14 Best Employee Monitoring Software Tools for 2021

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February 23, 2021

Hi! You found our list of helpful employee monitoring software tools.

Employee monitoring software are programs employers use to measure remote employee’s productivity. These programs often include features such as random screenshots, keystroke logging, idle time alerts, and internet usage reports. The purpose of these tools is to improve workplace productivity and employee accountability, as well as protect intellectual property and reduce liability.

These apps are similar to time tracking software and contribute to managing remote teams.

This list includes:

  • free employee monitoring tools
  • open source employee monitoring software
  • employee monitoring systems
  • employee monitoring apps

And more.

Here is everything you need to know.

List of employee monitoring software

Here is a list of the best tools to monitor remote employee performance and productivity.

1. Workpuls

Workpuls is one of the most popular employee monitoring systems. It combines employee monitoring, time tracking, and automatic time mapping into a single platform. Monitoring features include computer activity logging, regular or activity-triggered screenshots, and verified attendance tracking. The software offers real-time monitoring, plus a stealth mode that enables employers to view employee’s activities unseen. Plus, administrators can designate programs as productive or nonproductive. Workpuls also offers bosses a dashboard that displays the collective productivity of the entire team, and runs reports.

Learn more about Workpuls.

2. Teramind

Teramind bundles staff monitoring features with data loss prevention and user analytics. The program has robust security and audit tools that ensure work from home employee devices stay compliant with regulations like HIPPA and API. Reports are customizable, meaning managers can focus on individuals, teams, or departments, and can view specific behaviors such as social media usage or project work. The program sends personalizable alerts to ensure employees follow procedure and stay on task. The software includes screen recording functionality and permits playback of captured videos. Teramind also has capabilities to monitor the actions of privileged users, as well as access from third parties. This platform is ideal for industries with highly-sensitive data, such as financial services, government, and healthcare.

Learn more about Teramind.

3. ActivTrak

ActivTrak is a time-tracking tool with productivity monitoring features. Highlights include daily summaries of individual and team productivity, insights on top performer behavior, and customizable app or website usage limits. The platform’s reports include helpful charts and graphs that make it easy to notice troublespots like bottlenecks and workflow interruptions. ActivTrak’s mission is to improve coaching and employee engagement best practices within remote workspaces.

Learn more about ActivTrak.

4. KickKidler

KickKidler is a personnel monitoring tool that combines online computer observation with timekeeping. The program uses standard employee monitoring functions such as keylogging, screen video recording, and computer history. Like many similar tools, the platform offers work time productivity analyses and regular reports. One of KickKidler’s distinguishing features is the Autokick function, a self-monitoring interface that sends employees alerts and gives access to time usage statistics to boost self-motivation and self-discipline. The program also offers remote PC access, and has applications for online classrooms too.

Learn more about KickKidler.

5. Interguard

Interguard is one of the most robust employee monitoring software tools. The platform’s uses include personnel monitoring and activity tracking, data theft and fraud protection, internal investigations and compliance assurance, and website blocking. Noteworthy features include employee cell phone monitoring software that tracks worker activity on company mobile devices, and word alerts that notify employers about potentially concerning communications. Interguard also offers recording, review, and reporting functions that make it easy to view and interpret collected employee data.

Learn more about Interguard.

6. Hubstaff

Hubstaff is a time tracking and reporting platform that also includes employee monitoring capabilities. The program keeps tabs on keyboard and mouse activity and lists app and URL visits. Plus, the tool enables optional screen grabs you can use to facilitate interruption-free progress updates. Hubstaff’s mobile platform makes it easy to gauge team productivity at a glance. The program’s geofenced time clock app also contributes towards more accurate timesheets. The interface also includes employee scheduling software. Hubstaff serves as an all-in-one tool that consolidates multiple parts of projects.

Learn more about Hubstaff.

7. Cerebral

Cerebral is an insider-threat-detection tool and employee tracking platform. The program includes web, email, and chat activity tracking, as well as keystroke logging, geolocation, and network information. Notable features include an AI psycholinguistic analysis of employee communications that can alert employers to dissatisfaction, and behavior anomaly detection that can alert administrators to potential hacks. Cerebral’s design favors quick risk detection and rapid response, keeping companies safe from both internal and external threats.

Learn more about Cerebral.

8. Controlio

Controlio is a cloud-based employee surveillance tool that tracks staff activity multiple ways. The program records behaviors like printing and file creating or editing so that you can track access and prevent intellectual property violations. Through keyloggers, screenshots, and video recording, the platform captures and stores employee activity in a searchable database. Controlio also offers robust reporting with highlights such as productivity scores, breakdowns by session or activity, and automatically generated emails of time spent. The software is customizable, and you can set rules or alerts for individual users.

Learn more about Controlio.

9. Time Doctor

Beyond being an efficient time tracking software, Time Doctor also functions as one of the better employee monitoring apps. The program includes screen monitoring functions and records app and website usage. It tracks project hours and miscellaneous work time, as well as breaks, so you can ensure that your remote crew does not underwork or overwork. The software sends triggered alerts to keep employees from straying from assigned tasks. Time Doctor has integrations with major project management tools like Trello, Slack and Asana, and is also accessible on all mobile devices.

Learn more about Time Doctor.

10. SoftActivity Monitor

SoftActivity Monitor is a computer monitoring tool that automatically gathers and stores user activity. The program is available for both in-office workstations and remote work devices, and has a simple dashboard that makes it easy to switch between multiple users. Basic monitoring capabilities such as attendance screenshots, lists of visited websites, and keystroke loggers come standard. The software can also send automated alerts, periodic reports, and instant notifications of distracting behavior. Plus, there is a stealth mode that enables employers to observe work habits undetected. SoftActivity Monitor records and files user behavior so that administrators can easily reference proof of concerning activity.

Learn more about SoftActivity Monitor.

11. Monitask

Monitask enables employers to track employees, with the worker’s consent. Users log in and manually start a stopwatch to indicate that a project is in progress. As long as the clock is active, businesses can collect proof of work through means such as screenshots, activity level tracking, and app and internet usage monitoring. The program also enables offline time entry options that records time even on unstable internet connections. Monitask also includes reporting features and automatic timesheets. This option is ideal for companies that prioritize operational transparency, personal accountability, and trust in staff, as well as organizations that often work with freelancers.

Learn more about Monitask.

12. WorkTime

WorkTime is one of the better free employee monitoring tools. The program does not involve invasive monitoring features like keystroke loggers, screenshots of sensitive documents, or records of chats. WorkTime is HIPPA compliant and tracks employee activity without endangering company privacy. The program detects idle time, website usage, and tracks attendance. The free version of the software supports up to three employees, and the paid cloud version starts at around five dollars per month per employee.

Learn more about WorkTime.

13. RescueTime

RescueTime has a gentler, more employee-centric approach than many other employee monitoring software tools. The program has a distraction-blocker feature that enables users to blacklist time-sucking websites for set amounts of time. Updates and alerts congratulate employees for staying focused, or warn when they have been idle for long stretches of time. Users can click buttons to designate time spent in meetings, calls, or breaks, and can access time-spent data at a glance. Separate from the software solution, RescueTime also offers a four-week online course that helps employees develop more productive habits.

Learn more about RescueTime.

14. eHour

eHour is a free open source employee monitoring software that includes timesheet management tools. The program has commenting and reporting capabilities including per-day or monthly reports, as well as aggregates of time spent per customer or per project, and individual user breakdowns. All reports are exportable to excel. The software is free and easy to use, and since it is web-based, minimal install and tech support is necessary. eHour includes basic worker monitoring features such as idle time tracking, screen activity monitoring, and emailable alerts.

Learn more about eHour.

Conclusion

With the rise of remote work, employee monitoring tools are in more demand than ever. Since managers cannot physically watch telecommuters’ workspaces, organizations want to ensure that employees work the hours they claim. Beyond verifying workers’ honesty, these tools help keep employees on task in the loosely structured work-from-home environment.

By using this software, managers can observe remote employees’ workflows and ensure that staff does not overwork or spend too much time on nonessential tasks. Without these systems, supervisors can only measure productivity through self-reporting, and remote employees often hesitate to admit struggles with time management. Monitoring software enables managers to pinpoint issues and offer employees support.

Software may not be a great fit for every virtual work environment or position. However, the platforms can aid distributed managers and employees in keeping remote work spaces productive and secure.

Next, check out our list of tips for successful virtual teams and this one on project management tools.

FAQ: FAQ: Employee monitoring software 

Here are answers to common questions about employee monitoring software.

What are employee monitoring tools?

Employee monitoring tools are computer programs that enable employers to track remote employees’ activities using tactics like random screenshots, idle time alerts, and keyloggers. Organizations most commonly use these platforms to ensure virtual employees are staying focused when working remotely, however some companies also use these tools on in-office devices. The purpose of these programs is to ensure employees avoid wasting time and stay on task. Employee monitoring software also safeguards sensitive data and prevents intellectual theft of proprietary information.

What is the difference between employee monitoring software and time tracking software?

Time tracking software logs hours for payroll and invoicing purposes, while employee monitoring software tracks activity to verify claims of hours worked. Some programs include both functions, while some tools strictly perform one function or the other.

Is employee monitoring software legal?

In the United States, the use of employee monitoring software is generally legal for business purposes. Many remote workers use company computers when working remotely, and work from home policies often prohibit personal use of these devices. Software makers design programs with regulations in mind. This post is not legal advice, and you should consult a lawyer for your specific needs. Organizations can also refer to United States employee monitoring laws to confirm which actions are allowable.

Should I use employee monitoring software for my remote team?

Employee monitoring software may or may not be a good fit for your organization. If you work in fields with highly sensitive information such as government, healthcare, or finance, then the software’s security capabilities can help keep your virtual workspace secure and compliant.

In general, there is not only a question of if you should use employee monitoring tools, but also how you should use them. Trust is a large component of remote work. Demanding that telecommuters prove their productivity by running employee monitoring software may seem like an ideal solution. However, feeling mistrusted and micromanaged can actually decrease productivity and employee morale. Not to mention, there can be ebbs and flows in efficiency from day to day, and demanding consistency in performance can add undue pressure.

Rather than use monitoring software in a punitive manner, use it as a diagnostic tool to pinpoint workflow weaknesses. Instead of disciplining employees for distractions and digressions, coach them to optimize their efficiency. Some employees are grateful for the structure and accountability these platforms provide, since working remotely requires great levels of self-discipline.

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Author: Angela Robinson

Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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