How do I improve my company’s performance? How can I ensure everyone’s doing what they’re supposed to do? How do I know that all the data and files are secure? How do I track my work hours?


These are all the questions you’re not alone in asking. And if there’s one answer to all of these problems, it’s got to be employee monitoring software. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, it’s basically a sort of ‘software monitoring software’, meaning that it allows you to see which programs, and even websites, your employees are accessing and using while also tracking the time they spend there. It can even let you take a peek at any employee computer’s monitor by taking a screenshot as well as measure employees’ productivity, among its other features.


All of these powerful functionalities certainly help to solve the question of how to monitor PC usage in the workplace, but, just like with anything, there’s a wrong way to use it.


The best benefit but also potentially the biggest stumbling block of an employer software monitor is the amount of data it collects as well as the accuracy and detail that go into all of its reports. The reason why this is beneficial should be evident without any explanation, but how can it be a stumbling block?


Well, to put it simply, so many details and so much information can capture all of your attention and drive your focus away from the bigger picture. Which is undoubtedly more important to your business as a whole than any individual small piece of data or statistic taken separately.


Let’s take a look at some examples of what can go wrong if all you’re paying attention to are tiny details and how just tweaking your attitude in the right way can turn you into an employee monitor pro.


Individual vs Aggregated Data


Sometimes you might not have this choice but the best computer screen monitoring software gives you many different levels of data overview. So, you’ll get individual reports for each employee and you’ll also be able to aggregate this data at the level of teams or departments and get collective reports. And it’s the latter presentation that you’ll find most helpful in the majority of cases.


Don’t get this wrong, individual reports are by no means useless. It’s just that in order to make them worth your while, you need to have a specific reason for focusing on details. For instance, when onboarding new workers or making extra sure that someone deserves a promotion. Or, in a more gloomy scenario, you’re suspecting a leak so you want to view employee’s computer screen. These are all the cases where it’s OK to focus on one specific employee.


This practice, however, becomes a problem when you have a lot of employees and you want to oversee all of their activities. Doing it by focusing on each specific employee individually wastes a lot of time and very rarely produces any actionable insights.


Instead, if you organize your data into team clusters, it’ll make estimating their overall performance much easier. Making your company monitor employee computer activities this way will let you organize team workflow in a much more informed and impactful way.


Overall Performance vs Specific Instances


On to a more specific examples. Sometimes you do want to concentrate on one employee. We’ve mentioned several reasons why you might need to do this in the previous section, but it may as well be because you want to provide individual performance evaluations. And knowing how to monitor another computer with this aim in mind is an art too.


Sitting in front of your employee tracking software are constantly keeping an eye on an employee’s computer monitor screen would be a huge waste of your time, not to mention that it’s borderline creepy. And even if you were to do it, you wouldn’t have that much use of the fact that an employee spent 3 minutes and 23 seconds browsing Reddit that one day.


Performance is all about the big picture. It’s not just specific instances of app usage, it’s how much time they spend working, what results they’re able to produce, whether they meet their deadlines, to what extent they contribute to your company’s success and much more.


So set the productivity tracking software free to run and collect all the data, but then make the best use of all the reports and timelines to find the trends and the overall picture of each worker’s performance.


Ultimately, you should be looking for steady improvement instead of trying to punish every instance of unproductive app use during breaks.


Micromanaging vs Working Towards Business Goals


Any computer monitoring software definition will include the fact that the monitoring should be done for the sake of optimizing your business. Now, the key is in your interpretation of the phrase.


Thinking that you could be doing everybody’s job more efficiently and then using your tracking software to micromanage your employees is a dangerous territory. Not only does it waste your time and effort (therefore going against the optimization you’re trying to achieve), but it also frustrates your employees.


So, instead of doing everybody’s jobs, you should focus on doing yours. And that is managing the people and processes. Decide on your business goals and work towards achieving them. If you want your teams to get more projects done, use your tracking system to organize their time for better efficiency; if you want to clean up your subscriptions to professional software, track app usage; if your goal is to achieve a higher level of compliance with working hours, focus on attendance tracking, and so on and so forth.


As a manager, the best use of your time is thinking big.


Conclusion


Tracking software is a powerful tool capable of changing your business. But this capability lies in how employers monitor employees’ computer activities. Do it the right way and you’ve got a huge success. Do it wrong, however, and you’ll end up wasting time and not moving an inch.

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
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
Free trial30 days14 daysYes14 days14 days14 days30 days
Ease of useDifficultEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasy
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 online
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

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