12 employee monitoring software options to choose from

Līva Spandega 10.08.2022
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Employee monitoring software – 12 tools to choose from

Many company owners and managers have lately found themselves looking at the possibility of introducing employee monitoring software into their work lives. But why is that? The COVID-19 pandemic has been a major factor affecting pretty much all areas of our lives, and among the things that changed, we also found our work habits shifting. Many of us switched from working in an office to remote work from home. This has affected managers too, who now are figuring out how to keep up with what their teams are doing without being able to check in on everyone at their desks.

As a result, many have turned to employee monitoring apps; they let you keep an eye on your team remotely and, in fact, can be much less intrusive than those check-ins at someone’s desk. Now, when we’re moving out of the worst parts of the pandemic, the trend towards remote and hybrid work environments is not just sticking around – it’s getting increasingly more prominent. Research and surveys show that by the end of 2022, 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote. Employees now expect a lot more flexibility in this regard from their companies.

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Considering the expectations employers and employees have for one another, managers have to figure out ways to keep everyone happy while ensuring that the quality of work does not suffer.

This is where employee monitoring software comes in – so what is it, and what does it do?

Employee monitoring tools track what everyone is doing on their computers throughout the day. The app records what kind of programs and websites your team visits throughout the day and what projects and tasks they work on. They can measure your employees’ productivity and effectiveness and do much more. There are many different tools on the market with just as many features, so the question you need to decide is – which tool will be the best for you and your team?

To help you with the research process, we’ve put together a list of 12 employee monitoring software options you can compare, check out, and possibly use for your team. So let’s dig in!

12 employee monitoring software options to consider

  1. DeskTime
  2. Hubstaff
  3. Clockify
  4. ActivTrak
  5. Toggl Track
  6. Insightful
  7. TimeCamp
  8. QuickBooks Time
  9. Timely
  10. Time Doctor
  11. Teramind
  12. Monitask

1. DeskTime

DeskTime

Well, let’s start with DeskTime! We may be a little biased here, of course, but we think it strikes the perfect balance between monitoring what your employees are up to and doing it in an employee-friendly way. Plus, the app provides not just features that can help you know what your team is doing – there’s lots of value for the team members themselves too. That’s because the main focus of DeskTime is to increase productivity. By working smarter, not harder and longer, you can get more done, and DeskTime provides you with the insights to make this a reality.

DeskTime is an automatic time tracker that logs everything you do on your computer during the work day, analyzes your productivity, and helps you see where the time goes. On top of that, the app also has a whole host of project and team management features that can make the organization of your team’s work smoother.

One of the best things about DeskTime is that all of the tracking is done automatically – you don’t need to worry about turning the tracker on or off because it starts working the moment you turn on the computer. It gathers the data unobtrusively, and whenever you feel like checking in on how you or your team are doing, you can go to the Dashboard for the real-time statistics.

Notable features:

  • URL & App tracking: DeskTime logs each app and website you visit and calculates down to the second the amount of time you spend there; apps and websites are classified as productive/unproductive/neutral, which determines your productivity percentage. 
  • Document title tracking: see if your team has already started working on a specific project.
  • Project tracking: see how projects are progressing by tracking how much work goes into them by assigning the tracked time to particular projects and tasks (a bonus – DeskTime integrates with various project management tools, such as Jira, Asana, and GitLab, to make project tracking even more seamless). 
  • Screenshots: an optional feature for extra certainty that your employees are doing what they’re supposed to do (you can keep the screenshots blurred to ease your team’s minds about privacy). 
  • Private time: let your employees know that if they need to take care of some personal matters during work hours, they can switch on Private time, which stops all tracking until turned off.
  • Pomodoro timer: the app sends regular reminders to take breaks throughout the work day – make sure your team doesn’t suffer burnout and promote a healthy life-work balance.

Pricing:

  • Lite – free (1 user only)
  • Pro – $7 per user/month ($6.42 user/month with the annual subscription)
  • Premium – $10 per user/month ($9.17 user/month with the annual subscription)
  • Enterprise – $20 per user/month ($18.33 user/month with the annual subscription)

Free trial: 14 days

2. Hubstaff

Hubstaff

Hubstaff is another great tool that can help monitor your team, especially when dealing with remote employees. This employee monitoring software offers various features, from computer activity tracking to productivity analysis and screenshots. Additionally, you can set up location tracking if your team has to travel to different work sites. Hubstaff offers three different product packages that you can compare and choose the best one for your team. The first one, Hubstaff Time, covers the more basic time tracking needs; the second, Hubstaff Desk, offers more advanced monitoring and team management tools; the third one, Hubstaff Field, includes the previously mentioned GPS tracking.

Notable features:

  • App and URL usage: Hubstaff tracks which applications and websites your team uses and how much time is spent on each.
  • Screenshots: an optional feature that lets you take a closer look at what your employees are doing during work hours. 
  • Achievement badges: when employees reach certain thresholds (number of hours worked, for example), they can receive a badge for their achievement, fostering healthy competition among your team.

Pricing: 

  • Hubstaff Time and Hubstaff Desk:
    • Free plan for 1 user only
    • Starter – $7 per user/month ($5.83 with the annual subscription)
    • Pro – $10 per user/month ($8.33 with the annual subscription)
    • Enterprise – custom pricing
  • Hubstaff Field:
    • Field Pro – $12 per user/month ($10 with the annual subscription)
    • Desk Field – $15 per user/month ($12.50 with the annual subscription)

Free trial: 14 days

3. Clockify

Clockify

If your work is primarily project-based and you’re not looking for productivity analysis in your time tracker, you can check out Clockify. It is staff monitoring software that helps you manage projects and their tasks; you can mark the hours that go into everything as billable if necessary, generate reports, and do much more. One advantage of Clockify is that it offers a free version that lets you add as many team members and projects as you wish. But if you’re looking for some more advanced features, you can choose to upgrade to one of the paid plans.

Notable features:

  • Project templates: save time by creating project templates for similar or identical projects in the future.
  • Kiosk: keep track of your team’s clock in and out times from a shared device that asks users to enter a unique PIN code. 
  • Invoicing: issue invoices to customers using the logged hours from the Clockify app.

Pricing:

  • Free plan available for unlimited users
  • Basic – $4.99 per user/month ($3.99 with the annual subscription)
  • Standard – $6.99 per user/month ($5.49 with the annual subscription)
  • Pro – $9.99 per user/month ($7.99 with the annual subscription)
  • Enterprise – $14.99 per user/month ($11.99 with the annual subscription)

Free trial: 7 days

4. ActivTrak

ActivTrak

If you’re looking for a truly deep dive into the productivity analysis side of things, ActivTrak provides lots of material to work with. Like the other apps on this list, it tracks users’ computer activity, and then ActivTrak draws conclusions about everyone’s current productivity, the most efficient users, productivity changes over time, etc. It can help you identify your team’s work patterns, spot those struggling and needing changes in their work life, help you with security regulations and compliance, etc. When you have all this data at your disposal, you can implement changes leading to higher productivity and greater employee satisfaction.

Notable features:

  • Productivity coaching: the app analyzes employee activity and gives suggestions on who risks burnout and whose productivity is slipping.
  • Benchmarks: based on the previous user behavior, you can set productivity benchmarks that your team needs to meet. 
  • Custom alarms: set up ActivTrak to alert you about specific user activity; the app can also automatically take screenshots when it detects suspicious actions.

Pricing:

  • Free plan for up to 3 users
  • Advanced – $9 per user/month
  • Premium – $15 per user/month
  • Enterprise – custom pricing

Free trial: 14 days

5. Toggl Track

Toggl Track

Employee monitoring doesn’t have to be synonymous with invasiveness. If you’re looking for a tool that can help you understand how and what your team is doing, but you don’t want people to feel like you’re spying on them, Toggl Track can be a nice compromise. Like DeskTime, Toggl Track offers time tracking – both automatic with the app running in the background and manual if you prefer to stay in charge of what is tracked and when. Project management features are also available to give you insights into where your company time is going. Combine that with the team management and reporting features, and running a team becomes a true breeze.

Notable features:

  • Autotracker: set up Toggl Track to prompt suggestions for time entries if you’ve forgotten to start the tracker yourself.
  • Integrations: Toggl Track offers browser integrations with over 100 different tools.
  • Email tracking reminders: if a team member has not logged the necessary hours, you can set up email reminders.

Pricing:

  • Free plan for up to 5 users
  • Starter – $10 per user/month ($9 with the annual subscription)
  • Premium – $20 per user/month ($18 with the annual subscription)
  • Enterprise – custom pricing

Free trial: 30 days

6. Insightful

Insightful

Well, the clue is in the title – Insightful is an employee monitoring app that provides you with many insights into how your team is performing. Like the other apps on this list, it can show you how your team comes and goes, what everyone is working on, and much more. You can take a deep dive into everyone’s productivity analysis, keep an eye out how the work on particular projects is going, and ensure everyone’s taken on their fair share of work. Since you can set up the app to work completely automatically, you can eliminate human error or intentional skewing of the data.

Notable features:

  • Screenshots: the app can take screenshots of employees’ computers at random intervals, or they can be triggered by suspicious activity.
  • Stealth mode: you can install the app on work computers and hide it if you don’t want your team to know they’re being monitored. 
  • Productivity analysis: assign productivity status to apps and websites and see how much time is spent on productive or unproductive tools.

Pricing: 

  • Employee monitoring – $8 per employee/month ($6.40 with the annual subscription)
  • Time tracking – $10 per employee/month ($8 with the annual subscription)
  • Automatic time mapping – $15 per employee/month ($12 with the annual subscription)
  • Enterprise – custom pricing

Free trial: 7 days

7. TimeCamp

TimeCamp

TimeCamp is another great work monitoring software for managers who want to keep an eye on their team’s productivity and how projects are progressing. The app takes only one click to start running, and the rest is taken care of automatically. It logs the time spent on tasks and apps used throughout the day. This information is helpful for transparency purposes when you’re dealing with clients; you can show them proof of work that everything you promised was indeed done and the necessary hours were put into the project.

Notable features:

  • Productivity assistant: set productivity goals you want your team to hit and see if some changes are needed along the way.
  • Screenshots: an optional feature that can be turned on for extra accountability. 
  • Invoicing: cut down paperwork using all the tracked data to issue accurate invoices from the app.

Pricing:

  • Free plan available for unlimited users
  • Basic – $7 per user/month ($6.3 with the annual subscription)
  • Pro – $10 per user/month ($9 with the annual subscription)
  • Enterprise – custom pricing

Free trial: 14 days

8. QuickBooks Time

QuickBooks Time

Many accounting teams worldwide are already familiar with the QuickBooks brand – a well-known accounting tool that also offers time tracking and employee monitoring among its services. QuickBooks Time is another app that can be particularly useful if you have team members who are not spending their entire days in front of the computer screen. For teams on the go, QuickBooks Time offers many other tracking features (such as mobile and GPS tracking) to ensure that everyone’s work hours are accounted for.

Notable features:

  • GPS tracker: see if everyone’s at their supposed job site, who has clocked in and out, and track mileage.
  • Project tracker: see how much time goes into what and if the necessary hours have been put into specific tasks.
  • Mobile app: approve time off requests, schedule shifts, check in on team’s progress, and more on your phone.

Pricing: 

  • If you use the free trial:
    • Premium – $20 per month + $8 per user/month
    • Elite – $40 per month + $10 per user/month
  • If you don’t use the free trial:
    • Premium – $10 per month + $8 per user/month
    • Elite – $20 per month + $10 per user/month

Free trial: 30 days

9. Timely

Timely

If you’re looking for a solution that provides monitoring tools and lets your team feel comfortable that their privacy is protected, you can look into Timely. It’s a time tracker that offers valuable time-management features (project tracking, time logs, etc.), but it lets everyone stay in charge of the tracked data. Your employees are the ones who decide what is shared with the managers and the rest of the team. This way, your team members won’t feel like they’re being snooped on, but managers will still get to keep their hand on the pulse of what is happening with the projects.

Notable features:

  • Automatic tracking: Timely works automatically, so you don’t need to worry about someone forgetting to log their hours.
  • Task scheduling: give assignments to your team members and see how much is on everyone’s plate.
  • Third-party integrations: you can connect Timely with various project and team management tools to make work processes smoother.

Pricing: 

  • Starter – $10 per user/month ($8 with the annual subscription)
  • Premium – $18 per user/month ($14 with the annual subscription)
  • Unlimited – $26 per user/month ($20 with the annual subscription)
  • Unlimited+ – custom pricing

Free trial: 14 days

10. Time Doctor

Time Doctor

Time Doctor is another all-inclusive time tracking and employee monitoring software that covers pretty much anything when it comes to keeping an eye on your team. From productivity analysis to project management, Time Doctor offers various features that can help streamline your work processes and ensure that you get the most out of your team. And importantly, Time Doctor doesn’t forget about employee well-being either, providing features that can help you spot those at risk of burnout.

Notable features:

  • Productivity measurement: check in to see if your team spends time on work-related apps and websites.
  • Distraction alerts: if a user spends too much time on, let’s say, Facebook or some other unproductive website, Time Doctor can send a pop-up notification with a reminder to focus on work.
  • Screenshots and webcam shots: for extra scrutiny, set up Time Doctor to take periodic screenshots of users’ computers and track their webcam activities.

Pricing: 

  • Basic – $7 per user/month ($70 per user/year with the annual subscription)
  • Standard – $10 per user/month ($100 per user/year with the annual subscription)
  • Premium – $20 per user/month ($200 per user/year with the annual subscription)

Free trial: 14 days

11. Teramind

Teramind

Some companies require rigorous monitoring tools. If you work with particularly sensitive data and have to observe rigid security guidelines, you must keep a keen eye on any potential breaches or mishaps. In a situation like this, a tool like Teramind that offers closer observation tools than the other apps on this list can come in handy. Teramind is a powerful app that logs all computer activity in great detail, which you can then peruse to spot potential problems and prevent any data leaks before they happen. But make sure that this extra scrutiny doesn’t lead to your team being unhappy and feeling like you’re spying on them.

Notable features:

  • Email monitoring: Teramind can track the files transferred via email, prevent phishing attacks, and more. 
  • Keystroke logger: the app can keep a log of keyboard activity, spotting suspicious copy+paste actions or other activities.
  • Online meeting monitoring: you can check in on what was discussed in online meetings, who participated in them and how much, etc.

Pricing:

  • Starter – $12 per seat/month ($10 per seat/month with the annual subscription)
  • UAM – $25 per seat/month ($21 per seat/month with the annual subscription)
  • DLP – $30 per seat/month ($25 per seat/month with the annual subscription)

Free trial: 7 days

12. Monitask

Monitask

Another all-inclusive tool that can help you monitor your team’s progress and performance is Monitask. Like the other apps on this list, it offers productivity analysis, clock in and out times, and much more. An app like Monitask can replace a whole host of other tools since it’s basically an all-in-one solution taking care of project management, shift scheduling, and much more. Plus, a tool like Monitask is particularly handy if you’re working with remote employees; checking in on how they’re doing can be extra challenging when you can’t see your employees face-to-face every day.

Notable features:

  • Screenshot monitoring: Monitask can take periodic screenshots of your employees’ computer screens if you suspect someone is slacking off.
  • Productivity reports: see your team’s productivity patterns and identify areas for improvement.
  • Invoicing: use the tracked hours to calculate and issue invoices to your customers.

Pricing:

  • Pro – $5.99 per user/month ($4.99 with the annual subscription)
  • Business – $8.99 per user/month ($6.99 with the annual subscription)
  • Enterprise – $19.99 per user/month ($15.99 with the annual subscription)

Free trial: 10 days

The ethics of using employee monitoring software

How to choose the best employee monitoring software for your team

Once you’ve decided that your team could benefit from employee monitoring software, there’s an important aspect to consider – how you will introduce the app to your employees and how you will use it.

Because while employee monitoring is legal, you should make sure your employees are comfortable with the idea, too. If your team feels like they’re under the microscope and that their every move is being closely observed, this can breed resentment, cause unnecessary stress, and lead to general unhappiness in the workplace. When it comes to employee monitoring software, like any other tool, it all comes down to how it is used.

Ideally, you already have a team that you trust, so you don’t have to spend your own valuable time looking over everyone else’s shoulders. Employee monitoring software should be used as a trend and pattern-spotting tool – not as a micromanaging device.

So when choosing which app to use, look at the employee-friendly features it offers as well. Like in the case of DeskTime – we offer various features to help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance and prevent burnout. Because we know that happy teams are the ones that deliver the best results.

Final words

As you can see, there are many things to consider when choosing the best employee monitoring software for your business. As with all things, proper research is the key – take your time and explore different options (don’t forget to check out employee monitoring software reviews from actual users who have had hands-on experience with these tools). This way, you’ll ensure that you find the right solution that serves your and your team’s interests and leaves everyone happy with the results. And hopefully, this list can be a good starting place! 

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