Time trackers have become a staple of remote work and project management. By keeping tabs on the time employees spend working on various tasks, managers are able to monitor their performance and productivity.
The use of time trackers has also helped companies avoid false claims. A good example of that is this case of an employee who was fired then sued for wrongful dismissal. Evidence from time tracking software was crucial in proving her excuses were false and she billed for hours of work that she didn’t do.
But while time trackers are very effective tools, they are not infallible. Recently a number of ways to ‘trick’ time trackers have emerged – and that can have a huge impact on your company if you rely on time tracking data heavily.
Ways Time Trackers Can Be Tricked
Some of the more common ways that employees can trick time trackers and cheat them into erroneously tracking work hours and recording data are:
- Automating mouse movement to trick time tracking software into thinking they’re working. In some cases tools are used to automate the movement, while in others a toy is attached to the mouse itself.
- Opening ‘red herring; windows what are left open to make it appear like employees are working when they’re actually not.
- Disabling the client so that it cannot record data and then claiming that it malfunctioned later.
- Using a second monitor so work-related windows can be open on the main screen while watching videos, browsing social media, or doing something else on the other. This can fool some time trackers that capture screenshots only of the main screen.
- Timing screenshots and tabbing back to a work-related window just before the screen is captured.
As you can imagine if time trackers are ‘tricked’ in any of the ways listed above it will make them unreliable and far less effective. That is why it is important that you take steps to ensure none of these things happen.
How to Prevent Time Trackers from Being Cheated
If you want to prevent the time tracker your company uses from being cheated, the first step is to audit employee monitoring software and choose the right one. The features offered by different software vary greatly, and some are able to monitor employees far more effectively than others.
Using WE Controlio is a safe bet because not only can it track the time employees spend working, but it provides more detailed monitoring of their activities. It can keep tabs on app usage, websites visited, file transfers, emails, IM messages, and more.
To put it simply, WE Controlio will give you a more complete view of exactly what your employees are up to. In that way you’ll be able to notice if their activity does not match what time tracking is reporting.
It is also possible to use WE Controlio to capture screenshots at short intervals and keystrokes too. With that you can avoid it being tricked by using red herring windows, double monitors, or even timing screenshots.
Keep in mind WE Controlio is a cloud-based solution – making it immune to other types of sabotage. It is not easy to close the client either as it runs invisibly in the background.
Finally, it is also important to view data from time tracking or monitoring tools in conjunction with other metrics. A good example is actually correlating work hours with tasks completed, as the latter is far more difficult to fake.
To sum it up, the software that you use will play a big role in determining whether or not you’re able to prevent employees from tricking it. Additionally the managers who are responsible for viewing the data need to know what to look for so that they are able to spot any sign of employees making an attempt to mislead the time tracker.
Seeing as time trackers have become an almost indispensable tool to many companies, it is crucial that you act to ensure that the data it provides is reliable. If you don’t it could negatively impact productivity, and may even lead to financial losses due to incomplete work or erroneously reported working hours.