Updates
Apr 26 2017

8 Reasons Your Competition Doesn’t Want You to Go Virtual

Many successful companies across the world are opting for virtual employees that may never set foot in a company office, probably don’t live in the same area as the company, and may not even be in the same country.  FlexJobs has a list highlighting 125 companies that have embraced the virtual workforce with great success and, in all likelihood, your competition is following this same trend. 

It’s time for you to get the facts on virtual employment, so here are 8 reasons your competition doesn’t want you to go virtual.

Reason #1: Optimized Recruitment

When you begin to seek out talented virtual workers, your pool of potential candidates expands beyond your immediate geographical region and even beyond the borders of your country.  With the continued evolution of telecommuting and virtual employees, no matter where in the world you may be located, you can compete for the best and brightest minds in your field. 

Another added benefit is that just the flexibility of being a virtual employee can be a major perk when seeking out talent, as indicated by the Society for Human Resource Management.  Sites such as Upwork, FlexJobs, and We Work Remotely have simplified the process, acting as a clearinghouse for the most skilled workers around the globe. 

For the modern worker, flexibility is one of the characteristics they are looking for when job hunting.  Some millennials, for example, have stated they are willing to sacrifice $10,000 of the salary for the opportunity to work virtually.  If a business wants to compete for top talent, they should offer virtual employment.

With the advent of the virtual workforce, it has never been easier to find the perfect person for a position!

Reason #2: Higher Productivity

Did you know that virtual employees have higher productivity than traditional employees?  Consider these statistics:

But that’s just the employees talking, you might say.  Of course, they are going to say they are more productive.  What do the actual companies have to say?  Well, according to a white paper by Aon, increases in productivity as measured by companies employing virtual employees range from 10% to 43%.

There are quite a few reasons as to why virtual employees can get more work done, and the key seems to be workplace distractions.  Another survey identified some traditional office issues as major problems for productivity:  61% said that noisy co-workers are the biggest distraction in an office and 40% reported lost time resulting from impromptu meetings initiated by co-workers – again, distractions.  The same study pointed out that 80% of the respondents felt they achieved maximum productivity when they could work alone

Virtual employees can enjoy the elimination of distractions such as conversations around the proverbial water cooler, workplace drama, and problems with needless interruptions from other employees.  They are free to find a quiet place to work.

Once a disciplined virtual worker can focus on the task at hand, their productivity can skyrocket.

Reason #3: Better Morale

Employee morale is a major issue.  In fact, a 2017 study from The Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc. indicated that one of the biggest reasons for employees leaving a company is burnout.

Believe it or not, statistics show that virtual employees have better morale.  For example, ConnectSolutions, in their study on the productivity, found that 44% of their remote employees reported having a more positive attitude at work.  Another study on telecommuting done by PGi indicated that 80% of respondents felt their morale was higher working remotely.

But how is morale better? Consider these results from TinyPulse:  an overwhelming major of virtual employees that answered the survey said that they …

  • Felt happy at work
  • Felt valued at work
  • And could see themselves still working at the same place a year later

A virtual workforce supports the very ingredients needed for a productive, motivated employee!

Reason #4: Improved Retention

The Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc. performed a study this year that discussed major concerns of HR professionals, and employee retention ranked near the very to top.   The loss of an employee can have a major impact on a business.  Not only does it affect the workflow and company productivity, but significant time and money can be lost in searching for a replacement and onboarding that.  There’s also a learning curve as they get accustomed to how things work at the company.  In short, retention of employees saves both time and money.

A recent study focused on HR professionals was performed by WorldAtWork, and 85% of the respondents indicated that the virtual work program at their company had a moderate to high impact on retention.  A comprehensive white paper by Aon about virtual workers found that the use of virtual workers can increase employee retention by anywhere from 10% to 50%

Aetna, one of the early leaders in virtual employees and telecommuting, found that the option to work remotely served as a powerful tool for retention.  In 2013 their average company turnover was around 8% but the average for virtual employees was between 2% and 4%. 

No matter the size of your company, retention is in issue.  You can increase employee retention by using virtual workers.

Reason #5: Reduced Stress Among Employees

The ability to work remotely reduces stress among employees.  The ConnectSolutions study on the productivity reported that 53% of their own remote workers felt less stressed, and a telecommuting report from PGi revealed that 82% of their respondents felt their stress levels were much lower since they had been working remotely.

Why are stress levels lower?  Probably for many of the same reasons that employee productivity is higher for virtual workers:

  • Minimal distractions, allowing them to focus on getting the job done
  • No traffic-filled commutes to and from work
  • Freedom to take breaks as needed and work when their productivity is at its peak

Some have indicated that their virtual work arrangement allows them to see more of their family, which can also reduce stress.  It gives them the freedom to deal with issues outside of work and return to the job when they can give it their full attention.  They also can avoid workplace drama and dissension.

Virtual employees experience less stress, which allows them to focus even more on the job!

Reason #6: Environmentally Friendly

Many companies are making a sincere effort to “go green” and do what they can to support the environment.  GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com investigated, among other things, the environmental impact of companies allowing employees to telecommute just half time.  The result would be the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking the entire workforce of New York state off the road.

How can a virtual workforce have such an impact?

  • Less fuel consumption because commuting is no longer required and travel is drastically reduced
  • No need for large office complexes
  • Lowered emissions resulting from reduced power requirements
  • Reduction in paper waste

In short, virtual workforces are eco-positive!

Reason #7: Lowered Costs

Have virtual employees is much more economical for so many reasons.  According to data collected by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com , if those with jobs that support telecommuting worked remotely just half the time, the typical US business would save $11,000 per employee each year.  Here are a few examples of where money is saved:

  • Greatly reduced real estate costs, as experienced by insurance magnate Aetna
  • Computers and furniture for individual workspaces
  • Power and water
  • Air conditioning
  • Maintenance
  • Mail service
  • Janitorial services
  • Office supplies

It is far more economically smart to implement a virtual workplace!

Reason #8: Easy to Manage, Monitor, Communicate, and Pay

Many people believe the myth that working with virtual employees is much harder than dealing with on-site employees.  It is actually quite easy to manage virtual employees thanks to Saas (software-as-a-service) tools. Trello, for example, allows remote teams to collaborate on projects and makes it possible for managers to oversee multiple projects from one easy-to-use platform.  In addition, Trello syncs across various types of devices.

ActivTrak is a cloud-based monitoring service that allows managers to track what employees, virtual or on-site, are really working during their business hours.  It can monitor both web and application usage and generates usage reports so companies can make sure their employees are actually working on legitimate tasks.

Communication with virtual employees is becoming easier and easier thanks to tools like Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting, or HipChat, which offers a combination of group chat, video chat, and screen sharing (which can be vital for some projects). 

Tools like PayPal make payroll management straight forward and if you have concerns about managing issues like taxes and benefits then you can opt for something like Intuit Payroll.  Online marketplaces for finding virtual employees can also provide some useful tools for payroll management, time-tracking, very limited monitoring, and communication, such as those offered by Upwork.

It’s easy to manage your remote employees using the growing list of Saas tools available!

Why Aren’t You Going Virtual

As you have seen, the numbers are there to show that using virtual employees helps you to find the very best talent and see higher productivity with better morale, improved retention, and less stress on your employees.  In addition, a virtual workforce is not only eco-friendly but will result in tremendous savings.  Finally, contrary to what you may think, the tools are out there to help you effectively manage, monitor, communicate, and pay your employees no matter how widely scattered they may be geographically. 

The virtual workforce is a powerful trend that produces excellent results … have you gone virtual yet?  You can bet your competition is hoping that you don’t.

Monitoring Solutions from ActivTrak

Many people are reluctant to make the move to a virtual workforce because they are concerned of being ripped off by employees who claim hours but haven’t done the work.  This can be prevented through the use of monitoring software like ActivTrak

ActiveTrak is the easiest way for you to see who is doing what and for how long with a very simple, intuitive dashboard for setting up your invisible tracking system, looking at the results, and generating productivity reports that give you insight into what your employees are doing.  Contact us for more information.

Apr 10 2017

[Product Update] ActivTrak On-Prem, New report, New funtionality

ActivTrak On-Premises

We’ve released an On-premesis version of ActivTrak!

This edition has all of the same features you know and love, but offers clients more control over data security and hardware choices.

Click here to let us know you’re interested!

More info coming soon!

User Activity Report!

We have a new report! While sifting through your top applications and top websites reports, you now have the ability to drill down into the specific website or application and view which user used which application, and when they used it, and for how long.

You’ll notice this is a much more visual representation of your data, with different colors indicating more or less time spent in the program, and when you hover over a block of time you’ll see more details such as the exact amount of time spent in the application.

Click a slice of the top apps/websites widget from your dashboard to go directly to this report and begin investigating who was using what and for how long. Alternatively, click ‘Users’ while inside the top websites/apps report on the website or application that you want to explore.

Export to Google

Use google tools? Your life just got a lot easier.

Now you can export and manipulate all reports and screenshots to your google account. All exports will create their own ‘ActivTrak’ folder in your Google Drive to house your exported data.

Now, when you go to export a report, you’ll choose what data you’d like to export (this page vs. all pages, etc…), but now you’ll notice two options appear next the drop-down labeled ‘Download’ and ‘Google.’ Simply choose the option you prefer, and you’ll have your ActivTrak data in your possession in no-time.

Feb 24 2017

[Product Update] Weekly Digest, On-Prem & More!

ActivTrak’s Weekly Digest is here!

Now, you have a simple way to keep track of what’s going on with you ActivTrak account.

Once a week, you’ll receive a handy little email that provides you with some high-level stats from your ActivTrak account. We think this will make managing your account much easier, and should make it easier to quickly identify issues and outliers that require your attention.

Doesn’t that look nice?

If you’d prefer not to receive a weekly digest, you can turn off the emails by navigating to Settings > Weekly Digest and unchecking the box that says “enable.”

Announcing ActivTrak On-Premesis (Beta):

We now have an on-premises version of ActivTrak!

After numerous requests regarding an on-premises version of ActivTrak, we’re proud to announce that we have a fully functional Beta version of ActivTrak for on-premises deployment!

This development comes after some enterprise clients expressed concerns about soaring their sensitive data in the cloud. This is the exact same ActivTrak you know and love from the cloud, except using your own hardware, housing your own data on your own servers. The idea here is to allow users to utilize ActivTrak in a way where you have control over your hardware, security and now data.

We’re currently in the process of reaching out to select new and current users to acquire a group of Beta testers to deploy the first instances of ActivTrak On-prem.

Interested in ActivTrak on-prem?

Click here to add your name to the list!

Want more info? Click here to send an email to our sales team. They can answer any questions you have.
 

Block by Category:

This is some long-awaited functionality that we’re very happy to announce. Now, on the blocking page you have the ability to block complete categories of websites and applications. You’ll notice we’ve added a etgories section to the blocking page. To block a category, simply choose from this list, then use the select all button to block everything in the category.

Uncategorized Time:

Previously, we excluded uncategorized time in the top categories report because, well, the time was uncategorized, so it can’t really display as a category. However, this made the report less accurate and informative. To fix this, now the top categories report on your dashboard, and in the reports section will display and calculate uncategorized time. When you click on uncategorized time, ActivTrak will send you to the uncategorized page where you can view all websites and apps that are being used, but have not been categorized yet. From there, you’ll be able to select the desired category for both general activity and the productive value from two dropdown menus on the right side of your page.

Agent Updates:

We’ve added more robust reporting capabilities to our Windows and Mac agents when reporting activity in both Firefox and Edge browsers.

Improved Data Density:

We’ve improved the data density on reports with a lot of data to be displayed. Now, you’ll be able to view more data at once in your ActivTrak window, and frankly, we think it looks a little better as well.

New Multi-screenshot image:

We’ve also updated the image for alarms and screenshot conditions that take multiple screenshots when triggered. You’ll notice the new icon has multiple ‘image’ layers, and a single screenshot alarm or condition will only display one square ‘image.’

Jan 30 2017

[Product Update] New feature, SSO w/Google and more!

We’ve been hard at work this cycle. We’ve got some really cool stuff to tell you about, even a new screenshot feature!

SSO w/ Google

ActivTrak now allows you to create and log into your account using Google Single Sign On (SSO).

In addition to making it quicker and easier to log in with a Google account, ActivTrak just got a lot more secure. By adding sign up/ sign in with Google, ActivTrak now has two-factor authentication through Google account creation.

Google OAuth 2.0 is the industry standard for two-factor authentication, which is why we’ve decided to add this option first. We plan to expand our single sign on options in the future.

This new addition also makes access management for ActivTrak much simpler in situations where an employee leaves your organization. Now, instead of logging into ActivTrak to revoke access, you can simply remove an email address from your Google admin console, and the user will also be removed from your ActivTrak account. Pretty cool, right?

Screenshots

This is a big one! Screenshots has has a new look! You’ll notice the Screenshots button now has its own dropdown menu with a couple new sections to play with.

Here’s what you need to know: 

This brand new feature will show you the most recent screenshot captured from each user in your account. Now if you’re interested in what’s happening on your computers you can just head to the Recent Per User section and you will literally see the most recent screen ActivTrak has captured. Every user, all the time.

The refresh in the top right corner will grab the most recent screenshot since the currently displayed image.

This is just the first bit of added screen capture functionality for this year, we’ve got much more in the pipeline, so stay tuned.

  • History: This is your typical screenshot section that you know and love.
  • Configuration: This section allows you to create screenshot rules independent of alarms. This used to be a small button on the screenshot page, but we figured it should be a little easier to find.

Groups

We’ve simplified the way you add users to groups.

Now, when you select your group and click ‘Add/Remove Members’ you’ll notice a select all button and two new search fields labeled ‘Domain’ and ‘Computer’ on top of the user selection box while creating your groups.

The idea here was to make it easier to find and select multiple users at once.

Use either filter to display all computers and/or users with the associated keywords.

Give it a try here.


That’s it for now. Have a suggestion? Let us know here, and we’ll try to add it to our pipeline!

Jan 16 2017

[Product Update] ACH Payments!

We’re excited to announce that you can now pay for ActivTrak directly from your bank account!

Here’s How You Can Upgrade Via ACH :

  • Go to Subscription > Upgrade OR Click Upgrade Plan’
     in the top right corner of ActivTrak
  • Select your new subscription
  • From the payment page, click the tab labeled ‘Bank Account’
  • Enter all required information including your bank account number and routing number. 
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  • Click ‘Update Account’

That’s it! After the transaction is processed successfully, your account will automatically reflect your new plan.

Ready to upgrade? Click here! 

Dec 15 2016

[Product Update] Easy Navigation Between Reports

Two of our most popular reports have a cool new feature that makes it much simpler to keep your web and app usage categorized.

From now on if you’re scrolling through your Top websites or Top Application report and you see something that peaks your interest, just click on the productivity indicator on the far left side. If the website or application is categorized, it will take you to the activity log filtered by that website or application. If the activity is uncategorized, you’ll be taken to the productivity settings page.

Nov 30 2016

[PRODUCT UPDATE] Drill-down From Top Users

We’ve added a bit of functionality to your dashboard that makes it much easier to find and investigate interesting activity. Now if you see something interesting on your top users report, just click on the user you’re looking at, and you’ll be taken to the activity log filtered by that user (date/time filter will hold as well). As with last update, the goal here is to get you to the information you want to see as fast as possible.

Also, for new users, your timeline is now set automatically based on your browser, this way you don’t have to worry about configuring your timezone in the settings section.

Oct 20 2016

[PRODUCT UPDATE] Mac Agent Auto-update is Here!

In addition to some small changes and style fixes, we’re excited to announce that we’ve added auto-update functionality to our Mac agents! This makes managing your monitored workstations much simpler. Now, overtime we release a new version of the Mac agent, all currently installed agents will be upgraded to the newest version.

We’ve also made Idle time optional on the recently released aggregate productivity graph.

Oct 6 2016

[Product Update] Introducing ActivTrak’s Aggregate Productivity Chart!

This month we’ve made some small, but very useful change to your ActivTrak Dashboard and Productivity report.

Instead of only showing the current productivity report being created for the day, we’ve aggregated all productivity data together, to show your aggregate team productivity over time. This new chart allows you to separate and analyze your overall team productivity dynamically across different days, weeks and months of the year. The old productivity chart still exists under the productivity report, we’ve just moved it under the aggregate productivity chart.

We’ve also added a new column to your activity log, which indicates the productive value for each activity.

Sep 22 2016

[Product Update] Screenshots Just Got a Lot Easier!

Taking screenshots just got a lot easier!

We decided that we needed to have a method for capturing screenshots a bit more light-weight, and easier to configure. Previously you had to create and activate an alarm in order to take a screenshot. 

Now, you’ll see a simple button on your screenshots page where you usually review your screenshots. The idea here is that you’re already in screenshot mode while researching your recent captures, so why not give the ability configure a new screenshot rule in the same space? The new configure button doesn’t require any follow up actions, or configuration past setting the conditions in-which you’d like to capture the monitored computer screen.

Additionally, we’ve made your dashboard real-time widget clickable. Now, when you see a real-time activity that’s interesting, all you have to do is click the widget,, and you can begin searching through the activity log to see what was going on.

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