How to Track Employee Internet Usage

21 replies
I'm after a cheaper or ideally free version of http://www.rescuetime.com to track how employees spend time on the net to monitor productivity during working hours. What services do you use or recommend?
#employee #internet #track #usage
  • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
    Compensate them based on productive output and not raw hours sitting in a chair. That's a holdover from the industrial age that is waning in relevance.

    Problem solved.
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    • Profile picture of the author Joshua Uebergang
      These are full-time employees on a wage, not freelancers or others paid on a commission basis. I still would like a software solution, but what's your experience with employee commission-based work?
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      • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
        Originally Posted by Joshua Uebergang View Post

        These are full-time employees on a wage, not freelancers or others paid on a commission basis. I still would like a software solution, but what's your experience with employee commission-based work?
        I don't compensate based on hour. Simply showing up doesn't constitute productivity and it forces a separate tier of "manager" to constantly be responsible for filling the time spent. This usually results in inefficiencies and busy work, along with a bunch of clock watchers who want to milk the system.

        All of the contract work is results-based work, paid on deliverables and milestones under deadlines - including penalties for missed completion dates and times. It works extremely well, but for client project based delivery we also have extremely tight project plans with milestones.

        Sorry that this isn't the answer to the actual question that you asked. I don't mean to derail the conversation, but simply suggest that many times, our "problems" are contextual.
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        • Profile picture of the author Joshua Uebergang
          What you're explaining is freelance work. That has always appealed to me because it's results-focused. The thing I hate about hiring full-time employees is the possibility of clock-watching and browsing the internet procrastinating. I've hired a full-time team because I hate having to always define a project, hire, train, etc.
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          • Profile picture of the author Mac Wheeler
            Originally Posted by Joshua Uebergang View Post

            What you're explaining is freelance work. That has always appealed to me because it's results-focused. The thing I hate about hiring full-time employees is the possibility of clock-watching and browsing the internet procrastinating. I've hired a full-time team because I hate having to always define a project, hire, train, etc.
            The way I get around this with my full-time staff is to set them goals. If they reach the goals, they get a bonus.

            Additionally, I am very transparent in my costings, each of them knows exactly what they cost the business, and exactly the effect they have on pricing, and each one is well aware of the fact we need to produce a certain volume each week to make sure I can continue to afford to hire them. Quite simply, they know if we don't hit a certain production level for a few weeks, then somebody is going to have to go.
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            • Profile picture of the author adroitsujit
              hi
              There are several ways to acquire traffic, but if you are a newcomer in the company and a limited budget, you cannot judge people who do not have to spend more.
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            • Profile picture of the author adroitsujit
              You might think that some of these strategies are difficult to apply, but if you just try you will see traffic coming your way, and is increasing day by day.
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    • Profile picture of the author theemperor
      Originally Posted by MichaelHiles View Post

      Compensate them based on productive output and not raw hours sitting in a chair. That's a holdover from the industrial age that is waning in relevance.

      Problem solved.
      Sometimes paying by the hour is better, sometimes by measurable results is better. Depends on how measurable it is. Sales staff can more easily be paid on results, as can mondane jobs such as writing SEO articles. But would you pay a receptionist by the number of phone calls he or she takes? Or a graphic designer by the aggregate "funkyness" of their logos.

      As for the original discussion of tracking internet usage. I've worked for a company that does that and it does feel like being treated like a child. Not sure it is good for morale and allowing your staff if they know they are being monitored and checked up on.
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      • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
        Originally Posted by theemperor View Post

        Sometimes paying by the hour is better, sometimes by measurable results is better. Depends on how measurable it is. Sales staff can more easily be paid on results, as can mondane jobs such as writing SEO articles. But would you pay a receptionist by the number of phone calls he or she takes? Or a graphic designer by the aggregate "funkyness" of their logos.

        As for the original discussion of tracking internet usage. I've worked for a company that does that and it does feel like being treated like a child. Not sure it is good for morale and allowing your staff if they know they are being monitored and checked up on.
        I don't pay someone to sit and answer the phone. That is a function that is automated. I don't pay people to do things where automation solutions are readily available.

        As for everyone else, I articulate the project requirements, the preferred method of execution wherein there is a system in place, and the milestone dates. Then I hand them the rope. They either go tie it down or they hang themselves.

        But then again, I hire extremely good people in an almost exclusively virtual environment.
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  • Profile picture of the author ~kev~
    There are some free Linux based proxy server solutions out there. Just take a spare computer, install linux, install something like Squid, and your good to go.

    Configure the employees browsers to go through the proxy server, and you should have a record of all of the sites the employees go to.
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  • Profile picture of the author MaeColes
    There are lots of cheap monitoring software out there, but make sure that it has the feature you're looking for, even though its cheap but you're not getting the most of the software then its useless, just a tip look for reviews about the product.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
    Originally Posted by Joshua Uebergang View Post

    I'm after a cheaper or ideally free version of Time Management, Productivity, & Project Tracking Software (Mac/PC) | RescueTime to track how employees spend time on the net to monitor productivity during working hours. What services do you use or recommend?
    Why waste time monitoring? Why not just block the
    most popular sites and search engines?

    Tsnyder
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  • Profile picture of the author matts5150
    I used to use track4win whenever I had clients employees abusing the internet, it's not perfect but it's dirt cheap and always resolved the problem, especially once you print out a few reports showing their history and having a 1 on 1 talk about their their browsing habits. Word would then travel pretty fast that everything they do was being logged, problem solved. Just be sure and provide a written internet policy first or some may say they just didn't know what was acceptable.
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  • Profile picture of the author Anelly
    I think Cyclope Employee Monitoring software might help you. It's a non invasive application that records employees' activity, total time and duration for each application, attendance, idel time, time online, over time and much more.

    Some features:
    • monitors applications and the total duration of each user's activity
    • monitors attendance and overtime, accessed documents and work within the documents, documents printed
    • monitors and tracks the time or percentage the employees are involved in online activities such as Internet Browsing, Chat, Downloads etc.
    • reveals the chat ID of the persons the employee has discussed with, and the time spent with each of them
    • monitors every web page / site accessed by the employees and saves a record of those URLs and domain names
    • remote access to the reports as well as a printer friendly view
    • the alerts reporting section provides information about what rules have been broken, who broke the rules and the extent of the abuse
    If you are interested, here you can read more details.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aussie Edwin
    Sure you could block pages track pages and monitor usage but here is the next problem that you will encounter.

    Staff using facebook twitter gmail etc via their own smart phones.
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  • Profile picture of the author gomobile
    From a employer point of view all of above discussion is meant . I am employee but some time when we need to use some personal stuff then monitoring us for that , I think define goals to each and everyone is the most sufficient method to show the eligibility and performance.
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  • Profile picture of the author krad32
    I know a software that is web base application that tracks employee's internet usage and also which is actively being use. This software is called Time Doctor and also there are different approaches on employee monitoring like screen shoot monitoring that paints a fairly accurate picture of what a person is doing during their work hours. This would really help you with your problem about monitoring employee.Click here!
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    • Many of the larger online merchants I know require employees to have their phones placed in their locker or locked in their car. Yes, I can hear you scream, "What about emergencies?!?" For the very, very few actual (as opposed to poor-planning) emergencies that arise, employees are told to give their families the company's main number.

      Some people are actually grateful to be told they can't receive or make personal calls while working -- it gives them an excuse to put off annoying friend calls and insecure spouses. If a working (outside the home) mom needs to be constantly available to take calls from kids, perhaps she should find another kind of work.

      The phone restriction is a condition of employment divulged at time of hiring. You don't like it, you are free to find another job elsewhere.

      Most of these same employers also completely block access to social sites unless you need it to do marketing for the company.

      fLufF
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  • Profile picture of the author underworld
    Banned
    I too have this doubt,let me know if you find a good solution
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  • Profile picture of the author connorology
    Odesk's time tracking software is alright..
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