of employers and employees alike. Much of the world’s workforce now communicates and collaborates on an exclusively digital level.

As a result, many executives and founders find themselves in an all-too-familiar dilemma: how do you scale operations without drastically increasing overhead expenses? 

A virtual workforce can address both issues. 

When a virtual team is part of your well-defined organizational structure and supported by the right technology, any business can reinvent itself as a more efficient, nimble, and effective version.

Decentralization had been building over time. The trend of businesses going virtual, and often fully remote, has trailed the Internet’s adoption, evolving for over two decades. 

Startups, usually the first tranche of companies to embrace scrappy new technologies, have found great benefits in building a virtual workforce out of a virtual office. 

For example, take a look at Zapier, a software integration platform. Zapier has long prided itself on being 100% remote since its founding, crediting the simplicity and ease of the fully virtual lifestyle. 

While its competitors burned capital for office space and in-house perks, Zapier was building an empire on its own schedule, on its way to a $4B recent valuation (The Information). Zapier is one of many success stories leading the way for companies looking to scale without investing heavily in on-site premises.

Doist is another great example of a remote-first company that has become a resounding success and built on a foundation of virtual collaboration.

Everywhere you look these days you’ll see signs that the business world is changing:

  • Many job postings discuss remote work or hybrid work possibilities
  • More and more working professionals are moving out of the big cities
  • Brick-and-mortar stores are heading online to find talent 


The Advantages of a Virtual Workplace

Upon exploring the benefits of a virtual workforce, many executives and founders end up asking why they weren’t always doing this in the first place. And it’s easy to see why.

A virtual office can be advantageous in many ways:

  1. Lower overheads - When you move your workspace to the digital realm, you can jettison significant expenses weighing your budget down such as an office space and utility bills.

  1. More affordable staffing - By going digital, you can expand your recruitment horizons to include other cities, regions, and even countries. That way, you can find affordable options for core business functions.

  1. Access to a greater pool of talent - While you might be lucky enough to pull together an all-star team from your local area, there’s a good chance that you’ll find a better fit for certain roles in your company when you open your search to the global talent pool.

  1. The addition of specialist skills not available in-house - With access to international talent, you can also plug skill gaps in your workforce and find specialists to work with.

  1. Additional time zones for around-the-clock operations - If you rely solely on local hires, your business sleeps while your employees do. If you hire from elsewhere, you can effectively set your business up to be active 24/7 - which can be hugely beneficial in an age where customers want around-the-clock access to your services.

  1. The ability to offer bilingual services - There’s a great opportunity to serve a wider customer base with a virtual workforce as you can plug language gaps and help customers troubleshoot issues in their native tongue.

Business Process Outsourcing: The Fast-Track For Going Virtual

For companies of all sizes, business process outsourcing (BPO) is the foundation of many of today’s virtual workforces. Today, a huge BPO industry exists to provide companies with the specialized talent they need to run a virtual workforce.

You may be most familiar with BPO within the context of technical support. That’s because of the 300,000 jobs outsourced by the United States annually, roughly 60% is composed of IT workers. 

Why? 

Technical support is a necessary, repeatable process that often needs a human touch, and it’s far less expensive to outsource this process than to do it within the United States. 

However, today, enterprises are employing virtual offices of all kinds globally: customer support, virtual assistants, programmers, writers, and more. Simply, if a role can be “processized,” it can be outsourced.

The Rise of Virtual Assistants

One BPO service in particular has become a core pillar of many virtual teams: virtual assistants. This is due in large part to the wide range of virtual assistant services available, including administrative support, calendar scheduling, customer service, and many others.

Virtual assistant companies allow businesses to outsource repetitive, process-driven aspects of their business, maintaining their focus on higher level operations. 

For businesses of all sizes looking to hire a virtual assistant team, virtual assistant companies like Ask Sunday, MyTasker or Get Friday make it easy to get quickly set up with 5 or 500 virtual assistants.

Plus, the thousands of virtual assistant jobs available provide new, work-from-anywhere employment opportunities for people across the globe. Getting started is often as simple as registering on one of the many virtual assistant websites.

Go Virtual, Ease Managerial Strain & Boost Your Bottom Line

A virtual workforce not only helps companies like Zapier keep a juicy profitable bottom-line, but it also helps remove the anxieties of having a high-burn for key decision-makers in the company.

 

Instead of worrying about leasing more office space and shifting to larger and dizzyingly more expensive office space, executives with virtual workforces can focus on the highest ROI for their decisions. 

So, think to yourself, if you find yourself doing the same repetitive actions over and over, it might be a good idea to look to hire a virtual assistant.

However, an exploration of virtual workforce success isn’t possible with a discussion about utilizing an appropriate software stack to sustain operations. 

The Role of AI in 2024

Before we move onto the best ways you can build your virtual workforce in 2024, there’s an important issue to consider.

Something that could unlock limitless possibilities in your business, and many others.

Yes, we’re referring to AI.

Whether you buy into the hype or not, and regardless of whether you think AI will run the show in a matter of years not decades: it’s here to stay.

As a result, it’s something you should consider when thinking about your hiring strategy and how you manage your workforce.

Language-based models such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT have long been a central narrative in business circles, and we’re now seeing the shockwaves they’re causing across multiple industries.

Disrupting the status quo of how businesses manage their day-to-day operations, there’s so many more workforce factors to consider now in 2024.

Here are some of the key ways that AI can assist a transition to a virtual workforce:

Build better systems and processes - When onboarding employees in a virtual setting, it can feel as if they’re not getting the same level of treatment as they would if they were to onboard at the office. With AI tools though, you can automate repetitive tasks so you only have to train new hires on the most meaningful tasks that make up their day-to-day.

Analyze data in seconds - Having access to a large, high-quality data-set is hugely important for making the right strategic decisions in your business. With AI, you can quickly analyze data which helps virtual employees lean towards the decision with the highest potential ROI.

Scale faster than before - AI in some aspects counts as an additional employee (or 5), which means even when hiring remotely you can scale quickly and effectively. As your virtual workforce grows, so can your operational efficiency - so you don’t get left behind.

Want To Go Virtual? Know Your Software

An entirely virtual workforce is not without its challenges: communication and processes can quickly become dysfunctional and opaque when entirely digital. If you don’t know how or where to look, you might miss critical insights about your virtual workforce’s performance. 

Zapier makes for an excellent example in this article for another reason beyond just having a low burn rate and its cap table: its success as a software integration platform is very much tied to business owners scaling their businesses through automation or outsourcing. 

Similarly, Insightful has seen tremendous growth in helping semi-digital or fully-digital companies build better workforces by improving employee performance and efficiency. 

Insightful works as a remote workforce management software by giving you clear sight of time on tasks and projects, productivity and behavioral analytics, and performance benchmarking.

The Case for Establishing a Virtual Team 

Considering dipping your toes into business process outsourcing with a virtual assistant? 

Thinking about migrating a division to be fully remote? 

Or even planning to take the whole mothership into the digital world? 

Whatever your plans, understanding how a virtual workforce can make life easier for yourself and your business is a vital piece of the puzzle. 

Learning which business processes can be outsourced and taking action to do so can save executives time and help them scale their businesses faster and more profitably than before. 

The global outsourcing market is expected to grow to $405 billion by 2027, up from $92.5 billion in 2019, which serves as a functional proxy for the proportion of new businesses throwing their hats into the business process outsourcing ring. 

Companies Who Don’t Go Virtual Could Lose in the Long Run

To understand why you need a virtual workforce in 2024, a good place to start is to explore what might happen if you don’t have one. 

Over a third of small businesses (Clutch) currently outsource a business process. If, as is often the case, steep overhead is the primary growth impediment for small businesses, those who take their operations fully virtual will find themselves in a much smoother and faster lane to grow. 

For large and enterprise businesses, failure to adopt a partially virtual workforce can also impede performance and growth. Businesses too slow to adapt to the changing times may find themselves paying high overheads, short on talent, and bogged down by repetitive processes, while their more adaptive counterparts flourish.

Deciding which side of the business equation you fall on comes down to making the best use of the currently available technology and resources. If there was any silver lining to the past few years, it has been uncovering what many businesses truly need to survive and thrive, regardless of the circumstances.

And, it seems, there is little doubt that the future workforce will be increasingly virtual.

Updated on December 13th, 2023

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