Explaining the “Away From Computer” Pop Up

January 2015 update: For an updated explanation of the improved version of this popup, please click here.  The information below is out of date.

The philosophy of Time Doctor software is to make sure that any time tracked is accurate, and so we built in multiple features designed to minimize time tracking errors. Now, it is also possible to know if time is tracked on or off the computer.

The “Away from Computer” pop up is a key feature to help improve the accuracy of time tracking and also to separately record time tracked on the computer or away from the computer. The way it works is that if a person is no longer using their computer for more than a certain amount of time (usually 3 minutes) it will ask if they are still working.

This is the “Away from Computer” pop up:

After clicking “Yes” Time Doctor will continue to track the activity on the computer. If the person clicks “No” then it will put this person on a break. If the person does not respond at all then it is assumed that they are away from the computer. When they come back to the computer they will see a pop up like this:

This is asking if they were working when away from the computer. They can choose if they were working or on a break. If they were working it will show up in reports as working when away from the computer. Their manager will have the chance to review this work and potentially to disapprove these hours if they choose to.

Controlling the work off computer settings

All of these settings can be controlled by the admins in your company. Firstly the length of time before this pop up comes up can be changed. The default is 3 minutes which is appropriate for people who are working from home and if they are working only in front of their computer. However, for people that are often in meetings in an office situation for example, 3  minutes may be too short. The 3 minute setting will make sure that the time tracked is more accurate, but if this pop up is happening too frequently for your situation you can change the setting to 9 minutes, 15 minutes or 30 minutes. We do not normally recommend setting it any longer than 30 minutes.

Here is the manage users page showing where you can change this setting:

It is also possible to disable the ability to track time when off the computer. This means if the person is away from the computer they will be put on a break and will not have this easy way to record the time (they can still go to the edit time page to manually edit the time, but this will be a lot less convenient).

The way to turn off this ability to track time off computer is on the advanced settings page (Admins access this from a link on the manage users page). Here is a view of the advanced settings page. The first column “Allow Off Computer Tracking” is the setting you are looking for to adjust this:

So in summary, the “Away from Computer” pop up is designed to make sure that time worked on the computer is tracked accurately and that time on and off the computer is recorded separately. This means if the person stops moving their mouse or keyboard then after a certain time they will be considered to potentially no longer be working on the computer.

This pop up is designed to make sure that time is tracked accurately, but there are settings to modify the pop up depending on the working environment of your company.

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