Tracking Attendance for Telecommuters and Local Users – Remote Desktop Reporter

We recently made a few tweaks to our “Attendance By Day” and “Attendance By Hour” reports – appearing In Version 1.9.4 of Remote Desktop Reporter. This creates a new class of user attendance reports that also factor in console user sessions when building the reports. If you’ve been tasked with tracking attendance for telecommuters and local users, this will definitely help conserve time and money.

The “Console” Session and Why It Matters

Are telecommuters goofing off? Track attendance with Remote Desktop Reporter.
Bueler? Bueler? Telecommuters are generally more productive than office workers. Still, you may be tasked with tracking their attendance.

For the uninitiated, the “console” session is the local, interactive logon session a user creates when they sit down at a Windows workstation or server to do work.

There can only be one console session per computer running at any time.  This is in contrast to Remote Desktop sessions, which are created when a user connects to a workstation or server remotely to do work.

More recent versions of Windows workstations (such as Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8) have some nifty user session techniques. These can automatically convert a previously logged on console session to a remote desktop session if the same user who established the console session starts a remote session later.

Similarly, if a user leaves a remote user session open but disconnected, and later signs on to the computer locally, that remote session gets converted back to the console session.

Tracking Attendance for Telecommuters and Local Users

Report on attendance by hour  - console users.
A report from Remote Desktop Reporter shows how attendance can be tracked for telecommuters and on-site workers.

Some managers may wish to get a feel for total employee attendance regardless of whether they are telecommuters or working locally.  Using these new attendance reports can help solve that issue, as they look at whether or not users had either type of session open on their workstations or servers.  While idle and active time cannot be tracked in the console session, whether or not a session was established in the first place during certain hours or days can be.

Administrators who wish to implement this approach with our software would be wise to consider implementing the free WinExit screensaver or equivalent, which will automatically logoff console sessions after a certain period of inactivity.  This guarantees that locked but inactive console sessions will not be included in the reporting.

Interested in setting up a system like the above? Or, maybe you just want to track telecommuters. Contact us to review your objectives.  We’ll be happy to make some recommendations.

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