04/15/2021, 202 views
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10 Best Tools to Monitor your Remote Employees Productivity For 2021

We’ve decided to compile a list of useful tools that can help supervisors monitor employees who have been transferred to work remotely from home either on temporary or permanent basis.

Remote Employee Monitoring Software is a kind of software that combines the capabilities of employee monitoring software and other tools for tracking employees’ activity and analyzing their productivity at PCs. This software is indispensable when you have people on your team who work remotely, since typical monitoring tools aren’t available in situations when a supervisor and an employee or a freelancer are separated in terms of their locations. As a result, the quality of management and the accuracy of forecasting in project work are impaired.

The popularity of software and cloud solutions that help with organizing and controlling remote work processes is increasing every year. For instance, according to Gartner consulting agency research, in 2020 popularity of the aforementioned services has increased by 80% in the U.S. alone. And the situation is quite similar in other countries as well. This is due to several reasons – from the increase in the number of remote employees and greater involvement of freelancers to the desire of company executives to effectively control the people who work for them.

Why is it necessary to monitor people working remotely?

With the right tools, remote work monitoring services that collect and interpret data can be useful for everyone:

  • Employees will be mindful of their responsibilities knowing that their productivity and overall work are being tracked.
  • Employees and freelancers will be able to bill customers based on the amount of time they spend on certain tasks.
  • Customers will know exactly how much time was spent on their projects.
  • Supervisors will find it easier to control remote employees by automating that process using specialized software.

Being aware of these points and witnessing the rapidly growing demand for tools that help with organizing remote work, we’ve decided to assist people who are choosing such software and have compiled a rating of the best programs of such type.

Why can our rating of remote employee monitoring software be trusted?

We ourselves are the developers of such software; therefore, we closely monitor all the new products that appear on the relevant market and any of their updates. We’ve tested not only the programs that are listed below, but many other systems and remote work trackers as well, so we can declare with certainty that we’ve researched the question quite thoroughly.

Nevertheless, our opinion on the following ten programs is totally subjective. We encourage you to review our rating and form your own opinion.

Comparative table of cost and functionality of remote employee monitoring software:

Product Online monitoring Video recording Keylogger Reports on Reports on productivity Price (per PC per month)
Kickidler Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes From $3.67
Time Doctor No No Yes Yes Yes 9,99$
Timely No No Yes Yes Yes 14$
Hubstaff Yes No Yes Yes Yes 5$
ActivTrak Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 7,2$
RescueTime No No No Yes Yes 9$
Hours No No No Yes Yes 7,99$
Harvest No No No Yes Yes 12$
Everhour No No No Yes Yes 5$
TopTracker No No No Yes Yes Free

1. Kickidler

Kickidler is a comprehensive system for controlling employees and tracking their working hours. It has powerful functionality and user-friendly interface, and it’s incredibly easy to use. Most importantly, the system is protected from any potential scams of remote employees. This well-balanced software can be introduced in companies with any number of employees. In 2020, Kickidler was one of the top 10 most popular employee monitoring software in the world, and that May it also became the second most rapidly growing in popularity software.

Kickidler can be used for both monitoring remote employees’ working hours and total control of remote personnel including all the actions they perform at the PCs. The program’s screen video recording feature and its user-friendly display of PC activity history ensure that the employees cannot trick the software, which is an especially important aspect when it comes to working with employees in Home Office mode.

Features that enable controlling remote employees

  • Online monitoring of remote computers – displaying screenshots.
  • Tracking working hours – recording the beginning and end of workday, breaks, and idle time.
  • Controlling employee efficiency – analyzing the tasks they performed during the day.
  • Tracking opened apps and visited sites with the option of their automatic filtering.
  • Consistent video recording of employees’ monitors.
  • Recording all keystrokes during the working day.
  • Enabling remote access to employees’ PCs.
  • Sending automatic notifications to employees regarding the violations they commit at the workplace.

Free version’s price and restrictions

The cost of Kickidler’s optimal pricing plan is just $2.84 per month for each connected computer, provided that you’ve purchased a three-year license. Learn more about the program’s pricing plans here

Kickidler is the only program of such kind that provides indefinite licenses, which basically means that you pay once and get a permanent right to use the software, including reaching out to tech support and receiving its updates. For the program’s local offline version (that is, one that doesn’t require Internet connection) you’ll need to pay 20% more than the regular price.

The program has a free 2-week trial period that allows you to form your own opinion on its functionality.

Compared to the programs with similar functionality, Kickidler’s free version offers the most features and allows you to connect up to 6 PCs. The only features it doesn’t have are screen video recording, monitoring violations committed by remote employees, sending automatic notifications of such violations as well as the remote access feature.

Program’s limitations

Kickidler’s drawbacks include the lack of a mobile version and cloud integration. However, the software’s developers promise to add these features in the next program update.

Reasons for the program being #1 in our rating

We decided to rank Kickidler first because it provides supervisors with the most complete and detailed information on remote employees’ productivity and efficiency. The combination of the features offered by the program makes it impossible to cheat the software and fake productivity, and the program’s automated productivity analysis allows supervisors to quickly assess the quality of their employees’ work.

Kickidler’s video overview

2.Time Doctor

Time Doctor is one of the world’s most famous employee monitoring software. Focused on medium and large businesses, it has advanced capabilities to monitor employees’ working hours. The program supports integration with Asana, Trello and other third-party services. It’s installed as a PC application or Chrome extension. The program is well suited for controlling both remote employees and freelancers.

Time Doctor is a tool that was originally designed to control remote employees and freelancers. That’s why it has all the necessary features for this very purpose (with the only exception being the lack of screen monitoring and video recording).

Features that enable controlling remote employees

  • Tracking working hours.
  • Monitoring employee activity.
  • Recording late arrivals and inactivity.
  • Taking automatic screenshots of employees’ screens.
  • Tracking opened web pages.
  • Recording keystrokes.
  • Taking an employee’s picture at work through a webcam.
  • Checking the employee’s location via GPS in the mobile version (optional).
  • Paying employees using popular systems such as PayPal, Payoneer, and TransferWise.

Free version’s price and restrictions

The Solo pricing plan is intended to be used for controlling freelancers, and it costs $5 per month per PC. The Custom pricing plan is geared toward remote workers. Its price is $9.99 per month per user.

There is also a free version, but it lacks features that enable monitoring employee activity and generating respective automatic reports.

Program’s limitations

Time Doctor is a rather complicated program to configure. Sets of functions in mobile and desktop software vary; the browser plugin has quite a limited amount of features as well. Some users complain that the program’s user interface isn’t very intuitive.

Reasons for the program being #2 in our rating

Time Doctor is one of the most commonly used employee monitoring software in the world, and for that reason alone it deserves a high place in any rating. At the same time, it’s inferior to the competitors in terms of its convenience. It’s definitely a program with a smaller number of features than in Kickidler, which is why we ranked it second.

Time Doctor’s video overview

3. Timely

Timely represents a sort of hybrid of both employee monitoring software and a task scheduler. The program was originally designed to control freelancers and teams that work on certain projects. Its developers have created easy-to-understand and easy-to-integrate software that allows supervisors to effectively track both the quality of employees’ performance on certain tasks and the productivity of project members'. The solution is suitable for small companies and startups, yet tracking a large number of remote employees with Timely would be problematic.

Features that enable controlling remote employees

  • Automatically tracking the amount of time employees spend on tasks.
  • Tracking working hours.
  • Monitoring unproductive activities, idle time and other non-billable periods.
  • Built-in task scheduler.
  • Integration with intra-team communication and project management apps.

Free version’s price and restrictions

Free version of the program is designed for one user only, and it allows you to create no more than three tasks. Pricing plans range from $14 to $199 per month. The number of available projects and users as well as the program’s functionality depend on the pricing plan you choose.

Program’s limitations

Timely isn’t that scalable, so it’s rather difficult to manage a large number of remote employees using this service. The functionality of the program is limited to time tracking tools, efficiency control and a task scheduler.

Reasons for the program being #3 in our rating

Despite any drawbacks, Timely performs its main function, which is tracking working hours, rather well. The software is simple, easy to integrate, great for freelancers and small teams of remote workers. It’s the program’s convenience that has made it so popular, and it’s the reason why Timely deserves a place in the top three.

Timely’s video overview

4. Hubstaff

Hubstaff is a cloud-based service designed to monitor freelancers and remote workers. It’s a powerful system with extensive monitoring and time tracking capabilities. The program integrates with Basecamp, Trello, Github, Asana, Paypal and several dozens other services. It’s suitable for all companies that partially or fully consist of remote workers that collaborate with freelancers.

Hubstaff is very similar in its functionality to Time Doctor, only a bit more expensive, and it also lacks such tools of total control as online monitoring of screens and video recording of monitors.

Features that enable controlling remote employees

  • Generating reports on employee working time.
  • Tracking mouse and keyboard activity.
  • Saving screenshots of employees’ monitors at certain intervals.
  • Searching for freelancers using the built-in tool.
  • Incorporating an hourly earnings rate.
  • GPS tracking of employees.

Free version’s price and restrictions

The cost of the basic pricing plan is $5 per PC per month. Free version provides the option to monitor only one person, and the program’s functionality is limited to reports on working time, activity tracking and occasional screenshots.

Program’s limitations

Hubstaff is a good but rather confusing service. Its disadvantages also include excessively limited functionality in the free version and its incompatibility with Linux.

Reasons for the program being #4 in our rating

Potentially, Hubstaff could claim top places in our rating, yet the free version of the program allows almost nothing, and even with its maximum capabilities the program’s tools are not enough to provide 100% control of remote employees. The lack of screen recording is a very serious drawback.

Hubstaff’s video overview 

5.ActivTrak

ActivTrak is yet another popular cloud service designed for monitoring employee activity, tracking working hours, and automatically analyzing workplace productivity and overall level of discipline. The toolkit is quite well developed. Among other things, the program is capable of preventing insider threats. The service is constantly developing and expanding with new features.

Features that enable controlling remote employees

  • Screenshots every 5 seconds.
  • Video recording of the monitors.
  • Automatic notifications on committed violations.
  • Alert for screenshots with specified parameters.
  • Reports on working hours.
  • Monitoring employees’ corporate e-mail.
  • Blocking banned apps and sites.

Free version’s price and restrictions

ActivTrak’s paid version costs $7.2 per month per each PC that’s getting monitored. There’s also a free version; its limitations include the ability to monitor only one employee and the allowance for only 3GB on the server. Interestingly, the differences between paid and free versions are only in the number of users you can track and the lack of restrictions on server storage in the paid version.

Program’s limitations

ActivTrak doesn’t support Mac, which is a serious shortcoming. In addition, the ability to personalize and customize the service is extremely limited.

Reasons for the program being #5 in our rating

ActivTrak’s functionality is extensive yet not the greatest considering its rather high cost. Nevertheless, the service is powerful, helpful and comfortable to use. That’s why we placed it in the middle of our remote employee monitoring software rating.

ActivTrak’s video overview

6.RescueTime

RescueTime is a service designed to improve the efficiency of remote workers rather than to simply control them. It's easily integrated and quite user-friendly, and it automatically generates reports on productivity. The program allows supervisors to better understand how much and exactly how efficiently their employees work as well as figure out what’s keeping them from being more productive. The software supports all major operating systems – both mobile and desktop. It can be integrated with GitHub, Slack and almost 50 other services.

Features that enable controlling remote employees

  • Tracking time spent browsing sites and apps.
  • Blocking distracting sites and apps.
  • Generating reports on productivity for various periods.
  • Informing about excessively time-consuming tasks.

Free version’s price and restrictions

The cost of the program is $9 per month per user. It has a free version with a limited set of features; however, it’s great only for monitoring one’s own productivity, not for corporate use.

Program’s limitations

RescueTime doesn’t support offline mode. The program doesn’t help track the amount of time employees spend on different tasks and projects – it only enables monitoring of separate tools and services. The software also lacks the capacity to divide tracked working hours into either billable or non-billable hours.

Reasons for the program being #6 in our rating

RescueTime is a service that has its quirks, yet it’s user-friendly and quite intuitive. Rather than helping supervisors control their remote employees, the program provides them with the information they need in order to determine why their personnel’s productivity is the way it is.

RescueTime’s video overview

7.Hours

Hours is an incredibly simple time tracker that tracks remote employees’ working hours. Since it provides only the most basic tools, you get the hang of it very quickly. The program is suitable for both corporate and individual use. It’s most often used by supervisors who want to minimize control and obtain only the most general information on their employees regarding the amount of hours they’ve worked.

Features that enable controlling remote employees

  • Automatic time tracking.
  • Tracking the amount of time spent on projects.
  • Automatic notification system.
  • Mac and Apple watch synchronization.
  • Reports on emloyees’ working hours in CSV or PDF.

Free version’s price and restrictions

The program’s free version has extensive functionality, yet it can only be used on an individual basis. In order to access the features that enable team collaboration processes, you need to purchase the PRO version. Its cost is $7.99 per month.

Program’s limitations

The program only works on iOS and MacOS. It truly is a very basic time tracker that doesn’t have the functionality of proper employee monitoring software, so it’s not suitable for larger teams. Yet this software is a good choice if you’re looking for a tool to unobtrusively monitor a few freelancers or remote workers.

Reasons for the program being #7 in our rating

Hours’ main advantage and at the same time its disadvantage is the simplicity of the application. That’s why it has become so popular, however, it’s still not suitable for solving serious problems. And that’s the reason why we placed it in the second half of the rating.

Hours’ video overview

8.Harvest

Harvest is employee monitoring software designed for companies that work with a large number of clients. It provides invoicing services, integrates with payment services, tracks the amount of time an employee spends on a task and has a number of other functions. Overall, it’s a powerful corporate product.

Features that enable controlling remote employees

  • Tracking the amount of working time both online and offline.
  • Managing invoices.
  • Integration with Paypal and Stripe.
  • Employee internal notification system.
  • Reports on productivity and working hours.
  • Control of internal violations.

Free version’s price and restrictions

Harvest is entirely free if you need to keep track of two projects per month. For corporate use, the cost of the program is $12 per month per employee.

Program’s limitations

The program doesn’t save screenshots that are quite helpful when it comes to monitoring remote employees. The service itself is quite expensive. Plus there is quite a variety of available reports and tools, and it takes a while to understand all of them.

Reasons for the program being #8 in our rating

Harvest is a versatile corporate system with various features, including but not limited to time tracking and employee monitoring (the ability to monitor remote workers is provided, too). However, we should note that both of these tools are less developed in this program than in other specialized solutions. Still, when it comes to large companies, integrating this product into their work processes helps automate multiple types of processes simultaneously.

Harvest’s video overview

9.Everhour

Everhour is a web application (for Chrome, Firefox and Safari) that’s intended to monitor office and remote employees and track their working hours. It offers many tools for data collection, integrates with third-party services (Asana, Basecamp, Trello, etc.), and allows both supervisors and employees to track the time they spend on certain tasks.

Features that enable controlling remote employees

  • Digital timer.
  • Project progress panel.
  • Task logs.
  • Automatically updated productivity reports.
  • Invoicing.
  • Estimating the amount of time needed to complete a project.
  • Tracking the working hours.

Free version’s price and restrictions

The system doesn’t offer a free version. You get full access to the features that enable remote control over your team by purchasing a license at a price of $5 per month per person.

Program’s limitations

The software's main drawback is its complete lack of tools that help monitor employees’ efficiency. The sole thing that can be tracked is the progress of the entire team.

Reasons for the program being #9 in our rating

In terms of available features Everhour is inferior to most of the solutions we've mentioned above. Yet, we agree that it’s a popular system that allows supervisors to track their team’s progress as well as the amount of time they spend on certain tasks.

Everhour’s video overview

10.TopTracker

TopTracker rounds out our top ten list. It’s an app that’s aimed at controlling freelancers and coordinating small teams of remote employees. Its functionality is quite limited, but productivity control and time tracking features are available. Good news is, the service is completely free and available for download on Windows, Linux (including Debian, Fedora), and MacOS.

Features that enable controlling remote employees

  • Tracking working hours.
  • Generating reports on productivity.
  • Managing team projects.
  • Controlling freelancers (while keeping their privacy in mind).

Free version’s price and restrictions

It’s a 100% free program with no restrictions.

Program’s limitations

It doesn’t provide invoicing or integration with third-party services. There’s no mobile app. Time and productivity monitoring is poorly automated.

Reasons for the program being #10 in our rating

Compared to the aforementioned solutions for remote employee monitoring, TopTracker has rather primitive and limited functions. Still, it’s free, popular, and it offers decent control over remote employees. That’s why the program is included in our rating.

TopTracker’s video overview


04/15/2021, 202 views
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