In search of the best employee monitoring software money can buy? If so, you’ll have undoubtedly come across ‘Time Doctor’ while exploring the available options. One of the top-selling employee monitoring software suites currently available, Time Doctor was designed to simplify employee tracking for small and large businesses alike.
Computer monitoring software is becoming an everyday essential for more businesses worldwide than ever before. Far from simply ‘spying’ on employees for unethical purposes, employee tracking software has proven to be a productivity tool of immense quality and value.
In my Time Doctor review, I’ll be taking a look at the main features and functionalities that make this computer tracking software suite one of the best-sellers available right now. I’ll also be considering any potential shortfalls it brings to the table, in order to determine whether or not it’s the employee computer monitoring software for you. You can always compare it to our Teramind reviews.
Time Doctor Review
In a nutshell, Time Doctor is a cloud-based software suite designed to monitor employee computer activities for productivity purposes. It provides an extensive range of tools and features to track time, monitor online activities and generally keep tabs on what your workers are getting up to.
Specifically, Time Doctor can be used to calculate billable and nonbillable working hours by tracking how much time your workers actually spend working. It’s an intelligent software suite that can detect the difference between appropriate and inappropriate use of company time, eliminating the need to physically watch over your workers and their activities at all times.
Time Doctor is sold as a subscription (paid monthly) with a variety of options available to suit large and small businesses alike, backed by decent customer support available in a variety of languages. The dashboard itself is compatible with the vast majority of connected devices (mobile and stationary alike) and can be integrated with most major accounting and project management software suites.
Why Do I Need Time Doctor?
For a lot of workers, the idea of their every move being tracked, recorded and scrutinized isn’t exactly desirable. Nor is the prospect of an employer who doesn’t trust you enough to get the job done, without them breathing down your neck at all times.
In reality, however, this isn’t what software like Time Doctor is designed for. Whichever way you look at it, a certain level of supervision is necessary in all working environments across the board.Supervision that can bring an enormous drain on a firm’s already limited resources. Hence, if you can automate the process of supervising your workforce in its entirety, wouldn’t it make sense to do so?
Of course, there’s also the undeniable reality that in a connected era, the vast majority of workers don’t commit 100% of their working time to actual work. Each and every one of us is guilty of wasting company time to an extent, it’s just that some people take liberties more than others. Rather than taking a painfully heavy-handed or zero-tolerance approach to non-work-related activities at work, it’s far better to target those who take things to extremes.
If all this wasn’t enough, employee monitoring software can also play a key role in identifying inefficiencies in working practices and general business processes. Needless to say, the presence of the software alone also serves as an incentive for employees to work to their full capacity.
All of which explains why you need Time Doctor in your life.
A clear illustration of the potential benefits of software like Time Doctor, without even going into its value when monitoring remote workers. Objections are inevitable when adopting workplace supervision strategies like these, but they’ve been proven time and time again to make a real difference to productivity, efficiency and output.
At its heart, Time Doctor is essentially a sophisticated data capture and management tool. Its intelligent data management system separates data collected by way of departments or projects, which is then broken down further by way of individual tasks and so on. The software can be configured to track and record absolutely any data deemed necessary or important by your business, which can then be presented by way of a variety of automated reports – seven pre-set reports being included to get you started.
Most businesses find the "Poor Time Use" report particularly useful, which keeps tabs on the amount of time your workers spend on websites or social media pages of no relevance to your business. You won’t know whether they were doing something productive in another tab or screen at the time, but you’ll know they were accessing something they probably shouldn’t have been while working.
Much as it verges on the brink of micro-management, you can assign a list of websites and general URLs you consider to be "Poor Time Use" websites. After which, each and every time an employee attempts to access such a website, they will be prompted with a pop-up asking them to confirm whether or not they want to visit this time-wasting website. It won’t prevent them from accessing the site, but will give them a gentle reminder that they’re wasting company time.
The data management capabilities of Time Doctor also extend to important payroll matters. The software can be connected to Payoneer, PayPal and TransferWise, in order to transfer payments for billable working hours as compiled and calculated by the system.
The whole thing can be customized by way of hourly rates, maximum payments per period and so on, along with mass-payment options for paying your entire workforce if preferred.
Time Doctor’s data management also includes impressive integration with Google Calendar and similar services, automatically collecting and tracking important information once synchronized.
In terms of deployment, actually getting started with Time Doctor is surprisingly easy. Particularly when compared to some of its closest rivals, Time Doctor is one of the more user-friendly employee tracking suites to get the hang of. Time Doctor consists of two separate parts – one of which is based in the cloud, while the other is downloaded and installed onto your machine.
System requirements are remedial to say the least, so you can rest assured Time Doctor will run on any computer or laptop built within the last few years. It’s also compatible with a wide variety of operating systems, including Mac OS 10.7+, most Linux OS versions, and all Windows computers with Windows Vista or later.
The simplicity of the setup process varies in accordance with the size and requirements of the business. Thousands of major corporations (including Apple) use Time Doctor, but it’s also used by just as many small businesses with just a handful of employees. Once you’ve downloaded and installed the initial software, the setup wizard guides you through the rest of the process in a matter of minutes. By the end of which, you’ll know how to track time, allow for breaks and assign tasks.
The set-up process, dashboard and user-interface in general are pretty easy to get to grips with, so formal training requirements are eliminated. Time Doctor has a useful ‘Help Centre’ that features a series of video tutorials, which are great for getting to grips with the basics and some of the platform’s more advanced features.
Again, formal training for those who’ll be using Time Doctor really isn’t necessary, as the software itself takes you through the process step by step.
Time Doctor Features
Time Doctor has been designed to take things beyond the basics where features and functionalities are concerned. It’s one of the most competent software suites out there for monitoring employee activities and tracking time, but it can also be used for so much more.
Just a few of the main features Time Doctor brings to the table as indicated by its developers include the following:
It’s worth noting at this stage that while Time Doctor isn’t able to take screenshots from mobile devices, it outperforms many comparable software suites by offering accurate GPS tracking. Not only this, but there’s also a useful (though controversial) webcam shot feature, which enables the employer to take shots of remote workers every 10 minutes to ensure they’re where they should be.
Though as you’d expect, this is a feature some workers (and employers alike) object to quite aggressively and choose not to use. Still, it’s there if you need it!
Of course, time tracking is the software’s most important and widely used functionality. Tracking time with Time Doctor is as simple as installing the desktop app or downloading the Chrome extension, adding tasks accordingly and pressing the ‘Play’ button. It’s also possible to create projects that combine multiple tasks, providing useful insights into how the efforts of individuals contribute to wider initiatives and objectives.
When Time Doctor’s time tracking functionality is activated, it runs in the background and records various types of data. Examples of which include websites visited, time spent on each website, applications used, mouse movements and even individual keystrokes. All of which enables employee activities to be tracked and scrutinized in the finest detail.
Time tracking is temporarily halted if the user hits the ‘Stop’ button to take a break, resuming once again when prompted. If the tracking isn’t manually halted but the system detects a period of idleness, the user is prompted with a popup to check they’re still working. If they fail to respond, the timer is stopped, and it is assumed they are on a break.
If time needs to be added manually – in case the worker forgets to start the timer again after a break, for example – it can be entered into the record and will be displayed in a different color.
It’s also worth pointing out at this stage that Time Doctor is smart enough to differentiate between actual work and random or unproductive mouse movements/key presses. Hence, you can’t simply bash the keyboard from time to time and fool the system into thinking you’re working.
The features and functionalities of Time Doctor extend far beyond simple time tracking. The system can be configured to compile reports on website and app usage, take screenshots on a regular basis and more or less monitor everything your employees do (or don’t’ do).
Productivity-focused pop-ups are a popular feature among Time Doctor’s users, though can be somewhat irritating for those they’re aimed at. Being asked “Are you still working?” or accused of “Inappropriate use of company time” due to a period of system idleness can be infuriating, if you’re actually working on something extremely difficult and stressful at the time.
Still, it’s up to you whether or not you use these reminders.
Interestingly, the employees you monitor are able to delete the screenshots and webcam shots taken while they’re working, if they choose to do so. This is purely for security and privacy purposes, though the working time associated with the shot in question will be subtracted from the total tally of billable hours.
In order to keep things in context, screen shots are taken alongside data on mouse clicks and keystrokes, helping build a clear picture of what the worker was up to at the time. You can monitor their online browsing activities including how long they spend on any given website, blacklisting any URLs you consider to be unsuitable or have no relevance to your business (as discussed earlier).
Real-time insights provide you with the information needed to discuss performance issues with your employees on an ad-hoc basis, or you can use Time Doctor’s automated reporting to compile productivity reports over a period of your choosing and discuss discrepancies in these instead.
One of the biggest benefits of Time Doctor is the way in which its features and functionalities also extend to remote workers. Irrespective of whether or not an employee is on your premises, you can still monitor what they are doing in both real-time and by way of detailed reports.
Along with the general productivity-monitoring features of Time Doctor, its GPS tracking and webcam capture features can be particularly useful for supervising remote workers. Both of which are considered controversial in some circles, but nonetheless give you 100% clarity about where your workers are and what they are doing.
The GPS tracking system uses IP addresses and Internet access points in general to give you an accurate idea of where your workers are. If they’re supposed to be working from home but the GPS locator shows they’re actually in a beach bar, you can take the appropriate action accordingly. Likewise, if they’re supposed to be engrossed in a project of immense importance, a webcam shot showing they’re actually watching cartoons can be used as you see fit.
Again, mass movements and keystrokes are tracked to measure productivity and reminders can be issued if a remote worker’s system sits idle for a set period of time.
Free Trial, Starting Price and Pricing Overview
Time Doctor is a subscription service with a variety of plans available to suit all requirements and budgets. There is currently a 100% Free Plan available that automatically starts after your initial 14-day trial, which is surprisingly useful given the fact that it’s free. The Free Plan enables you to track tasks and working hours, though doesn’t actually provide any of the employee monitoring or reporting features of the paid plans.
Stepping things up a level, there’s a Solo Plan for just $5 a month, which is designed for individual users like consultants, freelancers and entrepreneurs. If you want to make use of everything Time Doctor brings to the table, the Standard Plan is up for grabs at just $9.99 per user per month. For which, you’ll gain access to all of Time Doctor’s primary employee monitoring features, along with an employee payment schedule manager, improved time tracking tools and 24/7 customer support.
After which, it’s a case of choosing from the various add-ons and extras available, which in some cases can be pretty pricey.Optional extras include budget forecasting, expense reporting, invoicing, task management delegation, cloud-based file sharing, project analysis, tracking billable hours and other useful features – starting from $25 per month and up.
Time Doctor Support
You’re most likely to need customer support during the early stages with Time Doctor, as it’s pretty simple once you’ve negotiated the initial learning curve. It’s worth noting at this stage that while paid subscribers are technically provided with 24/7 support, it’s only available in a direct sense by email. Lessthan ideal when facing time-critical issues, but not the end of the world given the price of the subscription.
Customer support is provided by Time Doctor via the following channels:
Email: Submitting a ticket is the only way of directly contacting the customer support department, after which they will usually get back to you within 24 hours or less.
In-Software Help: There’s a relatively useful in-built help system that will help you makes sense of the user-interface and dashboard. Links are also provided to help find online support pages and feedback forums.
Help Centre: This is where you will find most of the tutorials and resources needed to get the best out of Time Doctor. Almost every major feature and functionality is laid bare in the Help Centre, which should be your first point of call for advice and general troubleshooting information.
Video Tutorials: The Help Centre also provides a series of 11 video tutorials, which are excellent when getting to grips with the basics of how Time Doctor works.
Social Media: Time Doctor doesn’t have the most active of social media presences, but it can sometimes be easier to contact them via their social channels when in need of urgent support.
Blog: Keep up to date with the latest updates and important product information via the Time Doctor blog, which is updated on a regular basis.
Personally, I would like to see telephone support or at least live chat added to the mix in the very near future. This is one of the biggest causes of complaints among Time Doctor users, who despite agreeing that the support provided is solid are dissatisfied with the lack of direct communication channels.
They endeavor to reply to as many emails as possible within 24 hours, but this is actually a pretty long time when dealing with business matters.
All in all, Time Doctor delivers everything you’d expect (and quite a lot more) for the price you pay. $10 a month really isn’t a lot for such a long list of features and functionalities, which will probably cover the needs of most small to medium sized businesses.
The only slight bugbear for me (and plenty of other people) being the lack of telephone customer support or live chat, which really should have been added to the mix by this point in time.