Guide to Employee Monitoring Software
A powerful tracking tool, employee monitoring software can boost employee productivity, stay on top of insider threats, block potential malicious attacks, and improve employee morale.
Employee monitoring is much more than simple employee time tracking and is a necessary asset for every business. Read our guide to learn why your company needs employee monitoring.
Why Successful Companies Use Employee Monitoring Software
When used alongside on-site security, productivity plans, and IT security, employee monitoring software can support both cybersecurity goals and productivity goals. Employee monitoring software can:
- Help reduce the security risks associated with outside hackers
- Monitor internet usage and alert admin to an intrusion
- Monitor user behaviors and alert admin to insider threats
- Report on wasted time, such as the amount of time employees spend on social media
- Monitor remote working employees
- Create additional security barriers to protect sensitive data during a data breach
- Alert admin to malware
- Identify phishing attempts
- Support recovery after a cyber attack
- Employ user behavior analytics to better protect against insider threats or identify ongoing attacks
- Secret monitoring with remote access installation and configuration
A program that can be secretly installed on any connected computer, or computer that the business has admin access to, employee monitoring software can monitor the computer functions on that device.
Employee productivity software is more than simple time tracking software. Use it to monitor security threats and improve employee productivity.
What is Employee Monitoring Software?
Employee monitoring software is a program that is designed to monitor and track user behaviors on the computer it is installed on.
Common features of this software include recording the apps, programs, and websites that the user has visited during the recorded time, as well as keystroke logging and user behavior analytics (UBA). By using this software, an employer or organizational overseer can verify that the users were working during work hours and also protect against those insider threats that aim to steal from or harm the business.
Generally, a productivity tracker like employee monitoring software will track the user behaviors when an employee is on company time and time is being recorded. In most cases, employee productivity tracking software will largely depend on the employee to manually log work time. In this scenario, the employee would know about the software and would need to manually start and stop the timer when they are working on a specific project or task.
However, this is not always the case. Other times, this software can record anything that happens on the computer when it is turned on.
Because employee productivity tracking software can be paired with insider threat detection and cybersecurity features, you can have it set up to continually track computer activities to protect your company against insider threats and other security issues. In this instance, the employee monitoring software would be running secretly in the background. The main use case for this would be identifying insider threats.
What Computer Activities Will Employee Monitoring Software Track?
Naturally, there are concerns around the types of activities that employee monitoring software can track.
While this employee monitoring tool can come with a range of features, employee monitoring software most commonly tracks working time, the time spent on projects or tasks, the apps and websites that an employee visit while on the clock, typical user activity (like user behavior analytics), time wasted, and it also alerts admin to atypical employee activity.
Other features include the ability to take screenshots of an employee’s computer so that the admin can see exactly what is happening at given intervals. It can also log keystrokes, or all the strikes on a computer, and monitor the bandwidth over a network connection to track uploads and downloads.
Some software can also enable GPS tracking, which is particularly useful for mobile workers.
Productivity Features Included in Employee Monitoring Software
Employee monitoring software comes with a range of productivity features. The following features can improve workplace productivity and employee morale:
Project and Task Management
Without tracking the actual time spent on a project or task, it can be nearly impossible to estimate how long that project or task took. In this case, it can be difficult for managers to provide estimates or to ensure that a project is continuing as planned.
With manual project and task tracking, project managers can better understand how long a project takes and if issues are coming up. You can then use this information to more accurately estimate project timelines.
Productivity really comes down to time management, which many people don’t excel at. Either they cannot understand where the time goes, or they decide to poorly use their time while at work.
A time tracking software can improve time management by showing clear data as to how an employee uses their time while on the clock. This feature can identify idle time, can stop tracking if no activity is detected, allow or disallow manual time, and time wasted reports.
Analytics and Reporting
Monitoring software tracks a lot of behaviors related to project planning, so project managers and admin have clear data to understand employee workflows and time reports.
Since a company can have a number of employees, managers, and third-party partners, it can be extremely difficult to keep track of all these workflows. Analytics and reporting features included in monitoring software can bring performance metrics to the admin.
Project managers can use the analytics and reporting features for quick estimates about wasted time, time spent on apps, times spent on websites, usual behaviors, and periods for how long an employee spends on social media.
Monitor All Billable Hours
Since you are paying your employees for their time, you want to make sure that they can appropriately use that time. If they are constantly stressed and unable to get work done, then you need to know. Additionally, if employees are spending too much time on social media, then this is important to your bottom line.
Employees clock on either through the time tracking software or by logging in. From there, your software can track these billable hours and help you to identify if your employees are working or not!
An employee tracking software might also provide optional features, such as taking periodic screenshots of your employees’ computers and logging the keystrokes. That way you have greater insight into what they are doing while on the clock.
Surveillance Features Included in Employee Monitoring Software
If looking for employee monitoring software that improves security, then consider the following features:
Keystroke logging is when software records and logs the keystrokes on a keyboard during a specific time. Keystroke logging collects a lot of data, but it is particularly useful for tracking deviant behavior or communications from a computer.
An intuitive employee monitoring software can record keystrokes via keystroke logger and keep the data in the cloud so it does not take up your disc space. Monitor keystrokes for key phrases or review the logs of an individual who is showing anomalous signs.
Keystroke logging will tell you if your workers are being productive or if one of them poses an insider threat. Additionally, you can request that sensitive information like bank account information is not recorded for employee privacy.
Bandwidth controls can be included in internet settings so that employees aren’t able to upload or download a lot of data. Large uploads and downloads are a common practice of malware or malicious individuals that are trying to siphon data away from the source.
While employee monitoring cannot stop this data flow, it can alert the admin to when a certain amount of data is being moved through the internet connection.
User Behavior Analytics
User behavioral analytics (UBAs) is a smart feature that allows upper-level management to understand the typical behavioral patterns of your employees. UBAs identify behaviors from a user or computer that are considered normal to develop a baseline.
The monitoring tool will alert admin or management to user behaviors that deviate from the baseline behavior(s). They may be unhappy at work or in their personal life. Your employee may have shifted into a new role, or someone else is navigating your network while under their username.
Remote work is extremely popular, and it is likely that more businesses will be using a remote workforce or remote teams on a daily basis.
Remote workers have access to sensitive company data and they might access this data on an unsecured personal network. A remote workforce also poses a threat to your company’s sensitive data and privileged network, so it is important to invest in an employee monitoring system for added security.
Additionally, your remote workers could take the day off while still getting paid. A remote employee monitoring software can stem this procrastination and improve employee productivity.
8 Benefits of Employee Monitoring Software
Not sure that you need employee monitoring software? Here are eight benefits to using this software for your organization or business.
1. Remote Team Monitoring
With remote teams on the rise, businesses need to capitalize on remote team tracking in order to a) ensure that the remote team is actually working and b) keep their sensitive assets protected.
Tracking a remote team is difficult even in the best of times. With remote workers living in different time zones, and your team being restricted to digital project management apps, it can be tricky to navigate a remote team.
Additionally, without any supervision, your remote team may be doing whatever they please during the workday and not contributing to your businesses’ goals. A remote monitoring tool can keep your remote team oriented and on task. It’ll also help the team stay organized, motivated, and better able to manage their time.
2. Improved Employee Engagement
Employees are not always motivated to work. Whether there are distractions at work, from their colleagues, and or if they work in a remote environment and can’t stay focused, they might not want to check-in at their computer to work. Not only does this drive employee productivity down, but it also shows signs of poor employee engagement.
An employee monitoring software can keep your team accountable. Your project managers can keep your team on the right track with clear analytics and productivity goals. You can also use data to clearly show what’s going on. When things like productivity and project scope make sense, then your employees are overall happier and willing to work for your company.
3. Monitor Employee Activity During Work Hours
You will never truly know if your employees are working hard during work hours. Without an employee monitoring software, your employees could be lying to you! They could be watching Netflix instead of securing accounts.
Employee monitoring software will track computer activity for you so you no longer have to rely on your employees to tell the truth. See the apps and websites that they are visiting most often. If you have a keystroke logging feature, then you can see the types of messages they are sending to see if they are slacking off and sharing personal anecdotes or if they are focusing on work.
4. Track Time
The amount of wasted time in a day can really add up. From bathroom breaks to visiting colleagues, it turns out that employees do not actually work the full eight hours days and instead slack off.
A clear time tracking tool, which requires employees to manually input the projects and tasks that they are working on, will not only show employees how they are delegating their time but also clearly report back to employers and managers what is going on during the day-to-day.
5. Mobile Tracking and Convenient Functionality
If you work with a team that is mobile or regularly on the move, then time or project tracking might seem unrealistic. However, some employee monitoring software might come with a mobile app so that employees can stay on top of their projects while on the go.
Track time from wherever. The time tracking app also allows for GPS tracking so that the admin or employers can verify their employees’ location while they are on the clock.
Some software comes with additional conveniences like the ability to turn off mobile tracking, an integrated Chrome or web browser extension, and other customizable features.
6. Garner a Productivity Metric
By and far, one of the biggest benefits of monitoring software is the ability to procure legitimate metrics around employee productivity. As a project manager or employer, it can be difficult to speak with an employee and try to rectify poor productivity when you have no proof.
A productivity tracking forces the employee to track their productivity or it reflects poorly on them. Additionally, the productivity metric can be useful upon creating a productivity plan.
Why estimate for timelines that don’t make sense? With clear metrics, you can clearly identify which projects are taking up too much time, whether employees are actually working while on the clock, and so much more.
7. Timesheet and Payroll Integration
Smart tracking tools can merge with payroll or create a timesheet so that payday is super easy. Instead of asking for employees to estimate their hours or report any off-hours during a normal week, you can instead refer to the employee tracking software. The employee tracking software is the gold standard, the primary way in which employees get paid. This will encourage them to keep tracking up to date, especially once they begin to realize that every minute counts!
By integrating payroll into the tracking software, employees can get paid faster and with ease. Your finance or accounting department will be able to quickly and easily pay employees, either by exporting timesheets or paying employees directly through the software.
8. Extra Safeguards Against External Threats
While monitoring software is largely touted as ideal for productivity monitoring (and it is!) it is also useful as an extra security measure. Monitoring software will be able to identify baseline behaviors and alert management to when an employee has ‘gone rogue.’
Be alerted to risky behaviors like moving data in or out of a certain file or if employees are starting to slack off. If employees aren’t tracking hours as usual but they are in the office and working, then something might be up.
How Does Employee Monitoring Help Productivity, Performance, and Costs?
Monitoring productivity can boost company morale, establish (or solidify) workplace expectations, and help your business reach major financial goals.
There is a range of ways that employee monitoring can do such things. Primarily, the features included in employee tracking allows employers to confirm that every payroll dollar spent is going to hard-working employees that deserve it. It also can look into employee insights, like identifying employees who may be struggling to get work done or drowning in too much work.
Through features like keystroke logging or application tracking, you are better equipped to insulate your company from issues concerning compliance, for example, legal issues, productivity issues, workplace harassment, and much more. And in collecting this data, your company will have strong evidence supporting issues in your workplace.
Computer monitoring also looks at bigger, structural issues. If through the software you start to notice that there is a high amount of employee turnover, then you might want to dive deeper into why employees are more likely to leave your business than others. Computer monitoring software can highlight personnel or staffing issues, holes in structural processes, poor or deteriorating workplace environment, workflow issues, and other factors that are impacting workplace behavior.
You may be too busy to focus on all of these issues, or perhaps you have been looking for a way to track them. Use employee monitoring software tools to gain insight into toxic workplace behaviors or trends of poor productivity.
Addressing each of these things, along with other workplace issues, can lead to improved ROI. Additionally, employees will be able to positively contribute to a better working environment knowing that you are knowledgeable in some of these issues and are doing something about it!
What Types of Teams Rely on Employee Monitoring?
Any team can improve from employee monitoring. The biggest use case for employee monitoring will be remote teams, large tams, and teams that are spread out over a larger campus or organization.
Computer monitoring adds an extra layer of protection for large teams. With this software in place, you will be able to watch the computer activity on more than one computer all through a simplified and easy to understand console. Watch your employees working live randomly so that you know employees are being truthful. Or keep an eye on them through the IT department or security team. Implementing employee monitoring could replace physical cameras spread out around your workplace!
Remote teams will also benefit from employee monitoring. Not only do you want to ensure that your remote team is actively working, but you will want added protections in place if you cannot ensure that data being sent throughout your remote workforce is being protected.
No matter the size of your company, computer monitoring software can also protect everyone from liability and lawsuits. As an employer, you are liable for employee behavior so you should have in place protection in case of legal action. Computer monitoring can eliminate some of these risks, or at least prepare you for when the time comes.
As a powerful productivity tool, any team size, shape, or type would benefit from monitoring software. Work is compiled of smaller tasks that build upon each other. If your employees can’t track their projects, then they fall behind.
What Will Employee Monitoring Look Like in My Business?
One of the biggest advantages of employee monitoring is that employers, admin, or managers no longer need to micromanage. Instead, you can quickly and easily refer to the employee time tracking sheet to get a clear snapshot of what is going on.
With the right software in place, you can let your employees do their jobs all the while knowing what is going on with a project.
How you implement the software into your business will depend on your goals. If you want to use employee productivity, then you can remote install or ask each employee to download it onto their computer. This is because the employee will need to be involved in the time tracking process.
For surveillance purposes, you’ll want your employees on a connected network with you having admin access. That way you can control the settings and remotely install it without your employees knowing about the software.
Try to manage expectations around employee monitoring. It’s important to also stay informed on state workplace privacy laws. State clearly that employees are being monitored and how that data is collected. Keep employees informed about their privacy rights and the use of that monitoring data.
Ask Yourself… Is Employee Monitoring Right for Me?
Activity monitoring tools can increase productivity, and they can also improve your company culture, improve workplace morale, and add extra protection measures to your company’s sensitive data.
Virtually any company can benefit from employee monitoring simply because it keeps employee productivity and business security in one simple hub. It also automates a lot of the manual time tracking payroll processes so these aspects get easier and fewer mistakes occur.
Depending on how you want to use the software, be sure to identify what you need in good software. If you need to monitor your remote team to make sure that they are at their desk working, then be sure to get an employee monitoring software that allows the live webcam feed. If you are looking for surveillance, then you’ll want to be able to secretly install the software remotely.
No matter how it is used, employee monitoring offers solutions for a number of business use cases. Use computer monitoring to educate your employees about workplace expectations, or require it for payroll purposes. With so much versatility and ease, monitoring software can make business operations much easier!
Try Employee Monitoring in Your Business for Free
While you may trust your employees, there are a myriad of ways that employees, third-parties, and departing employees can wreak havoc on your business. From time theft to data breaches, you want to have as many protections in place so that your business assets are secure and you stay up and running and thriving.
Choosing a computer monitoring software can be difficult. You want one that serves your business purposes and can function in a number of ways. You might want the software for productivity only right now, but you also may want surveillance features in the future, for example. You also want a monitoring software solution that scales alongside your business.
Try a monitoring solution from SoftActivity, which offers software for monitoring workstations and terminal servers. Try it for free to see how monitoring software fits into your business model!
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