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The remote workforce has become the new normal and is here to stay.
That’s why employee monitoring software is more important than ever before. I know what you’re thinking… “Maybe my employees think I’m spying on them…” And that’s a valid concern. But it’s just a tool for keeping an eye on key performance indicators for monitor staff.
These tools ensure that your entire team stays on-task and avoids distractions. Employee monitoring tools have features for security, time tracking, and even product management.
Overall, business owners and managers use monitoring software to gain deeper insights into how staff spends time at work. This offers improved ways to maximize the efficiency of your team.
We boiled down all the employee monitoring software we researched to a simple bitesize list below.
The Best Employee Monitoring Software Options to Consider:
- DeskTime – The best for time tracking
- Workpuls – The best employee monitoring software for simplicity
- Teramind – The best for large organizations
- Hubstaff – Best for productivity monitoring
- Toggl Track – Best background tracking tool
- iMonitorSoft – Best for insider threat protection
- OsMonitor – Best employee monitoring software for windows
When it Makes Sense to Invest Into Employee Monitoring Software
Any business that has employees working from computers can benefit from employee monitoring software. This holds true for traditional office environments and remote staff alike.
These tools monitor keystrokes, take screenshots, and track Internet usage. So it’s easy for managers to figure out if workers are actually working or spending time playing games and browsing social media.
As a result, management won’t have to walk around the office to see if employees are on-task. It’s also a great tool for managing a remote workforce.
To be clear, employee monitoring software isn’t designed to spy on your staff. Security and workflow productivity are also major components of these tools.
#1 – DeskTime Review — The Best For Time Tracking
As the name implies, DeskTime is an employee monitoring tool with a primary focus on time tracking.
They offer solutions for businesses of all shapes and sizes. So whether your organization has five employees, 50 employees, or staff numbers in the hundreds, this tool can accommodate your needs.
Even with a primary emphasis on time tracking, DeskTime has an extensive feature list with all of the tools you could possibly need to monitor your employees. Here’s a closer look at some of my favorites:
- URL tracking
- App tracking
- Document title tracking
- Automatic screenshots (based on your interval settings)
- Offline time tracking
- Project time tracking
- Cost calculation and project billing tools
One of my favorite features is the “private time” option. If enabled, this gives your employees the ability to do occasional tasks that are unrelated to work during office hours without feeling like they’re being spied on.
Plans start as low as $30 per month (includes five users). The cost per user decreases at scale. Try DeskTime for free with a 14-day trial.
#2 – Workpuls Review — The Best Employee Monitoring Software For Simplicity
If you’re looking for a simple employee monitoring solution, look no further than Workpuls. I like this tool because it removes the complexity from employee monitoring without eliminating crucial features.
This makes it easy for managers to track, analyze, and optimize their workforce.
The software can be used on both Windows and macOS devices. Whether you have in-house or remote employees, Workpuls will be a top choice to consider.
Here’s a closer look at its top features and benefits:
- Computer activity tracking
- Periodic or rules-based screenshots
- Verified attendance based on activity
- Built-in time tracking
- Automatic proof of work
- Project budgeting
- Detailed reports
- Automatic time-mapping
This all-in-one tool is also extremely affordable. Employee monitoring plans start at just $4.80 per employee per month. Try it free for 7 days.
#3 – Teramind Review — The Best For Large Organizations
Tamarind is an industry leader in the employee monitoring software space. They also have solutions for insider threat prevention, workplace productivity, data loss prevention, and much more.
This can ultimately become an all-in-one solution for your organization.
Teramind has a wide range of packages for you to choose from. From basic user activity monitoring to user behavior analytics and more, there’s a plan for everyone.
Here’s a look at some of the features and benefits offered by Teramind:
- Web page and application monitoring
- File transfer monitoring
- Email and instant message monitoring
- Keystroke and search monitoring
- Malicious behavior and insider threat detection
- Video and audio recording
- OCR for screen content
The software also comes with built-in productivity optimization as well. If you don’t want to feel like you’re spying on your staff, you can enable an option to only record screens when a violation occurs.
Teramind has both cloud and on-premises solutions. Cloud plans (7-day free trial) start at $10 per user per month with quantity discounts at 50+ users. On-premises plans (14-day free trial) start at $12.50 per endpoint per month, with discounts above 250 endpoints.
#4 – Hubstaff Review — Best For Productivity Monitoring
Hubstaff is a popular solution for time tracking and productivity monitoring. Businesses of all sizes can rely on this platform for taking screenshots of employee computers, managing timesheets, in-depth reporting, and more.
The software is trusted by 40,000+ businesses, including Groupon, Keller Williams Realty, Instacart, and the Los Angeles Clippers.
I like Hubstaff because there’s virtually no learning curve. The setup process is instant, and it’s easy for anyone to use.
Other top features include:
- App and URL tracking
- GPS tracking
- Online timesheets
- Work tracing with geofencing
- Project budgeting
- Productivity measurement
- 40+ seamless integrations
Overall, Hubstaff has less of a “Big Brother” feel than other platforms on the market. It’s all about enhancing productivity.
Plans start at just $7 per user per month. You’ll get two months for free when you sign up for annual billing. Try Hubstaff for free with a 14-day trial.
#5 – Toggl Track Review — Best Background Tracking Tool
Toggl Track is an excellent choice for remote employee monitoring. It’s used by 5+ million people worldwide.
The software can be leveraged for a wide range of use cases, including time tracking, reporting, project and revenue tracking, and team scheduling.
With Toggl Track, you easily enable background tracking. This feature automatically tracks every app or website that’s used for more than 10 seconds. That data gets turned into a timeline report.
The software makes it easy to integrate usage from the web, desktop, and mobile devices in one place. All entries get synced automatically.
Other top features and benefits of Toggl Track include:
- Calendar integration
- Time entry trigger suggestions
- 100+ app integrations
- Detailed weekly reports
- Profits vs. labor cost reporting
- Team dashboards
- Email tracking reminders
- Time audits
Overall, Toggl Track is extremely simple. It does lack some of the other features offered by other employee monitoring software on the market today. But it still has what you need for basic monitoring and reporting.
The software is free for up to five users, which is fine for basic use and really small teams. Paid plans start at $9 per user per month. Try it for free with a 30-day trial.
#6 – iMonitorSoft Review — Best For Insider Threat Protection
For those of you who want an employee monitoring tool with a primary emphasis on security, iMonitorSoft will be a top choice for you to consider.
The software is built for enterprises, educational institutions, and government organizations.
More than 25,000 companies rely on iMonitorSoft for employee monitoring. In addition to the security aspects of the software, it’s also a great way to boost productivity within an organization.
Here’s a closer look at why this solution ranks so high on my list:
- Automatically detect employee risk
- Real-time alerts
- Inappropriate behavior detection (copied files, deleted documents, etc.)
- Guaranteed data security
- 24/7 tech support
- Wide range of OS and network architecture support
iMonitorSoft is easy to deploy at scale. As with most enterprise-level solutions, pricing is not available online. Contact their sales team to request a quote.
#7 – OsMonitor Review — Best Employee Monitoring Software For Windows
OsMonitor is a bit unique compared to other tools on our list. The software is designed for network computer monitoring—specifically for Windows computers.
If you’re looking for on-site deployment on Windows devices in your office, OsMonitor should be on your shortlist.
Here’s a quick overview of the features and capabilities you’ll have with OsMonitor:
- Block games and apps unrelated to work
- Block websites based on URLs and keywords
- Block USB ports, large downloads, and modified IP addresses
- Real-time alerts
- Remote access to employee desktops
- Remote start and reset
- Document management tools
Overall, OsMonitor is a solution for employee monitoring and network management bundled into a single software. The website itself is a little dated, but the software is still reliable.
Unlike other tools on our list, OsMonitor licenses can be bought as a single purchase—no ongoing monthly or annual fees. The basic version starts at $99 and includes five computer licenses.
Download a 10-day free trial to try it out.
Methodology For Choosing The Best Employee Monitoring Software
There are tons of different employee monitoring solutions available on the market today. But the tools in this category are not created equally. To find the right one for you and your business, it’s crucial that you understand what’s actually important to consider.
These are the factors that you should be evaluating as you’re shopping around and narrowing down your options:
The number of employees or devices that you’re monitoring will play a large role in the software you choose. There are certain tools on the market that are built for small teams, while other solutions are designed to accommodate SMBs and enterprises.
In addition to the number of employees you’ll be monitoring, the physical location of your staff must be considered as well. Is everyone in one office? Are they spread across multiple offices? Do you have remote employees?
The answer to these questions will determine if you need software with cloud or on-site deployment.
Monitoring and Blocking
As the name implies, monitoring features are obviously a large component of employee monitoring software. But the way this gets accomplished will vary from software to software.
Look for features like website tracking, application tracking, keylogging, screenshots, video recordings, and live feeds of employee monitors. Do you want to know what your staff is doing in real-time? Or do you want to go back and check at a later time?
You should also look for software with content blocking capabilities. This can help you prevent your staff from accessing sites and content that’s unrelated to work. Some tools allow you to set time restrictions on when certain sites can be visited. For example, you could potentially lift bans on social media sites during lunch breaks or after work hours.
Notifications and Reporting
The best employee monitoring software makes life easy for managers. Rather than proactively spending your entire day glued to a screen keeping an eye on your team, you can just set up alerts.
For example, let’s say one of your employees tries to download a malicious document or tries to access a blocked site. The software can send you an alert in-real time about these events.
You can also review reports on a regular basis that give you an in-depth analysis of your employee’s habits. These reports should be easy to read with lots of helpful visuals.
Employee monitoring software should be easy to use. The software itself shouldn’t be a distraction to your team. In fact, they should be behaving as if the software isn’t even there.
As for management, everything should be available from an intuitive dashboard. From here, you can access reports, view real-time information, set up alerts, and everything else. Avoid solutions that are rigid and have a poor UX design. The best way to test the usability of a platform is by taking advantage of any free trials and demos offered by the software provider.
As I’ve said before, not every employee monitoring tool is the same.
Some put more emphasis on real-time monitoring, while others prioritize workflow, time tracking, or enhanced security. There are even tools out there branded as an all-in-one solution.
What are you trying to gain the most from your employee monitoring tool? If it’s just time tracking, you can probably save some money and get software that specializes in that category, as opposed to a complete software with every feature under the sun.
There are lots of great options for employee monitoring available on the market today.
Which one is the best? It depends on your specific needs.
The recommendations reviewed in this guide will be the best place for you to start. I made sure to include something for everyone. Follow the methodology described above to help narrow down your options and find the best employee monitoring software for your business.