Office Time Tracking: WorkPuls vs. DeskTime vs. TimeDoctor
Recently we’ve been receiving a lot of questions about how similar or different WorkPuls is compared to DeskTime and TimeDoctor. Although these three solutions can all be categorized into “office time tracking software”, the term is generally very broad and can be associated with different types of software solutions.
In order to get the full picture, we tested their products and in this post we’ll explain the major differences and similarities that we found, along with their most interesting and unique features. We hope that we didn’t miss any important points and we’d be happy to discuss any future improvements in person.
WorkPuls vs. DeskTime
WorkPuls and DeskTime are similar up to a point, both are for office time tracking. By adjusting the settings, you could probably get similar information from both versions of the software. However, there are some major differences, and we have divided them into following groups:
Monitoring – Both solutions track computer activities automatically, based on mouse movements and keyboard clicks of an employee. However, while DeskTime focuses on somewhat aggressive monitoring of a company’s employees (with tracking direct URLs and taking a fixed number of screenshots in one hour), WorkPuls provides high level monitoring that does not invade a person’s privacy, but still gives you valuable insights into a person’s behavior. WorkPuls tracks only the name of a currently-used app or website and the amount of time spent on it, while the screenshots feature is optional and adjustable. On the other hand, DeskTime can be easily turned off by an employee, which reduces the impression of a strict monitoring tool, and WorkPuls requires additional settings if you wish to enable your employees to turn it on/off. We at WorkPuls believe that if employees had a choice to completely turn the software off, they might often forget to turn it back on when they proceeded to work and you could easily miss out on some crucial information. That’s why we have a feature called Private time, which, when turned on stops tracking names of apps and websites, but being limited to a certain amount of time on a daily basis, it will again start tracking automatically when the time limit is exceeded.
User Experience – Being so “invasive” towards a person’s privacy, employees who are monitored using DeskTime must know that their activities are recorded. WorkPuls, on the other hand, can be installed without the employee’s consent and it can be invisible on their computers. Installation of WorkPuls is much simpler than DeskTime because only one small installation file (which can be distributed through email, external memory or network) needs to be run on the computer you wish to track. Installation of DeskTime requires inviting employees via email to join you, and installing additional browser extensions for URL tracking. Getting the desired information in DeskTime is not as simple as it is in WorkPuls and the user interface is not as friendly. In order to access some data, such as offline time, you need to follow a couple of confusing steps. What we really disliked about DeskTime is that we sent them a question through their support chat, and we got our response around 80 hours later (these 80 hours did include a weekend, but still). The WorkPuls support team is available 24/7/365 with an average response time of around 10 minutes.
Other – DeskTime has an awesome feature called “Absence calendar” which lets you easily follow and log days when employees were absent, and it lets you plan ahead with scheduling options. This makes keeping track of employee whereabouts easier, and it gives an excellent visual representation of everyone’s status, providing managers with a clear picture of the overall situation at the company. It’s immediately apparent who’s away from work, the reason and for how long.
WorkPuls, on the other hand, allows you to see when an employee was absent, but in a completely different way. The Time and Attendance feature tracks employee’s clock-in and clock-out time, office hours, overtime and time spent on meetings or working out of the office, and it gathers this information automatically. You can connect via an API to your existing biometric or RFID system and get accurate data on employee’s activities automatically.
A big difference between WorkPuls and DeskTime is the way these two solutions track computer activities on laptops in the office. An employer might allow their employees to take their laptops home with them, but he/she probably doesn’t want to track their laptops out of work off-hours. The way DeskTime handles this is through IP restrictions, while WorkPuls limits tracking to company the network. IP restrictions can potentially really disrupt your data in different ways. For example, if a person is working in the office and the network is down for some reason, the employee at this moment has no IP address and all the activity that was happening during downtime will be lost. WorkPuls recognizes the company’s routers by the MAC address and if an employee was working in the office, once the network is established again, the data will be sent to the server immediately. Another situation when this may be harmful is if a person is working from home without the internet, when they come to work the data will be sent as if it was all happening in the office. If WorkPuls doesn’t recognize your company router, even without an internet connection, the data will not be collected.
WorkPuls vs. TimeDoctor
TimeDoctor, on the other hand, is somewhat different to WorkPuls, even though our customers are similar. Unlike WorkPuls, TimeDoctor is much more suitable for remote workers, freelancers and also for tracking progress on a project.
Monitoring – Monitoring in TimeDoctor depends on the employee’s inputs. This means that it will not track time if a person hasn’t clicked on the Start button and it stops when requested. The screenshot feature is optional, as well as tracking the names of apps and websites. Organizations that use TimeDoctor usually trust their people and use it as a tool for tracking projects and tasks, unlike DeskTime which is much more of a “slacker-spotting” tool.
User Experience – the user interface is a bit old school, but with some digging and customization it can eventually show you all the necessary information. One thing we didn’t particularly like was the “nudge” option which will remind you to continue working after you’ve been inactive for a couple of minutes or when you visit a website which in their database is considered distracting. We just think it “nudges” you too often and that their predefined database is not suitable for every business. It does have an option to enter breaks, set different shifts and customize the amount of time with no activity before a user becomes “idle”.
We hope this clears things up. Should you need any further explanations, feel free to reach out.