Worried about whether your remote workforce is working or not?
With the right employee monitoring software, you can easily keep track of your remote workforce. These software track and monitor how much time a remote worker spends on a specific task, site or app. This helps you get a better idea of what they’re up to during work hours.
In this article, we’ll give you 10 tools to monitor your remote employees and ensure they’re always productive.
Here are the tools we’ll be covering:
We’ll be going over their features, integrations, pros and cons, pricing, and customer reviews. Click on the links below to jump to a specific tool:
- Time Doctor
Let’s get started.
The benefits of monitoring remote work
Before showing you the best tools to track your employees, let’s quickly go over the major benefits of having an employee monitoring tool for your remote workforce.
Here are the benefits of a good employee monitoring system:
- Your employees will be held accountable for their output each day. This ensures that they’re motivated enough to produce results regularly.
- With a good time tracking tool, freelancers and contractors have concrete proof of time spent when billing clients.
- As there are records of time spent on each task, clients know exactly which remote work they’re being billed for.
- Reduces the need for an office space as your employees can remain productive remotely.
- You’ll have fewer worries when hiring remote workers as the tool will ensure that they’re committed to your organization.
- A good remote employee monitoring software reduces the time spent on time-tracking and task management as the tool does it for you.
Now that we’ve covered why you need a remote employee monitoring software, let’s go over the best options:
1. Time Doctor
Time Doctor is one of the most powerful time tracking tools for 2021. Used by companies like Apple, Ericsson and PwC, it’s no surprise that Time Doctor is one of the best options for you and your team.
With Time Doctor, managers can calculate:
- The tasks your team is working on.
- The time they’re spending on each task.
- The sites they’re visiting.
- The times they log in and log out.
- Task management – task allocation based on how productive each employee is.
- Client billable hours.
Time Doctor is the easiest way to keep your employees productive. Let’s take a closer look at some of the features that make Time Doctor special:
A) Simple time tracking
A major problem with most remote work tools are that they’re complicated to use. They require a lot of manual input which could be a big turnoff for most employees.
Luckily, Time Doctor is super easy to use.
All an employee has to do is start the timer before they start a task. TimeDoctor will quietly run in the background – calculating the time spent and sites accessed during this time. Your team doesn’t have to manually enter anything – all they have to do is start and stop the timer!
Just because your employees are manually starting and stopping the timer doesn’t mean that they can exaggerate their working hours! Time Doctor has features that make it nearly impossible to fake data.
Let’s take a look at them.
B) Poor usage monitoring
Worried that your employees maybe on social media and instant messaging sites when they’re supposed to be working?
With Time Doctor, you don’t have to worry about that.
Whenever an employee accesses unproductive sites like these, the app automatically sends them a pop-up asking them if they’re still working. This little nudge is usually enough to get them off the social media site and back to work.
Additionally, managers have access to a Poor Time Use report that details what sites an employee accessed and how long they spent there.
Time Doctor can also take screenshots of your employees’ screen at random intervals to ensure that they’re on productive sites. This feature is optional and can be disabled at any time.
For privacy reasons, the employee can always delete a screenshot in case it contains any sensitive information.
C) Inactivity tracker
Time Doctor ensures that your staff is actively working during their work hours through the in-built inactivity tracker.
When there’s been no keyboard or mouse activity for three minutes, Time Doctor automatically assumes that the worker is on a break and pauses the timer.
This way, your employees can’t pass off idle time as remote work.
D) Advanced reports
Time Doctor gives you tons of detailed reports to make your time tracking process meaningful. Here’s a closer look at each of these reports:
1. Timesheet report
What does this show?
This report shows you the total hours worked by your employees per day during a given time period – say a month or a week.
What is it useful for?
It’s a good way to take stock of how many hours each employee is working per day and the total hours worked during a month or week.
You can also export this report as a CSV or XLS file for safe storage.
2. Time use report
What does this show?
This report is a breakdown of the time spent on all tasks by an employee in a given period. You’ll be able to see what tasks they worked on and how long it took them.
What is it useful for?
Checking how each employee has spent their time on different tasks. For example, if you see that a task took too long, you could have a coaching session with that team member about how to do it faster the next time.
3. Timeline daily report
What does this show?
The timeline daily report gives you a complete breakdown of the time spent by all your employees in chronological order. You’ll know the sequence of tasks each team member was working on and how long each activity was for.
What is it useful for?
This is useful while evaluating unproductive employees. By looking into how they are spending their day, you can advise them on how to become more productive.
4. Projects report
What does this show?
The projects report gives you a breakdown of the total time spent on a project-wise basis. You’ll also see who’s worked on different tasks in the project and for how long.
What is it useful for?
Useful for calculating how much time is being spent by an individual or a team on each task and project. It helps check if time estimates are being exceeded and even arrive at estimates for future projects.
Moreover, you can also use this for calculating billable hours for clients.
5. Attendance report
The attendance report gives you a list of absentees in the week with their reasons for absence. It’s a simple way to keep stock of who’s been missing from work recently.
6. Web and app usage report
What does this show?
This report gives you a breakdown of each site and app an employee accessed during working hours only. It also shows you how long they spent on each of these sites.
What is it useful for?
This allows you to check if people are wasting time on irrelevant sites like shopping or social media.
7. Poor time use report
What does this show?
The poor time use report is a periodic report that shows you any distracting sites and apps an employee accessed in a day during working hours only. Time Doctor automatically categorizes social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as distracting – however, you can edit this list to suit your needs (this feature can also be disabled if you like).
Whenever a remote worker accesses these blacklisted sites, Time Doctor will calculate how long they spent there and it’ll show up in this report.
What is it useful for?
It’s a good way to deter your employees from breaking your policies and spending too long on social media and instant messaging sites.
E) Privacy controls
An average remote worker is usually suspicious of any remote employee monitoring software.
They’re worried that their security may get compromised and they wouldn’t be able to maintain a healthy work-life balance. They’re concerned that they’ll be monitored during non-work hours as well.
With Time Doctor, they can rest assured that their work-life balance won’t be disrupted. The app immediately stops monitoring employees once the timer is switched off. There’s no way for it to track the sites and apps they access during their breaks or non work hours – giving them a sense of security over this matter.
Time Doctor can integrate with tons of different tools such as GitHub, Asana and Zapier for added functionality. For the whole list of integrations, click here.
- Powerful automated time tracking capabilities.
- Great website monitoring features with an integrated inactivity tracker.
- Detailed reports to keep track of your staff and what they’re up to.
- Strict privacy controls to ensure the security of your employees’ information.
- Loads of helpful integrations.
- The chrome extension is limited – it’s best to use the desktop app.
- The tool may be more suited to companies than freelancers and solopreneurs.
Time Doctor starts at $7/month per user with volume discounts. You can always sign up for a free 14-day trial without a credit card.
G2Crowd – 4.3/5 (100+ reviews)
Capterra – 4.5/ 5 (200+ reviews)
Toggl is a great virtual software to see if remote employees are working. With features and plans suited to smaller businesses and entrepreneurs, it’s effective for simple task management and time tracking.
- Powerful browser extension that can track time on hundreds of different tools.
- Advanced reporting features to help you analyze the time spent. Each report can be exported as a PDF, XLS or CSV file for easy storage.
- Automated virtual timesheet management for easy access to detailed records.
- Keyboard tracking to monitor your employees’ activity.
Toggl can integrate with over 100 different tools across a range of industries. It can seamlessly integrate with a to-do list app like Todoist as well as a project management software like Asana.
There’s a Toggl Zapier integration to help you automate workflows and integrate it with tons of other apps.
- Simple, intuitive user-interface for an easy onboarding process.
- Good customer service.
- Supports auto time-tracking for tons of tools.
- Even though it can integrate with Zapier, syncing between tools can be glitchy.
- Does not show you the sites your staff has been spending time on. This limits it’s distraction management capabilities.
- The starter plan is very limited; you’ll have to go for their more expensive variants for all the features.
Toggl has three pricing plans, with each variant offering you a different set of features. Here are the pricing plans:
- Starter ($9/user per month) – gives you basic features like time tracking and reporting. No advanced features included.
- Premium ($18/user per month) – gives you all the features in the Starter plan + team management capabilities and real-time views.
- Enterprise ($49/user per month) – gives you access to all the features in Toggl such as advanced reporting and timesheet management.
G2Crowd – 4.3/5 (450+ reviews)
Capterra – 4.5/5 (800+ reviews)
You can also check out our review of Toggl if you want a more comprehensive look at the software.
Unlike the other tools in the article, RescueTime isn’t a time-tracking app per se. It’s a web-based employee productivity platform that runs in the background.
- Tracks the time you spend on a particular tool or website during your work hours.
- Can block sites that are considered distracting. This list of non-productive sites can be customized by you.
- Lets you specify your productivity goals and notifies you if you’re spending too much time on a particular task.
- Gives you detailed reports about time usage to help improve employee productivity levels.
RescueTime can integrate with tons of different tools in the market today.
It can integrate with popular project management tools and team communication apps like GitHub and Slack. With the Zapier integration, you can connect it with 50 more tools.
- Software is simple and easy to use.
- The goals and alarms feature can help you reach your productivity goals.
- Weekly email updates about your team’s activity can help you take stock of their productivity.
- Can block distracting sites easily.
- Cannot log billable and non-billable hours separately – this makes it difficult to provide clients with accurate records.
- Cannot track time spent on projects and tasks – it can only measure time spent on a particular tool or website.
- No invoicing capabilities.
- You cannot operate RescueTime when you’re offline.
RescueTime has two pricing plans:
- Lite (free): this plan is aimed at solopreneurs who need a limited set of features.
- Premium ($9/user per month): includes all the premium features that a team would benefit from.
G2Crowd – 4.1/5 (50+ reviews)
Capterra – 4.5/5 (50+ reviews)
You can learn more about the software in our RescueTime Review.
Timely is another software to see if remote employees are working. A unique Timely feature is that it can categorize your time based on tasks, websites accessed and tools used.
- Strong automated time-tracking capabilities that eliminate the need for manual intervention.
- Can easily capture billable activity through detailed timesheets and reports. It can track non-billable activities as well.
- Has an advanced dashboard that can help your team collaborate through activity feeds.
Timely can integrate with loads of popular project management, communication and video chat apps. However, most of these integrations are only supported on their premium variants.
- Powerful automated time-tracking capabilities.
- Can capture data across web and mobile devices with powerful data syncs for flexible work patterns.
- Good advanced reporting capabilities.
- It is expensive.
- Most of the features are limited to their premium variants.
- The dashboard can be confusing to work with initially.
There are three Timely pricing plans:
- $7/month for freelancers and solopreneurs with basic features.
- $14/user per month for teams with some collaboration centered features.
- $21/user per month for advanced collaboration features for teams.
G2Crowd – 4.7/5 (10+ reviews)
Capterra – 4.6/5 (600+ reviews)
Harvest is a great time tracking solution for an organisation that works with tons of clients on a daily basis. With advanced invoicing capabilities, Harvest can seamlessly integrate with your billing processes.
- Can create invoices from your tracked hours and process payments across time zones through Paypal or Stripe.
- Automatically syncs across devices to keep up with flexible work patterns.
- Multiple setting options to adjust billing rates and monitor tracking and processing according to the client you’re working with.
Harvest can integrate with tons of different tools such as communication software, project management software and video conferencing tools. With the Zapier integration, you can integrate it with over 1000 tools!
- Virtually endless list of integrations.
- Enterprise-level billing and invoicing capabilities.
- Streamlined interface for an easy onboarding process.
- Cannot capture screenshots to track project progress.
- Reports can be confusing to deal with.
- It’s on the costlier side.
Harvest gives individuals a free plan with tracking for two monthly projects. However, for teams with full-time employees, it costs $12/user per month. This comes with some advanced features and a higher project limit.
G2Crowd – 4.3/5 (350+ reviews)
Capterra – 4.5/5 (300+ reviews)
If you are also interested, here is our comprehensive review of Harvest.
Everhour is a great web-based software to see if remote employees are working. It has great in-built time tracking capabilities to keep a tab on your remote workforce.
- Powerful live dashboard that allows you to take stock of what your team has on their plate at the moment.
- Supports advanced billing functions such as invoice generation in multiple currencies.
- Fully-functional browser extensions for easy accessibility.
- Can edit time records if you’ve made a mistake. However, managers can lock the time editing feature for a period of time.
Like Harvest, Everhour can integrate with loads of different apps to always keep your team meetings productive. It can also integrate with Zapier to integrate with over 1000 apps ranging from communication software to CRMs.
- Efficient invoicing capabilities with a client portal to allow clients to view time reports.
- Powerful browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
- Facilitates good team management in your business with the live dashboard.
- Cannot be used as a distraction management software.
Everhour has two pricing plans. Each plan offers you access to all the features. The only distinction between them is that one plan is aimed at individuals, while the other is aimed at teams with full-time employees.
- For individuals: $8/month (billed yearly)
- For teams: $5/user per month (billed yearly)
G2Crowd – 4.7/5 (50+ reviews)
Capterra – 4.5/5 (150+ reviews)
Timeneye is a simple app for a solopreneur or business that’s looking for seamless automated tracking capabilities.
- Automatic time tracking to help you keep track of your productivity.
- Calendar view to track your project’s progress easily.
- Can track billable and non-billable hours separately for easy categorization.
- Detailed reports on each team member’s time usage to keep track of your team’s efficiency.
Timeneye can integrate with a large number of different tools and apps such as Asana, Google Calendar and Basecamp for your organisation.
- Easy-to-use interface for an easy onboarding process.
- You can stay on top of projects easily with the calendar view.
- Efficient time tracking features.
- Cannot handle offline time tracking.
- No invoicing capabilities.
- Can be expensive for teams.
Timeneye has a free plan for individuals with unlimited projects, tasks and clients.
For teams, the pricing varies depending on the number of full-time employees in your team. For example, it costs $15/month for a two-user team and $24/month for a five-user team. Timeneye’s team plans come with advanced features and integrations.
G2Crowd – 4.2/5 (5 reviews)
Capterra – 4.5/5 (40+ reviews)
ClickTime is another great time-tracking solution to help you manage your projects and available resources.
- ClickTime can create tons of reports to give you a better picture of your workforce. You can easily measure employee performance, productivity and work allocation with these insights.
- The centralized dashboard gives you a helpful overlook at all your projects and their schedules and deadlines.
- Powerful browser apps that allow you to track your time without leaving a webpage.
While ClickTime can integrate with tons of different tools, they also give you a custom API to add your own integrations to the software.
- Over 80+ different reports for detailed insights.
- Custom API for advanced customization.
- Supports notifications to easily keep up to date with project progress.
- Limited automated capabilities.
- Can be expensive for larger teams.
- The interface can be slightly complicated.
ClickTime has three pricing plans:
- Starter: $10/user per month for basic features.
- Team: $12/user per month for team-centric features.
- Premier $24/user per month for all the advanced features.
G2Crowd – 4.4/5 (100+ reviews)
Capterra – 4.5/5 (30+ reviews)
TopTracker is a great time tracking app for freelancers, solopreneurs and small organizations. It allows you to easily track the time spent on projects to keep you productive.
- A multifunctional dashboard that lets you keep track of your staff and manage employee productivity.
- Detailed reports about your team’s performance and your project’s progress.
- Desktop apps for Windows, Linux, MacOS and Fedora.
There are currently no integrations for TopTracker.
- The desktop app supports offline time tracking.
- Supports unlimited projects and clients by default.
- Good reporting capabilities to manage your workforce.
- No mobile apps.
- No invoicing functionality.
- No integrations.
- Limited automation when it comes to time tracking.
TopTracker is completely free.
G2Crowd – N/A
Capterra – N/A
EmailAnalyticsis another great tool to monitor remote employee activity and productivity. It visualizes email activity in Gmail and G Suite so you can see emails sent and received by day or hour of the day, and calculates critical KPIs for sales and customer service teams such as average email response time.
- Robust filters so you can include or exclude only the emails you want to analyze
- Daily or weekly email activity reports for your team delivered to your inbox
- Real-time email activity dashboard for you and your team
- Create teams and group your team members into them
A custom API is in the works and will be available soon to enable many integrations.
- Intuitive and easy to use.
- Displays data in real-time so you can manage your team effectively throughout the day.
- Daily email reports delivered to your inbox so you can keep tabs on your team’s productivity by just checking your email.
- Excellent customer support.
- Active development with new features added regularly.
- No mobile app available (yet)
- No integrations available (yet)
- The tool may be better suited for companies than freelancers or solopreneurs
Pricing is simply $15 per user/month. However, bulk discounts are available for teams with more than 5 users. For teams with 200+ users, pricing is as low as $5 per user/month.
G2Crowd – N/A
Capterra – N/A
Keeping track of your remote employees doesn’t have to be hard.
With the right employee website monitoring tool, you can easily keep track of what they’re doing and keep your workforce productive.
While each of the tools here is great, Time Doctor is easily the most comprehensive tool for you. It has loads of features and integrations to make your employee monitoring process a breeze.
Why not sign up for a free 14-day trial and experience it for yourself?
Employee internet monitoring software WorkTime is a great tool to monitor internet usage. WorkTime provides insight into employees' internet activities and how often they use social media during working hours. Tracking internet usage highlights the productive/unproductive internet-related computer activities.How do I monitor my employees working remotely? ›
- Track employee email activity.
- Implement time tracking software.
- Use a project / task management app.
- Create task lists.
- Require self-reporting.
- Require managerial supervision and reports.
- Observe subjective factors.
|1||Teramind Best for combining employee monitoring & security|
|2||Insightful Best for employee productivity monitoring|
|3||Veriato Best for monitoring employees in regulated environments|
|4||DeskTime Best for non-intrusive employee monitoring|
- Create account. Sign up for free.
- Set up tasks. Create projects, categorize them by clients, and create tasks on projects.
- Invite remote team. ...
- Track time. ...
- See who works on what in real time. ...
- Track team's overtime hours. ...
- Check employee hours in reports. ...
- Enable location tracking (optional)
Employee internet monitoring software WorkTime is a great tool to monitor internet usage. WorkTime provides insight into employees' internet activities and how often they use social media during working hours. Tracking internet usage highlights the productive/unproductive internet-related computer activities.Can my boss tell if I'm working remotely? ›
As a general rule, if you're using your employer's equipment while on your employer's network, your employer has the right to monitor everything you do, whether you're working remotely or in the workplace.Can you tell if someone is working remotely? ›
How to check if remote employees are working? Employers can use remote employee monitoring software to ensure that remote employees are working. This software allows employers to track employee activity, including computer usage, email, and internet browsing.How do I know if my employer is monitoring my computer? ›
- Unknown Programs Installed.
- Slow computer Performance.
- Your Webcam Light Is On.
- Examine Your Productivity Applications.
- Time Doctor.
- Time Champ.
Is it legal to monitor company's computers? Yes. The laws of the United States permit the employer to monitor systems they have ownership of. According to ECPA, if an employer provides a computer, it is company property, and generally, an employer is allowed to monitor all activities employees carry out on it.
Your employer may collect data from keyboards, webcams, mouses, the websites you go to, and even your emails on work-issued devices if it's in your employment agreement. Many employers thankfully look at the data as a whole, rather than on an individual level.How do I track remote access? ›
In Server Manager, click Tools, and then click Remote Access Management. Click REPORTING to navigate to Remote Access Reporting in the Remote Access Management Console. Click Remote Client Status to navigate to the remote client activity and status user interface in the Remote Access Management Console.Can you track employees without their knowledge? ›
Under the US Federal Law, employers have the right to monitor their employees as they perform their duties. There is no federal law in the US that requires employers to notify their staff that they are being monitored.Can my boss watch me on camera all day? ›
Targeted/covert monitoring will usually only be justified in exceptional circumstances, where there are grounds to suspect criminal activity or serious malpractice by the employee in question and the monitoring is necessary to prevent or detect this crime or malpractice, where no other method is feasible.Can my employer track my laptop activity? ›
Can my employer monitor my personal accounts? A: YES, your employer can monitor your personal accounts. As explained above, whatever you use on the work computers, can be monitored. If your employer uses workplace monitoring software that captures keystrokes, then any content can be monitored.Can my employer see me through the camera on my laptop? ›
Along with more routine surveillance, such as how often you're at the keyboard, it allows your employer to quietly turn on your camera and microphone, and even to record your activities. Here's the thing: It's their laptop, not yours. They can do with it as they please.Is it legal to monitor remote employees? ›
Yes. Employee monitoring is totally legal in the U.S. The United States monitoring laws give employers a considerable amount of rights to monitor their employees' activities on workplace devices. It must, however, be backed up with valid business reasons. Some state laws establish that consent is a requirement.Can my employer track what I do on other devices at home? ›
To monitor your home computer or a personal laptop, your employer has to obtain access. Access is required to install some kind of computer monitoring software. Remote desktop sessions do not grant any access without permission. Also your employer is not allowed to monitor your home computer without your consent.