Many companies today install various tracking apps on their employees’ computers and check if their team members are productive during the working day. Such an extreme approach to monitoring what the staff is doing is due to the lack of employees’ efficiency at the workplace and to the employer’s desire to prevent data leakage and other unwanted actions. Before we go through the list of the most popular and effective programs to monitor employees’ activities at the workplace, let’s take a look at the most efficient ways to find out if your company is monitoring you.
How to Tell If Your Company Is Monitoring You?
On Windows devices, it’s helpful to go to the well-known Task Manager and check the Processes tab. Pay attention to the background processes that are using up a lot of system resources. Spyware has usually obscure names that you can’t recognize. Installing an antivirus program is also worth a try, though some monitoring programs are not detected by antivirus software. You can also view what applications on your PC are accessing the web. In the taskbar search, enter “cmd”, right-click on the Command Prompt result, and choose Run as administrator. Once the window opens, enter the command [ netstat -b -n ], press Enter, and look for the programs with unknown weird names.
If your office machine supports macOS, you can use Activity Monitor instead of the Task Manager to look for spying apps. Check out both the CPU and Network tabs for suspicious programs. Additionally, monitoring apps usually run at startup, so it’s also helpful to check which programs are starting up with macOS (System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login items). And last but not least, you can also check monitoring programs accessing the web on your macOS device.
If you have found out that your boss is monitoring your office computer, first of all, don’t panic. Remember that your company wants you to be efficient at the workplace and needs to prevent data leakage, they are not interested in your personal emails or other intimate data. The best way to protect yourself is to stop any behavior that can lead to problems at work. For instance, you must not use your office machine for surfing the Net purposelessly, watching YouTube videos, and texting with your partner on Facebook. In other words, at the office, you should stop performing any activities that are not related to the workflow. After all, your managers pay you not for being distracted from business tasks, don’t they? 🙂
Why Must Employers Notify Their Teams About Monitoring Software?
Generally, CEOs can track any activity on their company-owned devices, including laptops and gadgets outside the workplace, but provided by the company. Broadly, in the US, employee monitoring is legal and mostly unregulated. However, some states like Connecticut and Delaware require employers to inform their team members of the fact that their office devices are being tracked. Additionally, the hidden monitoring of employees is hugely unethical and likely to cause much resentment. Therefore, companies should establish a clear company policy and make sure that all team members are notified of being monitored beforehand.
Monitoring software used by employers usually varies in features and functionality. The programs that are mostly used in companies to keep an eye on team members include employee monitoring software, time tracking applications, and remote access programs. Let’s look through the best solutions from each category.
Best Employee Monitoring Software for Windows & macOS
When it comes to checking what your employees are doing on their office machines, Spyrix comes into play. This program is the best solution for employee monitoring by far thanks to the advanced tracking features. The main features include keylogging, clipboard control, screenshot capturing, IMs activity recording, tracking of social networks, time control, and productivity statistics with detailed reports. What’s more, Spyrix for Windows is the only employee monitoring software with the ability to record calls made with instant messengers and social applications like Viber, Zoom, Skype, Slack, Telegram, Facebook, etc.
- a free trial;
- remote access to the data via a secured online account;
- call recording on Windows devices; the software gives you total control over employees’ activities.
- Spyrix also records live surroundings via the microphones and webcams as well as monitors removable drives letting companies prevent data leakage.
The program is available for both Windows and macOS devices.
Teramind employee monitoring software takes second place on our list. This program offers real-time activity tracking covering emails, keystrokes, web usage, used apps, and more. Any malicious activity can be detected with the intelligent behavior analysis system. What’s more, the program provides managers with detailed reports of how their team members use applications and websites and analytics of productive and idle time of every employee.
Other features include:
- screen recording;
- audio recording; session monitoring;
- identifying unproductive sites;
- instant messengers tracking;
- activity blocking; clipboard control.
This ultimate monitoring solution is a perfect tool to keep track of the team’s activities remotely, to check their productivity, and to prevent corporate data leakage.
This is another good software to find out how your team spends their work hours. The application records time spent working and on breaks as well as tracks social chats and visited websites. Besides, TimeDoctor captures screenshots and sends powerful reports to the CEO. The software can also be used to check how much time an employee has spent on this or that project or client. Unlike other monitoring apps, TimeDoctor allows processing billing and payroll automatically which saves you much time. If the system notices that a team member is distracted from work, the program will remind them of ongoing tasks.
- attendance tracking;
- breaks monitoring;
- a white-labeled portal for clients to monitor your projects;
- alerts reminding the team to stay off time-wasting apps;
- compatibility with Windows, macOS, as well as smartphones.
Hubstaff is a widely-used program for productivity monitoring and time tracking purposes. Whatever your tracking needs are, the application will suit you due to its powerful features. The program lets managers stay in the loop with optional screenshots and view work in progress as it happens. It records user activities along with visited websites and running applications and helps you focus more on growing your business instead of making sure the work is getting done.
Some extra features include:
- GPS tracking;
- online timesheets;
- payroll tools;
- scheduling and attendance reporting.
- Hubstaff is suitable for Windows and Mac devices.
Kickidler makes the employee monitoring process smooth and easy thanks to the features it offers. First of all, it broadcasts employees’ desktop activities in real-time giving you a vivid picture of what’s going on at the office when you’re not present. Secondly, the application offers an advanced time-tracking option which allows monitoring work hours of employees and even whole departments. Moreover, the software records computer screens just in case you’ll need to check the team’s past activities.
Other Kickidler features are:
- violations monitoring and recording;
- performance control;
- remote access to computers with one click;
- file transfer;
- remote keyboard and mouse control.
This employee monitoring software for Windows and macOS is a perfect solution for analyzing the team’s activity and discovering how work gets done. In addition to the basic monitoring features, the program allows you to ensure employee privacy and create a culture of trust due to an ability to make sensitive information secure. Identifying top performance and lazybones gets easy with ActivTrak since it provides you with productivity analytics for every team member.
- detects anomalous behavior and prevents employees’ unlawful actions;
- blocks access to risky websites;
- keeps track of all used applications;
- lets you share the reports with your team for transparency.
StaffCounter is an employee tracking program for effective management. The application is a good and reliable tool to supervise the work discipline and to identify productive leaders and loafers. What’s more, StaffCounter keeps records of search queries, used applications, and visited websites informing you of the staff’s mood and plans. Additionally, it records Skype chats, captures screenshots, monitors keystrokes, and more. The application is available for Windows and macOS office machines.
As the name suggests, this employee monitoring solution helps you find out how many hours your employees are working a day and enhance productivity in your company. The program records all user activities (keystrokes, system events, screenshots, clipboard, app usage) and offers advanced remote control features:
- live screen viewing,
- live webcam,
- remote site blocking,
- USB device blocking,
- computer time limiting, and more.
The program is cloud-based and is suitable for Windows and macOS computers.
Veriato is a perfect solution for monitoring employees working from home or in the office. It lets you track any kind of user activities, including chats, emails, web searches, visited websites, social networks, printers, USB usage, etc. Unlike other applications from the list, Veriato lets employers record downloads. The software generates productivity reports and notifies you when suspicious activities take place. The program is cloud-based and the installation process takes up to five minutes.
Best Time Tracking Apps for Windows and macOS
If you don’t want to monitor all user activities of your employees but need to ensure that the team is productive, a time-tracking app will be a good solution for your company. Everhour is a powerful tool to review employees’ time spent on projects and to know the hours of work and breaks of every team member. Besides, Everhour helps employers manage cost and budget since it provides an easy-to-read financial picture of all ongoing projects. The application is easy to use and syncs with all widely-used apps (Jira, Asana, Trello, Github, etc).
Using Harvest helps company owners manage their teams more intelligently. It gives you a visual summary of where your employees’ time is going and lets you monitor your projects. Employees will also find Harvest useful thanks to the possibility to keep a record of your work activities and to self-control your productivity. Further, the application allows teams to automatically create invoices based on the billable time and expenses they’ve tracked. The application supports all available platforms, including Windows and Mac.
TimeCamp is a powerful time-tracking solution to stay on top of work. It gives teams a clear insight into projects’ efficiency thanks to its advanced monitoring features. At a glance, managers can check how their teams are performing and how many hours they spend on tasks and projects. With TimeCamp, employers can also monitor the usage of certain applications and identify productive and time-wasting programs. The tool can be used as an attendance reporting program as well.
Initially designed for freelancers and agencies, this smart time-tracker will be also helpful for small companies and huge enterprises. In one click, your team members can start a timer for any task and keep an eye on their productivity. Further, Paydirt sends intelligent reminders to your coworkers in case they are distracted by non-productive activities. Employers can easily view what the team members are doing and also approve timesheets for the next week. Additionally, the application is perfect for tracking the time of remote employees.
Timely is one of the most popular time-trackers available for Windows and macOS devices. It is helpful when it comes to analyzing overtime and missing hours of every team member. With a few clicks, you can effortlessly schedule project resources, monitor budgets, pull reports, and check how work time is spent by your team. The program offers a 2-week free trial with all available features, including location tracking on iOS and Android smartphones, app integrations, and team planning.
Clockify is used by millions of team members from all over the world. Its popularity is due to its powerful time management features like an easy-to-use timer, customizable reports, live viewing of employees’ activity, and timesheets. What’s more, the time-tracker allows employers to view team members’ hourly rates, mark time as billable, and categorize time by projects. The program is available for all platforms (Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, Chrome, Linux) and is free of charge.
Toggl lets you track time for any workflow online, offline, and on the go, and it offers solutions for web, desktop, smartphones as well as browser extensions. You can track your time across any of the platforms with a few clicks. Further, there’s no need to turn on the timer each time you open a new app or website – Toggl offers a background tracking feature that monitors your time automatically. Besides, the tracker can generate reports and send them to any email address.
The Hours app is another time tracking solution that may be helpful for businesses. Other than in-built timers, it offers extra features for flexible and easy invoicing. For employers, the app creates detailed reports of their team’s work hours to check who is productive and where the team’s time is spent during the business day. You can try this solution for free on any device covering Windows and Mac.
Best Remote Access Programs for Windows & Mac
Monitoring your team remotely is not only about improving their productivity. As an employer, you may sometimes need to access the data on the coworker’s device or to make sure that the corporate information is secure. That’s why remote desktop tools are also helpful when it comes to tracking your employees. RemotePC is the best solution to connect to your team’s devices from afar. The program is platform-independent, meaning that once you install the program on the employee’s computer, you can access it from any other device, be it a Macbook, a Windows computer, an iOS or Android smartphone. Further, the program allows file access and sharing, document printing, and working with multiple monitors simultaneously.
Being a suitable remote control app for companies, freelancers, and private users, SupRemo is also included in our list of the best tools for employee monitoring. The program has an abundance of features, including unattended access, file transfer, and a live chat tool. Further, your employees can share their screens with you remotely to show you how the job is being done. The software doesn’t require the configuration of a router or firewall so it’s pretty easy to use. The price for businesses starts with 5 € per connection/month.
LogMeIn is a perfect tool to control any of your team members’ computers from afar. The program allows you to share files across your company devices, to control the desktop on the go from a mobile app, and what’s more important, to view multiple screens simultaneously in live mode. The only disadvantage of the application – it doesn’t offer a free option for even private users. Fortunately, it has a free trial during which you can try its main features.
With ConnectWise, managers can confidently monitor office machines thanks to its ultimate features. The solution provides you with safe remote access to the team’s devices with out-of-the-box security features. What’s more, you can connect to the target devices without disrupting the end users. File transfer, monitoring on the go, and remote deployment are also included in the list of its main features.
GoToMyPC is another reliable solution for remote control over employees’ devices. The application helps the users to share important files, to connect to any Mac or PC, and to view the full displays of the connected computers. It’s a perfect solution for viewing the employees’ screens in real-time and for accessing the data stored on their devices. Built to the highest standards of performance and security, GoToMyPC is the best app to connect in seconds and to enjoy a reliable in-session performance.
The Parallels solution enables employers to access teams’ applications and files in a few clicks. With it, you can navigate the hard drive remotely and easily find a document or a media file on the employee’s computer. The application makes it possible to connect to Mac and Windows devices from any desktop and smartphone at any time. To start using the program, you need to install the Parallels agent on a Mac or Windows device and to register an online account on the website.
Splashtop is a fast and secure remote access program for teams and individuals. It lets the users remotely access any Windows and macOS computer from smartphones, desktops, and tablets. The features include remote access and file transfer, an in-built chat, and remote viewing of multiple screens. Unlike many other apps of this category, Splashtop allows remote reboot of the target computer. For security purposes, employers can record user sessions and to use the recordings as evidence in case of employees’ unwanted actions.
Initially designed as remote support software, Zoho is also helpful for tracking needs. With it, you can manage any computer efficiently on the go and access the necessary corporate data distantly. The program supports both Windows and Mac. You can also navigate between several computer screens and detect active monitors in use. Additionally, the app lets you reboot the computer without losing control over it.
As you see, there are plenty of employee monitoring solutions that help you make your team more productive and prevent unwanted activities at the office. Such solutions can be divided into 3 groups according to employers’ tracking needs: employee monitoring software, time-trackers, and remote access applications. You can try out several apps from the list and check which one suits you most.
Also, remember that sometimes using employee engagement activities will be enough for productivity improvement at the workplace. You can always boost the motivation of your team with some time-tested methods like workplace parties, competitions, trainings, sports events, and team-building activities. Note that it’s on you to create an engaging atmosphere at the company where the team is motivated and interested in company growth.
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