See the latest workplace productivity & engagement trends – Get the report →


Tracking Productivity Through Monitoring Software

What is Productivity Tracking & Monitoring?

These days it seems everyone is trying to do more with less, and that is certainly true in the world of business. Companies are looking for new and innovative ways to scale their business. Tracking productivity during the scaling process is a top priority.

Productivity tracking is the process of capturing and analyzing day-to-day work activities with the purpose of identifying patterns, barriers and opportunities improvements in the way employees get work done. By analyzing this data leaders can adjust responsibilities, tools and workflows to achieve greater productivity and efficiency.  By tracking productivity, implementing change and continuing to monitor productivity, organizations can create a culture of continuous improvement.

Having an objective measure of employee productivity is the first step, and that is what productivity monitoring software is all about.

By using productivity monitoring software to monitor their organization, members of management can easily see which workers are doing a stellar job. This information can then be used to coach underperforming employees while rewarding the superstars. Retaining qualified team members has never been more important. While keeping top performers motivated, employers can more easily identify their best workers, and help spread that productivity throughout the company. Looking at data from a productivity monitoring software can help employers more effectively pinpoint areas where some employees could use more guidance. Making sure your company is running at peak performance is critical in today’s competitive business landscape, and productivity monitoring is how cutting-edge businesses are staying ahead of the curve.

Choose where to start:

The Difference Between Productivity Tracking and Surveillance

Productivity tracking software often gets criticized as being an Orwellian measure taken by overbearing managers — restricting and opressing individuals within the organization. The harsh depiction of this valuable software couldn’t be further from the truth. These programs are incredibly helpful for streamlining areas of any business.

Utilizing productivity monitoring software allows administrators to analyze their employees’ behavioral data to improve workflow efficiency. Making use of this software can lead to a more productive working environment by gamifying daily activities. For example, giving employees access to a productivity leaderboard can help boost motivation. Administrators can also use this data to protect the company from insider threats. Keeping an eye on employee activity will help administrators make sure employees aren’t doing anything thoughtless with company information. Depending on the productivity tracking software deployed, the benefits are endless for a company looking to increase revenue and boost security.

Often, the key to having a healthy relationship with employees is being upfront with them about the software you will be implementing. We will dig into this in a little more detail later, but using a defined internet policy can help create clear boundaries and expectations with employees. It also serves to build trust between the employer and employee. Simple things such as this transparency help to smoothly implement the software.

Advantages of Productivity Tracking

Reduce Time Wasting

In an article published in the Online Journal of Applied Knowledge Management, Johnathan Yerby explains potential productivity losses could be as high as $1 million for a company with 500 employees that browse unproductive websites for only half an hour a day. One million dollars in just half an hour?! Most companies can’t afford to be losing money like that.

Productivity tracking software can help you curb wasteful internet practices. Combining features such as live activity monitoring and website blocking, an employer can keep employees on track without continually looking over their shoulders. This frees up administrators to be more productive with their time as well as creating an inherent trust between employer and employee that will benefit everyone.

Enforce Existing Policies More Effectively

Making sure employees don’t leak proprietary data is an essential function of productivity monitoring software. Administrators can monitor electronic communications such as email, internet usage, and other electronic communications. Through employee use of these channels as well as unauthorized use of electronic media, companies could be at risk of a breach. In fact, employee negligence is the main cause of data breaches according to a recent state of the industry report by Shred-it, an information security organization.

Using productivity monitoring software can help employers get an early warning about these dangerous activities taking place. With certain features such as remote screenshots or automated alarms, productivity monitoring software can help admins keep track of any breach of sensitive information.

Keep Track of Employees Who Work From Home

Recently a Gallup poll found 43% of employees surveyed worked from home at some point. Considering the increase in telecommuting, employers need to find a way to make sure employees aren’t wasting time while on the clock.

Productivity tracking software is the perfect tool to make sure employees are just as productive at home as they are in the office. Administrators will still have the ability to track the use of distracting websites and can make sure employees stay on track even when working remotely. As long as employees are working on company-issued devices, a productivity tracking software can easily signal if an employee is misusing company property.

Disadvantages of Productivity Tracking

Privacy Concerns

Employees are generally concerned about privacy when a productivity tracking software is implemented. The idea of someone looking over their shoulder can be unsettling when it isn’t explained correctly. Give your employees advanced notice of your plan as well as how you’re going to be protecting their personal data. Let them know that their personal information is not being collected.

Things such as phone number, bank info, and passwords aren’t going to be useful for increasing productivity. Some programs intentionally blur or redact personally identifiable information (PII) such as this. Making sure your employees’ PII is safe should be a top priority when searching for the perfect productivity tracking software.

Could Affect Morale

Some employees can get stressed at the thought of having their activity constantly monitored. This stress could lead to employees overworking themselves, which eventually results in decreasing their productivity, and possibly increasing turnover. To avoid this, be upfront with your employees and explain precisely what you’re looking to get out of the software. Elaborate on the benefits your company will be able to obtain from using the software such as being able to cut costs on software licenses. Let them know how you’ll be using this information. Explain the company goals are simply to grow, which helps everyone. Don’t be overbearing and drive your employees away.

In tandem with being candid, lay out exactly what you expect of your team. As we mentioned earlier, creating an internet usage policy and going over it with employees can relieve anxiety and prepare your organization for a smooth transition into using productivity monitoring software.

Legal Concerns

Though there is a good deal of information available on the subject, there are many common misunderstandings when it comes to the legality of productivity monitoring software. In a nutshell, using this type of software is perfectly legal.

The sheer number of laws describing what is legal and illegal when it comes to tracking activities can make it a very overwhelming topic. In the United States, as long as a company owns the computers, they are allowed to monitor employees. The EU has different laws that require employers to be more forthright with their plans to implement productivity monitoring software. The main takeaway here should be that the legality of employee monitoring varies across the world.

Despite this, data gathering is still possible, and there are numerous ways to analyze day-to-day activities per local laws. To make sure you’re covering all of your bases, research the laws in your area individually. Also, being honest with employees can help develop a healthy relationship that promotes trust and increase morale. Before you decide on a productivity monitoring software, we suggest seeking proper legal counsel regarding the laws in your area.

How Would I Benefit from Productivity Tracking Software?

The benefits of productivity tracking include improving organizational structure, identifying what tools employees need, as well as finding out employees’ most productive periods and which teams work best together. This type of data can be invaluable to companies because not only can it streamline operations, productivity tracking can also allow admins to distribute workloads more evenly to take some pressure off overworked employees.

Once employers alert their employees they will be monitored; productivity will likely increase. The rise in productivity is due to a psychological principle called the Hawthorne Effect. This principle states: when someone knows they’re being observed, they will change their behavior. In the workplace, utilizing productivity monitoring software is merely harnessing the Hawthorne Effect.

How to Get Started with Productivity Tracking?

Before you get started researching productivity tracking software, you should first step back and look at what your goals are. Some people can implement this type of software in harmful ways that can hurt their team’s morale. Here are just a few possibilities for goals your team could have.

  • Increasing productivity
  • Cutting costs
  • Reduce time wasting
  • Protecting against data leaks
  • Increase employee engagement
  • Spreading out workload evenly

If you decide that productivity tracking is right for you, then it’s time to move on to looking at features that will help you achieve your goals. Here are some features you may want to think about when researching productivity monitoring software:

  • Website Blocking
  • Website and App Monitoring
  • Screenshots or Videos of Activity
  • Keystroke Logging
  • Protecting Sensitive PII
  • Activity Reports
  • Flexible Settings

Once you’ve found a few options that fit your checklist, you’ll want to trim the list down to your finalists. From here, you’ll want to check some other factors that go beyond those features to make sure you find the perfect software for you. These factors could include:

  • Ease of Installation
  • Payment Plans
  • Learning Curve
  • Customization
  • Customer Support Availability
  • Hardware Requirements

After you’ve found the ideal program, prepare your team. Although in some areas it isn’t required to make your employees aware of the software, we generally recommend being honest with your team. In a meeting, you can go over a few things we’ve mentioned earlier such as:

  • What exactly the software is
  • How you’re planning to implement it
  • Why it’s necessary
  • How it will benefit the company
  • Address privacy concerns

As soon as you’ve gone over all of the details with your team you should be ready to implement your software! If you follow the advice in this article, you should be well on your way to improving the productivity in your organization.

ActivTrak’s Productivity Tracking & Monitoring Software

Improving productivity requires an understanding of how your organization operates. ActivTrak’s simple user interface is designed to help teams get the clearest picture of how work is done.

With ActivTrak’s productivity monitoring software, you’ll have the metrics needed to craft the perfect strategy to enhance your team’s productivity and as a result, your entire organization’s efficiency. The software is easy to install and the data is available within minutes.

Here are a few reasons why ActivTrak is perfect for Productivity Tracking:

  • Compare productivity levels between individuals, groups, or get an overall view of the entire organization.
  • Know your top performer’s habits and coach those patterns to other team members.
  • Set automated caps on unproductive breaks to limit time wasted.
  • Identify and coach less-productive workers before they become disengaged.
  • Set goals, test strategies, review the results and reduce wasted time based on your experiments.

More Productivity Tracker Resources

How Employee Monitoring Can Boost Employee Performance

Breaking down why implementing productivity tracking software can give your company a boost in productivity. Read the article from Engadget

How Employees Can Use Productivity Monitoring to Boost Their Own Output

The story of how Grammarly gave their employees the tool of time tracking and the option of monitoring their own time created an uptick in productivity. Read the article from Inc

Using ActivTrak to Increase Your Company’s Overall Productivity

A true story showing how productivity monitoring can boost productivity and improve the relationship between employees and management. Read the article from ActivTrak

How Productivity Monitoring Software Can Help You Understand Your Company

A look into how productivity monitoring software can help you understand how your company functions and which programs employees use the most. Read the article from ActivTrak

Promoting Employee Monitoring in the Office

An insightful article that investigates if employee monitoring is right for you and how to implement it if you choose to do so. Read the article from Huffington Post

How to Utilize User Behavior Analytics to Your Advantage

A helpful guide on how a company can use user behavior analytics from productivity monitoring software to improve their organization. Read the article from ActivTrak

A Project Managers Guide to Productivity Tracking

A short read that gives the perspective of a project manager explaining how valuable productivity tracking can be. Read the article from Medium

Ready to get started? Be up and running in minutes.

Create free account Get started
Watch 2-minute demo See a demo