The best employee monitoring software have reasonable pricing and use screenshots, keystroke capture, and web use monitoring to track and create custom reports of employee productivity. They also have robust security and privacy features and are easy to use.
We examined over 35 productivity, time tracking, and security monitoring software, looking for monitoring tools that balance giving you the best information and not being too invasive or distracting. We narrowed it down to these seven:
- Teramind: Best overall employee monitoring software, especially for threat protection
- ActivTrak: Best for helping your employees reach peak productivity through monitoring and coaching
- InterGuard: Best for remote or traveling employees with company laptops
- Hubstaff Desk: Best time tracking and project management software with employee monitoring tools
- KickIdler: Best for video monitoring of multiple employees
- Controlio: Best budget-conscious choice for monitoring file and printer activity along with productivity monitoring
- Veriato: Best employee monitoring software for larger businesses wanting AI analysis of employee behaviors
Top Employee Monitoring Software Compared
Monthly pricing per seat*
(Free plan for 1 user)
Minimum of 2 Users
$2.75-$11 (Free plan for 1 user)**
No minimum user requirement
Starting at $7.99
Starting at $25 (goes down as you add people)
Video of screenshots
*Unless otherwise stated, plan requires a minimum of five users
**Only offers annual plans
Teramind: Best Overall Best Employee Monitoring Software for Small Businesses
- Does not lock out/wipe lost laptops
- No checklists of project management tools
- No PTO or break scheduling considered
What we like:
Teramind took the lead for the best employee monitoring software because of its wide range of functions—from custom report building features to its activity monitoring and action toolset—making it the top pick for preventing insider threats. The software may take a little time to set up with the rules, and the reports are extensive—but the interface looks clean and intuitive. It checked off nearly every feature we looked for, except for some time-tracking and project-management capabilities. If those particular features are more important than security monitoring features, check Hubstaff out.
Teramind scored 4.57 out of 5 in our evaluation, with a perfect 5 out of 5 for reporting and the highest score (with Controlio) for security features. It did well in pricing, losing points only because it lacks a free plan. It also lost a few points on ease of use because it lacks phone support. Popularity was its lowest score (3.5 out of 5) because it earned an average real-world user review score of 4.39 out of 5—an excellent score, though not as high as most of the others on our list.
Teramind offers a seven-day free trial. Its prices are about average for those on this list, and like most on our list, it has a five-user minimum. It also charges in increments of five users.
- Starter ($12/user/month): Limited user activity monitoring, limited behavior rules, customizable dashboard
- UAM ($25/user/month): All in Starter plus complete user activity monitoring, unlimited activity and behavior rules, OCR* engine, prepackaged productivity rules, SEIM** integration
- DLP ($30/user/month): All in UAM plus content-based behavior rules, redaction of sensitive content from monitoring, sensitive content detection, malicious activity blocking, 200 prepackaged DLP rules
- Enterprise (Custom pricing): All in DLP plus in-app field parsing, enhanced security, high-availability/multi-region/large-scale deployments, premium support, professional services and customization, government-level AWS and Azure cloud storage
*OCR (Optical Character Recognition): Recognizes text in scanned documents and images
**SEIM (Security Information and Event Management): Advanced threat detection, compliance, and security incident management through collection and analysis
Since Our Last Update:
Teramind has added the ability to monitor camera and webcam usage. It does not capture video or audio directly, although you can still see the screen and listen to audio via Session Player. It also:
- Added more rules and setting customizations
- Allowed deleting exported videos
- Increased the number of web conferencing apps it monitors
- Made improvements to the UI for Mac
- Monitor online activity: Teramind offers the most in-depth monitoring of online activity, covering multiple search engines and social websites, email, and IM activity for 11 of the most common chat programs. You can prevent inappropriate language and watch for security violations but also set it to not monitor personal messages. Finally, you can monitor video conferencing and VoIP calls on different platforms.
- Alerts: Get immediate alerts for unproductive behavior or online activity violating your internet policies. Most of the products on our list have alerts, but Teramind goes further with automated actions you set that can warn, block, or lock out a user if they violate the rules.
- Insider threat: If you only need productivity monitoring, then look at ActivTrak or Hubstaff. However, for threat protection, Teramind is among the best. Use it to block or redirect websites, prevent the installation of unauthorized applications (like a virus), and block file downloads, sensitive emails, unauthorized transfers, copy-and-paste, and the sharing of other sensitive content. You can also use it for legal or forensic evidence. It does not let you lock out a computer completely—look at Veriato, InterGuard, or Kickidler for that.
- Privacy: Teramind stands out, however, in that it offers data protection, such as blocking credit card information from being recorded. It also has a Revealed Agent tool that lets employees toggle their monitoring on or off, and works on user activity rather than machine. Hubstaff has more privacy control but does less monitoring.
- Rules: Teramind has 200 pre-made rules that you can customize—or you can create your own. None of the others on our list offer such a capability.
ActivTrak: Best for Productivity Monitoring & Coaching
- Can’t create custom reports
- No keystroke tracking
- Can’t lock down lost computers
- No email, chat monitoring
What we like:
Not everyone looks for top employee monitoring software because of a perceived security threat. Some want to use it to get the most out of their team by identifying distractions, burnout, or even times when an employee is simply less efficient—which is ActivTrak’s specialty.
Its features are focused on improving productivity. It even offers tools and features that help you coach your employees or enable them to self-monitor. You can track by individual or by project to find bottlenecks. For productivity monitoring, it blows the rest away.
ActivTrak earned 4.08 out of 5 on our list based on the strength of its pricing and popularity scores—both of which were perfect 5s. It lacks customized report creation and does not monitor keystrokes, chats, or emails. If you’re looking for a platform with more security functions, we recommend Teramind or InterGuard.
Since Our Last Update:
ActivTrak has increased its prices and renamed its plans. It also added more add-on options.
ActivTrak has a 14-day free trial and a free plan for up to three users. Its prices are on par with Teramind, and it also has a 5-user minimum. Unlike others on our list, ActivTrak only offers annual plans.
- Free Plan (Max 3 users): 30 day’s data history, activity dashboard, reports for top applications, websites, users, working hours, categories, and productivity, automated classification of websites and app activity, website blocking, help articles access only
- Essentials ($10/user/month): Free plus six months’ data history, real-time activity reports, productivity classifications, automated user management via Azure AD, SSO, activity alerts, USB device and file transfer detection, remote install, digital support plus the option to purchase additional support.
- Professional ($17/user/month): Essentials plan plus 12 months’ data history, remote vs in-office productivity analysis, team productivity and goal tracking, productivity benchmarks, workload balance & burnout risk analysis, virtual coach recommendations, personal insights dashboards, distraction analysis, integration with Google Workspace and Salesforce
- Enterprise (Custom pricing): Professional plan plus 24 month’s data history, Active Connect, all app integrations, impact analysis, advanced support including a dedicated technical account manager
- ActivConnect Add-on ($3/user/month): Export and query data to business intelligence (BI) tools for more analysis, BI starter templates, app integrations
- Screen Details ($2/user/month): Screenshots and screen views, alarms for app terminations, pop-ups, and screenshots, web activity detailed title bars, URLs, and subpages
- Data history ($1/user/month): Add in one-year increments up to three years
Since Our Last Update: ActivTrak has improved its UI with a Favorites option for holding your most used reports, dashboards, and pages. It’s also added an Admin Panel for account health and configuration, improved privacy configurations, and added capacity planning which lets you compare hours and active days to discover whether team members are operating at, under, or over capacity.
- Coaching: Unlike any of the others on our list, ActivTrak takes a coaching approach to employee monitoring. All its reports and tools are geared toward helping your employees or teams work more effectively by cutting down on distractions.
- Burnout reports: ActivTrak stands out with its burnout reports. These look at hours spent, either as a trend or a surge, and flag them if they are excessive. It can also look at focus time and flag those working past the optimum (20 minutes) without a break. The new capacity planning dashboard lets you compare activity during a set time period to compare employee work effort.
- Goals setting: ActivTrak lets you, your employees, or your team set specific goals and track productivity toward those goals in terms of time spent on productive activities—Hubstaff, by comparison, has checklist items.
- Privacy: ActivTrak offers role-based access, removal of non-business URLs in the Insights report, the ability to hide user activity in the Insights dashboards, and anonymized data when possible. It also works for transparency with personal insight reports that share what it finds with the employee themselves. It and Hubstaff probably have the most privacy control—but their focus is not security or threat detection.
- Risky behavior: ActivTrak lets you set alerts for unauthorized downloading of confidential files, and monitors website use. For the best security features, however, check out Teramind or InterGuard.
InterGuard: Best for Protecting Company Devices
- Not as many privacy tools as others on the list
- User reviews are mixed; very few reviews
What we like:
InterGuard ranks as the best remote employee monitoring software for productivity and security because it also protects against attacks. It can even lock down or wipe a device that has been lost or stolen. It’s a great choice if you have a mobile or remote workforce and are concerned about protecting intellectual property. One real-world user said it helped them catch an embezzler.
It scored 4.01 out of 5, with pricing and popularity bringing the score down. It’s the most expensive on our list and had the lowest score from real-world users. Users cited problems with installing and keeping it running. It did, however, get excellent scores for time tracking, security monitoring, reporting, and ease of use.
Since Our Last Update: InterGuard has changed its pricing.
Unlike others on our list, Interguard has only one plan, and it starts at $25 per person monthly, with a minimum of five users. It’s the most expensive on our list, aside from Teramind’s most expensive plan (Veriato starts at $25 per user, but the price decreases as you have more users).
InterGuard does not offer a free plan but has a free demo and special pricing for government agencies and nonprofits.
- Lockdown: Too often, the information on a computer is more important than the hardware itself. InterGuard lets you remotely access lost, stolen, or compromised PCs and Macs and delete or retrieve files. It also has a geolocation tracking tool so you can locate the computer.
- Screenshot capability: InterGuard has the most screenshot versatility. Set screenshots by time interval or when specific applications are used. What really impressed us was the keyword capability. Give InterGuard words to look for, and it will automatically screenshot whenever they are mentioned. It’s a great investigation tool.
- Cellphone monitoring: While it lacks apps of its own, InterGuard does monitor cellphone applications. Others, like Hubstaff, only do this through their application, while Teramind can do this through specified apps.
- Legal investigations: If you need to collect the evidence for an internal or legal investigation, InterGuard can work in stealth mode for covert investigations and the gathering of evidence that is legally admissible in court.
- Productivity: InterGuard does not ignore productivity for security monitoring. In addition to tracking idle and active time, website use, and keystrokes, you can set productivity ratings for applications and activity and apply rules to certain groups. This helps you identify what websites are useful—for example, your marketing group may need Facebook, while the engineering team should be discouraged from using it during work hours.
Hubstaff Desk: Best Time Tracker With Employee Monitoring
- Very few security features
- Keystroke tracking for activity level only
- Need the highest plan for online website and app monitoring
What we like:
Hubstaff is a very popular time-tracking and project-management tool for small businesses. It’s simpler than others on our list, primarily focused on productivity. However, it has a free plan for one person, a two-person minimum (as opposed to five), and is the most reasonably priced while still providing some great tools for employee monitoring. For example, while ActivTrak lets managers use the software for coaching, Hubstaff has a habit tracker so employees can coach themselves.
Hubstaff earned 3.89 out of 5 on our list. Its pricing is excellent, and it has a free plan. Because its time tracking tools include PTO and breaks, it alone earned a perfect score for time and productivity tools. Its lowest score was for security monitoring—but Hubstaff itself says this is not a focus, and it puts user privacy at the forefront. It has a 5 out of 5 on popularity with an average real-world-user score of 4.52 out of 5 (this was low-middle for those on our list).
Hubstaff Desk Pricing
Since Our Last Update:
Hubstaff has changed its plan offerings and pricing, with a new level and add-ons.
Hubstaff has a 14-day free trial and a free plan. It is one of the cheapest on our list, and it offers add-ons for more versatility. All paid plans have a two-person minimum—compare with others on the list that require a five-person minimum.
- Free (one person only): Time tracking, time sheets, activity levels, clients and invoices, limited screenshots, limited reports, limited payments, limited support
- Starter ($7/user/month): Free plan plus activity tracking, limited app and URL tracking, clients and invoices, email support
- Grow ($9/user/month): Starter plan plus Tasks add-on, reports, idle timeout, project budgets, work breaks, expenses, email support, one integration
- Team ($12/user/month): Grow plan plus Insights add-on, unlimited screenshots, unlimited app and URL tracking, auto discard idle time, teams, payments and payroll, unlimited integrations, time off and holidays, schedule and attendance, client budgets, time sheet approvals, daily and weekly limits
- Enterprise (custom pricing): All in Team plus VIP support, concierge setup, higher limits on the API, unlimited job sites, HIPAA compliance, SOC-2 Type II compliance, Hubstaff corporate app
- Tasks (starts at $3/user/month): Kanban view, timeline view, task comments, start/due dates, labels, and attachments
- Insights (starts at $2/user/month): Categorized work time, smart notifications, focus and meeting time, suspicious activity detection, behavioral insights, work time classification
- Data retention (starts at $2/user/month): Extend data retention to six years for time and activity data, calendar and limits, and finances
- Locations (starts at $4/user/month): Location tracking on mobile, job sites with geofencing, work orders, jobs
- Corporate app (starts at $3/user/month): Track time and activity in the background on company-owned devices, add new members through account provisioning, manage email notifications
Hubstaff Desk Features
- Privacy: Hubstaff is the least invasive of the apps on our list, as it does not record more than the most basic of information: time, apps, and movement of the mouse or keystrokes. Keystrokes themselves are never recorded. All features can be turned off. Employees have access to their own data and even screenshots. Of course, the flip side is it does not do security monitoring. For that, check out Teramind or InterGuard.
- Screenshots: Unlike the others on our list, Hubstaff takes screenshots in 10-minute blocks (usually three to a block), unless you disable the feature. Screenshots also include activity-level ratings based on keystrokes and mouse movements.
- Location tracking: Hubstaff lets you track where your employees have been during work hours through the mobile app. It’s a great tool for those with mobile employees, such as delivery services. We did not find anything similar in the other apps on our list. You can customize this feature to respect employee privacy.
- Habit tracker: Hubstaff’s habit tracker lets employees monitor themselves, setting goals and noting websites and activities that apply to the goal. It then tracks activities toward the goal. It alone on our list offered this tool.
- Mobile App: Hubstaffi’s improved mobile app works for time tracking (with geofencing), GPS tracking, project and task creation, and reports.
Kickidler: Best for Video Monitoring
- No live support
- No email or chat monitoring
- No checklists or PM tools for project management
What we like:
Whether you need real-time video monitoring to tackle efficiency issues or to catch a thief, we recommend Kickidler. It offers real-time monitoring of multiple screens at once and searchable recordings, where most only offer screenshots and alarms (though it has these, too). Further, its Autokick tool enables employees to monitor themselves, helping to improve efficiency without a watchdog. Finally, it alone allows complete remote access for maintenance and troubleshooting.
Kickidler earned 3.84 out of 5 on our list. Because it offers a free plan and reasonably priced paid plans, it earned a perfect score on pricing. It lacks project management tools and custom report features, and GPS tracking, which brought its scores down in several categories, especially reporting. However, it has a perfect 5 out of 5 for popularity, with an excellent real-world user score of 4.7 out of 5.
Like Hubstaff and ActivTrak, Kickidler has a free plan. It is the cheapest of those on our list, but like ActivTrak, only offers annual plans.
- Free plan (one user): Real-time monitoring, video recording, keylogger, updates
- Time Tracking ($2.75/user/month): Time tracking, time sheets, reports on web pages and apps, efficiency reports, work dynamics, automatic notifications, self-monitoring interface, free tech support, API, pre-configured list of 600 sites and apps
- Employee Monitoring ($5.50/user/month): Time Tracking plan plus visual monitoring, screen video recording, violation detection, keylogger, remote access
- DLP ($11/user/month): Time Tracking and Employee Monitoring plan plus behavior deviation detection, printed document tracing, clipboard monitoring, file operations monitoring and management, file transfer tracking and blocking, protection against photographing the screen, hidden watermarks, digital file prints, biometric data recognition, employee voice recognition, access restriction to external resources, software and hardware configuration monitoring, geolocation, IM and phone call interpretation, microphone audio recording, webcam screenshot capturing, web search monitoring, smart audio conversation analysis, smart keyboard analysis
- Live screen monitoring: Like Controlio, Kickidler lets you monitor one or more screens live in real time. Its Quad splitter lets you see the desktops of all employees in a grid at once, plus, you can arrange screens in groups to monitor specific employees or departments with greater attention. This is the only monitoring software we reviewed that specifically mentions this capability.
- Searchable video recording: Rather than recording based on an alarm or taking screenshots at regular intervals, Kickidler can set up continuous video recording, which it indexes and stores. You can search the video for keywords, such as a website or program, and go to that playback. We think it’s the best for this level of video capture.
- Remote access: In addition to monitoring, you can use Kickidler for remote access to any computer. While others like InterGuard or Teramind use this for stopping unwanted activity, Kickidler makes it possible to use this feature for remote support or maintenance of computers as well.
- Autokick: Like Controlio, Kickidler’s Autokick tool lets employees police themselves. In addition to violation notifications, it lets employees see analytics of their own productivity and can even let them set an alarm for idle time, games, and more.
Controlio: Best for Budget-conscious Businesses Needing Advanced Monitoring
- Integrations by API only
- No remote lockdown for lost laptops
- No project management or GPS tools
What we like:
Controlio is an inexpensive employee management software that offers a great range of features for employee monitoring, rivaling even Teramind and InterGuard. We especially like its alert and warning system because it can even alert the violator. This makes it great for the immediate enforcement of rules and helping employees police themselves. However, it does fall short on project management tools, like those found in Hubstaff and ActivTrak. Thus, we recommend it for budget-minded companies concerned not only with productivity but protecting intellectual property too.
Controlio scored 3.78 out of 5 in our evaluation, primarily because it lacks a free plan, custom report creation, and some project management and GPS tools. However, it scored very well for security monitoring features and ease of use. It’s well regarded by users, with an average user review score of 4.9 (over multiple third-party user review sites), which was the highest of those on our list.
Controlio has a free trial for 14 days for 10 users. Its plans all offer the same features but depend on where the data is stored.
- Cloud Plan: $7.99 per user monthly, five–10,000 employees, six months’ data storage
- On-Premise: Custom quote, 10–10,000 employees, unlimited data storage
- Private Cloud: Custom quote, 100–100,000 employees, unlimited storage
Since Our Last Update:
Controlio has added more options to its reports, such as productivity and activity scores in the Productivity report, as well as monitoring options for window titles and website URLs.
- Privacy: When needed, Controlio does have a stealth mode, which means there are no extra icons on your employees’ computers to tell them they are being actively monitored. However, it also lets you set hours when monitoring is disabled and create multiple profiles and apply them to different users or situations.
- Live video: If you choose, you can have continuous video monitoring of activity, even in real time. This is handy if there is an alert to suspicious activity. Simply click the display icon to the left of the username, and you’ll see exactly what’s on the user’s screen at that moment. Kickidler also has live screen monitoring.
- Protect intellectual property and client confidentiality: Controlio can show you who accessed what files and whether they copied, created, printed, or deleted them. Actions are linked to the video of the event. Like Teramind, you can also set rules to block activities or devices like flash drives. Its monitoring is HIPPA-compliant, making it a good choice for healthcare businesses.
- Alerts and warnings: With Controlio, you can set up alerts for behaviors you want immediate notification on. This could be something like accessing a social media site or inserting a USB drive into a protected computer. What we liked even more was that you can send a warning to the user that they are violating a policy. Teramind also has this feature.
Veriato: Best AI-driven Employee Management Software for Larger Businesses
- No live phone support
- No live video capture
- No GPS tracking
What we like:
We recommend Veriato for insider risk monitoring because of its AI-run behavioral and predictive analysis. It also has in-depth tools for email monitoring and network use, not only noting connections made by applications but also bandwidth. It can track and lock down lost or stolen computers and run in the background if needed.
Veriato ties with Controlio, with 3.78 out of 5. It’s the most expensive on our list after InterGuard and lacks a free plan. However, it has a perfect score for reporting and one of the highest for security monitoring. The lower user review scores, lack of integrations and live support, and lack of project management and GPS tracking reduced the scores of this excellent product.
Like InterGuard, it has an expensive starting price; however, unlike InterGuard, the more users you have, the lower the per-user price. It has two plans, both of which require a minimum of five users per month. It offers discounts for governments and nonprofits.
- Veriato Vision (Starting at $25/user/month): User activity monitoring, blocking, and reporting; screenshots; real-time alerts
- Cerebral (call for quote): Vision plan plus custom dashboards and alerts for audits or investigations, AI-powered behavior analysis and risk scoring, on-premise deployment option, enterprise-level onboarding, and implementation support
- AI-based behavior analysis: Veriato is the only software on our list that doesn’t just flag behavior as it happens, but also uses behavior analysis to identify unusual or risky behavior. Risk factors and signals can be compiled into a risk score to help identify potential problems.
- Email analysis: In addition to looking for alert keywords in emails or chats, it can identify opinions expressed in an email text to determine sentiment. This can help you identify at-risk workers or use it to find corroborative evidence or motive if an employee is caught doing something against policy.
- Stealth mode: Like others on our list, you can place Veriato to run in the background with no indication to the user that they are being monitored. As such, it can be used for investigations and audits. However, background analytics is not readily available unless it triggers an alert, and you need to activate Activity Detail mode to see data and screenshots. This helps protect user privacy.
- Remote Lockdown: While we did not find an ability to wipe lost or stolen computers, Veriato’s Remote Lockdown lets you remotely retrieve files, delete files, locate stolen laptops, and lockdown the device so that the machine cannot be used temporarily.
How We Evaluated Employee Monitoring Software
We considered over 35 of the best remote employee monitoring software tools and selected a variety to meet different needs. For example, some, like Hubstaff, focus on time tracking, while others, like Teramind, offer security tools for businesses with intellectual property to protect. We also looked at price, ease of use, and additional functionality.
The best overall was Teramind. It offered the most functionality, with high scores for security monitoring, time tracking, and reporting. It’s also reasonably and transparently priced, although it does not have a free plan.
Click through the tabs below for our full evaluation criteria:
20% of Overall Score
Here, we looked for a free option as well as affordable and transparent pricing. ActivTrak, Kickidler, and Hubstaff both had perfect scores, with InterGuard being the lowest scoring as it requires you to call for a quote.
25% of Overall Score
These are the basic employee monitoring tools and concern themselves with making sure an employee is doing assigned work during paid hours. We looked at dozens of time clock software and chose Hubstaff for this list because it has a perfect 5 out of 5 in this area.
25% of Overall Score
These get into the deeper aspects of employee monitoring: email and chat tracking, identifying and stopping threats, and even erasing hard drives if a laptop is lost or stolen. No one earned a perfect score here—though Controlio and Teramind both scored 4.75.
5% of Overall Score
As we often do, we look at the feedback from real-world users. Popularity considers review scores averaged over several reputable user review sites, particularly for SMBs. Kickidler, ActivTrak, and Hubstaff earned perfect scores here. Interguard had the lowest score with 1 out of 5.
10% of Overall Score
Reports are needed for tracking trends, and in the worst-case scenario, taking action against a bad employee. We consider types of reports and customizability. Veriato, Teramind, and InterGuard had actual custom report generation and thus got perfect scores. Kickidler got a 1.25 out of 5.
15% of Overall Score
We looked at interface, customer support, online guides, and dedicated help when compiling this score. There’s a bit of a learning curve for most of these, and most have chat support. Controlio, meanwhile, has ticketed support. Teramind, ActivTrak, and Hubstaff all earned 4.5 out of 5.
When using any kind of employee monitoring device, it’s important to know the laws in your state or country, as well as whether you are required to inform employees that they are being monitored. This is especially important in the European Union, where GDPR laws may prohibit some kinds of monitoring.
Many employees consider it an intrusion, particularly if they work from home. Even from home, however, their work and the data it produces are yours. Nearly all the software we examined had tools for respecting privacy, but it’s up to you to use them and ensure your employees understand they may be monitored.
Another use for the best screen monitoring software is to collect evidence for legal action against an employee. If you need reports that are admissible in court, consider Teramind, Veriato, Kickidler, or InterGuard.
Employee Monitoring Software Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
According to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, employers are allowed to monitor employee computers, for uses “in the normal course of his employment while engaged in any activity which is a necessary incident to the rendition of his service.” This includes emails and chats.
State laws may add some stipulations, so be sure to check before installing remote employee monitoring software on any computer. If you or your employee is not in the United States, then you must check the laws for that country or the European Union if applicable.
When used properly, employee monitoring software can help in several ways:
- Improving employee engagement and productivity: By tracking time spent on tasks, you can see who is working up to standard and who may need some counseling or assistance. With self-tracking, like what Kickidler offers, you can even let employees monitor themselves.
- Reduce time spent on unauthorized sites or activities: By setting alarms or using screenshots of activity, you can see who is spending time on sites that may be dangerous (like those known to install viruses) or simply time-sucks like social media. Most screen monitoring software also lets you designate what sites are okay for specific groups.
- Reduce temptation: When employees know they are being monitored, they are less likely to give in to the temptation to use company computers for non-business use, like online games. This is especially important for remote employees.
- Use for employee feedback: The top employee monitoring software includes reports that give you hard data to use when setting goals or discussing problem areas during performance reviews.
- Uncover criminal activity or actions that go against company policy: If you suspect foul play, the best employee monitoring software for small businesses can gather evidence that you can use for firing your employee or even filing criminal charges. Some have alarms to warn an employee if they are doing something unauthorized, thus preventing the problem.
While there are advantages to monitoring your employees, even the best remote employee monitoring software has its drawbacks. Some employees may resent the monitoring, while it may make others nervous. This can contribute to employee turnover, according to the Society of HR Management. The key, it says, lies in intent, the kind of data you’re tracking, and how you are using it. Transparency is also important, especially when the goal of monitoring is to improve employee performance.
First, you need to set up the software: creating groups and determining the rules as far as when to monitor, what sites are good, bad, or indifferent, and what alarms should be set. Then you install the software onto the employee’s computer. From there, the monitoring runs in the background.
You can arrange for certain people to get alerts about specific activities and get regular reports on overall stats like attendance, activity, timelines, web usage, and more.
If you are using employee monitoring software for productivity management, you will want to let your employees know. You may also need to have something in your employment contracts assenting to such monitoring.
First, understand your goals. For example, if your concern is only time tracking, then a time clock software may be a better fit. If you are concentrating on efficiency, then look for employee monitoring software that includes project and goal tracking or employee self-monitoring. If you are concerned about intellectual property theft or embezzlement, then you’ll want something that runs in the background and looks for file transfers as well as certain types of access.
Next, consider the level of invasiveness, whether you want live monitoring, alerts, or regular reports. If your team is remote, then you may want GPS or IP address tracking and the ability to take control of the computer to lockout or delete files.
Naturally, price is a consideration. Note also that some employee software services require annual contracts or a minimum number of employees.
As we continue toward a remote and hybrid workforce, employee monitoring software will continue to gain importance. While it may seem intrusive, the best programs are designed to respect off-hours privacy and offer tools that help employees improve productivity. Even more, they protect company computers and laptops from attack from disgruntled employees or if they are lost or stolen.
We found Teramind the best overall software for employee monitoring. It offers a broad range of monitoring features, extensive reports and analytics, and tools for reacting to threats. While a little more expensive than others on our list, it provides great value for a productivity- and security-conscious company. There’s a live demo on the website, or you can sign up for a free trial and jump right in.