I have started a career as a web developer in a company with very high working disciplines. I am in my first month of 3 month probationary period.

The entrance and exit times from company are checked by finger sensor. Every employee must account for his wasted time on personal issues in the web portal every day. Then this time is subtracted from the present time which is from entrance to exit time. This wasted time usually refers to the time which we spend eating lunch.

The first time I went to lunch my direct boss called me to lock both PCs (one for internal developing LAN, another for internet). At first I thought it was to prevent other employees from seeing my code when I am out.

Therefore some days I did it only by turning my monitors off instead of locking Windows. Today when he saw me doing this (turning off monitors); he said that I should lock the PCs and not only turn the monitors off.

The conspiracy which has risen in my mind is that maybe they check the lock time of my PC and compare it to the time I have spent for lunch. So they want to see if I am telling the truth about my wasted time or not.

I must mention that I have always tried to document more wasted time than what I actually wasted but the conspiracy theory risen in my mind makes me feel bad about the company.

I want to know if it is possible to retrieve the locked time of a PC from network admin accesses or not. Another question is how to know why they are making me to lock my PC.

Because I am in my probationary period I don't feel I can directly ask these questions from my coworkers or bosses.

  • 5
    Witch: a woman thought to have magic powers, especially evil ones, popularly depicted as wearing a black cloak and pointed hat and flying on a broomstick.
    – paparazzo
    Dec 3, 2017 at 14:23
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    locking computer is normal thing. How can you trust 100 % your colleagues. Maybe they will steal your code and publish on the internet. Plus some trolling also happens. What if your colleague writes through chat as where you are logged in to your boss someting like "you suck" :) Dec 3, 2017 at 14:24
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a technical question.
    – user8365
    Dec 3, 2017 at 15:24
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    Being asked to lock your computer when not at your desk is completely normal and sensible. The only problem I see here is that your company calls lunch breaks "wasted time". I wouldn't feel comfortable working for a company with such an attitude.
    – Roland
    Dec 3, 2017 at 15:38
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    "maybe they check the lock time of my PC and compare it to the time i have spent for [lunch]" - Probably not. There are many ways to do useful work without using your PC -- attending meetings, discussing relevant work with colleagues, designing something on a whiteboard, etc.
    – Brandin
    Dec 3, 2017 at 19:39

2 Answers 2


This sounds like a typical security policy.

Leaving a computer unlocked means any one can sit at your computer while you are away from your desk and access networked resources using your identity/profile. Even if you don't haves a heap of privileged access - they could, in theory, push code, read your email, wow email in your name, or make many other changes to yours computer or network.

Simply turning off your monitors is not enough to prevent malicious access.

NB when I looked after a corporation of computers, any unlocked and unattended computers would get a new screensaver message saying " lock your computer!"

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    +1 because I used to flip upside down the screen orientation of those who didn't lock their computers Dec 3, 2017 at 17:25
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    @Homerothompson: At one place we had a standing $50 bonus if you managed to send an email out from someone else's computer when they were away from it. To prevent people "giving" bonuses to their friends the one whose computer was used was written up with a PIP - nobody wanted that. Seemed to work pretty well.
    – NotMe
    Dec 4, 2017 at 15:47
  • @NotMe What are the technical expertise of these people? If these are software developers, I expected someone would've spoofed e-mails from the manager.
    – Nelson
    Dec 5, 2017 at 16:21
  • @nelson: Tech company - and you can figure out if an email was spoofed.
    – NotMe
    Dec 5, 2017 at 21:58

Is it possible to monitor employee work time by his PC activity?

The conspiracy witch is risen in my mind is that maybe they check the lock time of my PC and compare it to the time i have spent for launch and expressed it to them, So they want to see if i am telling the truth about my wasted time or not.

Yes, it is possible.

But in many counties it is illegal to do so.

So the likeliness that your firm tracks your computer activity primarily depends on where your company is located (if this tracking is legal there). In case computer activity tracking is illegal it also depends on the size of your company. Bigger companies tend to avoid conflicts with the law while smaller companies may not...

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    I am surprised that you state it is illegal.It seems a good standard practice to log failure and success authentication on the network for high privilege account? May be recording email and screen may be illegal or a grey zone, but recording failure and success authentication seems to be legal in most country.
    – Tom Sawyer
    Dec 4, 2017 at 16:03
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    @SebastienDErrico The OPs objective is "work time measurement" and in in Germany (at least) it is illegal to capture computer activity for that reason. Dec 4, 2017 at 16:07
  • To be sure that I understood right. Let say that an audited system crash, The IT administrator check the system log and he is able to reconstituate the day of each co-workers to understand how the system crash. It is legal to use this information in this boundery. What happen if at the same time, the IT administrator discover that a coworker lied about his timesheet, there is no request in the server log after hour X while the coworker clocked some time after this range of the day? Is it legal to use this information?
    – Tom Sawyer
    Dec 4, 2017 at 19:59
  • @SebastienDErrico exactly. The IT crowd can use that information to improve or harden the system but not to track individual employees. Dec 4, 2017 at 20:14

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