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 Insightful 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.
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.