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Updated Apr 19, 2024

11 Tools for Tracking Your Remote Staff’s Productivity

How do you know if your remote staff is actually working and not wasting time? Here are 11 tools for tracking employee productivity.

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Skye Schooley, Senior Lead Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
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It’s no secret that the scope of remote work has changed drastically in recent years. Whereas 60 percent of remote-capable employees spent their week working in an office before the pandemic, that figure is now about 20 percent, a Gallup poll found. That means an additional 40 percent of remote-capable employees now work remotely or in a hybrid arrangement. 

While remote work has advantages, understanding remote employees’ work habits can be challenging for managers. There’s potential for an abuse of trust, which can cost companies money and resources. Luckily, remote monitoring tools can help managers track when offsite employees work and how long they spend on specific projects. We’ll highlight 11 tools to consider for monitoring your remote staff’s productivity and share advice for weighing the pros and cons of employee monitoring

What remote monitoring tools can you use to track productivity?

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

1. Teramind

If protecting your organization from cybersecurity risks 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 serve any workforce, InterGuard is ideal for monitoring remote workers. It can track employees’ activity, locations, idle versus active time, and productivity levels. The six-view dashboard makes metrics analysis a breeze. InterGuard also offers endpoint lockdown and data retrieval features for securing 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. Its transparent monitoring software provides insight into employee behavior, productivity, efficiency, workload balance and goals. Select plans even provide analytics to help you compare employees and teams. 

Read our ActivTrak review to learn more.

4. SentryPC

If you’re working with a tight budget, check out SentryPC. This employee monitoring software has various affordable plans, each of which includes all of the core monitoring tools you’ll likely need. For example, you can track employee behavior, filter and block websites from employee use, track file activity, and detect portable drives.

Read our SentryPC review for more detailed insights.

FYIDid you know
Unlike some of the other user activity monitoring platforms mentioned in this article, SentryPC does not require a minimum number of employees.

5. BambooHR

If you want to manage employee performance, consider BambooHR. Unlike the other options we listed, BambooHR is HR software, not dedicated employee monitoring software. So, while it lacks features such as keystroke logging and website tracking, it offers several performance management tools, including online training, employee satisfaction surveys, self-assessments, manager assessments and performance reports.

Read our BambooHR review to learn more.

6. Veriato

Veriato’s extensive tracking of apps, emails, websites and more allows businesses to monitor employee productivity. It can also detect insider threats with features such as user behavior analytics and risk scoring. It’s an ideal solution for large organizations in various sectors that must safeguard sensitive information.

Read our Veriato review to learn more.

7. Controlio

Controlio uses live video recordings and snapshots to track employee activity, thus enabling real-time monitoring and providing video evidence for investigations. This functionality helps companies, especially those demanding high security, ensure that employee behavior is productive and aligns with expectations and acceptable use policies.

8. Hubstaff

Hubstaff combines time tracking with activity monitoring to ensure accurate employee hours and focused work. Its features help businesses across diverse industries with remote, field or office teams. Its adaptable tiers range from free time and activity tracking to advanced scheduling, invoicing and payroll integration for comprehensive workforce management.

9. Insightful 

Insightful gives businesses flexibility in employee monitoring by offering visible or stealth modes on company computers and respecting privacy by allowing app and website exclusions and data encryption. It tracks real-time activity, website and app usage, and project time, thus providing an accurate picture of employee productivity while maintaining data security.

10. Time Doctor

Time Doctor empowers individuals and teams to manage time effectively through detailed tracking (screenshots, app usage, activity) and reports, thereby fostering productivity and nurturing a positive work-life balance. The easy-to-understand data helps improve individual focus, identify workflow patterns and inform impactful business decisions.

Read our Time Doctor review to learn more.

11. TimeClock Plus

TimeClock Plus is a workforce management solution that tracks employee productivity through advanced features such as biometric time clocks. Its comprehensive HR reports compile workforce data, helping businesses identify trends and make data-driven decisions to improve overall productivity.

Read our TimeClock Plus review to learn more.

What is remote employee monitoring?

Remote employee monitoring uses various digital tools to give managers insight into employees’ activity and productivity when they’re working remotely. Remote monitoring software helps you track how employees spend their time. You can track their computer use, including the websites they visit, the programs they open and the files they download.

Did You Know?Did you know
If your business has a fleet of vehicles, the best GPS fleet management services can help you track and monitor your assets, vehicles, equipment and drivers.

What are the benefits of remote monitoring software?

Here are some of the ways remote monitoring software can help your organization: 

  • Remote monitoring software improves efficiency. Some solutions let you see how long employees spend on a project or track their progress throughout an assignment. You’ll gather data that can help you boost efficiency. For example, if you notice that one employee is overloaded and exhausted, you can reallocate resources to prevent employee burnout and improve efficiency.
  • Remote monitoring software boosts employee productivity. It might seem obvious that being watched makes employees more mindful of their actions at work, thereby promoting a more efficient workflow. However, employee monitoring software can improve productivity in other ways. The software provides analytics on how employees spend their workday and shows where there’s room for improvement or assistance.
  • Remote monitoring software informs decision-making. Employee monitoring software delivers information to support decisions about promotions and discretionary bonuses. It can also help you decide when it’s time to terminate an employee. When you see how your team members spend their days, you’ll have a better understanding of who fits your company culture and work ethic and who isn’t contributing. 
  • Remote monitoring software boosts company privacy and security. Employee monitoring software can help protect your business’s sensitive information. If critical company data is stolen, you can use employee monitoring software to discover who took the data, when they took it and where it was sent. With features such as website filtering and blocking, you can ensure your staff isn’t accessing inappropriate or malicious websites. Some employee monitoring software even offers tools such as endpoint lockdown and data retrieval so you can remotely secure your company data if a remote employee is terminated.
  • Remote monitoring software lets you verify employees’ locations. If you have employees who travel for work, you want to ensure they’re where they should be. GPS tracking tools can reveal employees’ locations at all times. Additionally, GPS technology is built into the best time and attendance systems, allowing you to see where employees clock in and out from. 
TipBottom line
If you want to monitor employee cell phone usage, ensure you understand all legalities. You can monitor company-owned devices, but monitoring employee-owned devices can get tricky.

What are the limitations of remote monitoring software? 

Effectively implementing employee monitoring software can help your business in numerous ways, but there are some potential drawbacks.  

  • Employee monitoring software can reduce employee morale and trust. The feeling of being watched all the time can breed a sense of distrust. If you decide to monitor your team, openly tell employees you’re monitoring them and explain the company benefits you hope to achieve, such as tightening data security and boosting employee productivity. 
  • Employee monitoring software can reveal sensitive information. When you log employee activity, especially if you track specific keystrokes, you may unintentionally gain access to sensitive employee details, like bank account information or health records. To mitigate privacy concerns and avoid violating privacy laws, clearly communicate what activities are and are not permitted on company devices.
  • Employee monitoring data can be overwhelming. 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’s experienced with data analysis, look for monitoring software that displays employee metrics in easy-to-read graphs and charts. 

Simone Johnson contributed to this article.

author image
Skye Schooley, Senior Lead Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
Skye Schooley is a dedicated business professional who is especially passionate about human resources and digital marketing. For more than a decade, she has helped clients navigate the employee recruitment and customer acquisition processes, ensuring small business owners have the knowledge they need to succeed and grow their companies. In recent years, Schooley has enjoyed evaluating and comparing HR software and other human resources solutions to help businesses find the tools and services that best suit their needs. With a degree in business communications, she excels at simplifying complicated subjects and interviewing business vendors and entrepreneurs to gain new insights. Her guidance spans various formats, including newsletters, long-form videos and YouTube Shorts, reflecting her commitment to providing valuable expertise in accessible ways.
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