Yes, the use of office and remote employee time tracking software is widespread across continents, industries and businesses. However, ethical concerns are still a big issue in this industry. This is despite the fact that more than 90% of employers monitor employees in some way.


If you’ve already decided to buy the software, great, good for you. But there are some things you should take into account before entering your credit card details and buying the monitoring software.

All Faces of Time Tracking

Knowing how your employees spend time at work is very important for your business. Workers usually lose focus and resort to mindless browsing through different websites. Additionally, every email popup or any other kind of notification shifts their focus from the important tasks they were completing and drains their energy. 


However, there’s a fine line between monitoring and surveillance, and managers must know what the difference is. Monitoring company computers to ensure proper use isn’t and shouldn’t be controversial. Unfortunately, the surveillance, which is defined as tracking all activities of an individual, is creepy and it’s causing a pushback from employees. Additionally, it could lead to lawsuits. 


Thankfully, by using the technology of today, you can use less invasive tracking practices which will show you exactly how your employees use office hours.


Timesheets are probably the oldest trackers in the book. Employees use a piece of paper, or an online sheet to fill in how much time they’ve spent on each task/project during the day. This practice quickly became widespread and almost essential in many organizations. However, at some point people became aware that this system isn’t really practical, or reliable. 


That’s when time tracking software was introduced. And the best thing about it is that it doesn’t only track time. First of all, it’s more practical because it can operate without a human - it collects data, and generates reports without anybody’s “help”. Additionally, it helps you evaluate productivity, measure time on tasks and projects, track attendance, and so much more.


Implementation Tips and Tricks

A decision to implement one of the time tracking solutions into your company is a great one, however here’s what you have to do in order for the implementation to run smoothly.

1. Write Policies

You should already have policies which describe proper internet and device usage within you corporation. If you don’t, get onto that straight away! Furthermore, you should add a section about monitoring/tracking activities which will be incorporated. These should include who has access to the collected data, how the data is used, as well as how and when it will be destroyed.

2. Inform Your Employees

Honesty goes a long way! Be upfront with your team about the tracking. Explain what you’ll track, why, and how will that help them.


A lot of companies go quickly over this step by writing a simple statement that company devices can and will be tracked. However, if you’re expecting your employees to get on board with the tracking you must show them what’s in it for them.


Besides, you should explain your usage policies in plain language - what can and can’t be done, as well as what will be the consequences. Also, there’s less chance your employees will be acting unproductively if they don’t know they’re tracked.

 

3. Uphold Ethical Standards

We already mentioned that ethical questions are a very hot topic when it comes to monitoring. Which is why it’s important that you don’t go and monitor employees activities during their breaks, or peak into screenshots with their social feeds or shopping lists.

4. Use the Technology

To make sure you’re not using your tracking software excessively, and that you’re focusing on what really matters, you should rely on proper technology which can alert you in case of any issues. 


The best way to ensure complete security to the data you’re collecting is to deploy the software on your own servers. However, you need to have a dedicated IT department, or the budget to bring someone in from time to time to check the whole network. If you don’t have these, your best option is a cloud-based service. And you’re in luck, because most software options are running on the cloud.


You can also use software to filter or block harmful websites such as gambling.


5. Analyze Reports Regularly

Most software options will have strong analytics and reports options, so make sure you check for these features before you make a purchase. These reports are extremely useful when looking at employees’ productivity levels or if someone needs additional training.\


For example, one of Workpuls clients found out that a few of their employees spend a lot of time using Google Translate, so they knew they should invest in additional language workshops. This move decreased time spent on Google Translate by 35%.


This is just one example of potential problems you could discover by using a tracking software. You just need to make sure that you’re looking out for these situations are finding solutions for them as soon as possible.


Wrap Up

Nobody feels comfortable knowing they’re moves are being watched, so that’s the reason why most people dread from time tracking tools. There is a way to make employees feel more comfortable, and that’s by explaining all the details about the software.


Show them daily reports, they’re probably not aware of how much time they waste each day.


And don’t forget, most issues you’ll discover are fixable. More often than not you can just send out messages on Slack reminding everyone that Twitter isn’t an appropriate use of company’s time. The important thing is that you don’t start nitpicking on every single unproductive situation that happens.

This article was originally written on May 23rd, 2016 by Gina Ora. It was rewritten on November 22nd, by Bojana Djordjevic.


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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