Business optimization tools are a booming industry with a growing number of niche functionalities and software solutions. There’s an app for pretty much anything that you can possibly imagine being measurable. And yet business management is so much more than one tool or one metric.
Since one program that does 10 things is much better and more convenient than 10 systems that do one thing each, the prevailing trend seems to be towards more integrated solutions. This should be the underlying principle to keep in mind when choosing the tools for your business.
This brings us to choosing between a computer tracking app with time clock functionalities and the one that’s primarily used for employee monitoring. We’re about to see what features you can get, and even more importantly which ones you don’t, when you decide on either one of the options, as well as why it could be a good idea to get a solution with both kinds of functionalities.
Before we begin, though, we’re going to briefly discuss the main differences between these apps in terms of their functionality and typical use.
The point and primary function of time tracking software is to give you insights about projects and tasks, including how much time employees take to complete their assignments, when they clock in and out, how closely you’re sticking to your budget, and other similar statistics. On the other hand, employee monitoring software is a type of computer tracking app that lets you track employees’ performance a bit more directly in terms of apps and websites used, productivity levels, etc. It also gives you some degree of data security by enabling you to take screenshots, record employees’ screen activity and similar features.
However, as we’ve mentioned, there are also systems that are actually a combination of both of these different apps. In this text, we’ll aim to discuss their real power through pinpointing some of the biggest shortcomings of each software in isolation.
Focusing on Time Tracking: What Are You Missing Out On?
So, the first scenario - you’re opting for a time tracker without employee monitoring features. What does this kind of computer tracking app let you do and what does it leave you wishing for?
The biggest drawback is the fact that too much is left up to employees. They’re usually the ones in charge of indicating which task they’re working on, and they’re the ones who let the system know when they’ve started and when they’re done.
The first problem with this is that, if you don’t have screenshots or at least app and website usage as many time tracking apps don’t, there’s no way for you to check whether your employees are really working on that task, and how effectively. You simply don’t have any proof of work other than employees clicking the ‘Start’ button. You don’t know which tools they’ve been using, or whether they were distracted at any moment.
As a result, you don’t have any performance data that can accurately and automatically measure employees’ productivity and efficiency. You still get useful data on project duration, but the insights fall short of giving you clues as to how you can optimize productivity.
Another shortcoming of apps that only have time tracking features is that there are no security functionalities that can help you protect your data, and no stealth mode or automaticity that will make the system more independent of employees’ interaction.
The Insights You Don’t Get When You Only Use Employee Monitoring
The next possible situation is using a computer tracking app for employee monitoring but without time tracking functionalities. This type of app has its own disadvantages.
First off, even though you can see which apps and websites are being used, you have no simple way of knowing which project or sometimes even which task they’re associated with. This makes it much harder to get project estimates that time tracking can give you. You also can’t keep track of your budget on different projects, which is another important factor in making estimates.
And secondly, employee monitoring software rarely has clear timesheets and attendance tracking. You can still track attendance by computer activity, but this isn’t as convenient and it’s not going to work for remote employees who use their computers outside working hours too. Closely related to this is the fact that you don’t get easy integrated payroll or billable hours calculator.
All of these are extremely useful features that can significantly help with your project management strategies. Having the overview of tasks and projects can even act as a substitute for project management software, and a typical employee monitoring system simply doesn’t give you this.
Finally, we have a type of computer tracking app that has both time tracking and employee monitoring functionalities. This is arguably the best solution for most companies by the sheer virtue of it being the most well-rounded and comprehensive in terms of its features and capabilities. Simply put, you get the best of both worlds.
On the one hand, you have productivity and performance metrics that employee monitoring software offers, and on the other hand, you also get all the project overview and budgeting features or time tracking system. Your employees will have the option to indicate which task they’re working on and you’ll be able to track their time on that task, but then you’ll also be able to see which apps and websites they use in the process. What this effectively means is that you can both organize your workflow on different projects and track effects of various strategies on employees’ productivity and efficiency.
And finally, this combined system is also much more affordable than buying two separate programs. It’s the matter of simple arithmetic - you’re paying for one software and you get two distinct sets of functionalities.
In today’s competitive business world, process and performance optimization can make all the difference between struggling and success. That’s why it needs to be as streamlined as possible. In order to achieve the highest level of effectiveness, you should opt for the computer tracking app that has both time tracking and employee monitoring capabilities - that way you get more features and more complete overview of both your projects and your employees’ performance.