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Oct 10 2016

[Case Study] Keeping Employees Focused with ActivTrak

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Using ActivTrak’s employee monitoring and Behavior analytics service, Parry International Enterprise Pte Ltd is able to focus on business priorities and not worry abut whether or not their staff is on track and focused.

Executive Summary

A company with a focus on individually crafting iconic custom awards, Parry International Enterprise has no time to waste when it comes to customer service. With ActivTrak’s easy-to-use features, Parry can monitor or block websites that do not contribute to the productivity of employees, as well as determine which individuals need extra grooming in order to advance in the company.

Background

Parry International Enterprise, an international custom-design award maker is known for its range and quality of trophy awards. With clients such as Chase, Adobe, and Prudential, the company has a high reputation to uphold.

The Challenge

When Director Catherine Tio began to suspect that one of the employees in the customer service department may be doing excessive personal tasks on the company’s time, she began investigating the issue. Catherine realized she needed a way to determine which employees were taking advantage of work hours for personal business, and she needed proof to avoid unnecessary confrontation.

The Solution

Catherine began researching ways to monitor employees and came across ActivTrak. Since the service offered a free trial, she decided to try it out. Integrating the entire service in less than half an hour, the whole process was fast and straightforward – no hoops to jump through.

It became immediately apparent that the software was a perfect match for Parry International Enterprise’s needs. Managers were able to track application and web usage, see screenshots of every page visited and monitor the time viewed on each page.

ActviTrak’s simple installation process and intuitive interface fit well with what they were looking for, allowing them to see which employees remain focused when management wasn’t around. As a result, management was able to give additional attention to the employees in need, as well as reward productive employees.

Success Story

Since Installing ActivTrak an upgrading to a paid plan in April 2014, Parry has been able to better monitor computer usage within the company. Where ActivTrak truly aligned with Parry was its screenshots and extra dashboard features, such as alarms and productivity reports. Managing employees’ internet usage resulted in a more focused workplace, upholding the high standards of excellence Parry is known for.

“We are big fans of ActivTrak! Loyalty and trust are the foundations for any company to grow and succeed, and ActivTrak helps us to know which employees are honest and loyal behind our backs and reward the right ones.”

– Catherine Tio, Director at Parry International Enterprise Pte Ltd

About Parry International Enterprise Pte Ltd

Parry International Enterprise Pte Ltd is the original design manufacturer of awards and recognition trophies and mementoes since 1975.

Armed with a wealth of more than 3 decades of experience in the corporate gifts servicing industry, Parry designs and builds custom awards or gifts for any client using a range of materials including crystal, glass, acrylic, wood, metal & fibrous materials.


Aug 12 2016

[New Feature] Scheduled Monitoring

We’re happy to announce that Scheduled Monitoring is now available for all ActivTrak accounts!

Scheduled Monitoring lets you tell ActivTrak when it should and shouldn’t be monitoring your assigned workstation. Now you can rest assured knowing you’re not collecting data outside your scheduled monitoring hours.

Scheduled Monitoring was designed for ActivTrak users with employees who take their laptops home, or freelance workers with required working hours.

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We realized some people don’t work as much as we do! Just kidding, we have to go home sometime. What actually brought this new need to light was you, our users!

As soon as we realized the need to only collect data during working hours we knew this feature was necessary for our continued efforts to protect employee privacy. We realized there were some instances, be it a freelancer or office employee with a laptop at home, where ActivTrak reporting was not necessary.

Now you can create an unlimited number of custom reporting schedules! This gives you the flexibility to choose when you need to know who’s doing what, and for how long.

​Create a schedule by simply dragging the blue overlay to cover your working hours for each working day, or when you would like Activtrak to report usage data, then assign your schedule to the appropriate individuals. Don’t worry, we have a pre-loaded schedule for regular working hours (9am-12pm/1pm-5pm).

 

We believe this new functionality will not only better protect employee privacy but also make reading your reports much easier, as all data will now be relevant data.

To start using Scheduled Monitoring now, simply login, update your agents to the latest version (released today), then head over to Settings > Scheduling to start creating your schedules!

Keep an eye out for more new features coming soon!

Aug 8 2016

Product Update: Real-time for Mac, Simplified Categories & more!

We’ve added a bit of functionality that I think you’ll want to know about:

Categories, Now Simplified:

We realized having two classifications of categories can be confusing. Also, clicking tons of tiny checkboxes can feel tedious.

To fix this we split the two category types, and added a ‘select all’ checkbox to the new categorization pages! 

Now when you log into ActivTrak your activity categories can be found and categorized by navigating to Settings > Categories, and your productivity categories can be assigned via Settings > Productivity.  

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The process and functionality are exactly the same, just in different locations and easier to manage.

 

Real-time for Mac Computers:

We’re happy to announce that Real-time Monitoring is now available for all Mac operating systems running OSX Mavericks version 10.9 & up! 

When we released Real-time Monitoring back in March it was limited to only PCs running Windows operating systems. Now all remote workstations, be it Mac or Windows, have Real-time monitoring capabilities allowing for improved activity visibility across all workstations.

Check out this post to refresh yourself on everything you need to know about Real-time monitoring!

 

Easy Upgrade Access:

Before you had to click the small blue ‘Upgrade Plan’ link at the top of your account to see ActivTrak’s Premium Plans. Now premium plans are easily accessible by navigating to Subscription > Upgrade

 

Download Your Invoices:

Speaking of upgrades, now when you upgrade your subscription all of your invoices will appear under the new Subscription tab.

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Each invoice can be individually downloaded in PDF format by clicking the blue ‘Download PDF’ button.

That’s all for now, login here to check out these updates now, and keep an eye out for more product updates coming very soon!

Let us know if you need help with anything at all!

Aug 1 2016
Mar 22 2016

New ActivTrak Feature: Real-time Monitoring

 

At ActivTrak, our goal is to paint the clearest possible picture of your productivity, without violating anyone’s privacy.

We wanted ActivTrak users to be able to actively check-in with their monitored devices at any point throughout the day because we understand that every minute counts, and that sometimes you just need to know now.

We’re happy to announce that Real-time Monitoring is now available as an ActivTrak feature on all accounts, including the free tier.  

With Real-time Monitoring, you stay in the loop at all times by viewing a live data stream of the active window on any monitored device’s screen. Data is displayed in individual rows with information on the open website or application, how long the user has been there, and every other data point the software captures.

Now, with ActivTrak, managers have the power to turn an unproductive day into a productive day by re-routing focus at the right time.

Events reported by the tracking agents are intercepted and made available for immediate display. This lets administrators monitor user activity as it’s being transmitted to the system without having to navigate through reports.

To begin using Real-time Monitoring, login to your account and navigate to the Real-time tab.

 

Feb 22 2016

New ActivTrak Feature: Productivity Reports

Reports are some of the most useful pieces of information ActivTrak provides, as they clearly outline activity on your monitored devices, and provide proof of productivity levels when called into question.

With our new Productivity Report, managers get an at-a-glance picture of an employee’s activities during any given time span by taking a data ‘snapshot’ every five minutes (or any interval you set), categorizing the activity as productive or unproductive, then laying out this information color-coded on an easy to read timeline.

This timeline is created from summarized user activity recorded by the agent. Each time slot represents in average, the productive use of that time, allowing administrators to visually identify productive time periods.

 

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Before, you could look at top websites and applications, as well as view activity and alarm logs to get an idea for how your monitored devices are being used. Now, you can look at one report that averages productivity levels throughout the day, letting you know where to research.

To view your productivity reports, simply go to the reports section in your navigation bar, expand the section, then click Productivity.

Jan 14 2016

5 Ways to Ensure Productivity Without Being Creepy

In 2016 productivity monitoring among businesses is projected to shoot up for a number of reasons. For a lot of small to medium sized business owners and IT managers, productivity monitoring may seem like an invasive, unnecessary expense, but it can actually make your business more profitable at a very low cost. It makes perfect sense doesn’t it? More productivity equals more work, which equals more money, right?

In a small business, it’s often about more than just making money; it’s about the trust, culture and relationships you build and nurture everyday to create a team that does amazing work. All of that trust goes flying out the window once your employees feel like they’re being spied on, which can make measuring productivity difficult. The key is to not be creepy, which is easier said than done when you have so much access.

To help with this touchy subject, we’ve put together five ways to ensure employees are being productive without trampling over their personal privacy.

1. View screenshots, not keystrokes.

It’s important to realize that you don’t need every keystroke to know that your employees are working. A lot of employers have been fooled, by legacy employee monitoring systems, into believing that you must know everything that happens on a computer to be sure your employees are on task.

There are two flaws within this idea: 1) You don’t need every keystroke, only what’s on the screen (duh), and 2) Capturing keystrokes is extremely invasive, and can give employers access to sensitive employee information and passwords.

To avoid this invasive practice ActivTrak does not capture keystrokes AT ALL. Ever. Why? Again, it’s not necessary. ActivTrak lets you set alarms that trigger (or manually trigger) screenshots given your set circumstances (eg, looking at the same page for X amount of time), web pages (eg, Facebook is in the titlebar/URL), and user actions (eg, opened a chat application) so that screenshots are only triggered when they need to be. This way as an employer, you’re only seeing the information you need to see.

2. Understand the whole picture.

NEWSFLASH: Your employee don’t work eight hours straight.

Our brains get tired, need breaks, and actually function better after a period of rest (again, duh). You know this, so why do you get so upset when you walk by and see someone on Facebook? It’s because you don’t know how long they’ve been on their “brain break”. Also, remember that your assumptions about people aren’t always correct, you could be wrong about who you think is working and who isn’t.

Instead of immediately reprimanding your employees when you catch them “slacking,” you should figure out what they’ve done for the day. If they’re a good employee, and you catch them on Facebook, chances are that they just wrapped up that project you were checking on, or they’re in the thick of it and needed to come up for air.

ActivTrak’s easy-to-read dashboard (redesign coming soon!) lets you look at overall productivity reports for your workforce as a whole or by individual employee, and lets you view productivity by any time period with activity shown as productive or unproductive. This lets you monitor everyone equally while highlighting unproductive users and activity.

BONUS: If you need to dive deeper into what your employees are doing, ActivTrak logs all online and application activity by item line with time stamps. This way you have all of the high-level information you need to know what your workforce is up to.,

3. Peek, don’t watch.

Most employee monitoring systems boast real-time screen viewing, which is great, if you want to watch a cursor move magically. Again, this type of monitoring is archaic and extremely invasive. Honestly, it doesn’t tell you much more than a screenshot does unless you have time to sit there and watch. Creepy.

The key to successful employee monitoring is not being creepy. You’re their supervisor, not their mom. Excessive monitoring has been shown to add stress, diminish employee dedication, job satisfaction and actually reduce productivity. You don’t need to know every move, just that they’re being productive. You have to find a balance that works for your company.

Screenshots triggered by alarms that you set as an employer tell a much clearer story. Furthermore, ActivTrak notifies you, by way of screenshot alarms, when employees are slacking, rather than putting the burden on you as a manager to keep tabs on multiple workstations.

4. Be fair and transparent.

This is a big one. As I noted above, the key to successful employee monitoring is not being creepy. The easiest way to not be creepy about looking at what your employees are doing is to let them know you’re doing it. It’s really that easy. Also, as an added benefit, people that know they’re being watched tend to work more diligently.

Also avoid targeting specific employees to monitor. The only way to fairly and ethically monitor employees is to monitor all employee equally. This also helps you avoid any legal issues and reduces that creepy factor I mentioned above.

I know what you’re thinking: but doesn’t telling them defeat the purpose? Doesn’t that make them feel like I’m breathing down their neck? Great questions! This brings me to my next point…

5. Don’t be a task czar.

This shouldn’t come as a shock to you, but you’re never going to completely eliminate distractions. Again, you have to understand that employee monitoring is strictly for auditing productivity, and to improve company performance among actively disengaged employees. In other words, you’re only monitoring everyone because you need to know if someone decides to take advantage of company time and resources. Let this be known.

Personally, I would suggest calling a meeting to inform your employees that you’ll be implementing a monitoring software, but that there’s nothing to worry about unless they aren’t doing their job. Emphasis the fact that you understand employees need breaks, and that they won’t be punished for reasonable breaks when they need it.

The key to monitoring your employees ethically is remembering that people are people. You get distracted and take breaks too, don’t punish people for keeping their sanity in tact.

Sources:

http://www.shrm.org/publications/hrmagazine/editorialcontent/2015/0615/pages/0615-employee-monitoring.aspx
http://www.isaca.org/Journal/archives/2004/Volume-1/Pages/Employee-Monitoring-and-Surveillance-The-Growing-Trend.aspx
http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/455430/employee+rights+labour+relations/16+Labor+Employment+Resolutions+For+2016
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/251388
http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/minds-business/can-electronic-monitoring-improve-employee-performance.html
https://fpf.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/The_Eavesdropping_Employer_%20A_Twenty-First_Century_Framework.pdf

Dec 31 2015

ActivTrak 2015: A Year in Review

ActivTrak 2015: A Year In Review

2015 was a banner year for ActivTrak. We expanded our team, enhanced our product and much, much more. As we begin a new year, we would like to let you know where we are, what we did, and where we’re going in 2016.

What we did in 2015:

Released a Mac Agent:

As I said, 2015 was big and we wasted no time getting started. Our Mac OS release of ActivTrak in January of 2015 was a huge milestone for us. With this one update, we expanded our user base by thousands, and it’s still growing!

Expanded Our Team:

We’re happy to say that we’ve added new people (myself included) to our awesome team! With expanded sales, support, marketing and IT departments, we’re sprinting into 2016 with the strongest team we’ve ever had. With our forward-thinking decision makers at the helm, our office is buzzing with, you guessed it, PRODUCTIVITY!

Shameless plug: Did you know you can evaluate your team’s productivity with ActivTrak?

Rebooted Our Partner Program:

This one is actually a HUGE win for us. We absolutely LOVE our partners and resellers, and when our partner portal was shut down for a quick revamp, we were devastated. Now within less than six months, we’ve created a brand new partner portal, and we’re currently accepting any and all interested partners!

Don’t know about our partner program? Here’s a quick run-down:

  • You get commission each time someone you refer purchases a yearly subscription of ActivTrak.
    • 30% commission on yearly signups
    • 20% monthly commission for 12 months on monthly signups
  • You receive electronic payment of your commissions on the 15th of every month
  • Questions? Email Asahl@ActivTrak.com

Plus, we created all this awesome content! 

How technology can help managers make more informed decisions
[Case Study] Keep your employee honest
4 steps to ensure employee productivity…they’re not all what you think!
[Webinar] ActivTrak Product Demo
[Case Study] Maintain Your Standard of Excellence

What we’re doing now:

IN THE OFFICE WORKING HARD AT THIS MOMENT! Just kidding, even we take holidays.

However, we are working very hard to prep for the coming year. I’m talking scheduling, developing, supporting and selling like crazy! With our recent hires, we have a lot of big plans, which means we have a lot of big work to do. We love work.

What’s to come in the future:

The most exciting thing about 2016? NEW DASHBOARD! Users can expect a completely re-designed, modern, easy-to-read ActivTrak dashboard in 2016! Our dev team has been hard at work and promises the update in 2016.

Also, we want you to get everything you can out of ActivTrak. In order to do so, we have to keep you informed on current information and new updates. For this reason, we’ve decided to launch a company newsletter this year! Now you can expect regular updates from us letting you know what’s new, what’s not and what’s coming.

Don’t worry, we won’t flood your inbox, we’re talking one email every three months.

That’s all for now!

We have a lot of exciting stuff planned in 2016, but most of it is top secret. Keep checking in here to learn about new updates, and don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list to get our quarterly newsletter!

Oct 6 2015

How technology can help managers make informed decisions

Category: Business Tips

One sign of a good manager is the ability to inspire employees to give their 100% at the office. This can sometimes be difficult, since many employees have a tendency to drift off on the internet and can be resentful if they feel their boss is looking over their shoulder.

So how do you strike a balance between ensuring employee productivity and positive encouragement? Many organizations turn to ActivTrak to monitor computer usage, which can give managers a page-by- page view of an employee’s screen. Armed with this knowledge, employers can make informed decisions on what the best course of action is with employees.

You can see for yourself in this recent article in the Washington Post, about one business owner’s experience with ActivTrak and how it’s helped her small company.

Sep 1 2015

Keep Your Employees Honest

Category: Case Study, Feedback

 

Linden Care

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Using ActivTrak’s employee monitoring and analytics service, Linden Care, LLC is able to ensure open and honest communication between management and employees on the subject of internet usage.

Executive Summary

A pharmacy with a loyalty to those who suffer with pain, Linden Care adopted ActivTrak’s software to ensure employees’ focus remains on delivering top-notch results, not distracting websites. With ActivTrak’s easy-to-use features, Linden Care can block websites that do not contribute to the overall benefit of the company.

Background

Linden Care, LLC (NDEREP) is a specialty pharmacy with a focus on pain management to meet the unique needs and challenges facing patients, their caregivers and practitioners. Linden Care has the infrastructure, the expertise and the staff to deliver high quality chronic pain support anywhere in the United States – right to your front door with no delivery fees.

The Challenge

As Linden Care expanded to meet nationwide demand, they hired a considerable number of new employees to keep up. With so many employees, managers cannot be expected to stand over the shoulders of every individual to ensure productivity. Despite the ease in which one can use the internet for personal activity during work hours, Linden Care needed to be able hold their workers accountable for the way they spend their time while on the clock. This task came with its own challenges. Linden Care soon faced the issue of finding the perfect tool to help keep employees productive. As Linden Care came to find, many monitoring services come equipped with unnecessary features, which made them complicated to use. The added details provided little-to-no value in helping them achieve their goal. The hefty price tag was also unappealing.

The Solution

After a few quick email exchanges and a free trial to test it out, Linden Care decided to move forward with implementing ActivTrak throughout the company. The process was fast and painless – no sales methods involved. It became increasingly evident that the software was a perfect match for Linden Care’s needs. ActivTrak’s seamless installation process and intuitive interface fit well with the large number of employees they sought to monitor in a simple and efficient way. Managers in particular enjoyed the simplicity of using the software, because it doesn’t require any prior technical knowledge nor complex details to get accustomed to. But where ActivTrak truly aligned with Linden Care was its remote capability. Managing employees’ internet usage across the nation can result in significant productivity issues, but ActivTrak allows Linden Care to keep their employees honest in any one of their locations.

Success Story

Of Linden Care’s 140+ employees, over two- thirds of the work stations are paired with ActivTrak agents – and that number is rapidly increasing. Linden Care plans on expanding further, installing the software on more company computers of both in-office and remote employees. Since installing ActivTrak, Linden Care has been able to better monitor computer usage within the company, and can work with employees who may not be using their time as they should.

“I am glad that I went with ActivTrak. The whole process with ActivTrak has been seamless, even the upgrade from 50 to 100 employee package. I would recommend ActivTrak to everyone who owns a business.”

– Chris Dixon, IT Systems Engineer at Linden Care LLC

About Linden Care

Linden Care, headquartered in Woodbury, NY, is a leading provider of specialty pharmacy services to the pain management industry. The Company is licensed in all 50 states and serves patients and physicians in the highly regulated pain industry. With best-in-class compliance practices, Linden Care works closely with leading pain pharmaceutical manufacturers and pain management physicians to facilitate medication access and optimize treatment outcomes for patients in the $25 billion chronic pain industry.

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