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5 Tools for Tracking Your Remote Staff’s Productivity

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley
Staff writer
business.com Staff
Updated Sep 20, 2022

How do you know if your remote staff is actually working and not wasting time? Here are five tools for tracking employee productivity.

Remote and hybrid workforces are increasingly common. A recent survey by PwC found that 83% of employers say the shift to remote work has been successful for their company. So, not only did many organizations quickly shift to remote work at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, but many of those employers have decided to keep that structure moving forward.

As you may have realized, it is difficult to know if your remote employees are actually working. With the right tools you can track when your subordinates are working and how long they’re spending on each project, but you’ll want to weigh the pros and cons before implementing any new processes. Read on for five tools to help keep your staff on track.

What remote monitoring tools can you use to track productivity?

To help you monitor your workforce productivity, we spent countless hours researching and analyzing the best employee monitoring software on the market. Here are some of our favorite apps for tracking the time remote employees spend on their projects:

1. Teramind

If protecting your organization from cybersecurity threats is your primary reason for monitoring employee activity, Teramind is a great platform. With Teramind, users can access behavior analytics, detect insider threats, investigate incidents with audit and forensics tools, and prevent data loss. Teramind offers cloud-based and on-premises plans.

Read our Teramind review to learn more.

2. InterGuard

Although it can service any type of workforce, InterGuard is ideal to monitor your remote workers. It can track employee activity, location, idle versus active time and productivity levels. It has a six-view dashboard that makes analyzing metrics a breeze. It also offers endpoint lockdown and data retrieval features if you need to secure your data when a remote associate is terminated.

Read our InterGuard review for more information.

3. ActivTrak

ActivTrak is a robust monitoring platform with comprehensive workforce analytics. The transparent monitoring software provides insights on employee behavior, productivity, efficiency, workload balance and goals. Select plans even provide analytics on how your employees and teams compare with one another.

Read our ActivTrak review to learn more.

4. SentryPC

If you’re working with a tight budget, consider checking out SentryPC. This employee monitoring software has a variety of affordable plans – each of which includes all of the core monitoring tools you will likely need. For example, you can track employee behavior, filter and block employee web content, track file activity, and detect portable drives.

Read our SentryPC review for more detailed insight.

FYIFYI: Unlike some of the other employee monitoring platforms we mentioned, SentryPC does not require you to have a minimum number of employees.

5. BambooHR

If you’re looking to manage employee performance, consider BambooHR. Unlike the other options we listed, BambooHR is HR software rather than dedicated employee monitoring software. So, while it lacks features such as keystroke logging and website tracking, it offers several performance management tools. These tools include online training, employee satisfaction surveys, self- and manager assessments, and performance reports.

Read our BambooHR review to learn more.

What is remote employee monitoring?

Through different digital tools, remote employee monitoring will give you a read on workers’ activity and productivity when they are working outside the office. Using various types of software, you can track how employees are using their time each day. Specifically, you can use this technology to monitor employees’ computer use, including the websites they visit, the programs they open and the files they download.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right employee monitoring software for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

FYIFYI: Other tools, like GPS tracking, can monitor where employees physically are each day. All of these tools can be used to examine employee activity and identify productivity and privacy issues, which can lead to better decision-making about your business.

What are the benefits of remote monitoring software?

There are several benefits to investing in remote monitoring software for your company. In addition to monitoring employee productivity through tracking tools – such as keystroke and website monitoring software – you can evaluate your team’s work ethic and protect your business by keeping a close eye on the documents that are leaving your network.

Here are some of the most common benefits of using remote monitoring software:

  • It improves efficiency. Some remote employee monitoring software allows you to see how long employees spend working on a project or to track their progress throughout an assignment. You can use the data you collect to get a full sense of whether there are ways you can change how employees work to improve efficiency. For example, if you notice that one employee is so busy that they are nearing exhaustion, you can reallocate resources to prevent employee burnout and improve efficiency.
  • It boosts employee productivity. It might seem obvious that being watched makes employees more mindful of their actions at work, which ultimately promotes efficient workflow. However, employee monitoring software can improve productivity in other ways. The software provides business leaders with analytics on how employees are spending their workday, and where there is room for improvement or assistance.
  • It provides sufficient data to support personnel decisions. What you uncover with employee monitoring software can help support decisions you make on whether to terminate an employee or promote one. Being able to see how employees are spending their time each day – even when you can’t physically see them – can give you better insight into whether an associate should be working at your company, or if they should be given more responsibilities.
  • It aids in company privacy and security. Employee monitoring software can help safeguard sensitive data. If critical company data is stolen, you can use employee monitoring software to discover who took the data and when, as well as whom they sent it to. With features like website filtering and blocking, you can ensure your staff isn’t accessing inappropriate or malicious websites. Some employee monitoring software even offers tools like endpoint lockdown and data retrieval, so you can remotely secure your company data if a remote employee is terminated.
  • You can verify your employees’ locations. If you have employees who are working from the road, it is important to know they are where they should be. Using GPS tracking tools, you can see where your employees are at all times. GPS technology can be built into top time and attendance systems to show where employees are clocking in and out from, or it can be part of highly rated GPS fleet tracking software that is installed in your company vehicles to monitor their whereabouts. This helps you ensure that the work is getting done and that you aren’t paying employees for work they aren’t completing.

What are the limitations of remote monitoring software?

Although there can be many benefits to monitoring your remote employees, these are a few potential drawbacks you should be aware of before implementing employee monitoring software:  

  • It can reduce employee morale and trust. Feeling like you are being watched all the time can breed a sense of distrust. If you decide to monitor your employees, be sure to openly communicate what data will be gathered and why. Explain the company benefits you are trying to achieve, such as tightening data security or boosting employee productivity.
  • You may access sensitive information. When you log employee activity, especially if you track specific keystrokes, you may unintentionally gain access to sensitive employee details – such as bank account information or health records. To mitigate privacy concerns and avoid violating privacy laws, clearly communicate what type of activity is and isn’t permitted on company devices.

FYIFYI: You can monitor employee cell phones if they are company-owned, but monitoring employee-owned devices can get tricky. If you allow employees to use their own devices for company work, be sure to establish a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy.

  • The data can be overwhelming to comprehend. Employee monitoring software can aggregate a lot of employee data, which can be a blessing and a curse. Data is useless if you can’t draw meaningful observations from it. If you don’t have someone on your team who is experienced with data analysis, look for a monitoring software that displays employee metrics in easy-to-read graphs and charts. 

Simone Johnson contributed to the writing and research in this article.

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Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley
business.com Staff
Skye Schooley is a staff writer at business.com and Business News Daily, where she has written more than 200 articles on B2B-focused topics including human resources operations, management leadership, and business technology. In addition to researching and analyzing products that help business owners launch and grow their business, Skye writes on topics aimed at building better professional culture, like protecting employee privacy, managing human capital, improving communication, and fostering workplace diversity and culture.