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We are looking for a great commercial or free tool which can monitor all our remote employees and keep the reports centrally. We need it similar to Elance WorkView or oDesk "Team Room", what these tools do is:

  • Take screenshots at random interval.
  • Track the activity on computer based on key strokes. (not a necessity)

It doesn't necessarily need to track time but will be good to have, our aim is to monitor employees and make sure they're working - that's all.

I'll give oDesk Team Room 10/10 and I haven't been able to find such tool. Is there anyone who can suggest such tool?

Thanks

5 Answers 5

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To be honest, this sounds like you are having issues with your employees or that you suspect they are not working when they should.

Instead of increasing the monitoring of those employees, maybe you should talk to them and tell them about your worries. Make them aware of your thoughts and ask them how this could be solved.

Otherwise, they might be annoyed because of being monitored.

As far as my experience goes, something has proven very effective: thrust, documentation and reporting. When employees have to write documentation and reports about their work, they know that someone will have a look at it. This might annoy them too, but this might be not as bad as being monitored.

If someone would monitor my PC while working, I would switch to another job.

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  • As someone who works remotely, I second this.
    – andygrunt
    Apr 7, 2012 at 11:24
  • As someone who has both worked remotely, and hired remotely, I think for some kinds of jobs, having the screenshot option can help keep people honest. This isn't something you'd use for a programmer or a long-term employee, but for a contractor who's just clocking up time doing something fairly 'linear'. The alternative to 'not monitoring' may simply be not hiring them in the first place. One thing I've done is hire via oDesk (which has monitoring), and once I trust someone, move to a direct relationship. Feb 21, 2015 at 9:13
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I am a freelancer and when I am working on oDesk projects, whether fixed-price or hourly, I use the oDesk Team app, and there's nothing obnoxious about it like 2 other answers say. It's a great tool to help me track work. If I am switching to personal tasks, I can always turn off or pause the monitoring.

Since last one week I have been searching for and looked up tens of apps and here's a short-list of the ones with the best features similar to oDesk team. My platform is Linux Ubuntu on a laptop.

TimeDoctor.com - agent installer is a .run with encrypted content

WorkSnaps.net - java agent, requires JRE

Tahometer.com - agent installer is a .run with encrypted content

RescueTime.com - agent installer is a .deb with encrypted content

Due to paranoia, I haven't installed these on my production system, but on a temporary one. How I wish oDesk provided an offline/standalone version!

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You don't figure out that they're working by spying on them; you figure out that they're working by setting goals for them, monitoring their progress, and examining their output. If they're doing what you asked them to, why would you care that they take a couple of Facebook breaks a day? And if they're spending half the day on non-work activity but still meeting their output goals, you need to raise their output goals.

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Outside of oDesk team you have several products that do similar staff - they have a little app that is being installed locally and a website that collects the data from the app. The most popular are:

TimeDoctor - Maybe a bit too complex, but has a nice interface. Strong focus on project management. $10 per user.

Screenshot Monitor - Very simple, but PC only client. Free version is limited to 2 workers.

Worksnaps (worksnaps.net) - lots of features, a bit antiquated interface. $15/month for 4 users.

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Take a look at TimeDoctor, it's a subscription-based web application that has the ability to take screenshots of a worker's desktop at predetermined intervals, but lacks any form of keystroke monitoring.

Another option that sounds like it would work is AgentGuardian, this one is a desktop application that requires installation on each worker's PC, but has both screenshot recording and keystroke monitoring functionality, plus additional features.

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