While the work-from-home culture was already on the rise in the IT sector, the recent surge of the pandemic has added fuel to the fire. With the coronavirus in full swing, businesses are left with no choice but to offer work-from-home facilities to their employees.
However, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Employees try to trick their employers all the time to give a false sense of productivity when in reality, they’re just chilling out. But at the same time, employers also keep getting smarter to track down any tricks being played by the employees.
So, if you’re an employee looking for intelligent tricks to fool your productivity software or, better yet, an employer who’s looking to catch the smart-ass employees red-handed, this article is for you!
What Is Productivity Software?
Productivity software is a tool that aims to help individuals get their jobs done more efficiently, without wasting a lot of time. Productivity software is usually loaded with many built-in tools and timers that help you keep a better track of activities.
From the perspective of organizations, productivity software helps employers track down the activity of their employees, especially when employees are off-site. This helps to maintain the workforce and ensuring everything goes smoothly.
How to Trick Productivity Software?
The Tech world is getting advanced by the day, and trivial tricks like leaving the window idle or using an auto-refreshing extension don’t work anymore like they used to back in the day. The tools have gotten much more reliable and fool-proof, so it takes many tricks to trick them nowadays.
The best way to trick productivity software is to attach a small motor-powered device with the mouse. Upon turning the device ON, the mouse will start a random motion registered as “working” in the productivity software.
Another great way is to open a small window of the relevant tab that you’re supposed to work on, and then on the rest of the screen, you can watch whatever content you want unofficially. This way, only the smaller window you opened will be recorded.
Let’s dive in deeper and explore some ways to trick productivity software.
1. Second Window
Imagine you’re working on a new project your boss just assigned you. You know if you do the work early, it’s only going to end up in your boss assigning you extra work. So, you decide to play smart; act like you’re still working on it and haven’t finished it yet. So, how do you do that when the tracking software is recording your tabs?
Well, first off, you open the tab you wish to use. For instance, you want to watch a show on Netflix. You need to open the relevant project’s tab as a small one and enlarge the Netflix tab. Once you click on the ‘play’ button on Netflix, make sure you click once on the project’s tab.
This way, the productivity software will think you’re still on the project’s tab and the other tab is only in the background. But guess what? You can now watch all you want as long as you don’t click on it and just keep binging.
2. Motor-Powered Device
This one is another thoughtful approach that sometimes sounds rather funny. Well, there are certain software that measure your working time by tracking the activity of your mouse. In case the mouse has not been operated for long, it assumes the user is not present.
To tackle this, all you have to do is attach a motor-powered device with your mouse that moves randomly when turned on. So, when you decide to take a break from work but don’t want your employer to know, turn the device on while leaving, and you’re all good to go!
The device will keep moving randomly, resulting in continuous activity by your mouse. This will successfully deceive the productivity software into thinking you’re present and working on your assigned tasks.
So, you see how a seemingly easy yet creative way can solve a huge problem. However, it’s important to note that some software take screenshots at regular intervals, so if that screenshot is taken, your employer will discover that you were only faking the mouse activity.
This is a pretty obvious way to deceive your productivity software. A lot of employees actually find it the easiest way to take some time off their work when working remotely or even on-site.
The process is simple. You set up a second desktop or monitor next to the one you’re working upon. Everything *non-official* you need to do is done on the secondary screen, and meanwhile, you continue a bit of activity on the main screen to make the productivity software think you’re there.
However, if you don’t have a second monitor and cannot afford one, this could probably be a deal-breaker for you. But most of the professionals have separate work and home laptops, which makes this the ideal way for them.
So, I’d suggest if you already own a second monitor lying around, put it to use since this is the most convenient way for taking unnoticed breaks. However, if you have to buy a monitor and don’t have a lot of money, prefer the other techniques over this.
4. Being Attentive
Even though the whole point of tricking the productivity software is to avoid being attentive at all working hours and being able to take breaks as you wish, nothing comes easy, and such tricks still require some degree of attentiveness.
Like I described in the last point, a lot of employee tracking software nowadays make use of regular screenshots of employee desktops to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to. So, no matter what trick you’re using to trick the software, if you’re not cautious of the screenshot, you might waste all your efforts trying to deceive the software.
You will easily get caught while using any of the above tricks if you cannot predict the time of screenshots. But, if you do, things get a lot easier. So, make sure you’re paying attention to the span of repetitive screenshots and try to comprehend the next one.
Once you do that, you can quickly switch to the actual ‘work’ tab and pretend to work for a while. After the screenshot is taken, you can return to your routine and be prepared for the next one. Unfortunately, there’s no workaround for this unless you’ve got a second monitor.
However, it’s still not a bad trade-off and requires a bit of attention from your side. I think that’s pretty doable for what you’re getting.
Should You Cheat Productivity Software?
We’ve seen some convenient ways you can trick your productivity software and fool your employer into thinking you’re putting in those ‘extra’ hours. But it all boils down to one question, “Should you be really doing it?” *Guilt check*
Well, it depends on the work nature and your employer really. If you’re being overlooked by someone who constantly tries to exploit your skills and get more done from what you’re hired to, there’s nothing wrong in employing such skills to get back at them. Although, the healthier option is leaving and looking for a better work environment.
Because you’re doing what’s assigned to you, that too in the best way possible, so, if you want to make the best use of the time you’ve saved, rather than earned yourself, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Such scenarios demand such actions.
On the contrary, if you’re only looking to cheat your employer and getting paid for more than the time you have put in, then such actions are not only legally wrong but horrendous on ethical grounds as well. Even if you save yourself from the guilt trip, it won’t be long before your employer starts to notice the downward slope of your performance and figures out the tricks you’re using.
This could eventually end up in big troubles for you, possibly depriving you of your job and leaving a back impact on your work history.
Some Tools That Are Almost Impossible to Trick
With this growing trend of work-from-home and employees tricking the tracking and productivity software, some new tools are coming out that address all the latest issues.
I won’t be diving into the specifics of the tools since that is not what we’re covering here, but I’ll drop some names down so you can have some leads if you’re looking for such tools. Here are some of the top tools that are not prone to employee tricking:
There are various productivity software out there that employers use to track down the performance of their employees, especially when they’re working off-site. Such software make it hard for employees to work flexibly since they’re being monitored.
However, some tricks can be employed to trick such software, and this article saw the top 4 tricks everybody can use. We went through each trick in detail and the most suitable way in which you can use it to fool your tracking software and take time off as you wish!