SoftActivity
November 29th, 2015

The futility of manual monitoring

3297533849_a32573b118_zWhat you might have assumed already is now official: human beings have worse attention spans than your common goldfish. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, turning us into hyper-alert hunters and gatherers at the top of the food chain, has been undone by less than a decade of Twitter live-streams and Facebook viral stories. Goldfish (who apparently don’t use the Internet – who knew?) can pay attention to what’s in front of them for nine seconds, while your average joe on the street now struggles to stay focused for eight.

It’s just one more piece of evidence showing that people are more distracted than ever; and what technology has broken, technology can hopefully help fix. In business, computer monitoring software isn’t just helpful – it’s essential for overworked IT folks who can’t possibly have eyes everywhere at once.

Indeed, we saw just a few weeks back that in one of the most highly regulated, technical industries around, manual monitoring can be disastrous. In this case, it was airline cockpit pilots who chillingly can’t seem to stay focused on all those buttons and dials on their dashboard while their planes are in flight:

“Our study really does suggest that vigilance is a very difficult task for people,” says Jonathan Schooler of UC Santa Barbara. “Extended uninterrupted monitoring can be draining.”

One possible antidote might be interruptions that can break up the monotony, such as having to talk to ground control, but the researchers noticed that such interruptions can also contribute to lapses in attention.

In addition, they say, is the all-too-human tendency for our minds to spontaneously wander when not otherwise occupied.

The principle is the same for manual monitoring of bad behavior by employees (disgruntled or not) who may be clicking on virus-infected spam emails, accidentally sharing files they’re not supposed to be sharing or checking Facebook updates all day when they’re supposed to be working for you.

Computer monitoring software is developed with human beings’ inability to stay focused in mind. There are alerts that can be set up to automatically detect when someone is accessing sensitive files or banned websites. You can detect instantly when bad behavior is happening, so you can take action that will deter future foul-ups, or potentially even catch them in the act. That’s just not possible with your average IT manager (focused on 100 different tasks a day) managing this by looking over every cubicle worker’s shoulder.

Feeling distracted by the bad behavior of your unfocused employees? There’s a quick fix. Stay on top of your workplace with computer monitoring software.

Photo Credit: Alan Strakey