For many companies, employee tracking programs have become a necessity to ensure good workflow and protect their business in a number of ways. This software isn’t just for employers and managers who distrust their workers and want to make sure they’re doing their job. It’s great for collecting data and finding new, better ways to optimize your workflow while keeping safe from potential threats. If you think your company could benefit from such a system, feel free to scroll through our handpicked selection of the best employee monitoring software solutions on the market. We’re certain that you’ll find a perfect match.
- Compatible with various devices
- Constantly updated
- Free limited version
- Colorful dashboard reporting
- Single sign-in
- Automatic security risk recognition
- Stealth mode
- Proactive protection
- Customizable dashboard
- Can capture up to four screens
- White-label report sharing
- 40+ integrations
Is Tracking Software Legal?
This is a burning question for both employers and employees, especially at a time when working out of the office is such a popular option. Employers need to find a way to control the productivity of their workforce without compromising their right to privacy. As always, the law is a bit vague in this area, but we’ll try to shed some light on it.
Let’s start with the basics. No matter what kind of software is being used for monitoring employees, the employer has no right to track the employee’s location, listen in to their calls, or record through the computer camera. Even if the person is using a company computer, the law considers this type of eavesdropping an illegal action. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) prohibits the interception of communication, while the Stored Communications Act (SCA) protects any stored information including calls, messages, and videos.
Federal and State Laws
That being said, the employer has the right to keep track of the employee’s activity while they’re on the clock. The manager can be monitoring your screen, tracking keystroke history, or even listening to conversations. The problem is that there are no restrictions or boundaries with the employee tracking systems in use. It’s up to the employer’s discretion to decide whether they’ll use computer spy software to shadow employees or not. Aside from federal law, there are also state laws that can have specific regulations about this type of monitoring. Some states like Delaware and Connecticut require the employer to officially notify the employee that their user activity is being tracked with the help of the software.
So, where is the boundary between standard employee tracking and privacy invasion? In most cases, it comes down to employers’ own moral codes and pre-made agreements with workers. The unions can also play a huge role in establishing fair working conditions. The majority of popular solutions clearly define their functions so both employers and employees know what to expect.
To figure out which one of these programs is the absolute best the market has to offer, we’ve come up with a special set of criteria. Here is what we take into consideration:
First of all, we focus on the main purpose of these software solutions - to track employees and monitor their progress and efficiency. Does the program function as spyware, allowing you to monitor daily activities of your employees, or is it screenshot-based employee computer monitoring software that doesn’t look over your shoulder constantly? Does the software track all the keystrokes or just monitor general activity? Do you have live access to the screen at any time? Can you enable notifications or restrict access to social media sites? These are just some of the questions we ask on our quest to find the best surveillance software.
Ease of Use
The next item on the list concerns the program’s general interface and the ease of use. At this point, we take a look at how the software works to see if you’ll need to spend days flipping through the manual or if you can learn on the go. Some of these programs work stealthily and can only be turned on from the employer’s side. Other options focus on transparency and allow employees to control when and how much they work. Depending on whose side the interface is on, you can expect various functionalities, but neither party should feel overwhelmed. There’s no point in having an abundance of options if you only need one on a regular basis.
Freelancers often depend on computer logging software to prove that they’ve done the necessary work for their remote employers. That’s why it’s important that the program offers a simple and quick invoicing feature that can reliably take note of all time entries. Businesses, on the other hand, often rely on this software to calculate hours worked and enable automatic billing. We check to see how many of these functionalities are available and how difficult it is to set it all up. On the other hand, payroll management should also take into consideration employees who work for a fixed salary.
What happens to the collected data? Does the employee activity monitoring software transform the available information into useful graphs? One of the main goals of these programs is to increase productivity, and the best way to do it is through analysis. Understanding employees’ habits, activity levels, and organizational skills can let you find room for improvement. It all depends on how much information you get from these programs and how organized the data is. We check to see whether it’s just a wall of text that you have to dig through or if reading the results is easy and intuitive.
Since monitoring tools for remote employees are constantly evolving and encountering new challenges, it’s vital to have a dedicated team of professionals who have your back. We check to see how good the customer support is, how quickly staff members solve your issues, and how easy it is to reach them. There’s a range of factors that need to come together to ensure complete customer satisfaction. In addition to agents being available through numerous channels, we also expect an extensive knowledge base with frequently asked questions to help you deal with the problems yourself.
Of course, we can’t forget the financial aspect of it all. Before we can recommend you the ultimate employee work monitoring software, we have to tackle the pricing plans and see what they have to offer. Well-known, reputable companies will often give you a trial mode or a free version of the program with limited options. While most developers require subscriptions, there are some that settle for a one-time fee or are willing to negotiate the price outside of the offer. In any case, we will show you the lowest number possible, tell you about the most popular deals, and present you with the most enticing offers.
Best Workplace Monitoring Software: A Quick Rundown
- Time Doctor
Employee Monitoring Software Reviews
- ⦿ Offline mode
- ⦿ Adding manual time
- ⦿ GPS tracking
Hubstaff is among the most popular workplace monitoring software solutions on the internet. The company has been around since 2012 and has relatively quickly become a paragon for the niche. More demanding users might dub it a rudimentary tool, but Hubstaff’s glowing reviews and spotless reputation confirm it’s still at the very top. There are multiple subscription types corresponding to different needs of companies, including an extremely simplified free version that acts like a never-ending trial mode. Let’s get up close and personal to see exactly what it has to offer.
First off, we’ll turn our attention to the interface and the general feel of the Hubstaff app. The computer activity monitor tool is extremely simple from the employee’s side. All you need to do is select the project you’d like to start, along with any predefined tasks, and press the play button. The counter clearly displays the hours worked and minimizes into your system tray to free up space on your desktop. Most of the basic functions can be accessed by right-clicking the counter in the tray, which is extremely convenient and fast. From time to time, you will need to spend a few seconds to update the app, but most of the time it’s quick and painless.
While you use the desktop app to monitor the employee computer, all of the data is stored safely on the cloud and can be accessed through the official website. Administrators can see all of the users, their hours, activity, and Hubstaff screenshots. These privileges can also be shared with other users, so you can create an entire management team with full access. Additionally, it is possible to assign special viewer roles to users with read-only permissions. Regular employees can also check their own statistics, find Hubstaff tasks, and measure their progress. In that sense, the software is rather transparent and straightforward.
Hubstaff is far from perfect. Every now and then, you can expect some bugs, lost time entries, and problems with the counter. It’s generally not a huge concern, but it’s worth mentioning that you can’t rely purely on the numbers 100% of the time.
The Hubstaff pricing system is fair and affordable. The simplest version of the tool comes free of charge and only works for one user. The plan lets you keep track of how many hours you’ve worked and calculates your activity levels based on your keystrokes and clicks. This employee productivity software also includes random screenshots and a basic form of payroll management.
If you want to upscale your business and save as much as possible, you can go with the annual subscription plan that will cost you $5.83 per user per month. The plan comes with two free months, customized preferences for every user, and integration with one application like Slack. For a little bit more ($8.33 a month) you can unlock dozens of other features to help you out with payroll, monitoring, and integrations. This is the most popular package – and for good reason. Finally, the Enterprise plan costs $16.67 per month but doesn’t exactly bring that much to the table. Essentially, it just gives you a helping hand and VIP support.
- ⦿ Real-time reactions
- ⦿ Blurred screenshots option
- ⦿ Pop-ups for employees
There’s a fine line between keeping track of employees and blatantly spying on them. ActivTrak puts a lot of effort into providing a quality monitoring service that will not make your employees feel uncomfortable. This tool gives you plenty of options that actually focus on increasing performance. Let’s see how it all works.
The main part of the tracking software is the ActivTrak agent, which monitors and uploads data to the cloud storage. It can recognize security risks and take screenshots that are sent directly to the administrator. So, for example, if the system detects a suspicious activity where an employee tries to transfer data to a USB, you will immediately be notified. You can include a list of websites that will be blocked from the computer, like Facebook, Instagram, or even Gmail. Unfortunately, the staff tracking software doesn’t offer any way to partially block sites; it’s all or nothing. Once you do it, your employees won’t be able to access the\ose sites on their computer even after working hours.
The data in the dashboard is presented clearly and colorfully through various charts that can be customized using filters. You can see which websites the users visit, and you can act upon potential security threats. Because the workplace laws are so vague, it’s not a bad idea to take a couple of precautions with this type of software. ActivTrak.com gives you the option of creating blurred screenshots so that you can see what websites are visited but not their actual content. Reviews praise this functionality for establishing a healthy employer-employee relationship. The program even sends alerts and pop-ups to employees when they make a mistake or attempt to access something forbidden.
The program works on both MacOS and Windows devices. The app for ActivTrak is also available, but it can’t be used as a monitoring tool, which is a huge downside. If your business happens to depend on employees using their business mobile phones, they won’t be able to sign in to ActivTrak on them. The main purpose of the application is to give administrators remote access to reports and analytics. There is a good chance this functionality will be upgraded in the future.
ActivTrak’s software comes in two forms: a freemium option with limited functionality and an advanced subscription costing you $7.20 per month. The ActivTrak pricing page lists out all the features in a table to help you make the comparison. Basically, with the subscription, you’ll be able to secure your access through Google sign-in and 2FA, get advanced reporting and integrations, take multiple screenshots, and enjoy regular security audits. In many ways, the free version simply doesn’t let you explore the full functionality of this computer surveillance software. You’re much better off trying out a demo and seeing if it works for you.
- ⦿ Remote access
- ⦿ Keyword triggers
- ⦿ On-premise option
InterGuard is undoubtedly a powerful tool with numerous features that will keep your business safe and your employees in order. However, whether or not this is the right program for your company depends a lot on your workplace policies and any arrangements you’ve made beforehand. For all intents and purposes, InterGuard functions as spyware. Unless you explicitly tell them, your employees won’t know what’s hiding in their computer, so you should put some thought into it. Here’s what it looks like in practice.
The setup process is quick and uncomplicated. The installation wizard leads you through it step by step and reminds you to remove the files and delete browser history at the very end.
InterGuard does not provide employee notifications, but it has the capabilities to actively prevent users from engaging in suspicious activities. If your employee tries to access an unsafe website, Interguard can stop them and send you a notification.
The same goes for high-risk programs, USB storage devices, or email clients. It is this proactive approach that separates the software from the majority of the competition. You can even get special alerts based on keywords or trigger complete device lockdown to protect sensitive files. Companies that rely on high security can definitely benefit from this program. InterGuard software can work on all devices, so it doesn’t matter if your employees use Macs, PCs, tablets, or mobile phones. Their data will be protected even when they’re on the go.
The customizable dashboard is the biggest people-pleaser. InterGuard collects huge amounts of diverse data and lets you organize reports according to your specific needs. While this sounds like a feature created specifically with advanced users in mind, it’s actually fairly simple. There is a setup wizard helping you through the process, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
There are two main InterGuard pricing plans available as well as the free trial version. It lasts seven days, gives you a handful of limited features, and operates only in the visible mode. The paid cloud-based subscription will cost you $9 a month per user and unlock all of the features. If you want a bit more protection with the software located in your own data center, you’ll have to contact the provider for a custom enterprise quote.
Time DoctorVISIT WEBSITE
- ⦿ Video screen captures
- ⦿ Employee pop-up notifications
- ⦿ Custom activity level measurement
One of Time Doctor’s biggest strengths is definitely its simplicity. Instead of overwhelming you with features and special functionalities, the program does a good job of tracking time, presenting the data, and setting up payrolls. This is the reason why Time Doctor can find its place in most industries and different working arrangements. It works well with digital nomads and traditional companies alike. Let’s see what it looks like.
First of all, Time Doctor works with all types of devices, which automatically gives it the edge over at least a couple of hard competitors. The employee monitoring service offers the same functionality on mobile phones as it does on tablets and computers. The desktop app has only a couple of elements and has no learning curve; you simply choose the project/task you want and start the clock. The software can also be accessed through a Chrome extension, but users have generally assessed this as a less reliable option.
In order to see details about gathered data or defined projects, you need to visit the dashboard via a web browser. Administrators can see working hours, time entries, screenshots, and activity levels for all team members. Screenshots are only taken during working hours to avoid any potential privacy invasion issues. The reports are fairly basic and can be arranged by client, project, or individual task. Interestingly, the software also gives you the option to share this data with your clients – free of charge – as white-label reports. If you have a couple of projects going, clients will only see their own.
Time Doctor software uses keystrokes and clicks to calculate employee activity during set periods. You can choose when this happens – from every three minutes to every hour. Screenshots are captured randomly within the timeframe to avoid users misusing the system. Unlike some other programs, Time Doctor can capture up to four monitors, so nothing can escape its gaze. This employee PC monitoring software also includes slightly annoying pop-ups that remind the user to keep working if they drift away for too long.
There are dozens of useful integrations you can apply to make your software even more efficient. It’s important to note that Time Doctor also gives you a simple and straightforward payroll management feature. You can set up fixed payments or allow the app to perform automatic calculations based on hours worked.
Time Doctor pricing plans start at $7 a month for the Basic subscription, which comes with only the essential features. It comes with a seven-day employee computer monitoring software free trial mode that doesn’t require a credit card. The Standard package costs $10 a month and unlocks integrations and payroll management. Finally, the Premium plan adds the option of white-label report sharing and video screen captures.
The easiest and safest way to monitor your employee’s computer is with certified, reliable employee tracking software. It is important that you use a reputable program to ensure you’re not going beyond the call of duty and invading your workers’ privacy. Some of the most popular monitoring solutions on the market are created with companies in mind, and their features reflect that. Despite the fact that the law is fairly loose when it comes to employees’ rights, you should still follow a personal moral code and create a safe work environment for both yourself and your employees.
Some of the most popular solutions on the market include Hubstaff, ActivTrak, InterGuard, and Time Doctor. There are dozens of high-quality options on the web, so it can boil down to a matter of personal preference and a need for specific features. For example, Hubstaff is great for activity management, but it doesn’t offer keystroke logging. InterGuard can offer advanced blocking functions but operates like spyware most of the time. ActivTrak is a freemium service, which means you get the basics but have to subscribe if you want more users and more useful features.
The first thing you should do is ask yourself why you would want to fool the monitoring software in the first place. If you feel that your employer is invading your privacy beyond standard work practices, you should have a talk to them or make a complaint to someone higher up the ladder. You can even consider quitting your job. However, if these options don’t work for you and you need to trick the software, there are a couple of things you can do. You can use an auto-clicker to keep your screen active at all times, or opt for remote access software where only the virtual device is being monitored. Ultimately, you can try to block the spy software with your firewall.
Under the law, your employer is allowed to use employee monitoring tools to check up on you while you’re on the clock. Generally there are no restrictions on a federal level, but individual states may include their own regulations. For example, more and more states are demanding that the employer notifies the employee that the system monitoring software is in use. In any case, this is more a matter of common decency and professionalism. Even though there’s no legal obligation, the employer should still tell their workers about these ground rules.
No matter what kind of software or overpowered spyware they installed on your work computer, employers don’t have the right to eavesdrop on your personal conversations or spy on you in your home. It is a privacy violation that’s punishable by law. However, if you’re on the clock and using a company computer, the employer can monitor your activity and browsing history, or take screenshots and use various other methods for monitoring internet activities. Most of the time, however, you will be notified of this in person or through internal communication systems.