How random the screenshot are being taken? Can freelancer cheat?

how often

Time between screenshots

Screenshot Monitor in Professional version can take screenshots up to 30 times per hour or every 2 minutes on average. Does it mean a freelancer has 2 minutes to do nothing between screenshot? Not  with our program!

Let’s say you’ve set to take screenshots 12 times per hour (or every 5 minutes on average).  Then in 90% of the cases a screenshot will be taken in 2 to 9 min after the previous screenshot. In 10%  – and here’s the catch that won’t allow freelancers to cheat – a screenshot is taken in 1 min after the previous.

Have any other suggestions how to cheat time tracking? Share in comments – we will have no loopholes left!

How to use task references in Screenshot Monitor

When you track time with Screenshot Monitor, you often work on a task defined in one of a dedicated project management applications (Basecamp / Asana / Pivotal Tracker, etc). Screenshot Monitor allows you to add a reference to that task’s ID in a very simple manner. Add a text prefixed with “#” like #245 (where 245 is the task’s ID in another app) to the notes  –  and ScreenshotMonitor will pick it up and place it into a separate “Ref #” field when you export your report to Excel (Detailed report only) or access your data via API. RefNo

The reference does not need to be a number – it can be any word starting with #.

Another way it is often used is to add into the notes common tasks or categories like #support, #meeting, #UnitTesting, etc. When managers export it to Excel, they will get these categories in the “Ref #” field. This make it easy to get a summary (using Excel pivot tables for example) of how many hours was spent on each of this tasks/categories. Most of the users will probably never use this, but if in addition to Projects and Notes you need categories/tasks – this mechanism gives advanced users a very flexible and easy to use tool.

Edit notes in Screenshot Monitor

If you are using Screenshot Monitor for time tracking, you usually select a project that you are working on and type a note that describes what you are doing. Let’s say in a few minutes you want to add a few more words to the note. If you add something to the note and hit enter – the app will create a new task. But what if you just wanted to edit the running task? To edit the task, right click on it (in the list of recent tasks) and select “Edit on website” (you can do it with a current or past tasks):

Edit notes - app

This will bring you directly to Task editing window on  the website – here you can add additional comments to the selected note:

Edit notes - web

Time tracking automation

If you have employees working in an office, chances are that at a very basic level you want them to punch in when they come to work and punch out when they leave. 

Time cards are antiquated and prone to human error. And contemporary time tracking software allows you to automate this process in such a way that your employees do not need to do anything at all to track their timeScreenshotMonitor automatically starts time tracking when user touches a computer and stop when user walks away. (You have to check the options “Automatically start tracking” and “Lunch on Windows startup” for this to work)

SSM-AutoStart

ScreenshotMonitor has an additional advantage on tracking time for a specific project, adding notes for the current task, taking periodic screenshots at random intervals – all of this can be safely ignored or turned off and the program would function as an automatic time tracker with absolutely no input from employees.

The time for all employees is collected on the website, so a company manager can have a complete picture and reports of all the work through a control panel (using just a browser).

The downside may be that it is applicable for employees who primarily work on a computer, but it is the case for the majority of current office jobs.

Why Screenshot Monitor will always allow employees to delete their screenshots?

Screenshot Monitor allows employees to delete their screenshots and there is no option to limit that. The primary reason for this is privacy – it is important that employees have full control to delete whatever information they submit – no matter if they are in Europe or India.img003Yes, monitoring may feel intrusive and most employees would prefer to have none. But even when working on company’s computers, there should be some level of privacy guaranteed to employees. (We have talked about ethical employee monitoring in details before).

Companies can actually benefit from this. As long as employees know that they are in control of their screenshots, they will see the monitoring as fair and it will be easier for them to accept it in their work.

There may be some private information on screenshots that employees may not want to share. An employee may just have forgotten to stop the tracking while doing something personal. They can click “Delete” icon on a screenshot and it will be gone forever along with the corresponding period of time. Managers can do the same. The fact that something was deleted will be logged in “Change History” (you can find link at the bottom of every Timeline page).

We are fully aware that by allowing employees to delete the submitted data we may alienate some of the clients, but the remaining customers will be certain that they treat their employees with respect.

Pros and Cons of working from home vs. working from the office

work from home vs officeIf 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.

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