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 BeeBole
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$5.99 per user per month
Free trial30 days14 daysYes14 days14 days14 days30 days30 days,no credit card required
Ease of useDifficultEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasyEasy
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 onlineOnline chat and video support in English,French,and Spanish
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

Key Takeaways: 

‍

  • Mastering the balance between shallow and deep work is vital for improving team efficiency and maintaining smooth operations.

‍

  • Advanced tools for remote work like Insightful provide actionable insights into team workflows, enabling immediate improvements in productivity and task management.

‍

  • Applying targeted management strategies to streamline shallow work is essential for balancing it with valuable deep work, ensuring your team's efforts are directed towards impactful outcomes.

‍

  • Nurturing a supportive work culture that appreciates the nuances of both deep and shallow tasks is vital for team engagement and satisfaction, driving better results and innovation.

‍

Read time: 8 minutes

‍

Deep work or tasks that require intense focus often hog the spotlight in the pursuit of workplace productivity. However, it’s the routine daily tasks, aka shallow work that are vital for maintaining organizational flow. 

‍

Let’s shift the perspective on overlooked tasks, highlighting their importance for workforce efficiency. In this article, we’ll explore effective management practices that balance shallow and deep work within teams. 

‍

Striking the balance between both types of work can enhance team productivity and job satisfaction in remote and traditional office settings. This knowledge, coupled with the right tools for remote work, can get your team where they need to be!

Understanding Shallow Work

‍

Shallow work refers to tasks that, while necessary, demand minimal cognitive engagement. Unlike deep work, which demands uninterrupted focus and complex problem-solving skills, it can be done alongside other activities. Shallow work requires much shorter bursts of attention and a lower level of engagement.

‍

For example, shallow work in a team context might include:

‍

  • Administrative duties
  • Email correspondence
  • Project status reports
  • Client inquiries
  • Team meetings scheduling

‍

These tasks, though less intellectually demanding, are vital for the operations and infrastructure of any organization. Recognizing shallow work within the workflows is the first step toward effective management. It ensures that the day-to-day runs smoothly which keeps the business afloat in the long run. 

‍

In short, shallow work facilitates communication, maintains organization, and lays the groundwork for deeper, more complex projects. 

‍

However, getting caught up in shallow work can overshadow the more important tasks, accidentally hindering overall productivity. The real challenge is to strike a balance between daily obligations and high-priority assignments. That way, managers can ensure that teams can engage in both without compromise.

‍

The Impact of Remote Work on Task Management

‍

The shift towards remote work has shaken up the dynamics of task management, affecting both deep and shallow work. Remote environments introduced a new set of challenges and opportunities in how teams handle their daily tasks, with a tangible impact on productivity and team collaboration.

Increased Focus Time

‍

Remote work provides employees with more control over their work environment, which typically leads to fewer office-related distractions. This autonomy allows for periods of deep concentration, allowing team members to engage with complex tasks with full focus. 

‍

Managers can further support this by encouraging structured focus sessions. Have remote team members dedicate blocks of time to deep work, free from the usual interruptions of an office setting.

‍

Reevaluation of Shallow Work

‍

The nature of shallow work may change and evolve in a remote scenario. Tasks like digital communication become more prevalent, while others, like office management, may decrease.  

‍

Managers should reevaluate the typical shallow work within teams and its impact on productivity. In a remote setting, different types of tasks require focus.

‍

Communication & Coordination Challenges


Remote work increased the need for digital communication, which led to an influx of shallow tasks like sending emails and hosting virtual meetings. Managers now have to navigate these challenges with clear communication guidelines. 

‍

Set designated times for checking emails or holding meetings, to prevent these tasks from overwhelming team members. Have 'quiet hours' during the work day where people can be offline for non-urgent matters. Encourage concise, action-oriented messaging instead of email chains.

Reliance on Technology

‍

Remote work demonstrated how important technology is for effective task management. Having a project management tool, collaboration platform, and  employee monitoring system in place helps teams stay organized, ensuring that both deep and shallow work is getting done.

‍

Understanding the unique impacts of remote work on task dynamics is crucial. Managers should come up with strategies that play to the benefits of remote work while addressing the challenges. That way employees can make the most of focused work time and deal with less important tasks.

Balancing Deep and Shallow Work

‍

Balancing deep and shallow work within a team can boost efficiency and maintain a healthy work environment. Managers need to walk this fine line and make sure the workflow stays proportionate. That means getting the meaningful, demanding tasks done while also addressing the necessary routine activities. 

‍

Here are some strategies to achieve this balance:

‍

Prioritize and Delegate

‍

Start by identifying the critical deep work tasks that drive the most value for your team and organization. Then go over the shallow work to determine what can be automated, delegated, or even eliminated

‍

Equip your team with the right tools to make real-time decisions about task prioritization. This allows employees to take ownership, potentially uncovering more efficient ways to handle the workflow.

‍

Promote Effective Communication

‍

Set clear communication guidelines within the team to prevent it from becoming a source of constant interruption. Agree on the appropriate response times for emails, use asynchronous communication tools, and create meeting agendas to ensure they are concise and productive.

‍

Encourage Regular Breaks

Always highlight the importance of taking regular breaks. Rest prevents burnout and maintains high levels of cognitive function, allowing employees to be more efficient at work. Breaks are especially important after intense deep work sessions since they let the mind rest and recharge before moving on to different tasks.

‍

Review and Adapt Continuously

‍

Occasionally review the list of recurring shallow tasks within the team to determine whether they have become redundant. Ask team members for input on how to improve these processes.

‍

Be prepared to adapt strategies and workflows to meet the evolving needs of the team and the organization.

‍

Practical Tips for Navigating Shallow Work

‍

Effectively managing shallow work is equally important as facilitating deep work. Here are some tips on how to handle the daily tasks efficiently without undermining the team's productivity or morale:

‍

Practice Batch Processing

‍

Group similar shallow tasks together and schedule specific times to handle them. This could mean setting aside time for checking and responding to emails, administrative tasks, or routine updates. 

‍

Batching prevents tasks from fragmenting the workday and encroaching on time reserved for more concentrated efforts.

Use Automation Where Possible

‍

Identify repetitive tasks that can be automated with software tools. Automating routine processes like data entry, report generation, and even some aspects of customer service can significantly reduce the volume of shallow work. This allows the team to concentrate on tasks that require creativity and problem-solving skills, i.e. a human touch.

‍

Optimize Meetings

‍

Think about how often you should have meetings. If a team rally is necessary, make sure it’s well-structured with a clear agenda, specific objectives, and a strict time limit. Promote the use of collaborative documents for agendas and follow-ups to minimize the need for online meetups. Consider having a no-meeting day every once in a while.

‍

Encourage Single-Tasking for Shallow Work

‍

While shallow tasks require less cognitive engagement, multitasking can still lead to errors. Encourage team members to focus on one shallow task at a time, ensuring it's done correctly before moving on to the next.

‍

Leveraging Technology for Efficient Workflows

‍

Technology plays a vital role in optimizing both deep and shallow work within teams. Managers can rely on digital tools to streamline workflows, enhance communication, and track productivity. All this allows team members to focus on their tasks with greater efficiency. 

‍

Here's how technology can be used for task management:

Project Management Software

‍

Platforms like Asana, Trello, and Monday.com help teams organize projects, assign tasks, and track progress in a centralized location. The tools reduce the cognitive load of multitasking and chasing deadlines, allowing team members to focus more on deep work.

Time Tracking and Analysis

‍

Time monitoring software like Insightful track how time is spent on various tasks, offering insights into the balance between deep and shallow work. The invaluable data gives insight into workload distribution and identifies areas where shallow work may be encroaching on more complex tasks. This allows managers to make informed adjustments and optimize the workload accordingly.

‍

Communication Platforms

‍

Apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams streamline communication, reducing the need for disruptive meetings and emails. Features like status updates and channels dedicated to specific topics or projects minimize interruptions. This helps teams manage shallow work more efficiently.

‍

Automation Tools

‍

Automating routine tasks can significantly reduce the volume of shallow work that teams need to handle. Tools like Zapier and IFTTT can automate workflows between different apps, freeing up time for more meaningful work. This includes non-demanding activities like scheduling social media posts or organizing emails.

‍

Document Collaboration Tools

Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 allow for real-time collaboration on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. The collective approach decreases the need for back-and-forth communication, streamlining the process of co-creation and review, which can often fall into the category of shallow work.

‍

Scheduling and Calendar Management

‍

Apps like Calendly and Doodle simplify the process of scheduling meetings by allowing team members to select available times. This reduces the back-and-forth typically associated with meeting coordination.

‍

Optimize Your Workload with Insightful’s Analytics

‍

Insightful's robust time tracking and remote work monitoring capabilities can hit that sweet spot between shallow and deep work with ease. The workforce analytics tool offers invaluable insights into your team's work patterns, allowing you to fine-tune your workflows for peak efficiency. 

‍

What does Insightful mean for your team? With Insightful, you can ensure that your team dedicates the right amount of focus to high-impact tasks while also gliding through routine duties. Get Insightful today and pave your way to a more productive, engaged, and balanced work environment!

‍

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Claim your free 7-Day full feature trial of Insightful today. Insightful’s actionable work insights make your team more productive, efficient and accountable.

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Business Management

Balancing Shallow & Deep Work for Peak Team Performance

Written by
Sonja Glisic
Published on
February 21, 2024

Key Takeaways: 

‍

  • Mastering the balance between shallow and deep work is vital for improving team efficiency and maintaining smooth operations.

‍

  • Advanced tools for remote work like Insightful provide actionable insights into team workflows, enabling immediate improvements in productivity and task management.

‍

  • Applying targeted management strategies to streamline shallow work is essential for balancing it with valuable deep work, ensuring your team's efforts are directed towards impactful outcomes.

‍

  • Nurturing a supportive work culture that appreciates the nuances of both deep and shallow tasks is vital for team engagement and satisfaction, driving better results and innovation.

‍

Read time: 8 minutes

‍

Deep work or tasks that require intense focus often hog the spotlight in the pursuit of workplace productivity. However, it’s the routine daily tasks, aka shallow work that are vital for maintaining organizational flow. 

‍

Let’s shift the perspective on overlooked tasks, highlighting their importance for workforce efficiency. In this article, we’ll explore effective management practices that balance shallow and deep work within teams. 

‍

Striking the balance between both types of work can enhance team productivity and job satisfaction in remote and traditional office settings. This knowledge, coupled with the right tools for remote work, can get your team where they need to be!

Understanding Shallow Work

‍

Shallow work refers to tasks that, while necessary, demand minimal cognitive engagement. Unlike deep work, which demands uninterrupted focus and complex problem-solving skills, it can be done alongside other activities. Shallow work requires much shorter bursts of attention and a lower level of engagement.

‍

For example, shallow work in a team context might include:

‍

  • Administrative duties
  • Email correspondence
  • Project status reports
  • Client inquiries
  • Team meetings scheduling

‍

These tasks, though less intellectually demanding, are vital for the operations and infrastructure of any organization. Recognizing shallow work within the workflows is the first step toward effective management. It ensures that the day-to-day runs smoothly which keeps the business afloat in the long run. 

‍

In short, shallow work facilitates communication, maintains organization, and lays the groundwork for deeper, more complex projects. 

‍

However, getting caught up in shallow work can overshadow the more important tasks, accidentally hindering overall productivity. The real challenge is to strike a balance between daily obligations and high-priority assignments. That way, managers can ensure that teams can engage in both without compromise.

‍

The Impact of Remote Work on Task Management

‍

The shift towards remote work has shaken up the dynamics of task management, affecting both deep and shallow work. Remote environments introduced a new set of challenges and opportunities in how teams handle their daily tasks, with a tangible impact on productivity and team collaboration.

Increased Focus Time

‍

Remote work provides employees with more control over their work environment, which typically leads to fewer office-related distractions. This autonomy allows for periods of deep concentration, allowing team members to engage with complex tasks with full focus. 

‍

Managers can further support this by encouraging structured focus sessions. Have remote team members dedicate blocks of time to deep work, free from the usual interruptions of an office setting.

‍

Reevaluation of Shallow Work

‍

The nature of shallow work may change and evolve in a remote scenario. Tasks like digital communication become more prevalent, while others, like office management, may decrease.  

‍

Managers should reevaluate the typical shallow work within teams and its impact on productivity. In a remote setting, different types of tasks require focus.

‍

Communication & Coordination Challenges


Remote work increased the need for digital communication, which led to an influx of shallow tasks like sending emails and hosting virtual meetings. Managers now have to navigate these challenges with clear communication guidelines. 

‍

Set designated times for checking emails or holding meetings, to prevent these tasks from overwhelming team members. Have 'quiet hours' during the work day where people can be offline for non-urgent matters. Encourage concise, action-oriented messaging instead of email chains.

Reliance on Technology

‍

Remote work demonstrated how important technology is for effective task management. Having a project management tool, collaboration platform, and  employee monitoring system in place helps teams stay organized, ensuring that both deep and shallow work is getting done.

‍

Understanding the unique impacts of remote work on task dynamics is crucial. Managers should come up with strategies that play to the benefits of remote work while addressing the challenges. That way employees can make the most of focused work time and deal with less important tasks.

Balancing Deep and Shallow Work

‍

Balancing deep and shallow work within a team can boost efficiency and maintain a healthy work environment. Managers need to walk this fine line and make sure the workflow stays proportionate. That means getting the meaningful, demanding tasks done while also addressing the necessary routine activities. 

‍

Here are some strategies to achieve this balance:

‍

Prioritize and Delegate

‍

Start by identifying the critical deep work tasks that drive the most value for your team and organization. Then go over the shallow work to determine what can be automated, delegated, or even eliminated

‍

Equip your team with the right tools to make real-time decisions about task prioritization. This allows employees to take ownership, potentially uncovering more efficient ways to handle the workflow.

‍

Promote Effective Communication

‍

Set clear communication guidelines within the team to prevent it from becoming a source of constant interruption. Agree on the appropriate response times for emails, use asynchronous communication tools, and create meeting agendas to ensure they are concise and productive.

‍

Encourage Regular Breaks

Always highlight the importance of taking regular breaks. Rest prevents burnout and maintains high levels of cognitive function, allowing employees to be more efficient at work. Breaks are especially important after intense deep work sessions since they let the mind rest and recharge before moving on to different tasks.

‍

Review and Adapt Continuously

‍

Occasionally review the list of recurring shallow tasks within the team to determine whether they have become redundant. Ask team members for input on how to improve these processes.

‍

Be prepared to adapt strategies and workflows to meet the evolving needs of the team and the organization.

‍

Practical Tips for Navigating Shallow Work

‍

Effectively managing shallow work is equally important as facilitating deep work. Here are some tips on how to handle the daily tasks efficiently without undermining the team's productivity or morale:

‍

Practice Batch Processing

‍

Group similar shallow tasks together and schedule specific times to handle them. This could mean setting aside time for checking and responding to emails, administrative tasks, or routine updates. 

‍

Batching prevents tasks from fragmenting the workday and encroaching on time reserved for more concentrated efforts.

Use Automation Where Possible

‍

Identify repetitive tasks that can be automated with software tools. Automating routine processes like data entry, report generation, and even some aspects of customer service can significantly reduce the volume of shallow work. This allows the team to concentrate on tasks that require creativity and problem-solving skills, i.e. a human touch.

‍

Optimize Meetings

‍

Think about how often you should have meetings. If a team rally is necessary, make sure it’s well-structured with a clear agenda, specific objectives, and a strict time limit. Promote the use of collaborative documents for agendas and follow-ups to minimize the need for online meetups. Consider having a no-meeting day every once in a while.

‍

Encourage Single-Tasking for Shallow Work

‍

While shallow tasks require less cognitive engagement, multitasking can still lead to errors. Encourage team members to focus on one shallow task at a time, ensuring it's done correctly before moving on to the next.

‍

Leveraging Technology for Efficient Workflows

‍

Technology plays a vital role in optimizing both deep and shallow work within teams. Managers can rely on digital tools to streamline workflows, enhance communication, and track productivity. All this allows team members to focus on their tasks with greater efficiency. 

‍

Here's how technology can be used for task management:

Project Management Software

‍

Platforms like Asana, Trello, and Monday.com help teams organize projects, assign tasks, and track progress in a centralized location. The tools reduce the cognitive load of multitasking and chasing deadlines, allowing team members to focus more on deep work.

Time Tracking and Analysis

‍

Time monitoring software like Insightful track how time is spent on various tasks, offering insights into the balance between deep and shallow work. The invaluable data gives insight into workload distribution and identifies areas where shallow work may be encroaching on more complex tasks. This allows managers to make informed adjustments and optimize the workload accordingly.

‍

Communication Platforms

‍

Apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams streamline communication, reducing the need for disruptive meetings and emails. Features like status updates and channels dedicated to specific topics or projects minimize interruptions. This helps teams manage shallow work more efficiently.

‍

Automation Tools

‍

Automating routine tasks can significantly reduce the volume of shallow work that teams need to handle. Tools like Zapier and IFTTT can automate workflows between different apps, freeing up time for more meaningful work. This includes non-demanding activities like scheduling social media posts or organizing emails.

‍

Document Collaboration Tools

Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 allow for real-time collaboration on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. The collective approach decreases the need for back-and-forth communication, streamlining the process of co-creation and review, which can often fall into the category of shallow work.

‍

Scheduling and Calendar Management

‍

Apps like Calendly and Doodle simplify the process of scheduling meetings by allowing team members to select available times. This reduces the back-and-forth typically associated with meeting coordination.

‍

Optimize Your Workload with Insightful’s Analytics

‍

Insightful's robust time tracking and remote work monitoring capabilities can hit that sweet spot between shallow and deep work with ease. The workforce analytics tool offers invaluable insights into your team's work patterns, allowing you to fine-tune your workflows for peak efficiency. 

‍

What does Insightful mean for your team? With Insightful, you can ensure that your team dedicates the right amount of focus to high-impact tasks while also gliding through routine duties. Get Insightful today and pave your way to a more productive, engaged, and balanced work environment!

‍