Ways Your Employees Can Cheat Your Time Tracker

The Top 6 Ways Your Employees Can Cheat Your Time Tracker

When the COVID-19 pandemic came in full swing, millions of employees were forced to work from home. Naturally, companies tried to look for ways to ensure that their remote team members were not loafing around. Within weeks, the demand for employee monitoring software surged. While many questioned the thorny privacy issues that came with the system, others have found ways to trick the tools they’re using. After all, it’s human nature to outsmart tech that threatens their daily routine.

Even if you know how to monitor your employees’ computer activity, you should never let your guard down. You would be surprised to discover what people can do to cheat time tracking software. Keep reading this article, and we’ll enlighten you about how your employees could trick your time clock app.

Cheat 1: Automating Mouse Movement

Automating Mouse Movement

This may seem ridiculous and unbelievable, but people can automate mouse movement with a battery-operated toy. They attach the toy to their mouse and let it drag the peripheral around. As a result, they fool their monitoring tool into detecting mouse movement or activity. With a quick glance at the report, you would assume that your employee had been doing something productive. In reality, they’ve just found a way to deceive the employee monitoring system. Once you review the screenshots, you will understand what’s happening.

This is the reason why it’s important to have a tool that also has a screen monitoring function. By letting the app take random screenshots, you will have solid proof of what your remote team members are doing at a particular moment.

Cheat 2: Using a Window as a Red Herring

Some people find a way to watch videos while faking productivity on their monitors. What they do is open a full-screen window of the content they want to watch. Then, they launch another window for a work-related program. For instance, they could watch episodes of Game of Thrones, and over that window, they’ll have Excel, Word, or CRM opened. The second window will act as a ‘red herring’ that will distract the monitoring tool and trick it into detecting activity. The user will keep that window as small as possible to prevent it from obscuring the other screen containing the video. At the same time, the tracker will record the small window’s productive activity.

With Traqq, you will be able to identify if your employee is using another window as a distraction. This monitoring app has smart algorithms that identify activity levels based on mouse and keyboard movements. So, even if your employee uses a ‘red herring,’ Traqq will determine whether there is actual work-related activity on their device. 

Cheat 3: Taking Advantage of a Second Monitor

Taking Advantage of a Second Monitor

A lot of people find it efficient to use a dual-monitor system. For them, it is easier to have everything they need right in front of their eyes instead of constantly hitting ALT+TAB to switch windows. However, not many employee tracking tools capture screenshots and collect data from both monitors. Some people who are aware of this take advantage of the loophole. On their primary monitor, they have all their work-related apps opened. Meanwhile, on the secondary monitor, they’re browsing through Facebook or shopping on Amazon.com.

As such, you should choose a professional, high-quality monitoring app that can cover dual-monitor systems. This way, there will be minimal chances of your employees tricking you.

Cheat 4: Timing the Screenshots

Timing the Screenshots

Most monitoring apps have a screenshot feature. However, some people have figured out that there’s a particular interval between the shots. So, what they do is time this period and cheat the system by pretending to work at the exact moment of the screen capture. Once the tool takes the shot, the employee goes back to being unproductive.

With this in mind, consider getting a monitoring system that doesn’t rely on screenshots solely. You should choose a tool that provides you with a visual representation of your team members’ activity levels. This way, even if they cheat the screenshot feature, they won’t be able to misrepresent their overall productivity.

If you’re worried about your employees figuring out the pattern of the screenshots, use Traqq. This tool was designed to take random screenshots and videos. This way, your employee won’t be able to time and prepare for them.

Cheat 5: Using Remote Access

Using Remote Access

Using two separate computers may seem tedious, but some people are willing to go to great lengths to trick monitoring apps. What they’ll do is install the time tracker on their work computer. On this device, they will set up a remote access client and connect it to their second PC. They can play a game, shop online, or watch videos and still be considered ‘productive’ by the monitoring tool. After all, time trackers tag the use of a remote access client as work-related.

For instance, Traqq lets you track the websites and apps that your employee uses. Now, if you notice that they keep running a remote access client for no reason at all, you can call them out for it.

Cheat 6: Tampering with the Software’s Code

Tampering with the Software’s Code

Some tech-savvy employees can go to the extent of tampering with a monitoring app’s code. If they have the right skills and tools, they can customize it to identify and track certain activities only. We’re not saying that this is easy to achieve and anyone can do it. In reality, it is extremely challenging. Even so, we cannot rule out this possibility.

If you suspect that something like this happened in your organization, you should contact the monitoring app’s support department. They will be able to identify the issue and fix it for you. So, when selecting a time tracker, make sure that their customer service team is reliable.

What’s more, you should use a time tracker with a sophisticated and strong encryption system. Traqq contains military-grade encryption (Rijndael CBC 256-bit), which protects the data from tampering. While a hacking scenario is possible, it would take highly sophisticated tools and exorbitant resources before anyone could crack the app. Your employee has to be richer than Tony Stark to pull this stunt off.

Choose Traqq – a Foolproof Monitoring Tool

Traqq - a Foolproof Monitoring Tool

As an employer or manager, it’s only natural for you to worry about your remote team members being productive. So, make sure to choose a monitoring tool that cannot be deceived. Well, you will be delighted to know that Traqq offers a foolproof method of tracking your work-from-home employees’ activities. It has monitoring features that will help you understand what they’re doing, thus motivating them to increase their efficiency.

It’s common knowledge that browsing social media sites and shopping online can kill productivity. Too often, a few swipes can turn into hours of wasted time. Checking important notifications can be forgiven, but managers must know when it’s becoming a problem. Traqq can help determine if employees are spending too much time on non-work-related applications that may distract them from completing their tasks.

Traqq takes note of the web pages that a user visits during work hours. Moreover, it monitors the amount of time they spend on each site. Aside from that, Traqq will record traffic from the applications on your employee’s computer. You can let the tool generate a report where you can review all the data collected at a single glance.

Now, if your employee attaches a moving toy to their mouse, you will see that they are spending too much time on the same program. You can view Traqq’s video playback and determine if the employee has been inactive for a couple of hours yet their output remains the same. You’ll also be able to spot if they’ve been using the ‘red herring’ window trick or if they’re playing a game through a remote connection.

Traqq’s Anti-Cheating Algorithm

Traqq - activity levels

We understand why managers would be doubtful about the efficiency of a monitoring tool. After all, over the years, remote workers have become cleverer and more creative when it comes to cheating time trackers. However, you should put your trust in Traqq. Our developers equipped the app with an anti-cheating algorithm. 

You may have heard of “power clicking”. It is when a user repeatedly clicks their mouse to simulate high desktop activity. Well, with Traqq, your employees cannot do this. The app’s anti-cheating algorithm nullifies redundant mouse movements, ensuring that the recorded activity levels are accurate.

Your Employees Won’t Feel the Need to Cheat Traqq

The problem with most time trackers is that they were designed to be intrusive. Naturally, people feel like they’re being micromanaged or spied on. Well, with Traqq, this won’t be a problem because we intentionally designed it to perform ethical online monitoring. 

Let’s say a person’s mind drifts off while Traqq is running. Of course, if there’s no desktop movement, the monitoring tool will report that as low activity. In this case, the person won’t have to cheat the tracker just to push their activity levels higher. All they need to do is delete the recorded period to ensure that it won’t affect their stats. Aside from that, your employees have the freedom to delete screenshots that may compromise their privacy. 

What You Can Do to Prevent Employees from Cheating Their Time Tracker

Your Employees Won’t Feel the Need to Cheat Traqq

When we designed Traqq, we exhausted all possible means to prevent users from cheating the tool’s tracking feature. However, keep in mind that any monitoring tool can only do so much. As an employer, you also need to do your part. Sometimes, employees feel the need to cheat because they are overwhelmed and pressured by all the monitoring you do.

Instead of micromanaging your team, why don’t you give your employees some space? Remember that you’re working with actual human beings and not robots. It is only natural for them to get distracted or to hit a slump from time to time. So, if you notice that they spend some time surfing non-work-related sites, just let them be. Five minutes of personal web browsing won’t hurt their productivity. Sometimes, they will need this short break to refresh and get back to their efficient self.

If you want to try the features of Traqq, you’re in luck! This free time tracking app for macOS and Windows is downloadable at no cost. You can access all its features for free. Contact the Traqq team today to start using this foolproof monitoring app!

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