As the internet gets faster and faster more and more remote work opportunities have opened up at companies both large and small. Sure gigantic Fortune 500 companies with a telecommuting workforce have monitoring tools in place, but for small companies like startups and even blogs can’t afford the same luxury.
Sure you can see output but how can you tell if a delayed assignment is a legitimate issue in the workflow or perhaps your telecommuter decided to take a three hour lunch?
Charlotte startup Worksnaps, founded by Waley Zhang, hopes to solve the problem of monitoring remote workers. They employ technology similar to the kind you may find monitoring children using the internet. Spyware would be an unfair term for the type of service Worksnaps offers because ultimately it’s meant to benefit the business owner or entrepreneur but essentially that’s what it is.
Worksnaps technology is based on screen shots that are taken while the remote worker is “on the clock”. A service like Worksnaps may draw harsh criticism from privacy advocates. The easiest way around that would be to supply the remote worker with a company owned computer. As Zhang told us in an interview, it’s about monitoring work flow and making sure that remote workers are actually working, not what they may be doing in their free time.
Worksnaps has already attracted 3000 clients with over one million hours tracked, and with that, productivity improves.
Check out the rest of our interview with Zhang below.
What is Worksnaps?
Worksnaps is a unique service that provides time tracking with visual and verifiable work evidences.
In layman’s terms, how does it work? (In other words how would you explain it to your grandmother)
By using Worksnaps Client, a program running on users’ desktop, the users’ work activities are sampled and sent to the server. We call them “worksnaps”. Each “worksnap” represents 10 minutes of work, and consists of a screenshot, the number of key strokes and mouse clicks, the sequence of active applications, and optionally a webcam shot. By the series of “worksnaps”, a user can prove his work on the tasks he has worked on, therefore facilitate more accurate time tracking. On the other hand, a manager can review the “worksnaps” submitted by the user to verify the user’s time and work.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
Where are you based?
Charlotte, North Carolina
What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?
Much better in Silicon Valley. Small but growing in Charlotte.
How did you come up with the idea for Worksnaps?
Out of frustrations with working for larger organizations.
How did you come up with the name?
Single word domain was definitely out of question. So I was thinking about two-word domain like “timeXXXX” or “workXXXX”.
I like the word “work” better because it has a broader implication. Since taking screenshot is the key element in the product, the word “snap” came into mind.
There are other names that I thought about, like workescrow, workproof, workamatic, workstream.cc, but I did not like them as much.
What problem does Worksnaps solve?
As an employer or manager, you are facing the challenge of knowing exactly what your remote team is working on and whether you are paying for the actual hours worked. Worksnaps solves this problem by letting you visualize your employee’s work, helping ensure that their time is spent on task.
What’s your secret sauce?
Almost all the existing time tracking solutions are of self-reporting nature. This means that there is no way for the time to be verified. Worksnaps provides a much more accountable way to track time and work. It is also simple and easy to use, the user’s “worksnaps” can be shared with others such as your clients or your co-workers.
Are you bootstrapped or funded?
What is your goto market strategy?
We are already live with 3000 clients and approaching 1,000,000 hours tracked.
What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?
Distraction – It’s so easy to go after the next shiny thing. If you stay dedicated to solving a big problem there will be rewards at the end of the rainbow.
Who are some of your mentors and business role models?
Chris Halligan – Role Model. Such a tenacious and tireless thinker. I use to work beside him in a smaller office. He was always on. Bob Ross – Just a happy person.
What’s next for Worksnaps?
Working on improving our API, better backend reporting, email and message communications. We want to make the worksnaps as easy to read and digest as possible.