We’ve compiled a fair and honest rating of best employee monitoring software, based on the most often requested features and functionality of such solutions, convenience of their implementation and use, as well as our own professional albeit subjective opinion.
Here's a quick summary of our rating that highlights the most prominent features of each monitoring solution
- Kickidler — best employee monitoring software with a wide range of visual monitoring tools that is essentially impossible to cheat
- Time Doctor — best software for monitoring freelance employees that helps with project management and budgeting
- Teramind — best employee monitoring software with DLP tools that enables file transfer and suspicious activity monitoring
- InterGuard — best employee monitoring software with the website blocking feature
- iMonitor — best employee monitoring software with the keystroke logging feature
- Monitask — best software for monitoring remote employees
- Insightful — most user-friendly monitoring software with great project tracking features
- Hubstaff — most popular employee monitoring software that provides GPS location tracking of remote employees
- ActivTrak — best monitoring software that provides managers with insights to improve employee productivity
- CleverControl — best employee monitoring software with webcam capture
If you don't have the time to read the entire article – though we highly recommend that you do – here’s a quick overall comparison of popular employee monitoring software we review in this article
|Product||Kickidler||Time Doctor||Teramind||InterGuard||iMonitor EAM||Monitask||Insightful||Hubstaff||ActivTrak||CleverControl|
|Video recording of activity|
|Real-time activity monitoring|
|History of activity at PC|
|Platform compatibility||Win, Mac, Lin||Win, Mac, Lin||Win, Mac||Win, Mac||Win, Mac||Win, Mac, Lin||Win, Mac, Lin||Win, Mac, Lin||Win, Mac||Win, Mac|
|Perpetual license||Discounts for the
number of users
|Kickidler TT||5||33||120||Yes||14 days|
|Kickidler EM||10||66||240||Yes||14 days|
|Time Doctor||10||120||–||Yes||14 days|
|Hubstaff||7||70||upon request||Yes||14 days|
We've already posted our rating of the best free employee monitoring solutions, where we focused mainly on the free features of such software. And now the time has come to compare the commercial capabilities of these products. But first things first.
Employee Monitoring Software: Definition & Key Features
To be fair, any process related to gathering information about personnel activity can be considered employee monitoring, be it website usage tracking, location tracking or even video surveillance.
Employee monitoring software can actually aid supervisors in improving their subordinates’ productivity. For example, the data collected by such solutions can be used to give a helping hand to those team members who are struggling to perform their work or to determine what type of training is required for each specific team.
The reports generated by such software can be helpful in setting more feasible goals for teams, which will help them strengthen their skills and overall improve their performance by reaching one milestone at a time.
Employee monitoring software should not be confused with time tracking software, which has quite similar functionality to employee monitoring software, however, its main focus is on accounting working hours of employees, and occasionally on productivity analysis, yet it does not allow for visual monitoring of employees.
Employee PC monitoring software is also not to be confused with data loss prevention software, even though they also have some overlapping features. DLP software is intended to improve corporate data cyber security, even though it may include some employee productivity monitoring features.
When selecting employee monitoring software for specific needs of the company, it's wise to keep in mind that currently available choices are all comprised of commercial solutions, while open-source employee monitoring software sounds great in theory yet doesn't actually exist on the market.
According to Capterra (one of the most prominent software marketplaces for businesses, which is owned by Gartner), the most common and frequently used features of employee monitoring solutions are as follows:
- Time Tracking
- Productivity Analysis
- Video Recording of Activity
- Real-time Activity Monitoring
- Email Monitoring
- Inactivity Monitoring (Iddle Time)
- Keystroke Logging
- History of Activity at PC
- Automatic Motifications
- Remote Access.
These are the parameters we'll use to compare the functionality of the most popular employee monitoring solutions on the market.
Growing Popularity of Employee Monitoring Software
According to a survey by the aforementioned Gartner, close to 50 percent of large companies were using some form of employee monitoring in 2019.
Reddit threads have also seen a surge in topics related to employee monitoring software.
Nevertheless, a lot has changed since that time, including the impact the pandemic has had on workplace organization, forcing large numbers of employees to switch to remote work. Here's what another credible source, British Top10VPN, has to say:
Global demand for employee monitoring software increased by:
- 80% in March 2020 compared with the 2019 monthly average. Demand for the software the following month was also 65% higher than in 2019.
- 78% in January 2022: the biggest increase in demand compared to 2019 since March 2020.
- 75% in Q1 2022: the biggest three-month increase in demand compared to 2019 since the pandemic began.
And among the world's most popular employee monitoring solutions the following ones were named: Hubstaff, FlexiSPY, Time Doctor, ActivTrak, SPYERA, Teramind, DeskTime, WorkTime, Crossover, and Kickidler.
Benefits of Implementing Employee Monitoring Software
First, let's get to the bottom of the issue itself. According to an anonymous (and therefore candid) survey of employees of high-tech companies with a highly developed corporate culture (Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), which we mentioned in the article where we explained how Kickidler measures productivity, 42% of employees of such companies frankly admitted that they work 3-4 hours a day at most and spend the rest of their time attending to personal matters. Moreover, 11% of those employees actually work only as little as 1-2 hours a day.
Another 16% of employees of those same companies regularly clock in overtime, which means they are prone to burnout.
So if this is the case for high-tech companies with – let us repeat once more – a highly developed and effective corporate culture, then what is the situation like for ordinary companies?
Well, some manager might argue that if an employee is handling their tasks well, then it's up to them to determine the amount of time they need to allocate to their work. Such an approach would be accurate – however, it would only work in an idealized world, where your business would have no competitors at all.
Let's say the employees of Company A work 50% of their time and on average handle all of their tasks properly. But then a bold new company B enters the market, where time management is organized proficiently and all employees devote 100% of their work time to business. They produce a superior and more profitable product, provide a better service, their sales team is vivacious and enthusiastic - unlike their peers in Company A, who, by the way, are currently on a coffee break without their management being aware of it. It won't be long before Company A feels the need to either make a change or leave the market.
But those are just hypotheticals, and how about some actual numbers?
A client of ours from Krakow – we shared with you the story about the impact Kickidler had on his company's revenue last year – estimated that he was able to increase revenue by 15% within a month after implementing Kickidler due to a reduction in the bounce rate.
Another client of ours optimized the work of his tech support team, refraining from hiring two new specialists and firing two unscrupulous employees who had been creating fake tickets for them to close.
According to our competitor, Insightful, implementing an employee monitoring solution allows for:
- a 24% increase in workflow efficiency;
- a 32% improvement in the productivity of in-office teams, as well as
- a 26% boost in the productivity of teams that consist of WFH specialists.
Why Trust Our Rating?
This rating was compiled by experts who know the market of employee monitoring software through and through. We carefully reviewed the documentation for each of the solutions we're about to mention before comparing their functionality, and we actually tested many of them ourselves.
Kickidler is a next-generation employee monitoring software. This on-premise employee monitoring software is truly an outstanding tool for visual employee monitoring, both in terms of its price and quality. The software enables monitoring of an unlimited number of employee screens at the same time, as well as provides comprehensive detailed reports of overall employees' activity.
There are two editions of Kickidler to choose from:
- Kickidler Time Tracking for a bit more laid-back monitoring of employees, and
- Kickidler Employee Monitoring for total Zero Trust monitoring.
Kickidler's most prominent feature and its main difference from its competitors is the fact that it's virtually impossible to cheat the software, for example by using auto clicker or simulating vigorous activity. First, the solution offers various visual monitoring tools that enable supervisors to see exactly what the employees are doing, and second, its unique method of measuring productivity in 1-second increments provides the most accurate information on the employees' activity at their PCs.
Kickidler Time Tracking edition includes tools that automate time tracking, analyze employee productivity, and help remote workers become more self-organized:
- 4 reports aimed at time tracking
- 4 reports based on productivity analytics
- Autokick functionality for employee self-monitoring
Time tracking in Kickidler is an integrated set of tools that automatically records all the hours employees have worked at their PCs, factoring in their work schedule (which can be imported from Active Directory). In addition, the software provides an accurate record of how much time employees spent on each of the sites they visited or the applications they ran. Its features include the report on working hours, timesheet, overall time report and the report on websites and applications.
Productivity analysis in Kickidler is provided through tools that accurately determine how productive an employee had been during the workday. Were they using sites and apps solely for work, or were they scrolling through social networks or even playing online games? 4 reports on productivity give employers the ability to review their employees' performance from multiple angles. Kickidler's unique method of measuring productive activity utilizes one-second increments, making its reports, although not always eye-catching, but extremely accurate. These reports are useful for evaluating not only the overall employee productivity, but their labor intensity as well. The toolset includes the efficiency report, the "Details of the Day" report, the dynamics report, and the report on the overall rating of employees.
Autokick is a set of tools for the autonomous employee monitoring, which is particularly useful when those teams that consist of the employees who work from home. It includes a self-monitoring interface that allows employees to see their own stats on productivity and both enable and disable monitoring, as well as automatic notifications that alert the employee – and, optionally, their supervisor – of any work schedule violations. Moreover, the report on notifications displays overall statistics for each employee.
Kickidler Employee Monitoring edition contains all the tools included in the Kickidler Time Tracking package plus several other tools for visual monitoring.
Visual monitoring tools include:
- Online real-time monitoring of an unlimited number of screens
- Video screen recording
- Violation monitoring
- Keystroke logging (keylogger)
- Remote access to employees’ PCs
These features give an in-depth insight into the activities of employees. Through using the visual employee monitoring functionality, our clients have been able to catch an insider, find a cunning freelancer or even a TV series aficionado.
- There are two versions of the product, so it suits every type of management.
- Powerful tools for visual monitoring.
- Unique and effective method of productivity tracking.
- Cross-platform solution: Windows, Mac, Linux.
- Ease of installation.
- High level of data protection (On-Premise installation).
- Works well even without Internet.
- Lifetime license.
- No mobile app.
- No separate tool for email monitoring.
Kickidler Time Tracking version costs $3.26 per month for each license. When purchasing long-term licenses, it will cost $1.79 per month with an annual plan and $1.19 per month with a 3-year plan.
Kickidler Employee Monitoring version costs $9.79 per user per month for a single license. It amounts to $64.59 for one year and $129.17 for 3 years.
Kickidler also provides perpetual licenses, which grants companies an ability to get access to lifetime employee monitoring software.
Kickidler rating on Software Advice – 4.71
2) Time Doctor
Time Doctor is the employee monitoring software originating from Australia. It’s a sort of Dr. Livesey among monitoring tools, which possesses powerful functionality that can easily resolve almost any issue related to increasing the staff productivity. Along with Hubstaff, Time Doctor is among the most popular employee monitoring software in the world. It is essentially impossible to cheat the software in the same way as Kickidler (with a certain hands-on approach of managers), but it does cost significantly more.
Time Doctor has powerful tools for monitoring employees:
- Time tracking
- Productivity analysis of employees
- Staff performance analysis
- Analysis of visited web pages, opened chats and used apps
- Automatic notifications on idle time and other work-related violations
- Screenshots and screen video recordings
Additional features not available in Kickidler include:
- Project time tracking
- GPS tracking
- Automatic billing for hours worked
- Automatic tracking of employees susceptible to professional burnout
The software has three versions: Basic, Standard, and Premium. Basic mode includes tools for time tracking, productivity analysis, and screenshot taking. Standard mode includes freelance invoicing, and Premium mode includes functionality for screen video recording and extended tech support as well as the option of concierge support.
Time Doctor benefits
- Cross-platform solution.
- 60+ integrations.
- Tools for visual monitoring.
- A mobile version is available.
Time Doctor shortcomings
- No online monitoring functionality.
- There are many users who complain about its support.
- Reviews mention certain bugs with the new version of the product.
- Relatively expensive, especially compared to Kickidler; for example, the tariff plan with video recording is 3 times more expensive.
Time Doctor price
This one is simple: the basic subscription plan costs $7 per month with an annual subscription, the standard one costs $10, and the premium one costs $20.
Time Doctor rating on Software Advice – 4.54
Teramind can be considered among the leading global solutions for insider threat management, data loss prevention and productivity optimization. It provides comprehensive insights backed by user behavior analytics that reduce potential risks, increase employee productivity and streamline business processes.
It should be noted that its Mac version is somewhat more limited and the software is altogether unavailable on Linux.
Here are some of its most prominent features:
- Capturing screen recordings of employee activity & keystroke logging capabilities
- Content filtering & blocking prohibited websites
- In-depth reporting functionality with advanced filters
- Offers a plethora of tools to complement the monitoring in addition to the dashboards that provide further insight on employees’ activities.
- Real-time dashboards are extremely helpful in determining both productive and slacking employees.
- Its price definitely pays off, since there is no comparison between the cost of having it versus the loss of productivity.
- Isn’t available on Linux operating systems.
- Might be a challenge to navigate it for non tech-savvy remote employees.
- Customer support is lacking – tickets raised can take more than a month to resolve.
The software’s Starter pack costs $12 per user per month when billed monthly (with a minimum requirement of 5 users), with the most advanced version (Data Loss Prevention) starting at $30 per user per month.
Teramind rating on Software Advice – 4.63
InterGuard is an effective cloud-hosted employee monitoring solution that has recently improved its user interface.
In addition to tracking data through screenshot capturing and keystroke logging, the software also generates data that can then be analyzed and indexed for alerts, playback, audit trails or even behavioral benchmarking.
Among the most useful features of the software, the following can be highlighted:
- File transfer and print monitoring
- Automated blocking of certain websites or application
- Provides a wide selection of convenient add-on modules and helpful features.
- Can run on virtually any platform, including mobile devices.
- User-friendly six-view dashboard for convenient monitoring of employee productivity.
- Its requirement of a five-user minimum might put off smaller SMBs.
- Doesn’t conduct real-time screen video recording.
The pricing of the software is layered and involves different subscription modules as well as per-license costs (comes in packs of 5, 10, 25 and 50 licenses), with discounts based on volume pricing. The cloud-hosted subscription begins at $9.00 per user per month (with an annual contract of 11+ users). Monthly subscription plans start at $25 per user per month (with a minimum of 5 users per month).
InterGuard rating on Software Advice – 3.91
5) iMonitor EAM
iMonitorSoft helps businesses of all sizes with streamlining employee monitoring processes. It provides behavior analytics and a number of useful productivity tools that can help ensure that staff members remain productive with minimal disruptions. The solution also notifies supervisors about potential breaches or inappropriate data access.
Here are some of the monitoring features it includes:
- Keystroke logging
- Accessing website history
- Monitoring chat conversations via social network apps
iMonitor EAM benefits
- Offers automated alerts and notifications.
- Easy integration with external systems and IoT-enabled devices.
- Performs in-depth trend analysis such as forecasting or anomaly detections.
iMonitor EAM shortcomings
- Too simplified interface.
- Doesn’t offer the option to print generated reports.
- Doesn’t have an API available.
iMonitor EAM price
While the price can vary depending on particular business needs of the company, the one-time payment starts from $45.96 and include per-feature additional costs.
iMonitor EAM rating on Software Advice – 5
Monitask poses itself as an app for task management, but actually it is a typical time tracking tool with a rather modest functionality:
- Time tracking.
- Analysis of activity (websites visited & applications opened).
- Desktop screenshots.
- Task management in manual mode (employees themselves switch statuses, from "working" or "on a break" to "stop").
- Productivity analysis based on the data from task administration.
There is no major monitoring, no online monitoring, screen video recording or keystroke logging – everything is built entirely upon trust. So if your employees are honest and don't forget to change their statuses in the system, you'll get the data you need. However, there is no way to verify this information straightaway, which essentially defines the scope of the software – organization of processes, rather than monitoring.
Summarizing, Monitask seems like a good supplementary management tool for companies that are doing rather well already, nothing more. At the same time, the price is quite high: almost $6 per month is definitely more expensive than Kickidler's maximum functionality package!
- Simple and intuitive interface.
- Transparency for its users.
- Quite expensive for a solution with such a modest functionality.
- No features for employee monitoring.
The most basic plan starts at $5.99 per user per month.
Monitask rating on Software Advice – 4.84
Insightful (Workplus prior to the rebranding) is an American solution designed specifically for hybrid and remote teams. It is one of the most modern solutions on the market: sure, it's purely aimed at time tracking with no advanced features, at the same time it's a very convenient and handy tool for time tracking. The software is very easy to configure, its interface is simple and intuitive, and the solution itself is in active development.
Its features include:
- Working hours tracking.
- Activity and productivity tracking.
- Time tracker for tasks.
- Screenshots (up to 30 per hour).
As in Monitask, with Insightful employees are notified manually about their progress on their work-related tasks. Plus, the software is rather expensive its full version with automatic time mapping costs $15 per user per month, which is significantly higher than the cost of some other solutions, which are way more diverse in terms of functionality.
- Very nice interface and UX.
- Low system requirements; easy to install on any device.
- Great support (on pricing plans starting at $8).
- Its monitoring and screen video recording features are abysmal.
- Rather pricey.
Its most basic plan that includes simple features with no extra additions starts at $8 per user per month (when billed monthly). Project management features will cost extra money, and the full-fledged analytical version of the software costs anywhere from $12 per user per month.
Insightful rating on Software Advice – 4.68
A versatile tool designed primarily for comprehensive supervision of all employees. It enables the collection of data on pretty much any employee, from office workers and remote specialists to freelancers and field technicians. That is what, by the way, makes it the most popular time tracking solution in the world.
The functionality of the software:
- Time tracking.
- Productivity analysis.
- GPS tracking.
- Payroll calculation by the hour.
- Automatic generation of reports and timesheets.
- Cost management.
Unfortunately, the disadvantages are rather obvious. Since the software is aimed at time tracking, it's not really a full-fledged monitoring tool. There are no screenshot capturing feature, no screen video recording or online monitoring options. Technically, Hubstaff is more about simplifying the paperwork and reporting than actually monitoring employees.
- One of the best reporting solutions for businesses.
- Suitable for monitoring field employees.
- Nice at automating team management.
- Very scalable and well-supported product.
- Doesn't offer employee monitoring functionality.
- Kind of hard for novices to use.
- Not the most attractive option in terms of its cost value.
The product is available for free for a single user. So it's a great option if you need it for self-monitoring purposes. For businesses, a starter pack which includes solely time tracking (Desk Starter) costs $5.83 per user per month, and the entirety of the employee monitoring features it provides (Desk Pro) will cost $8.33 for a single license per month.
Hubstaff rating on Software Advice – 4.58
This is one of the most peculiar solutions on the market: ActivTrak does not monitor anything as a matter of principle. They don't record video from the screens or log keystrokes - and that's not a shortcoming, but a feature. The company's approach is formulated as "Insight vs. Oversight. The software was originally designed to help conscientious employees be better, and it does that perfectly well.
In terms of productivity and employee analytics, ActivTrak is arguably the best solution on the market. In addition to basic work time tracking and productivity reports, it offers:
- Flexible analytics on individual and team productivity metrics.
- Recommendations for improving engagement, productivity, and other key parameters.
- Dashboard for monitoring "organizational health."
- Analysis of distractions.
- Burnout risk and workload balance management.
If your goal is to stay on top of the mental well-being of your employees, this is an excellent choice. The crucial thing is for employees themselves to conscientiously submit the correct data and not get in the way of ActivTrak's work.
- Very advanced analytics on the mental state of employees.
- Full transparency and respect for privacy.
- User-friendly interface, lots of reports.
- No monitoring features.
- All the coolest features are only available with a premium subscription, and it's rather expensive.
It starts at $10 per user per month. And if you need more advanced reports and analytics – without which ActivTrak is definitely outmatched by the competition – it's $17 per month.
ActivTrak rating on Software Advice – 4.6
CleverControl is a rather simple solution for small companies. The solution offers very convenient activity graphs that make it possible for supervisors to see full working day activity of their employees.
The product enables continuous screen and call recording features, letting businesses determine if any of their staff members are slacking or even intentionally harming the company.
Here’s a few of its monitoring features that are worth mentioning:
- Active & inactive work time tracking
- Recording of visited websites & used apps.
- Website blocking.
- Clipboard monitoring.
- Easy, straightforward and well thought out.
- Easy installation process.
- Shows up in the task manager, even though a minor effort to hide it is made. Anyone who’s tech-savvy will see it.
- Online account can be challenging to navigate at first.
- The dashboard is rather slow and lags a lot$ the logs are mashed together.
- Some of the features (including keystroke logging) cannot be turned off.
- Isn’t compatible with Linux.
Subscription plans start from $11 per user per month (with a minimum of 3 months), with the price reducing as the number of monitored PCs or months of monitoring increases.
CleverControl rating on Software Advice – 4.33
Overall, it’s safe to say that the best type of employee monitoring software is the type that’s going to suit the specific needs of each particular company. Some businesses might need corporate employee monitoring software that’s focused on statistics and a variety of reports, others might need more emphasis on staff monitoring and project management, yet others might choose PC monitoring with an overarching visual aspect.
So our conclusion is rather simple, really: choose some monitoring software for PC from the list we’ve compiled for you above, give it a try and see where it goes from there.
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