General discussion


Unobtrusive employee monitoring

By wflanagan ·
I am looking for a tool that I can put on the monitor port, or somewhere on my server switch segment, that can "unobtrusively" monitor the behavior of the employees. I don't want to see individual emails. I am looking for general trends type information (employee X uses web X% of the time, email x% of the time, etc.). Ideally, it will give me some sort of clue when they come into the office in the morning (cause everyone works on computers all day) and when they leave in the evening.

I have a problem with most of the tools out there. I don't want to see the detail of their conversations, etc. I just want raw, high level numbers. In addition, I don't want to install anything on their computers. If the employees found it (technology company) there would be a riot.

Any suggestions that you have would be appreciated.


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When did you get your management training?

by DC Guy In reply to Unobtrusive employee moni ...

You don't manage people by observing the amount of time they spend at their desks or the amount of time they spend on breaks using the web. You manage people by observing what they produce. Timeliness, quality, cost, etc. That is a no-brainer.

The style of management you're describing is from the pre-industrial era, when all most people could put into their jobs was physical strength and endurance. Even in the Industrial Era, especially after the introduction of the assembly line, coordination and concentration became important; that's the reason the 40-hour week was established.

In the post-industrial era, creativity and autonomy have become key traits. You don't get those with MBSP (Management By Spying on People).

The prevalence of MBSP, decades after it became downright counterproductive, is the reason most Americans still have to "go to work" every day even though they all have computers, webcams, and telephones right in their own homes. Their bosses simply don't have the training, attitude, and in many cases the sheer people skills, to be able to manage people they can't physically look at. Even though today most of their work is not visible.

The time that the average American spends driving, parking, taking care of their car, schlepping their children to day care, coordinating schedules with their spouse, and just "getting ready for the office" adds up to at least two hours a day of lost time. Add to that the drain on energy and morale plus the health impact of divorces, children raised with little parental contact, and a steady diet of convenience food, and you've got a much bigger "productivity" problem than how much time an employee spends reading the news or buying his own dog vaccines online because he hasn't got time to go to the vet.

I suggest you concentrate your own creative energy on something more appropriate than reinventing the timeclock. Facilitate telecommuting in your own firm, take whatever training you seem to require to be able to manage employees you can't physically see, and watch productivity and quality soar.

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Thanks for your feedback....

by wflanagan In reply to When did you get your man ...

...but see, this is the problem that I have. I work in that type of an environment. And, in that environment, as people come in at 11am and leave at 2pm, you begin to lose whether they are working 40 hours a week. In addition, because they are all "consultants" and build the schedule, i'm not sure if they're sandbagging their time so that they don't have to work so much. And, my manager doesn't think that people are working 40 hours a week.

So, I need to justify that they are. The current solutions pry into their privacy. I don't want or need that. I just need to justify that they are substantially working 40 hours a week at least on average.

So, besides any criticisms of my "pre industrial era ways", do you have any meaningful suggestions?


I know, it's a matter of trust. But, I have directly been asked to getting 40 hours out of them, and because these folks set their own schedules, I need some sort of checksum to make sure the number of hours they are budgeting is adding up to at least 40 hours of working, on the clock time, on average.

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by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Thanks for your feedback. ...

Instead of spying, just put a memo out saying internet access is being monitored.
There are loads of server side tools to monitor what urls are going through a proxy and or a firewall.
In terms of actually turning up just audit log on events.

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I call them Time Sheets and trust

by ITEngineerGuy In reply to Judo

I have used timesheets. Consultants use them to track their time they spend on a project. This includes research and installation time. Also it included training. This was effective tracking tool. You could use a spreadsheet. Plus the other part of the equation is trust. Trust what them that they are tracking time properly. Simple!!

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all very well but

by slurpee In reply to I call them Time Sheets a ...

I suspect that that is similar to what has been done but wflanagan says it is his boss who wants this proven - I would say that wflanagan's boss needs to set parameters on the work - goals, progress reports, deadlines - rather than spying on the employees to see if they are working. After all, I usually come into my office and open e-mail and leave it open all day. When am I using it? Just when I send an e-mail or when I happen to check if there are any in or...?
Good luck wflanagan

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Employee Monitoring

by tmcal In reply to Judo

I continue to be amazed at the IT mindset and outlook as it relates to the role in a company. IT provides and performs a service to the company and its end product and bottom line just as other employees do. Comnpanies do not exist because of IT, any more than any other individual group. Companys are in business to make money and they do that through its people. The IT person here spends a significant amount time on the internet also, much of it is researching for personal issues like writing his own books, etc.
So should IT activities also be monitored?

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by Doc Squidly In reply to Employee Monitoring

It sounds like you have issues with the "IT Person" at your work. If this is the case you should speak to your manager. I know I get fustrated when I see other employees not doing their jobs.

And... Some companies do exist because of IT. Such as companies that create software or provide IT services to other companies.

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This is not an IT specific issue

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Employee Monitoring

There are a whole mess of people who 'toss it off' unproductively from the toilet cleaner to the MD. The thing about general monitoring systems is as soon as you implement one, you are saying you don't trust any of your employees because either you have evidence that some can't be trusted, or management itself feels that were they in a similar position they would abuse any trust they were given.
The latter is the case far more often in my experience.
Set reasonable deadlines, monitor whether you are on schedule. elapsed hours vs available hours vs hours booked will soon tell you where you are at and identify problem areas. Investigate them and don't assume it's becuase they are on TR all day or they aren't here all day.

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Employee Web Monitoring

by Mon_Selis In reply to Employee Monitoring

I understand your sentiments, but it's just a matter of who you hire in these positions. But monitoring employees should also be applied by the employers themselves. The system is there for a reason, to <a href="">monitor employees internet use</a> and it's useless if no one is there to fully monitor it's effectiveness.

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by TonytheTiger In reply to Thanks for your feedback. ...

If they're using VPN, logs should be available. I recently used it to get some OT validated. Just basics. Time logged in, time logged out, data transferred.

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