Here’s a scenario that most of us office workers have seen at some point throughout our careers: at 9:45 in the morning, this person – we’ll call her Karen – walks into the office, holding the phone with her shoulder while carrying a Starbucks cup in one, and her big purse in other hand. Of course, she talks so loudly on the phone that even the deaf George from the back of the office hears all the juicy details about her weekend. The call prolongs for another half an hour, after which she checks her Facebook, and works a bit until she leaves for lunch before noon. After the lunch period that takes longer than a Game of Thrones episode, she gets back, shops online, gets to work and by the time clock ticks 4 PM, she’s already in her coat, fixing her makeup and preparing to leave for the day.
We all know that “Karen” which, besides being so undisputed irritating, is simply wasting the company’s money. If you’re a manager, these numbers might help you raise the alarm: according to Staff monitoring, just by surfing an hour daily, medium-sized company of 1000 internet users loses up to $35 million a year in productivity. And “Karen” wastes even more time just being her typical non-working self.
With ever-improving technology, employers have found their perfect tool for dealing with office slackers – employee monitoring. The goal behind this tool is to keep employees under the Hawthorne’s effect. This effect refers to individuals changing their behavior when aware of being watched. With her boss having a constant insight into what Karen’s doing, she probably would be more reluctant to color her nails and chat on the phone at work.
But the typical working day consists of 8 hours, and an average employee is only productive for about 2 hours and 53 minutes. Does that mean the workday is needlessly long? Well, not quite. The human brain keeps focus for only around 1.5 hours before it needs a break, at most. Therefore, we’re scattered between hard work and rests, but also lunches, meetings, bathroom breaks… With all these productivity “obstruction” in mind, how do we make the best use of our workday?
So, employee monitoring tools do help in dealing with unproductive office work, but aren’t magical and won’t make the employees work 100% of the time. The reality is, it’s needed and should be used, but with caution.
The Problem with Monitoring Tools and How You Can Avoid It
The main issue employees have with this kind of employee monitoring is that it creates a sense of distrust. Your employees might think you don’t see the difference between their and Karen’s office behavior. Now that’s offending, so how can you avoid it?
The best way is to use program monitoring PC as only as a basis for performance evaluation. This remote access monitoring software helps you see what applications and websites your employees are using as well as time spent on them. This way you’ll notice Karen is on Facebook for 3 hours straight, while good ol’ George has been working since morning without interruption. Better remind him to take a break.
Of course, your employees aren’t machines, they all need a break now and then but the numbers speak for themselves. Furthermore, monitoring computer activity allows you to see who’s actually active and who’s just keeping, say, Microsoft Word open just to appear busy.
All the data collected with employee monitor pro software should go into your periodical performance reports. This is the best time to give recognition to your high performance, while also addressing what needs to change (I’m looking at you, Karen). Now, make sure to not focus only on the numbers, as they can be deceiving. Seeing someone working X numbers on a specific task doesn’t mean much if you don’t know the end results. And if a certain employee completed a 2-day work in 5 hours, they should be rewarded with those 3 hours of doing whatever they want.
Workers like Karen are losing the company’s money – but, you need to be aware that it’s not all black and white. Employees aren’t machines and can’t constantly put up productive work. The only thing you should focus on is the end results, not the hours put into it.