Refog Employee Monitor is a software surveillance product that has a pretty comprehensive set of monitoring features.
- Keystroke recording,
- Viewing web history
- Recording screenshots.
This product is very different to Time Doctor, but they both can be used for remote employee monitoring, so let’s take a look at the different approaches.
Refog is really purely a monitoring program. Time Doctor is focused on improving the time management of a team with enough monitoring to make sure that a person is really working.
Time Doctor also tries to strike a balance by not being too intrusive in what is being monitored versus making sure that management have enough information to make sure that staff are actually working.
Screenshots, web history and key logging
Screenshots are provided by both Time Doctor and Refog.
Actually in Time Doctor they are an option and not a standard feature as we don’t believe it’s necessary in most work places.
Web history is provided in both Time Doctor and Refog. Time Doctor however takes quite a different approach to Refog in analyzing the information. As an employer you don’t really want to spend a long time reviewing a list of every single web site that an employee visits. You just want to make sure they are not spending 1 hour each day on Facebook. So Time Doctor provides a simple report once per week that tells you all the web sites visited in the prior week for over 10 minutes. This gives you the important information you need without getting bogged down in the details of reviewing every single web site. It also allows a little error room for employees in case they have Facebook active for on a minute or two during the week.
Applications are provided as categories of time use in Time Doctor as well, so you can see if the person has been spending time on computer programs that are not work related.
Key Logging is not provided by Time Doctor. If you require this feature then you will need to use a program like Refog or another similar application. We feel that key logging is too intrusive and not necessary in most organizations. Employees need to know that they are being watched enough to not spend a lot of time on time wasting activities, but the Refog keylogger feature is probably the most “big brother” and intrusive you can get with every email, every chat logged by an employer. There are many employees who would not work under this type of environment and there are some downsides to such intrusive monitoring including the additional security concerns of having all of this personal data sent to management and the central server.
Also there is the time wasted in monitoring and reviewing this information.
Work from home versus computers in an office
Refog is designed for an office environment, and monitors all activity on the computer it is installed on.
Time Doctor operates in a very different way, only monitoring when the person is working. This means that it is possible for employees to use Time Doctor on a home computer, as it does not record anything when they are on a break or not working.
Perhaps you might think staff can simply go on a break and then do anything they want at that time. Yes that is exactly the point. On a break staff can do whatever they want, however their work hours are not being recorded, and if you are paying the person based on the hours of the software, less pay at the end of each month.
Two very different approaches for monitoring employees
Refog is designed really to log as much as possible, and to monitor all activities, silently, all the time on each computer in an organization. For some companies that are actually trying to look for corporate espionage or truly to spy on employees, then this type of software is needed.
Time Doctor on the other hand is designed for time management. The monitoring is there to make sure that employees are effective at work, but it’s fundamentally just to make sure that staff are productive.
Also there are a number of other time management features in addition to the monitoring. One of the major benefits of Time Doctor is that you can record the exact hours worked by staff members. If they are doing computer work and then get up from their computer for a few minutes, they are automatically recorded as on a break. This feature and a number of other features make sure that time tracking is accurate. This means that staff are truly working the hours that they say they are working. This is an additional way to improve time management in an organization that is actually more effective than simple monitoring.
In addition Time Doctor helps to keep staff members focused on their priority tasks and record how much time they spend on these priority items. Time Doctor is packed with other features that are specifically designed to improve time management for employees.
So that gives you a comparison of Refog Employee Monitor and Time Doctor, you can download these applications here:
Rob Rawson is a co-founder of Time Doctor which is software to improve work productivity and help keep track of what your team is working on, even when working remotely.