Hi! I am Ross. I am one of the creators of Screenshot Monitor. I would like to address the small but loud group of freelancers who take a high moral stance against using screenshot monitoring. For example I’ve recently stumbled on this conversation on Reddit about our service (the highlights are mine):
If your job offered you an option of working from home or working in the office – would you take it? Would you be more productive working in sweatpants vs your usual business casual? Would you have more time for you family if you do not have to spend two hours commuting every day? Would you miss the corporate environment or would you enjoy solitude? Can video conferences, phone calls and remote access really make you feel like you are part of the office when you are not physically present? If you are confused about what option is right for you – here are a few things to think about.
Screenshot Monitor uses system API to determine user activity level.
100% activity level means there’s some hardware or software issue (like faulty mouse) that makes system think that user types or moves mouse constantly. In this case the app will not auto-pause and users would have to stop it manually by pressing button Stop themselves. Try disconnecting the mouse for a few minutes and see how it affects time tracking. If activity level is back to normal – replace the mouse. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about it on our side.
In Screenshot Monitor you have an option to either take the screenshots of your employee monitors or not take them. We have just added a new “Blur all [screenshots]” option that allows you to do something in between.
If “Blur all” is selected, all screenshots will be permanently blurred like below. Blurred screenshots give some idea of what the employees do while protecting their privacy and sensitive information.
To set it up go to Screenshot Settings and select “Blur all” for everyone on your team or for some of your employees only:
If you company works on projects for multiple clients, you will appreciate the ability to create Clients, group your projects by Clients and run various reports by client. To start – go to the Clients page and add your clients:
Next, assign your Projects to clients. Your projects will appear grouped under the customer title like below:
You and your employees will have easier time identifying the Client as everywhere where you have previously seen a project name you will see “Project ● Client”
And finally on the Reports page you will see a new “Clients” drop-down allowing you to filter by clients, a Clients bar chart allowing you to visualize time spent on each customer and option to group by Client for easier report:
Note that if you have not added any clients, you will not see the options to assign projects to clients or any other references to clients on reports or other pages. This is done in order to keep the interface simple for our customers who do not use Clients.
Both employee and their managers can blur the employee’s screenshots on the timeline. This is useful when some sensitive information needs to be protected, but the user would still prefer not to delete the screenshot.
To blur the screenshot, mouse over the thumbnail or the full size image and click on a Paint icon in the top right corner:
The image is now blurred:
Note that once blurred, there’s no option to restore the image to the original clear non-blurred view.
If you would like to blur all of the screenshots by default, go to Settings > Screenshots and select “Blur All” option. Then all of the captured screenshots will be blurred. This may be useful in cases when you want users to retain a greater degree of privacy while still getting enough idea of what users do. In other words this option is a middle ground between normal screenshots and not capturing screenshots at all.
Employees may use applications that imitate mouse movements, typing or the set of pre-programmed or pre-recorded activities with a goal of cheating time tracking. Screenshot Monitor uses a combination of heuristic analysis and extensive database of cheat applications to detect the use of such application.
When we detect it, the employer receives a “Potential cheat application detected” email where we say that a particular user has used such application with a link to the app. Then it is up to the employer to decide if the use was justified or indeed it was used to cheat the time tracking. We will send this email once a day when we detect the use of such application.
Here are a few examples of such applications:
Auto Mouse Click
Automatically initiates mouse clicks. murgee.com/auto-mouse-click/
CLICKER is a robot design for automated mouse clicking and keyboard writing. clicker1.com
If your team is small – it is perfectly fine to manage each team member individually. But once your team grows to more than 5-10 members, they are easier to handle as separate groups. For example you can create groups “Designers”, “Programmers” or “Marketing”.
You can create group on the Team page:
Then you can run report for a Group instead of selecting each person individually:
If you are a manager and you are using Chrome or Firefox as your browser – these’s no need to go to ScreenshotMonitor.com just to see who is working on what any more. Install ScreenshotMonitor Chrome extension or ScreenshotMonitor Firefox extension and it will add a button to your browser like below:
The number on the button shows how many employees are currently active. And if you click it, it will show all of your employees, who is currently active, when they have worked last, what project and the task.
This article has a very small target audience. If you have a website where you help your customers find temporary remote employees like upwork.com or freelancer.com but smaller – this article is for you, otherwise you’d probably be better off reading about something else.