June 24th, 2015

Computer Monitoring. Why You Need It For Your Business Right Now

Photo Credit: Martin Terber

Photo Credit: Martin Terber

How much time do your employees spend actually working? Less than you might think – potentially, a lot less. In Britain, an urban myth caught on that a man had died at the office and none of his co-workers noticed while wandering by his cubicle until the fifth day. It wasn’t true – but the reason the story caught so much traction is that it was just so believable. It’s easy to imagine the anonymous cog of an employee being ignored as he literally rots at his desk – because workers are often disconnected not just from the work they’re doing, but from their own co-workers in the next line of cubicles.

According to the New York Times, disengaged workers could be costing the economy over $300 billion in lost productivity. In our experience, customers looking for employee monitoring software are already aware a problem exists – they’re just having trouble measuring it, unless they’re keeping track on a post-it note of the number of times they’ve caught Jack literally napping in his chair (Yes, this actually happened).

Why is employee monitoring software the solution to the problem of workplace drops in productivity? Because quite often, customers approach us after they’ve tried other solutions – and they never work. Here’s a small sample of what we’ve heard over the years:

“Tom’s the Department Manager. He’ll just watch them better, now that he knows there’s a problem.” Actually, Tom only discovered the problem through sheer luck, when an employee was too busy responding to a friend’s Twitter question to notice that Tom was near. The department manager has a job to do – and it doesn’t involve getting up and looking over the shoulder of every other employee on the floor, every 2 minutes. This is not a solution – it’s the absence of a solution.

“The IT manager will just prevent employees from logging into the time-wasting website when they’re caught. Easy!” The IT manager also has better things to do than play whack-a-mole with employees who are just going to shift their attention to alternative social media or eShopping websites when their first preferred site isn’t available. Companies can find themselves ultimately having to block hundreds of sites – and even then, employees always found an alternative site to hold their attention.

“We’ll crowdsource the solution. Anytime an employee sees their neighbor in the next cubicle wasting time, he’ll report it. Maybe we can have a money jar where the employee who got caught puts in a dollar every time. That will stop the problem fast.” It won’t actually solve the problem – though it will have the added benefit of turning your office into a petty dictatorship of back-biting snitches reminiscent of East Berlin before the wall fell. Not good for morale.

“We really can’t stop the problem – especially since they work remotely. Besides, it’s unrealistic to expect someone to work every minute of the day. We should just let them have their dumb Facebook time and hope they put in a full 8 hours at some point.” Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Sure, your workers are entitled to the occasional break to recharge the batteries – but the only reason you’re having this conversation at all is because it’s already become a serious problem. You pay your employees to do their job on your company-provided computers – and you have a right to expect value for your money.

Like we mentioned earlier, companies often try other solutions before they get to computer monitoring – but once they pick up Activity Monitor, the problem is solved. Your employees aren’t just being monitored – they know that they’re being monitored. Deterrence tends to work better than punishment after the fact, particularly if you want to keep employees whose occasional lapses in productivity are offset by overall good performance.

Stop wasting time with other ‘solutions’ – and get employee monitoring software. It works.