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.
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.