Skip to main content

With so many different remote employee monitoring software available, figuring out which is the right fit for you is tough. You know you want a tool to monitor the productivity and performance of your hybrid team to increase accountability and measure workloads, but you need to figure out which option is best. In this article, I'll help you make your choice easy by sharing my insights on the best remote employee monitoring software to assess productivity and optimize time management for your team.

What is Remote Employee Monitoring Software? 

Employee monitoring software is a type of tool that enables employers to track and monitor their employees' activities and behavior while working, usually in a remote or virtual environment. You can use it to gain visibility on how your staff spend their work hours, what tasks they're working on, and how effectively they're using their time. It includes the ability to monitor activity levels via mouse movements and keyboard strokes, track time per task, record which websites or apps are used, and take periodic screenshots or view live feeds of employee screens.

The resulting data can help increase productivity by making employees more accountable for their time and promoting better time management practices. It can also help managers make better data-driven decisions about employee performance and workload distribution, and prevent security breaches by monitoring compliance and how sensitive company data is handled.

Overviews of the 10 Best Remote Employee Monitoring Software

Here’s a brief description of each remote employee monitoring software that showcases each system’s best use case, their noteworthy features, and some pros & cons. I’ve also included screenshots to give you a snapshot of their user interface too.

1

Insightful

Best for employee productivity monitoring

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.8
95 reviews

7-day free trial

From $8/employee/month

Insightful helps you manage team members wherever they are, delivering actionable data insights into productivity and employee time management.

Why I picked Insightful:  This tool offers comprehensive employee monitoring and computer activity tracking, showing you how employees and freelancers use time, apps, and websites. Periodic or rules-based screenshots provide proof that employees are doing their work as expected during the day. Employees work is automatically tracked based on activity.

You can add projects and tasks, assign employees, and ensure that work is being done. Precise project budgeting keeps your finances on track and eliminates guesswork. Project insight reports help you stay on top of progress and ensure that every second is counted.  

Insightful Standout Features and Integrations

Features include employee monitoring, activity tracking, remote work management, automatic time tracking, automatic screenshots, verified attendance, proof of work, employee engagement, and project budgeting. 

Integrations are possible through the Insightful developer portal and Insightful API.

Pros

  • Easy to mark unproductive apps
  • Light on system resources
  • Works quietly in the background

Cons

  • More integration options needed
  • Limited number of screenshots
2

Teramind

Best for combining employee monitoring & security

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4
33 reviews

3-day free trial

From $15/user/month

Teramind offers remote work monitoring software that aims to increase both employee productivity and data security. 

Why I picked Teramind: This software application visually records every action that remote users make, including contractors and third parties. You can track all activities, including those taken in custom apps, and configure rules and policies to collect data on any user action. 

You can track all user activity while complying with any applicable employee privacy requirements. The software can monitor work done on local machines, remote domains, servers, or terminal servers. You can request a breakdown of work-related versus non-work related tasks, and get minute-to-minute trends graphs showing how much time is spent on specific projects. 

Teramind Standout Features and Integrations

Features include smart rules, automated alerts, live view, historical playback, website monitoring, application monitoring, email monitoring, instant message monitoring, time-tracking tools, and social media monitoring.

Integrations include ArcSight ESM, IBM Security Jira, QRadar, Redmine, Splunk Enterprise, and Zendesk.

Pros

  • Robust feature set
  • Excellent tracking features
  • Great user behavior analytics

Cons

  • Minimum of 5 seats
  • False positives with anti-virus software
3

Veriato

Best for monitoring employees in regulated environments

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.3
8 reviews

Free demo available

From $25/user/month

Veriato is a workforce behavior analytics company that gives you the tools you need to manage remote or hybrid employee productivity.

Why I picked Veriato: Veriato helps you manage remote teams effectively, highlighting unproductive employees and optimizing efficiency across the team. The software is ideal for dealing with complex corporate and regulatory compliance requirements in industries such as healthcare, legal, and financial services. 

Veriato makes it easier to run audits and stay compliant, with real-time alerts, customizable reporting, and dashboards. You can track how many minutes an employee’s computer was active or idle during the day, monitor chats, and take automatic screenshots. It’s also easy to set flexible start and finish times and decide when tracking starts or ends. 

Veriato Standout Features and Integrations

Monitoring features include email & chat monitoring, web & app tracking, automatic screenshots, idle & active time-tracking, network activity, file & document tracking, fully-customizable settings, reports, an employee monitoring system, and real-time alerts. 

Integrations with Veriato are available through Zapier.

Pros

  • Comprehensive overview of activity
  • Can be customized extensively
  • Descriptive reporting

Cons

  • Takes time to set up
  • Needs better screenshot archives
4

DeskTime

Best for non-intrusive employee monitoring

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.6
34 reviews

14-day free trial

From $7/user/month

Desktime helps small business owners manage remote employees by monitoring their performance with time-tracking software and providing detailed productivity reports. 

Why I picked DeskTime: This app tracks employee activity automatically and calculates productivity. The URL and app tracking features show you exactly what websites, programs, and apps your employees use. These can be categorized as being productive or unproductive. 

You can also see exactly which documents employees are working on. The integrated web time tracker measures time, projects, and tasks. A broken timer allows employees to take time off when permitted. A booking facility also allows people to book meeting rooms and other shared resources. 

DeskTime Standout Features and Integrations

Features include automatic time-tracking, offline time tracking, private time options, document title tracking, a Pomodoro timer, custom reports, cost calculations, a mobile app, and shift scheduling. 

Integrations include Asana, Basecamp, Google Calendar, GitLab, Jira, Outlook Calendar, and Trello.

Pros

  • Easy to assess productivity
  • Simple onboarding process
  • Can be accessed from mobile devices

Cons

  • Gap management could be improved
  • Integrations need improvement
5

ActivTrak

Best for balancing employee productivity and well being

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.5
266 reviews

14-day free trial + free plan available

From $10/user/month

ActivTrak is an employee tracking tool that facilitates flexible schedules, ensures compliance, and promotes a healthy work balance for better long-term productivity. 

Why I picked ActivTrak: Using ActivTrak, you gain visibility into digital work so you can balance productivity, flexibility, and employee well-being. The software analyzes daily work activity data, giving you insights into time and technology usage, resource gaps, and productivity trends. 

You can measure daily work activity across hybrid and remote employees, and determine active or passive online status and current work focus. You can also categorize apps and websites by team, role, or job function to analyze usage. ActivTrak compares the habits of remote and in-office employees to understand productivity and process bottlenecks. 

ActivTrak Standout Features and Integrations

Features include dashboards, productivity reports, location insights, impact analysis, application and website usage, workload management, productivity coaching, team summaries, and website blocking.  

Integrations include Asana, Google Calendar, Jira, Lattice, Microsoft Teams, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Slack, Workday, and Zoom.

Pros

  • Invisible to the user
  • Compatible with anti-virus software
  • Useful alarm feature

Cons

  • No keystroke logging
  • Historical records are clunky
6

Time Doctor

Best for employee monitoring software with extensive integrations

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.4
271 reviews

14 days free trial

From $7/user/month

TimeDoctor gives you direct visibility into your team’s workflow and productivity, showing you the websites and apps used by each employee throughout the day. 

Why I picked TimeDoctor: This app gives you actionable insights and information on employee performance trends designed to help you boost productivity. You can take screencasts of your employee’s screens at specified intervals and see which websites and apps they use the most. 

Time Doctor also helps you generate accurate payroll information and process invoices. Thanks to integrations with a wide range of popular business applications, you can adapt TimeDoctor to suit your organization’s needs. Overall, you get a clear picture of how employees are performing, allowing you to optimize team productivity and efficiency. 

TimeDoctor Standout Features and Integrations

Features include time-tracking, employee monitoring, online timesheets, payroll, project budgeting, distraction alerts, chat monitoring, offline time tracking, and email notifications. 

Integrations include Asana, ClickUp, Evernote, HelpScout, Jira, Payoneer, PayPal, Pipedrive, Salesforce, and Trello.

Pros

  • Accurate time-tracking
  • Improves billing
  • Reduces wasted time

Cons

  • Redundant notifications
  • Occasional tracking glitches
7

Hubstaff

Best for real-time employee monitoring

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.3
393 reviews

14-day free trial

From $7/user/month

Hubstaff offers a unique blend of time-tracking and employee-monitoring software so you can see how your team works in real-time. 

Why I picked Hubstaff: You can use Hubstaff’s remote employee monitoring software to track your workforce’s time and generate accurate timesheets. You can also create automatic reminders to ensure that people don’t forget to track their time.

Website and app usage are directly measured by the software, giving you insights into potential distractions. You can also arrange automatic screenshots to keep track of user activity.  

The software tracks keyboard and mouse activity, but never obtains sensitive data. Instead, it measures the frequency of activity. 

Hubstaff Standout Features and Integrations

Features include time-tracking, online timesheets, time reports, timesheet approvals, screenshots, employee monitoring, and productivity tracking. 

Integrations include ActiveCollab, Asana, Breeze, ClickUp, GitHub, GitLab, Insightly, Jira, Liquid Planner, and Mavenlink.

Pros

  • Excellent idle time management
  • Very customizable
  • Lots of integrations

Cons

  • Manual start for time-tracking
  • Reporting can be confusing
8

EmailAnalytics

Best for improving email response time

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4
4 reviews

14 days free trial

From $15/user/month

EmailAnalytics gives you visibility into daily email activity and unlocks insights into how your team members respond to email inquiries.  

Why I picked EmailAnalytics: This tool shows your sales team’s email activity in an email analytics dashboard, so you can see how many emails are sent and received each day. You get insights into how many people your team corresponds with and the number of spam complaints received. You can also drill down into any metric to get further information.

It’s easy to see who sends the most emails, which clients team members respond to, and the average response time for each recipient. You can also check how many unread emails are in each person’s inbox or how many are labeled ‘important.’ The system also analyzes emails by time of day, so you can see when people are most active. 

EmailAnalytics Standout Features and Integrations

Features include emails sent & received, email traffic by day of the week, top senders & recipients, traffic by hour of the day, email response time, and team management. 

Integrations include Gmail, HubSpot, and Outlook.

Pros

  • No software to install
  • Gives complete team reports
  • Comprehensive email insights

Cons

  • Only tracks email
  • Designed for sales teams only
9

Monitask

Best for employee monitoring with customizable settings

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.4
10 reviews

10-day free trial

From $5.99/user/month

Monitask offers employee monitoring for remote workplaces, including everything from automatic time-tracking to proof-of-work screenshots. 

Why I picked Monitask: This app keeps a record of when home-based employees start work and when they finish. In addition, it monitors the work hours of remote employees and ensures they work their full shifts. The employee productivity tracking ensures that team members stay focused and avoid distractions. 

Their employee monitoring solution also helps in ensuring the safety of sensitive data, especially when it is to be accessed outside the safe website. The system monitors if such sensitive data is being sent by email, uploaded to the cloud, or copied to an external USB device. Admins are alerted accordingly.

Monitask Standout Features and Integrations

Features include screenshot monitoring, a live dashboard, automatic time-tracking, productivity monitoring, app tracking, project management, and idle time removal.

Integrations include ActiveCollab, Active Directory, Acuity Scheduling, Basecamp, Box Time, ClickFunnels, ClickUp,  Convertri, DeskTime, and Easy Projects.

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Offline time tracking
  • Keeps everyone productive

Cons

  • Huge number of integrations
  • Limited history logs
10

InterGuard

Best for employee monitoring with proactive alerts

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
3
6 reviews

Free demo available

From $25/user/month (5 user minimum)

Interguard helps you monitor remote and work-from-home employees, keeping your business safe and productive wherever your team members are located.

Why I picked InterGuard: This software application will alert you if employees break rules, such as by exporting your customer list from your CRM. You can also go beyond monitoring and set up policies to block sensitive data from being sent by email, uploaded to the cloud, or copied to an external storage device. If employees are suspected of committing fraud or theft, you can lock down their computers remotely. 

The software also monitors employee productivity to ensure you get the best value on your investment. It helps you eliminate distractions and keep projects on track. You can also track the time spent on a project and identify potential delays that slow work down. 

InterGuard Standout Features and Integrations

Features include email monitoring, website blocking, chat monitoring, file tracking, screenshot taking, cell phone monitoring, keystroke logging, insider threat detection, and active time tracking.

Integrations are available through Zapier.

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Keyword capture
  • Runs in the background

Cons

  • Reports are not intuitive
  • Dated interface
Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

Compare Software Specs Side by Side

Use our comparison chart to review and evaluate software specs side-by-side.

Compare Software

Other Options

Here are a few more worthwhile options that didn’t make the best remote employee monitoring software list:

  1. Controlio

    Best for ensuring remote employee complianc

  2. iMonitor EAM

    Best for employee monitoring with automatic backup

  3. RescueTime

    Best remote employee monitoring software for winning back unproductive time

  4. Kickidler

    Best remote employee monitoring software for visual monitoring tools

  5. Timely

    Best remote employee monitoring software for background time tracking

  6. CleverControl

    Best remote employee monitoring software for tracking messenger communications

  7. Ekran System

    Best remote employee monitoring software for auditing employee activity

  8. WE Controlio

    Best remote employee monitoring software for productivity analytics

  9. ActiveOps WorkiQ

    Best remote employee monitoring software for remote workforce intelligence

  10. ControlUp

    Best remote employee monitoring software for digital work experience management

Selection Criteria for the Best Remote Employee Monitoring Software

If you’re wondering how I selected the best remote employee monitoring software for this list, here’s some information on my methodology. To construct this top 10 list, I evaluated and compared a wide range of employee monitoring solutions with helpful features and positive user ratings.

After deciding on my long list of top choices, I further honed my list by using the selection criteria below. This helped me understand how each platform stacked up against the next one. I also drew on my years of remote working experience to pinpoint the features that add a lot of value.

Core Functionality

The main functionalities of an employee monitoring system will vary from one platform to another. Some track employee time while monitor employee work and others measure employee performance. I’ve explained the overall functionality of each tool in its overview.

Key Features

Here are some of the popular monitoring features I came across in my research:

  • Time tracking: Employees can log their work hours using timesheets to clock in and out. Some software has automatic time tracking based on user activity.
  • Productivity monitoring: Productivity tracking usually factors into account things like active and idle time and other behavior analytics.
  • Keystroke logging: Some systems log every keystroke employees make. This gives employers a complete audit of employee messages, searches, and more.
  • User activity monitoring: This might be monitoring specific computer activity like what apps, websites, and social media pages employees are visiting.
  • Screen recording: Many platforms will record what employees do on their devices. Or, they’ll take periodic screenshots to keep records of computer activity.
  • Reporting and analytics: Most remote employee monitoring software provides detailed reports on employee productivity, workloads, work time, and other key metrics.
  • Security features: The software should have safeguards in place to keep sensitive information secure and maintain legality on employee privacy.
  • Hybrid functionality: Some tools are set up to monitor both team members working from home as well as on-premise employees.
  • Insider threat detection: If your company deals with a high level of sensitive information, the software may be able to detect and assess insider threat risks.
  • Mobile app: Having the software installed on employee mobile devices can facilitate geofencing and tracking application usage.

Usability

Monitoring software for your remote workforce should be easy to set up and intuitive to use. I always take user-friendliness into account when assessing software solutions. You might be looking for something specifically for Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, or iOS devices. I’ve noted the software’s compatibility with different devices and operating systems in my overviews, too.

Integrations 

Ideally, any new software will integrate well with your existing tech stack. Common integrations were with project management software and team productivity tools like Workday, Slack, and Asana. Many platforms also integrate with time tracking software, and some have an API you can use to build custom integrations as necessary.

Pricing

The cost of the remote employee monitoring tools on this list ranges from around $6 per employee per month up to $25 per employee per month. Generally, a higher pricing tier will get you access to more advanced features and productivity reports. Completely free plans don’t tend to be available, however many providers offer a free trial.

People Also Ask

People often ask me about the best way to manage remote teams and how to improve the employee experience. Here are answers to the most common questions:

What are the benefits of remote employee monitoring?

One of the benefits associated with tracking your remote workers is reassurance that your teams are being productive and staying focused on the right tasks. Using these types of tools can provide peace of mind to business owners who may be hesitant to move to a remote or hybrid workforce. These software solutions can also help avoid data loss by keeping records of what employees are doing on their devices.

If employees are aware that they’re being monitored, there’s a potential that it could boost productivity. However, it’s important to keep in mind that trust is usually a crucial factor in employee engagement and satisfaction levels. Using employee monitoring software can damage the trust employees feel at work, which could ultimately lead to a negative impact on productivity.

What are the risks of monitoring remote employees?

Tracking employee activity comes with certain risks. It’s important to be aware of employee privacy and legalities around monitoring their work. Not only that, but if the monitoring is hidden from employees and they find out, it risks damaging the employer-employee relationship and established trust. Ultimately, you want the benefits to outweigh the potential risks associated with keeping a close eye on remote employees.

How can you detect employee monitoring software?

Detecting employee monitoring software can be difficult as it is designed to be stealthy and invisible to the employee. However, some signs of monitoring software can include a decrease in system performance or unusual network activity, the presence of unknown or suspicious processes in the task manager, or the appearance of pop-up notifications or warnings on the employee’s computer.

Does your employer have to tell you if your computer is being monitored?

The answer to this question depends on the laws and regulations in your specific country or state. In general, employers may be legally required to inform their employees if they are being monitored, but the specific requirements can vary. You should consult with an employment lawyer or legal expert in your jurisdiction to determine your rights and obligations.

Are there ways to trick employee monitoring software?

It is not ethical or legal to try to trick employee monitoring software. However, some employees may try to bypass monitoring by using external devices, such as a separate computer or smartphone, or by using software tools designed to prevent monitoring or mask activity. This is not recommended, as it can result in disciplinary action or termination of employment.

Build Stronger Teams

Using the recommendations in this article, you can build stronger remote teams that are both productive and efficient. If you’d like a few more options to consider, take a look at our list of the best employee monitoring software too. 

We’ll bring you more articles on related topics soon, so be sure to sign up for our People Managing People newsletter. That way, we can keep you up-to-date with the latest news and insights regarding people management. 

New technology is making it possible to build effective remote teams like never before. So be ready to take advantage of the opportunities to take your organization to the next level.

By Kim Behnke

Kim Behnke is an HR Tool Expert & Writer for People Managing People. She draws on her 9 years of human resources experience and her keen eye for systematic processes to support her analyses of the top HR tools on the market. She is passionate about maximizing efficiencies and streamlining workflows to ensure internal systems run smoothly. Kim's HR experience includes recruitment, onboarding, performance management, training and development, policy development and enforcement, and HR analytics. She also has degrees in psychology, writing, publishing, and technical communication, and recently completed a Certified Digital HR Specialist program through the Academy to Innovate HR. When away from her desk, she can usually be found outside tending to her ever-expanding garden.