Leveling Up: From Employee Monitoring to Operational Efficiency


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Let’s face it: change is challenging. Employers went through a rapid change management process earlier this year when the COVID-19 pandemic forced much of the professional world to work from home. Many companies have implemented an employee monitoring solution to help ensure that work time expectations are being met with the shift to remote work. But companies can and should elevate their employee monitoring programs to capitalize on operational efficiency and productivity optimizations.

At its core, employee monitoring software collects and categorizes user activity data to provide summaries of what applications and websites employees use, how much time they are actively engaged in their work each day, and more. Companies who use this data only to monitor work time are missing big opportunities to use this data to drive better business outcomes. 

Understanding application usage

Understanding what applications employees actually use regularly can help you identify unused software and save on expensive software license costs. Or, getting visibility into categories of applications can help you identify overlap in functionality. Does your organization really need three different project management tools? Can you save budget and streamline operations by getting everyone on the same platform? 

Image of the ActivTrak Top Application dashboard
The ActivTrak Top Applications dashboard

Additionally, you might find that employees are having to switch between multiple applications to accomplish a task. For example, if your customer service team needs to access information across multiple systems in order to resolve a customer issue, that will add time and complexity to their work, likely resulting in a poorer experience for your customers which could also negatively impact net promoter scores and public reviews of your company.

Understanding which applications are used as part of key workflows can help you think through options to consolidate information and applications in a way that will have a meaningful, positive impact on your business.

Managing cloud-app proliferation

Any IT person can tell you that keeping track of (and managing) the number of cloud apps showing up in their environment is like playing a never-ending game of whack-a-mole. In most organizations, it is very easy for employees to start using new cloud apps without the involvement of IT, which can lead to data privacy and security risks. 

The ActivConnect App/Site Compliance Report
ActivTrak’s App/Site Compliance Report, available in the ActivConnect add-on

Solutions like ActivTrak can show you the applications (cloud or on-prem) that are being used in your organization, giving you clear visibility into risks so you can  take appropriate action. Uncovering unapproved cloud apps can also help identify training needs or functionality gaps. For example, if a group has started using a new app because they don’t know how to accomplish what they need to with an existing, approved tool, perhaps additional training is needed. Or, if there’s truly a gap in functionality, then IT can help work towards a solution while ensuring that data privacy and systems security requirements are also addressed.

Preventing operational risks 

Most companies have policies around internet usage, data privacy, and more. But, how can you take action quickly if there is a policy exception? For example, if your organization has a policy against using USB drives to transfer data given the risk that can be introduced in terms of malware or data loss, some solutions like ActivTrak make it possible to create alarms that alert IT team’s or managers in real-time if usage of a USB drive is detected. 

Risk Level report
The ActivTrak Risk Level Report

Alarms can also be triggered if inappropriate websites are accessed using company equipment, providing an opportunity to not only reduce risk, but also to correct employee behavior. Essentially, these tools make it possible to uphold  your operational policies with customizable alarms that can help your organization mitigate risks and legal liability. This is even more critical  if your employees are working remotely with sensitive data.

Improving workplace productivity

If you want to achieve greater operational efficiency, you will need to produce more with the same resources. Some employee monitoring solutions offer more advanced workforce analytics capabilities that can help you establish important baselines. With quantitative metrics tied to your operations, organizations are enabled to consistently measure and improve in areas such as risk prevention, workplace productivity, performance, and more. 

The ActivTrak Team Pulse dashboard
The ActivTrak Team Pulse dashboard

For example, let’s say you’ve noticed in application usage reports that employees are spending a lot of time in virtual meetings and it’s having a negative impact on work outputs or quality. You may want to try designating Wednesday mornings as a “no meeting” time to help employees gain more focused, uninterrupted work time back in their schedules. To test this new initiative, you can assess how work patterns have changed since its implementation by comparing productivity levels against your baseline within your workforce analytics solution. Do you see an increase in time spent on focused tasks during the “no meeting” window? Did time in meetings decrease overall? This is just one of many examples of data insights that can help you design and improve operational efficiency and productivity within your organization. 

Becoming more efficient and effective

By evolving your employee monitoring program into a workforce analytics program, you can enable positive changes for your organization including reducing costs, streamlining operations, minimizing risks, ensuring data compliance, and improving productivity. And, sharing these successes with your employees can help demonstrate that the data is being used to generate value across the organization. It’s not just about preventing data breaches and risky behavior; it’s also about helping teams with their work processes so everyone is more successful.

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Operational efficiency is a critical component of business success. Get a clear picture of how work gets done in your organization, including uncovering key areas of improvement, by creating a free ActivTrak account in minutes (no credit card required).

About ActivTrak

ActivTrak is a workforce productivity and analytics software company that helps teams understand how people work, whether in-office or remote. Our cloud-based user activity monitoring platform collects and analyzes data and provides insights to help organizations be more productive and operationally efficient. With more than 8,000 customers and over 250,000 users of its free version, ActivTrak’s award-winning solution can be configured in minutes to identify operational bottlenecks, flag operational compliance risks, and provide valuable insights that help employees and employers improve productivity outcomes.