Bust time-wasting employees with DeskTime

Bad news for employees: Your slacking days are over.

Good news for employers: Now you can tell who's earning their paycheck and who's spending their days updating Facebook. That's courtesy of DeskTime, a time-tracking service designed for SMBs.

DeskTime employs automated software that tracks and analyzes employees' productivity in real-time. It does this by sorting your company's various applications into categories -- "productive," "unproductive," and "neutral" -- and monitoring who's using what and for how long.

All this happens quietly and unobtrusively in the background, with no user input required.

The DeskTime dashboard provides a wealth of data: number of employees working, number absent, who's slacking, who's late, and so on.

On a more granular level, you can examine individual workers' stats: time arrived, total "productive" time for the day, a measure of overall efficiency, and their ranking relative to other employees.

This last item is actually meant to help encourage workers to compete for a higher ranking, the idea being that you'd use the stats as a carrot, not a stick. Ultimately, this "race to the top" should help boost overall company productivity, a welcome byproduct to be sure.

Admittedly, employees may not warm to the idea of being monitored, even with the "incentive" of a little friendly competition, but you're not paying these people to goldbrick (digitally speaking). If they're spending an inordinate amount of time tweeting and watching YouTube, you'd want to know, right?

Especially if you can't be in the office all day every day. To that end, DeskTime recently release an iPhone app that allows mobile managers to monitor the time-tracking and productivity data on the run.

DeskTime offers a free 30-day trial. After that, you'll pay $9/month per employee for up to 20 employees, a flat rate of $199/month for up to 50 employees, and so on. (Here's the full rundown of DeskTime's pricing options.)

If the end result is even a 10 percent boost in productivity (and my guess is it could be much higher), DeskTime should easily pay for itself. Not convinced? Check the interactive demo, which is hilariously made up of employees from "The Office."

Have you found a better way to track employees' computer time? Tell me about it in the comments section below.

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