Human capacity isn’t limitless. Even if your employees are constantly working in the office, you are able to personally monitor only one person at a time. And if you have people who work remotely, which is a common thing in the world affected by a pandemic, there are no opportunities for you to observe them in person at all. At the same time, it’s obvious that you need to keep an eye on your staff. Some of the things you may want to do include the following:
- Monitoring KPIs;
- Identifying cases of procrastination;
- Protecting yourself and your business from dishonest employees;
- Creating additional non-financial motivation (so that employees think something along the lines of, “my progress is being tracked, so I need to do better”).
That’s where professional software comes into play. So let’s take a closer look at various tools for monitoring employee productivity that are available on the market today.
Employee Monitoring Software
Let’s start with the programs that were originally created to monitor staff productivity. These are the most effective solutions that provide the manager with the information they need the most. Such software should be the foundation of your own employee-monitoring framework.
An example of useful monitoring software is Kickidler
Kickidler is a powerful time tracking and employee monitoring software specifically designed for remote monitoring of staff.
It allows you to track everything:
- Time of the beginning and end of work;
- All breaks and unproductive time (spent in apps that aren’t related to work or on entertainment websites);
- Keystrokes (there’s an option for remote employees to enable or disable this function themselves).
All collected data is recorded and aggregated in convenient reports, which are used to create visual charts. You can also connect directly to a specialist’s computer at any time and see what the employee is doing in real time (desktop live viewer) or in a recording of their actions (screen video recording).
In 2020, Kickidler developers released the Autokick update, which was designed for monitoring remote employees. The functionality includes two important features:
- It automatically notifies when an employee commits some kind of violation, whether they’ve been absent from the workplace for too long, spent too much time in social networks, read the news too much and so on;
- It gives employees the opportunity to see their own productivity statistics. This trial function is aimed at the self-motivation factor.
- Teramind. It’s a large-scale and, perhaps, even a bit overwhelming system for monitoring employee activity that supports optical character recognition and provides a wide range of functions to automate the monitoring;
- Activtrack. This software is designed to create screenshots of users’ screens every 5 seconds. It supports automatic notification on disturbing activity and enables corporate mail monitoring. However, it’s not suitable for Mac users and concedes to other systems in terms of network activity capabilities;
- WorkPlus. The program does a good job regarding time tracking, but it doesn’t save data on visited sites or create screenshots. Moreover, it’s only available via a web application.
See also Best Free Employee Monitoring Software of 2020
Project Management Software
While Kickidler collects all the data on each employee and lets supervisors view each action in detail, project management software is primarily aimed at strategic management. These programs allow you to monitor deadlines and the distribution of tasks among employees. They also create a fruitful environment for teamwork.
At the same time, project management software can’t fully replace professional monitoring software. Yes, you will notice if an employee starts to fall behind schedule, but you won’t be able to determine the reasons behind it. The same is true for employees’ fraudulent actions – it’s impossible to track violations using project management software. That’s why we advise you to combine these options and manage projects through specifically-designed project management software, yet at the same time check Kickidler reports at least once every few days.
An example of a good project management software is ClickUp
ClickUp is a user-friendly platform that offers the executive all the features needed to create a coherent team of remote specialists. The program has:
- Project dashboards of different types (Kanban boards, tables, lists);
- User comments and customizable project/employee stats;
- Gantt charts for project management;
- Integration of Google Docs and Excel tables;
- Built-in time tracker;
- Reminders, etc.
ClickUp is flexibly customizable to the needs of each employee, and it creates a truly comfortable working environment.
- Trello. Online Kanban-style dashboards that are inferior in its functionality to ClickUp and many other systems. The app gained wide popularity because of its great free mode and user-friendliness;
- Asana. Project management software that’s exceptionally easy for team members to use. It requires a lot of executive’s attention and is an ideal choice for direct control over the staff;
- Wrike. Simple solution that supports offline work and generates detailed task execution reports. It’s a good choice for urgent implementation when you may need to start monitoring the project as soon as possible.
Let’s move from large-scale solutions to more simple options that may in a way be considered temporary. Calendars can be considered a simplified replacement of the project management software. You can create deadlines for certain tasks, set up meetings, but you can’t save project details, showcase the relationship between different tasks or send attachments through the calendar.
An example of a good calendar is Google Calendar
Google Calendar is a free and widely available calendar that can be linked to Gmail accounts. If you have to start using at least some task planner immediately without wasting too much time and effort, this is a good choice because of the following reasons.
- Calendars are easy to share among employees. Meetings, plans – everything can be sent with a single click;
- Event notifications are easy to set up, and they are visible to everyone who’s subscribed to the calendar.
However, all communication, exchange of important files and discussion of project details will have to be conducted via messengers, Zoom calls, personal meetings, etc. The calendar only has dates and short descriptions – it’s a nice solution for quick planning, but you’ll probably want to use something more comprehensive in the long run.
- Apple Calendar. This is a good option for people who use Apple devices. It synchronizes with iCloud and supports voice commands from Siri;
- Microsoft Outlook. The program combines calendar and email functions and is especially convenient if you use other MS Office products;
- Any.do. This is a calendar full of features that has evolved from a reminder and to-do list app. It includes many interesting features – for example, when reminding you of a scheduled meeting, it considers the time it’ll take you to get there.
Time Tracking Software
While calendar can be considered a simplified version of the project management software, time-tracking software can be called a monitoring tool with minimal functionality. Such programs record the time spent on the computer or on a specific work task, but they don’t provide any details. You won’t be able to see an employee’s screen or have a detailed record of their activity at the computer. Ultimately, time trackers are more of a self-discipline tool for employees rather than a monitoring app for executives.
An example of a good time tracker is Toggl
Toggl is available in different versions – for Android, Windows, Mac or as an extension for the browser. It also has broad free functionality, such as:
- Tracking time;
- Tracking idle time;
- Monitoring reminders;
- Editing timeline manually.
In addition to the above-mentioned tools paid version of the app provides tools that are perfect for collaborative work: export and import of reports, setting project tasks and tracking the time spent on them. But almost all time-tracking apps work correctly only when an employee isn’t actively trying to cheat them. So they aren’t exactly the perfect management solution.
- Harvest. It’s an application that was originally designed for collaborative work and synchronization of team members’ schedules. It supports integration with Asana, Trello and other popular apps;
- Everhour. It’s a good choice if your employees mainly work through a browser. It truly is a simple and convenient system. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support offline mode and can’t be installed on mobile phones;
- Timely. This is a time tracker that’s recommended to be used in combination with a calendar. It supports teamwork and integrates with most common applications.
We also recommend you check out the Best Time Trackers of 2020.
If you want simple quick fix – and if you trust your employees for the most part – the combination of calendar and time-tracking software will work just fine. However, when it comes to full control and comprehensive monitoring, you’ll need specialized software – project management software and productivity monitoring software like Kickidler.
Kickidler Employee Monitoring Software
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