12 benefits & 3 flaws of laptop usage monitoring


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Study: 88% of executives believe that employees perform worse outside the office

Companies adopt employee laptop monitoring for several compelling reasons. The primary one is that it provides managers with visibility into employees’ work processes, which is important enough to control the work of the office staff and remote workers who transition from a corporate environment to a more relaxed home setting without direct managerial supervision.

The interest in monitoring software surged after the pandemic prompted a shift to working from home. Studies show that demand for such tools increased by 65% between 2019 and 2022. Currently, 60% of organizations with remote work arrangements employ productivity tracking tools, and larger companies are more likely to use employee monitoring software regardless of work format. In North America, 67.6% of organizations with over 500 employees now utilize these tools. Analysts predict the employee monitoring software market will grow by 12% through 2026, reaching $4.5 billion.

Employee monitoring is widespread in companies with a large number of remote employees.

One primary driver of this trend is that many company leaders question whether remote staff can maintain the same productivity as their office-based counterparts. According to Bloomberg, 88% of executives believe that employees working from home exert less effort than when surrounded by colleagues and supervisors. Managers in the US and Europe also report seeing evidence that supports their concerns about reduced productivity due to remote work. Monitoring tools help leaders ensure that employees use their work time efficiently and avoid distractions.

88% of executives are convinced that when not working from the office, employees put in less effort than when they are surrounded by colleagues and supervisors.

Additionally, managers are concerned about security risks associated with remote work. Employees may become less cautious with company laptops, engaging in unsafe online activities that expose the organization to malware threats. Monitoring software can track and even block access to specific websites and applications, mitigating these risks.

Monitoring helps managers make sure that employees use their working time efficiently and do not waste it on extraneous activities.

Of course, the capabilities of monitoring solutions are beneficial not only for remote work but also for managing on-site staff. Because in the office, people also tend to spend quite a lot of time on non-work-related computer usage: online shopping, social networking, browsing news and entertainment websites, etc. Tracking tools give managers more ways to monitor employee performance. At the same time, employees, knowing that they are being monitored, become more disciplined and responsible.

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12 benefits of laptop use monitoring

In general, laptop monitoring software helps companies in two major ways. First, it gives an opportunity to closely track the work of employees and find possible reasons behind productivity problems. Second, it can increase worker engagement, motivation and performance.

Let’s recap the benefits of employee laptop monitoring before moving on to the main mistakes managers make in this process.

Monitoring software helps you check employees’ work from multiple angles. At the same time, by using ethical tools like WorkTime, you avoid excessive monitoring and invasion of employee privacy.

1. Laptop monitoring improves workflow

Employee monitoring software enables managers and employers to oversee the work process without directly intervening. This approach is generally more preferable for the employee than having the employer personally observe their work, which is known as direct observation.

One important aspect to consider is that employee monitoring is essentially unobtrusive. The employee works without being directly watched, and this doesn’t distract them during their tasks, making them feel more at ease.

Additionally, employers who have a comprehensive understanding of the employee’s work process can identify areas of weakness and knowledge gaps. Utilizing the information gathered through employee monitoring, the employer can make well-informed decisions that contribute to the natural growth of the employee’s skills in their work.

Based on a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study, when employees knew they were being monitored, profits increased by 7%.

Delving into the specifics, it is possible to assess an employee’s activity level between turning the device on and off. Reports can reveal the times when the worker engaged in computer-related tasks and when the device was idle. A clear view of the active-to-idle time ratio is crucial, as a high percentage of idle time (when a person turns on the computer but remains inactive for extended periods) is a common factor contributing to reduced productivity among remote workers.

An alternative method for tracking employee activity is through a keystroke counter. This feature tallies the number of keys pressed by an employee during the day, calculating the total count per day, the average per minute, and distributing these figures according to the applications used. This approach is a less intrusive alternative to keystroke logging, which grants access to the content of text typed on the keyboard.

The next level of monitoring analysis reveals how productive the employee’s actions on the laptop were.

However, activity alone is not necessarily indicative of effectiveness. A more advanced level of monitoring analysis evaluates the productivity of an employee’s laptop usage. Specifically, it determines the relevance of the websites visited and the applications used throughout the day. In these reports, you’ll find a comparison of productive and unproductive time, as well as the productivity rating for each website and application.

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2. Laptop monitoring provides insights into employee productivity

Employee monitoring provides managers and employers with insights into an employee’s activities, such as when an employee uses instant messaging programs or occasionally watches YouTube on their laptop. Monitoring allows you to track the time an employee spends not focusing on work tasks, helping you understand when, for how long, and with what frequency an employee is distracted at work.

The distraction assessment helps determine how focused an employee is. By analyzing an employee’s computer activity, it identifies behaviors that interfere with concentration.

Moreover, employee monitoring can evaluate an employee’s actual performance. At first glance, a manager might see several employees working similarly, but thorough monitoring can reveal who is working harder, enabling a better assessment of employees’ real performance.

WorkTime has a built-in non-invasive function for measuring employee efficiency and productivity.

Furthermore, it can detect false overtime. For example, if an employee stays after work intending to work longer, without monitoring, no one will know precisely what they do. Employee monitoring can identify such cases and record false overtime, potentially saving the company money on unwarranted overtime payments.

With the false overtime feature, you can avoid overpayments when you see that while staying after work, employees at the same time took long breaks during the day.

3. Laptop monitoring helps mitigate security risks

When employees work remotely using company laptops, they inadvertently expose your organization to increased security risks. As corporate equipment is used in a home environment, workers may become less responsible in ensuring its safe operation.

The distinction between work and personal use often becomes blurred, with employees extensively using computers for online shopping, social networking, visiting non-work-related websites, and downloading applications without authorization. Each of these actions poses potential security threats to your organization.

Monitoring software can solve employee security problems by tracking work laptop usage for personal use.

While a comprehensive set of security measures is essential for mitigating these threats, monitoring software can also play a significant role in addressing such concerns. Firstly, it can block access to a predefined list of undesirable websites and applications. Additionally, if an employee accesses potentially dangerous websites or downloads applications not explicitly blacklisted, these activities are automatically recorded in the worker’s web usage history, allowing for prompt identification and resolution of potential security issues.

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4. Laptop monitoring detects time fraud

Internet usage monitoring is valuable not only for addressing security concerns but also for providing insights into an employee’s effective use of work time. Remote workers often excel at multitasking between work tasks and personal activities. They may keep work documents, applications, and websites open while intermittently taking breaks to watch videos on YouTube or Netflix, shop online, or engage in social networking. Monitoring their internet usage can help identify such patterns and ensure a more focused work environment.

75% of US companies suffer from employee misuse of working time which costs them more than $400 billion per year.

Employees may sometimes be unaware of the time they spend on distracting activities and the significant impact it can have on their productivity. It’s also important to note that some workers may engage in more objectionable activities, such as gambling or viewing pornography, rather than just visiting innocuous sites. Statistics reveal that employees spend an average of 30 to 40 percent of their time on non-work-related internet activities, resulting in a substantial loss of paid hours. Another study indicates that 75% of US companies experience employee misconduct related to the misuse of work time, costing them over $400 billion per year.

With tracking tools, you can detect sites visited and time spent on them. To make it more convenient, the software highlights productive and detrimental internet activities.

Employee internet usage monitoring can help tackle this issue. Using tracking tools, you can access workers’ browser history, identifying the websites they visited and the time spent on each site. To enhance convenience, tracking tools distinguish between productive and unproductive (non-work-related) internet activities.

Having this data at your disposal allows you to gain a clearer understanding of how employees spend their work hours and enables more mindful time management. As a result, you can encourage employees to stay focused and minimize non-work-related internet usage, ultimately boosting productivity.

5. Laptop monitoring helps save on licensed software

One of the advantages of monitoring software is its ability to assess the real usage of work applications across all employees and departments. In essence, you can determine which software is being used, by whom, and how intensively.

Tracking tools continuously analyze this data, often revealing that some expensive software products are underutilized or rarely used. Based on the information gathered during monitoring, you can make more informed decisions regarding the most efficient licensing plan for your company. In many cases, it is sensible to discontinue certain applications and maintain paid licenses only for the software that is genuinely needed. Consequently, companies can save a significant portion of their operational costs.

Monitoring tools detect that some expensive software products are not used by staff. In many cases, it makes sense to opt out of them and thus significantly save on licenses.

For example, WorkTime utilizes specialized algorithms to monitor employees, accurately gauging productivity within each application used.

Furthermore, employee laptop monitoring enables you to identify unauthorized programs downloaded by employees and assess the frequency of their use. Excessive engagement with non-work-related programs is one factor that can decrease employee productivity.

Additionally, downloading unauthorized applications is among the most common corporate security threats, as such software may be malicious. Employee laptop monitoring aids in promptly detecting shadow IT, helping to prevent data breaches or other serious security incidents from occurring.

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6. Laptop monitoring boosts productivity

So far, we have talked about the benefits of laptop monitoring mainly in relation to tracking and control. However, monitoring software is not only an intelligence tool. When applied correctly, it can also be a powerful motivator of employee engagement and productivity.

First and foremost, the mere presence of monitoring can positively impact productivity, especially when employees are aware of being monitored. For instance, one of our clients discovered that their remote employees were excessively idle during work hours. Once the workers were informed about the monitoring and the unsatisfactory performance findings, their active time indicators instantly doubled.

Research supports these observations. According to statistics, implementing monitoring software can boost worker productivity by 46%. In neuroscience, this phenomenon is known as “social facilitation,” wherein the presence of others (real or virtual) stimulates an increase in an individual’s performance compared to when they are alone. In an office setting, facilitation occurs through the presence of colleagues and supervisors. When working from home, the role of the observer is assumed by the monitoring software.

You can achieve even greater results if you involve employees in the monitoring process by setting goals for them and informing them of their progress toward those goals.

You can achieve even greater results by not only announcing monitoring but also actively involving employees in the process. This can be done by sharing current indicators with them, expressing your expectations, and keeping them informed about their progress. WorkTime offers a special feature for this purpose, allowing you to set goals for multiple performance indicators for individuals and teams, and track whether these goals are being met. Providing regular feedback on the results of this “game” will help stimulate higher levels of employee performance.

7. Laptop monitoring helps improve discipline

Monitoring software enables you to track how responsibly employees adhere to their schedules, which is particularly crucial when managing remote workers. When remote employees are aware that their attendance is being monitored, issues related to tardiness tend to vanish.

When remote employees know that their attendance is being monitored, “late for work” problems tend to disappear.

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8. Laptop monitoring reduces idle time

Tracking tools help to clearly identify the ratio of active and idle time throughout the day. This helps detect common cases where employees turn on their laptops on time but remain inactive for extended periods. Usually, after reviewing monitoring results, people become more active during working hours.

9. Laptop monitoring detects problems behind poor performance

Aside from idle time, inappropriate use of the internet and applications can also reduce employee productivity. Monitoring tools easily detect this problem by highlighting unproductive sites and programs used during the day.

By reducing the amount of employee idle and unproductive time, you stop throwing away money for wasted time.

10. Laptop monitoring spreads the workload

With employee monitoring, an employer can compare the productivity of multiple employees or even an entire office. Based on this data, they can effectively distribute the workload among employees. This approach prevents some employees from being overworked while ensuring that others have an appropriate amount of tasks.

By redistributing the workload based on monitoring data, you can avoid hiring additional employees or purchasing additional equipment.

Non-invasive monitoring

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11. Laptop monitoring saves the company money

Monitoring software helps save money in various ways. By reducing employee idle and unproductive time, you avoid paying for wasted time. When detecting false overtime, you stop overpaying employees who work longer but less efficiently during the day. By redistributing workload based on monitoring data, you can avoid hiring additional employees or purchasing extra equipment. Detecting unused software allows you to opt-out of it, saving on licenses.

With WorkTime employee monitoring, you can uncover inaccurate overtime reporting and consequently, avoid overcompensating employees who extend their work hours but exhibit reduced productivity during the day.

12. Laptop monitoring helps mitigate security risks

Tracking tools can block remote access to potentially dangerous sites and applications that may infect company laptops with malware. Additionally, an employee’s unsafe activity tracker can be easily tracked in their internet usage history.

3 mistakes in laptop monitoring

While monitoring employee laptops offers numerous benefits, misusing this powerful tool can negatively impact your organization. Here are three common mistakes that can erode employee trust and diminish their performance:

1. Trying to hide the fact of monitoring

Adopting a secretive approach to monitoring is counterproductive. Not only will you eventually be unable to keep it hidden, but by not disclosing it, you also lose the opportunity to positively influence employee behavior. If employees learn from you that their work is being monitored, they are likely to become more responsible. However, if this information is accidentally leaked, it could cause resentment.

Attempting to obscure the presence of monitoring practices can worsen the situation. Should this information be inadvertently disclosed, employee discontent may rise considerably.

Non-invasive monitoring

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2. Keeping results of monitoring in secret

Assuming that the reports provided by tracking tools are only for your eyes is a significant mistake. By sharing the results of monitoring with employees and offering regular feedback, you can improve the very indicators you are monitoring.

3. Using invasive tools and methods

The most critical mistake companies make is using invasive monitoring tools that provide access to employees’ private information, which is unrelated to performance evaluation. This type of monitoring can irreparably damage employee attitudes toward the organization, create a toxic work environment, and ultimately lead to decreased productivity. Invasive methods include keystroke logging, screenshots, screen recording, and webcam surveillance.

Invasive monitoring can irreparably damage employee attitudes toward the organization.

At WorkTime, we only provide non-invasive methods that allow you to obtain a comprehensive view of employee productivity without invading their privacy. Our approach respects employees’ personal space and encourages a positive work environment, resulting in a motivated and productive workforce.

We at WorkTime provide only non-invasive methods that allow you to get a comprehensive view of employee productivity without invading their privacy.

Invasive monitoring has many problems, both ethically and legally, it can be dangerous for the employer, for example, if the employer crosses the line of privacy when using invasive monitoring.

“78% of employers use monitoring software, but 83% believe there are ethical issues associated with it. The word ‘monitoring’ alone makes me shudder, and I’m not alone.” – Excerpt from Forbes article.

The first concern is the unethical use of invasive monitoring. Vendors who use invasive tools to monitor employees are essentially spying on them, which goes beyond the usual monitoring of employees. Some examples of unethical tools are geolocation monitoring, message interception, device recording, and wiretapping. These tools are unethical and, in some countries, illegal in certain cases.

Most employees are afraid to work with employee monitoring, for example, an employee may need to use a work laptop to correspond with a third party, and unfortunately most monitoring tools on the market will be able to intercept everything that was sent from this laptop. Of course in this situation more blame lies on the employee from the point of view of legislation in North America and Europe, as the employee should not use a working device for personal needs, but it scares most employees who have at least once heard about employee monitoring tools.

WorkTime does not use invasive monitoring tools such as wiretapping, geolocation monitoring, keylogger, screen capture, etc.

According to a Business Insider article, more than two-thirds of companies surveyed said that their employees had quit over surveillance. Many employees dislike being monitored, and it can negatively affect their motivation and work output. Therefore, it is necessary to choose the right monitoring system that respects employees’ privacy. WorkTime is one example of a non-invasive monitoring tool that is great for monitoring laptops and more.

Furthermore, a new survey from Bloomberg revealed that one in three employers uses a live video camera on employees’ work devices. While these measures may improve efficiency and productivity in the short term, they can ultimately lead to employee dissatisfaction and turnover. Therefore, it’s essential to choose a non-invasive monitoring system that not only benefits the company but also works in harmony with employees and increases productivity.

When choosing between invasive and non-invasive monitoring is worth observing some ethical as well as legal standards of the country, for example, if the company values data security and confidentiality of corporate data in general, most likely the choice will be invasive monitoring, but it may have a bad impact on the relationship between the employee and the employer.

Non-invasive monitoring

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Non-invasive laptop monitoring is the best choice

Quality noninvasive monitoring is essential for the success and prosperity of a company. While there are other factors that contribute to a company’s success, employee monitoring plays a significant role. This is because employee morale is closely tied to productivity, and invasive monitoring can harm morale.

Laptop employee monitoring plays a significant role in improving and maintaining employee productivity.

That’s why WorkTime uses a non-invasive monitoring model. Based on our experience, non-invasive monitoring is just as effective as invasive monitoring in controlling the work process, and it doesn’t negatively affect employees’ mental state like invasive monitoring can. However, even with non-invasive monitoring, it’s crucial for employers to communicate with employees and obtain their consent. According to Forbes, employers should inform employees about monitoring and explain why it’s necessary for the company.

Properly implementing a non-invasive monitoring model can simplify the work process for employers and employees, as well as increase productivity and efficiency for the entire company.

WorkTime is non-invasive employee monitoring technology, is uses advanced algorithms to deliver high-quality, non-invasive oversight of your workforce.

Non-invasive monitoring

Pure productivity monitoring without going too far!

Try now 14 days free!

The bottom line

Laptop usage monitoring provides managers with ample opportunity to carefully and from different angles track the computer activities of employees. But, importantly, it allows you not only to supervise workers but also significantly improve their various performance indicators from attendance to productivity. However, to get the maximum benefit from monitoring, you need to be transparent in this matter, and share its results with your people. And most importantly, use only non-invasive monitoring tools and methods. Only under these conditions will you be able to enjoy positive changes in the productivity of your staff.

WorkTime is well-suited for monitoring laptops and other devices. By leveraging its specialized tools, you can efficiently track your employees’ productivity in the workplace.

Utilizing WorkTime non-invasive monitoring, you can effectively manage your staff while respecting their privacy and addressing ethical concerns. We refrain from employing features that might compromise employee safety or cause unease.

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