ActivTrak – An Application To Manage Remote and Hybrid Teams

Managing a remote workforce is a huge hassle. Since you can’t physically see your team, you don’t know what they are doing. Here we look at one of the controversial tools to monitor employees.
September 12, 2022
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ActivTrak is a workforce analytics tool that provides insights into productivity through reports, dashboards, and data analysis. Its goal is to increase accountability and visibility of workforce productivity.

Before going on, it’s important to note that employee monitoring software is controversial. It generates discomfort among employees, and can even be considered unethical. The employer must carefully evaluate the cost-benefit equation of applying these kind of applications.

How Does ActivTrak Work?

The company must install the ActivTrak agent on employee devices. The ActivTrak agent is a monitoring tool that collects employee data and sends it to the ActivTrak server. Once installed in the system, this tool works in the background and generates productivity metrics, such as session overview, idle time, average daily productivity, etc. 

This information is also relayed to the ActivTrak dashboard, where the employer can review it. The dashboard contains separate tabs that you can use depending on what information you want to check. 

For example, you can check how much time employees spend on different websites/apps and what activities they perform. You can also check productivity trends and filter them by teams and goals. 

These features can be used to identify employee idle time. You can also use them to generate automatic productivity reminders to your employees (i.e., a trigger that goes off when the employee is deemed unproductive for too long). 

ActivTrak takes regular screenshots of employee devices for monitoring purposes. This setting can also be customized (i.e., you can change how frequently the software takes the snapshot). You can also track keyboard and mouse activity for an even closer look. It, however, doesn’t have a keylogging feature. ActivTrak also doesn’t have access to the camera, nor does it record you via webcam. 

Here are some of the modules of the application:

Productivity Management

ActivTrak dashboards break down the collected data and display it in the form of charts, graphs, and statistics tables to show productivity trends. Through this tool, you can generate weekly productivity reports and filter top-performing employees by teams and leadership. This information can also be used to reward high performers and incentivize others. 

Active performance monitoring also reduces the risk of employee burnout by identifying burnout indicators. For example, the workload-balance dashboard contains useful fields such as overutilized vs. underutilized employees, workload by week, time breakdown, etc. These metrics help businesses create better employer-employee relationships. 

SaaS Application Management

ActivTrak allows you to check which apps/websites your employees regularly use. Businesses can use this information to find out which apps/websites are useful for increasing productivity and which are not. You can also use ActivTrak’s blocking feature to block certain websites/apps that hinder employee efficiency. 

Security Gaps 

Since ActivTrak monitors application usage on different devices, it also helps identify vulnerabilities in your employee systems. In addition, you can use it to pinpoint malware/adware and block them from your network.  

Furthermore, you can use this software to investigate if any application fails to meet security and privacy requirements. You can also keep an eye on unauthorized USB usage. 

Can This Software be Fooled? 

First, workforce-tracking tools are hard to find. The employee would have to search manually in the control panel to find it since it is not listed under installed programs. Even if the user could find it, they will need admin privileges to uninstall it from the system. 

Over the years, online businesses have widely adopted employee-monitoring systems for workforce management and productivity analysis. However, there have been cases where employees could hoodwink such tools. 

Since automated screenshots are periodic, users can note the time when they happen. Using that information, they can increase their system usage to confuse the tool. This is a case of false positive (i.e., the software thinks that productivity is high even though the user is unproductive). Users can also use remote access and split screens to avoid monitoring triggers.

ActivTrak has three subscription models. They have a free version, in which you can monitor 3 users and track 30-day data history. Then there’s the advanced version, in which you can monitor an unlimited number of users and generate 6 months of data history. This plan starts at $9 per user/month. Then there’s the premium version, in which you can monitor an unlimited number of users and generate 12 months of data history. This plan starts at $15 per user/month. You can also get a 14-day free trial period for the premium plan. 

Are There Any ActivTrak Alternatives I Can Use?

Finding employee-monitoring software suitable for your infrastructure requires time and effort. So ActivTrak may not be the best choice for everyone. Here’s a list of ActivTrak alternatives. 

Time Doctor 

This SaaS employee-monitoring software helps managers understand how their team manages their time. It also allows you to monitor your team in real time.

Teramind

Teramind is an analytics tool that focuses on behavioral analytics. Businesses use this tool for productivity management and threat detection.

Veriato

Veriato is a remote-employee-tracking software that tracks metrics such as employee productivity, attendance, idle vs. active time, etc. You can also install it on the cloud. 

Hubstaff

Hubstaff is a time-tracking tool that allows you to track work hours and manage payroll. You can also use it to chart idle time and take screenshots of employee devices. 

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