We’ve clearly entered an era where optimizing your workload, improving time management and overseeing all of your employees is just an employee monitoring or time tracking software download away. With a click of a button, you can get so much data and so many details on each individual working for you.
But of course, not every type of software works the same way. Even though a system for employee monitoring is very easily confused with scheduling and time tracking software, these two are quite different and they’re generally used for different purposes.
So, which one should you choose?
In order to help you get to the bottom of this question, we’re going to go through some of the most common reasons for deciding to take any kind of business management software in the first place as well as some usual problems that managers are hoping to solve, and for each of those, we’ll see whether it calls for employee monitoring or time tracking.
You Want to See What Your Employees Are Doing
This is probably the most common reason why business owners and managers decide to implement a business tracking solution. However, it’s also a very generic statement that could mean any number of things. So, not surprisingly, both employee tracking and time keeping management software can provide these insights – only in somewhat different ways.
If you want to track every specific activity your employees do, both in real time and as a record you can refer back to, then you very likely want employee monitoring software. It will enable you to detect exactly which computer programs and websites your workers are using and how much time they spend in them. These systems also monitor keyboard and mouse movements in order to map out employees’ active time accordingly. At the same time, this data can be used to estimate the overall productivity of each worker, so that’s a nice little bonus feature that some employee tracking software provide.
On the other hand, if you don’t care to know specifically which apps and websites your employees use, but rather which project they’re currently working on and how long it takes them to finish specific tasks, then what you need is a time management software for business. Programs like this will let you open up new projects to be tracked and assign tasks to employees. After that, time tracker will measure how long each task takes and add that to the overall project duration, so that you can have a perfect overview of all project-related activities.
You Need to Bill Your Clients and Keep Tabs on Your Projects
As we’ve mentioned before, project tracking is mostly the domain of time keeping software, so if your main goal is to be able to track employees’ time on tasks and bill your clients for the work done on their projects, you’ll want to consider getting billing software with time tracking functionalities.
Your employees will just need to indicate when they start working on which tasks and when they’re done with them, and after that, the time they spent on them will be allocated to a specific project. This way, you’ll have a roadmap of all the assignments your employees have completed and a clear overview of what still needs to be done.
The only extra step you’ll need to make in order to turn these task records into billable hours reports is to specify your hourly rate. Then, you can send these reports to clients so that they can compensate you for every minute that your team has dedicated to their project. Some software even give you the option to give your clients gated access to their projects for even more accountability.
You Want to Protect Your Data from Insider Threats
Finally, another valid reason to get a digital tool to oversee your employees’ activities is protecting your data from possible (intentional or unintentional) leaks. This is primarily the job for employee monitoring systems.
They’re the ones who have built-in security features and detailed overview of every employee activity, although they’re best used alongside other tools for data security since that’s usually not their primary purpose. However, some of them do have screenshots and even keystroke loggers that, even though they can’t prevent insider breaches, can at least discourage malicious behavior or serve as a great investigation resource.
As we’ve seen, the choice between employee monitoring and time tracking software will largely depend on what you want to do with it. The good news is that there are platforms out there with some functionalities of both types of programs, in case you want a well-rounded solution. But even if you opt for this, you still need to think carefully about what you want to track and why if you want to get the best out of whichever software you choose.