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Employee Monitoring - Ways To Stop Employees Wasting Time

February 13, 2015

Spytector Stops Employees Wasting Time

Employee Time Wasting

In theory, the evolution of the Internet makes the world more efficient. Anyone who has spent an hour or two clicking through Facebook or Pinterest or watching videos on YouTube (when they should have been doing something productive), can tell you this is a debatable proposition. It's one thing to waste time online at night or on the weekend, but it becomes a serious issue for employers when employees spending their working time surfing the web or chatting online.

How big a problem is employee time-wasting? SFGate.com, a website for the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, regularly runs surveys on the amount of time wasted by employees while on the job. In 2012, a full 64 percent of employees reported wasting time at work every day - and in 2013, that number increased to 69 percent.

Do employees waste time more on particular days? Yes. According to the SFGate study, Friday is employees' least productive day with 44 percent of them reporting wasting time with the weekend just around the corner. Monday came in second in terms of lost productivity, as employees apparently need to get back into the work week gradually. The most productive day of the week was Tuesday, by a large margin.

It's sobering to learn just how much money is lost every year by businesses due to employee time-wasting. WomenOnBusiness.com puts the figure at $130 billion dollars, but with employees reporting they waste between one and two hours a day on non-work related activity, the financial impact for businesses would appear to be even higher.
What's Next?
Employee time management is an area which nearly all business owners need to take seriously, and need to get under control before the issue becomes uncontrollable. Specifically, how do you supply employees with the technology they need to be effective, while limiting their ability to use that technology to play Candy Crush with friends all afternoon? The concern grows when you think about the next generation, which will be far more technologically-sophisticated than older employees who will be retiring.

Threats

The easiest way to get access to a company's network and the confidential information in it is to obtain a password. Trojans, which are programs designed to do just this, are endemic. Once these devilish bits of code get into a system they allow just about anyone to remotely access the system. There are plenty of stories of company employees working late on a project only to discover their cursor suddenly moving on its own and clicking on files, as someone in a far-away country starts harvesting vital business information from the network for resale to competitors.

Even the best security systems can't keep every threat at bay. The most important safeguard is realizing that a legitimate risk exists and managing that risk as effectively as possible. Making sure employees are using the online environment solely for work-related projects is the first step in that process.
Discipline
Generally speaking, software monitoring programs provide sub rosa tracking of employees. The program cannot be seen by the employee as it runs, but it records their activities in real time. It then logs every action taken, down to the keystroke, and then forwards the information to whoever is responsible for enforcement. The log can be analyzed to determine whether workers are indeed wasting time online, and if so, when and where.

At this point, it is time to hold meetings and let the employees know the company has strict policies against such activities. Depending on the specific data, it may also be wise to address the problem with particular employees during their regular evaluations, or in a special meeting if the problem needs to be addressed immediately. Companies which apply this two- pronged approach aggressively can see a marked improvement in employee productivity.
Programs
Employee monitoring software programs - like Spytector - are only effective if employees are unaware of them. Unfortunately, malware and virus threats online have become so pervasive that anti-virus programs have been forced to aggressively classify what constitutes a "threat." In real-life terms, this means that most software monitoring programs now trigger a threat warning, and even a quarantine from anti-virus software like Norton and McAfee. This basically renders the programs ineffective, since employees see threat warnings on their computers whenever they're being monitored.

Spytector keylogger represents the cutting edge in computer monitoring. The program provides information such as:

  • Keystrokes entered by user
  • Websites visited
  • Usernames and passwords used
  • Windows opened
  • Applications accessed
  • Content saved to clipboards
If your employees are wasting time exchanging tweets, you will know it within a day or two of running the keylogger.
Legality
Parent monitoring is good parenting in the age of information and communication, and using a keylogger, especially one which is undetectable like Spytector can grant amazing results without ever alerting the children, making it an ideal solution for those looking for the best way to keep their kids safe while browsing the web.
A Final Word
Is it legal to monitor the computer activities of employees? In a word: yes. The seminal case on the issue is Michael A. Smyth v. The Pillsbury Company, 914 F. Supp. 97 (E.D. Pa. 1996). Mr. Smyth was an operations manager for Pillsbury. While using a company email account, he made threats to a supervisor. Pillsbury fired Mr. Smyth because of the threats. Smyth responded by suing for wrongful termination based on a violation of his right to privacy when sending online communications. The judge ruled there could be no expectation of privacy when using a company email system. Subsequent cases have expanded this ruling to cover web browsing on company computers as well.
Digital World
The proliferation of online resources has radically changed society. As this revolution has continued and grown, businesses have been forced to rethink many of their longstanding practices. While employees wasting time at work has always been somewhat of a concern for business owners, the Internet creates a temptation unlike anything that has previously existed. This temptation brings with it a substantial cost for every business, and puts their networks at risk as well. Employee monitoring, particularly with a program like Spytector, provides a solution for both problems.