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Why We Don't Believe in Surveillance

Toggl Track stands against employee surveillance and micromanagement. Monitoring has never been a feature in our software nor our culture—and it never will be.

Toggl Track is not for managers who are trying to snoop. We will never have features for screen recording, location tracking, keystroke tracking, or webcam monitoring. We don't spy on our employees here at Toggl Track, and we think you shouldn't either.

This page is about why we don't believe in surveillance, and what we believe in instead.

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Surveillance is a waste of time

Surveillance is often motivated by a need for control. This might explain why the sudden and unexpected shift to remote work at the start of the coronavirus pandemic provoked a surge in employee surveillance.

But employee surveillance is a waste of time.

First, surveillance data is just noise. Random screenshots and location data with no context provide no real insight into how people are actually working. If you're spending your time poring over employee web surfing data to assess performance, you're doing it wrong.

Second, surveillance only provides the illusion of control. Smart employees can easily find a way around it, according to Toggl Track co-founder Alari Aho, who speaks from experience. "Coming from a totalitarian society myself (from the Soviet Union; I was 15 when it collapsed), I know it's not possible to build a perfect surveillance system."

But even if it were possible, surveillance promotes dishonesty and breeds paranoia. It rewards the appearance of work rather than the quality of the work.

When it comes to evaluating employee performance, we measure output, not input.
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Trust is more powerful than surveillance

Toggl Track defaults to trust because trust makes workplaces better. We believe most of us would rather work in a place where everyone has the freedom to work in the way they want. Trust succeeds where surveillance fails.

Trust fuels a sense of ownership over our work—a much more reliable guarantee of quality than breathing down someone's neck to see how many hours they've been at their desks. At Toggl Track, we're trusted to put in the work, and to make the right calls about when and where we're going to work. We respond to this flexibility by holding ourselves accountable.

We care about the hours that go into the work as a way to empower employees. That's why Toggl Track the product was built—to help everyone spend their time on the work that matters. But when it comes to evaluating employee performance, we measure output, not input.

Time management beats micromanagement

In addition to the time tracker, Toggl Track allows you to view and share tracked time through insightful reports. There's a reason for this emphasis on overviews.

We see little value in isolated fragments of information, such as how much time one team member spends on a lunch break. Micromanagement feeds off of these shallow details, which is why it's doomed to fail. Time management thrives on the big picture.

As a team, we care about doing good work on a daily basis, but believe that the big picture should include the health and success of the team. As a time management app, we care about your minutes, but we also think in terms of hours, days, quarters and even years into the future.

The future of work that we envision is flexible and fulfilling. Surveillance or micromanagement are not going to take us there. But we believe that time management and trust will.

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Time tracking can transform the way you work. Track time, get and share insightful reports, and stop wondering where your day went.

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What is Toggl Track?

Toggl Track is a time management tool built by and for teams who value trust and autonomy over surveillance and micromanagement. We use—along with 70,000+ other teams—Toggl Track to empower employees, to work more efficiently, and to spend our time on stuff that matters.

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