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.

RDPSoft Announces Support for Citrix XenApp Reporting and Monitoring

RDPSoft is pleased to announce support for Citrix XenApp reporting and XenApp monitoring in Version 1.2 of its flagship product, Remote Desktop Reporter.

As many Citrix administrators already know, Citrix XenApp servers create ICA sessions on demand when users connect through Citrix client software, such as the Citrix Receiver. These sessions can run alongside traditional RDP sessions on the same Windows server, and are visible from both the Citrix administration tools and the Microsoft Terminal Services Manager.

As a result, RDPSoft’s Remote Desktop Reporter can poll, store, and report on both RDP and ICA sessions completely transparently. All key reports, such as the User Productivity and User Session Activity reports, function absolutely the same, regardless of the protocol used to establish the session. So whether or not you use Remote Desktop Services or XenApp to benefit your teleworkers, Remote Desktop Reporter can audit much of their activity.

Given that many Remote Desktop and Citrix monitoring tools are priced based on concurrent users, it’s important to note that Remote Desktop Reporter is priced instead on the number of servers and workstations monitored, starting at only $199 per monitored server with volume discounts.

Citrix XenApp users, feel free to weigh in above in the comments section regarding the types of XenApp specific reports you need the most. Thanks!

** Citrix, XenApp, and the Citrix Receiver are registered trademarks of Citrix Systems, Inc.

Yahoo Decision On Telecommuting

Much has been made over the past few days regarding Marissa Mayer’s decision to ban telecommuting at Yahoo! … personally, I think this is a poor decision, and will lead to some of Yahoo’s star performers bolting to Yahoo’s competitors who embrace teleworking cultures.

The reality is – SOME individuals do better working onsite in close collaboration with their team members. However, there are plenty of introverts out there who are much more productive when they can work in the sanctuaries of their home offices, away from the stresses of driving to work and dealing with the constant workplace interruptions and distractions. I wonder if Marissa has ever heard of the Myers-Briggs personality test? Not all of us are extroverts, Ms. Mayer.

The smart companies realize the inherent diversity of personality types and work behaviors, and put each employee in their best respective position to succeed. Then, the even smarter companies put a few safeguards into place so that they can audit teleworker productivity should they have reason to suspicion a problem. Our utility, Remote Desktop Reporter, excels at doing just that. For more on how to audit remote desktop sessions, refer to our previous blog posts here and here.

As is often attributed to Ronald Reagan, trust but verify. Trust that you made the correct hires in the first place, and empower them to be as productive as possible given their preferred working styles. Then verify that you made the correct decision.

Marissa, why don’t you trust your employees?