Among the various types of business optimization and management tools, remote working software stands out as the latest and the most sophisticated and functional platform for overseeing your employees, ensuring working standard compliance, as well as increasing productivity and data security.
It works by collecting certain kinds of data from your employees’ computers - screen captures, which apps employees use, which websites they visit, how long they spend on those activities, etc. - and then a report is compiled in your dashboard that lets you see how your employees are spending their office time and which files they’re accessing.
Monitoring software is therefore pretty automatic and works in the background, while it also provides you with very important insights about your workforce and their digital activities. For these reasons, employee tracking systems are becoming more popular in various industries.
So, the question is - which employee monitoring software options do you have at your disposal? What software do companies use to monitor employees? And which one of them is the best?
In order to help you answer these questions, we’ve reviewed ten of the best and most popular platforms and conducted an employee monitoring software comparison based on the following criteria:
- Platforms: It’s important to know whether your chosen remote working software is going to work on the operating systems that your corporate machines run on.
- Features: One of the most critical questions you should be asking is whether a system can answer your business needs and help you effectively track what you want. There are some basic monitoring features that every software on our list has, such as app and website tracking, but there are also additional advanced features that you’ll want to take into consideration. In general, monitoring apps are either productivity or security-oriented and it’s up to you to decide which direction you want to go.
- Price: It’s understandable that you want your employee tracking software to be affordable, but it’s just as critical to balance this with the array of features you get. Most of the platforms charge you a monthly fee per employee, but there are a couple with license-based payment plans as well.
- Free trial or free version: Getting a trial period is the best way to make sure your chosen software is the right fit. Some systems also offer freemium versions of their app, but these are usually limited in some respect compared to their paid counterparts.
- Support and resources: Good customer support is essential for seamless user experience, especially if you run into a problem, so having more channels of communication with your monitoring software provider is always better. Also, it’s a good thing to have a variety of helpful resources to keep up to date with the industry and best practices.
- Ease of use: You don’t want to spend countless hours installing the software and learning how to use it, which is why we’ve dedicated a part of our review to user experience and ease of use.
- Capterra rating: For an unbiased overview, we’ve also included an average rating on Capterra which is based on other users’ experiences with each software. These ratings are on a scale from 1 to 5 stars. Our top 10 PC monitoring software all have a score of 4 or more stars.
- Other: We’ll also be talking about other aspects of each monitoring software, including deployment options, different access levels, other products that the brand offers, integrations, etc.
One more thing to do before we go to employee computer monitoring software reviews is to explain a couple of concepts and features which we’ll be mentioning throughout the text and which you might not be familiar with:
- Scheduled monitoring - the ability to monitor employees’ computers only at a scheduled time (during office hours)
- Third-party vendor management - this advanced security feature lets you track the activities of third-party clients who occasionally have to access your files and data
- User behavior analytics - the AI-based functionality which automatically maps out each employees’ typical behavioral pattern and alerts you when it detects any anomalies
- Website and app labeling - custom categorization of apps and websites into productive and unproductive
- Category labeling - labeling entire categories of apps and websites (e.g. social media) as productive or unproductive for different teams
- Screenshots on demand - the ability to manually trigger screenshots instead of capturing them automatically at intervals
- Access levels - giving different access privileges to admins, managers, employees or clients
- Attendance - tracking attendance depends on which method of monitoring the software uses, i.e. whether it’s based on fixed working hours schedule or monitors only the period between first and last activity
Now that you’re familiar with some of the common terms as well as with the criteria we’ve used to review and rank the chosen systems, we’re ready to go straight to our top 10 computer monitoring software list:
Insightful is an extremely lightweight and user-friendly web-based employee monitoring software that can track computer activity on both Mac and Windows operating systems. It’s a task and project time tracker and employee monitoring system all wrapped in one well-consolidated software that is perfect for both remote and in-office teams. Recognized as one of the best employee monitoring solutions for promoting user privacy in 2022 by Forbes, Insightful is an ethical solution for teams of all sizes.
Apart from being able to track app and website usage and activity levels, Insightful allows you to easily track attendance and calculate payroll based on computer activity. Another great thing about this software is the fact that you can have your employees manually add their idle time as meetings, client presentations, etc. Then you can approve it and count it towards their productivity score. Insightful also has a highly customizable screenshot feature which you can use at set intervals, on demand, or based on custom rules.
This monitoring system places great emphasis on productivity, so you’ll get a bunch of functionalities like timelines, app and website categorization, productivity trends, reports, biorhythm and so on.
Insightful is one of the best system monitoring software solutions when it comes to customer support, which is available in-app, online and through email or phone. There are also a lot of helpful resources such as the help center, blog and additional remote team and productivity guides.
It’s highly customizable and yet simple and easy to use. You also get a lot of flexibility in terms of access levels, which means that you can grant special access to clients and employees, as well as in terms of deployment, since its data can be stored on cloud or on your own servers. It’s flexible when it comes to installation methods as well - it can be installed on corporate machines using the active directory, but you can also send an email invitation to those employees who work on their own computers.
With the addition of a new feature ‘office vs remote’, you can now even compare and contrast productivity levels wherever your team is working. This allows you to benchmark performance, and support flexible ways of working.
The price of this employee tracking software is pretty straightforward and affordable - $6.40 per employee per month. There are also some perks when it comes to payment, like a custom pricing for large businesses and a 20% discount for yearly subscriptions. And you get a 7-day free trial to see whether this app is a good fit for you.
Insightful is rated 4.7 stars on Capterra, which indicates that its users are pretty happy with this software.
Teramind is a heavily security-based monitoring software that runs on Mac and Windows computers as well as on Citrix and VMware machines.
There are some general monitoring features in the mix, such as user activity monitoring, productivity levels and keystroke logger, but there are also some high-end security features like user behavior analytics with security alerts, activity blocking, third-party vendor management, insider threat prevention, and data loss prevention through OCR, fingerprinting, content discovery and predefined rules.
Other features, like screen recording, live view of employee monitors, remote desktop control, various instances of advanced tracking (including monitoring of network, emails, file transfers, printed documents, clipboard, search queries, social media and instant messaging), and all the way to audio recording can feel a bit over the top and intrusive to employees’ privacy. But if air-tight security and all-round control is what you’re looking for, this might be the best monitoring software for your needs.
You can reach Teramind support via email, phone or online and you can also find various resources in the form of blogs, help centers, whitepapers, ebooks and videos. It’s flexible in terms of deployment, where options include cloud, on-premise, AWS and Azure.
You need at least five users to implement Teramind, so it might not be the best solution for small teams. The Starter plan costs $10 per user per month, UAM is $21 per user per month, and the monthly fee for the DLP plan is $25 per employee. The plans are half the price for self-hosted versions, and you get a 7-day free trial.
The variety of useful functionalities that Teramind has is certainly commendable, but this can get a bit overwhelming and some features can be complicated to use. Its rating on Capterra is nevertheless a solid 4.7.
Another popular security and productivity monitoring software is ActivTrak, which can run on Windows, Mac, Chrome, and as a mobile app on Android and iOS phones.
The biggest focus of this employee tracking system seems to be productivity analysis. Apart from the general productivity reports, you can also get insights into productivity trends, most productive time of day for employees and teams, etc. On top of this, you get a chance to set usage limits on certain activities so that employees will get pop-up alerts to go back to work or even to take a break.
ActivTrak can be considered one of the best computer monitoring software because it has some advanced security features as well. For instance, you can have insider threat detection, remote vendor access monitoring, user and activity risk scoring, as well as risk level reports. This software allows you to flag screenshots, record employees’ computer activity, detect file transfer, block websites and even get a live thumbnail view of several employee screens at the same time.
Despite a few heavily intrusive features, ActivTrak does have some mechanisms you can use to protect employees’ privacy, such as screenshot redaction and scheduled monitoring.
This monitoring system offers support via email, phone or online and has an extensive array of additional resources - help center, blog, educational resources and video training. However, there’s only a cloud version of this software but it does feature a number of integrations, including Slack, Basecamp, GitHub, Tableau, etc.
There’s a free version of this software but it’s limited to only three users. On the other hand, the Advanced plan costs $10 per user per month.
ActivTrak is easy to use and well organized, which is why its 4.6-star rating on Capterra is well deserved.
Hubstaff is among the most popular employee monitoring systems which have quite a few time tracking features. This is why, apart from being compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux, it’s also available as a Chrome extension and an Android or iOS mobile app.
This software measures activity levels based on keyboard and mouse usage, but it also has a lot of customization to offer. For example, its periodical screenshot feature is optional and can be turned off. In addition, Hubstaff detects idle time and stops the time tracking session, tracks attendance, geolocation and productivity trends and compiles various reports based on this data that you can receive regularly by email.
If you ever happen to run into trouble, you can contact their support online or via email. You might also find their help center, blog and remote team resources useful at times. But, just like ActivTrak, Hubstaff is only available as a cloud solution, with over 30 integrations nonetheless.
The freemium version is limited to one user, but there are three other price tiers that might be a good fit - Basic (which costs $5.83/user/month), Pro ($8.33/user/month) and Enterprise (custom pricing) but there’s a discount for annual payments. Before you make up your mind, though, you can use this system for two weeks for free in order to see whether it’s indeed the best computer system monitoring software for your business needs.
Hubstaff is generally user-friendly and detailed, although its productivity measurements could use some improvement in terms of functionality. Having said that, its Capterra rating is a pretty high 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Similarly to Hubstaff, DeskTime is another software with both time tracking and employee monitoring functionalities. However, in this review we’ll focus on the latter. This platform can run on most major desktop and mobile devices.
Apart from a couple of basic monitoring features, DeskTime also boasts app and website categorization, document title tracking, screenshots, and all of that crowned with a set of customizable reports. In addition to these functionalities, this is another one of the best PC activity monitoring software when it comes to making an effort to protect employees’ privacy. In fact, not only does it have the option to blur screenshots, but it also gives employees the option to set private time, meaning that they have the power to turn the tracking program on and off according to whether they’re working or taking a break, for example.
While this employee tracking system does have integrations (calendar and project management, just to name a few), it can only be deployed on cloud. In terms of resources, DeskTime has a lot of pretty useful ones, including a blog and webinars. Also, they seem to have a fairly developed customer support network - you can contact them online, by email, you can schedule a phone call or even request an in-person training session.
There is a Lite plan, which is free and limited to one user. For teams, they offer the Pro plan which costs $7 per user per month depending on the number of employees. You also get a 14-day free trial as well as volume and annual subscription discount.
Although it’s generally easy to use, some features of this tracking software lack customization. Its Capterra rating is a little bit lower than that of other software on this list and averages at 4.5 stars.
6. Time Doctor
The next item on our list of employee monitoring software reviews is Time Doctor, which can be installed on all of the most common desktop operating systems, Android and iOS phones, and as a Chrome extension.
Besides tracking app and web usage and measuring activity levels based on keyboard and mouse movements, there are a couple of other features of this software that are worth mentioning. For instance, it can help you calculate payroll, monitor chat activities, and alert your employees to go back to work when it detects extended idle time. Also, its screenshot feature is optional so you can turn it off or, if you choose to use it at intervals, you can only keep it activated during working hours.
Time Doctor is deployed only as a cloud app, but it features 40 integrations and different access levels for employees and clients. And although this software has some resources like help center as well as business and product blogs, you can unfortunately only reach their customer support online.
With the fixed monthly price of $5.90 per employee, Time Doctor is among the more expensive monitoring systems on the list, but you do get a two-week free trial to see whether it’s worth it.
This employee tracking software is generally good and intuitive to use, which is corroborated by its average rating of 4.5 on Capterra.
RescueTime is another one of the top employee monitoring software that can be implemented on a variety of platforms, ranging from Mac, Windows and Linux, all the way to Chrome OS, Android and iOS.
This tracking software is mostly centered around productivity measurements and improvement strategies. It allows you to set goals and alerts, specify working hours, customize app and website tracking, etc. Your employees can add offline time, and you can block unproductive websites, get individual and team reports that include information on the employees’ most and least productive time of day as well as their productivity trends.
RescueTime stores your data on cloud and also gives you a perk of having integrations. Additionally, both its customer support channels and resources are extensive. They can be contacted via email, phone or online, and you can find a variety of resources on their website, such as help center, blog, research and time management guides.
This software offers three price plans - Lite and Premium are for a single user (the former is free and the latter costs $12 a month and comes with a 14-day free trial).
This tracking system’s ease of use and helpful resources were enough to earn it an average score of 4.6 stars on Capterra.
The next candidate on our employee monitoring software list is Kickidler, which has a little bit of everything - security, productivity and active time analysis. It works on desktop computers running on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Apart from some of the basic monitoring functionalities, you also get productivity reports, attendance tracking, screen recording with apps/websites filter and a playback function, as well as remote desktop control and keylogger. In addition to these, Kickidler also features some advanced security options, including customizable violation detection and alerts, insider threat monitoring, keyword tracking, and behavior analytics.
Like some of the other systems, this software also offers different access levels and there are help centers, blogs and extensive documentation at your disposal. You can reach their tech support on Viber, Whatsapp, email or online.
There’s a freemium version of this software for up to six users, and the price of the paid plan depends on the subscription period that you opt for. Plans start at $2.75 per month for time tracking, $5.50 per month for employee monitoring full control, and $11 per month for data loss protection.
Kickidler scores 4.7 on Capterra, which isn’t a surprise since the software is simple, intuitive and functional.
9. Veriato Vision
Veriato has four different products on offer, including Veriato Cerebral for insider threat detection, Veriato Investigator for workplace investigations, Veriato Ransomware for ransomware protection and Veriato Workforce Analytics for employee monitoring. In this review, we’re going to focus on the last one since its description fits most closely to other software on the list. This platform can be implemented on Mac and Windows computers as well as on Android phones.
There are all the basic monitoring features, but you get a lot of extras as well. You can monitor your employees in stealth mode, track their productivity and block websites (by URL or category) or whitelist them (allow access only to specified websites). You also get several security-boosting features like keylogger, user behavior, geolocation tracking and security alerts. In addition, Veriato Workforce Analytics has an extensive range of advanced web and file monitoring features that allow you to track web searches, file movement, email, print jobs, USB devices, network usage, social media, etc. Finally, you get screenshots that you can play back as a video.
Apart from these core functionalities, this employee tracking software offers two optional add-ons: data loss prevention and endpoint control.
Veriato is one of the few software whose data can be stored either on cloud or on your own servers. This flexibility extends to the customer support as well, whom you can contact in several ways - on the phone, by email, support ticket or online. Their knowledge base includes help center, blog, videos, webinars and whitepapers.
Veriato Workforce Analytics pricing starts at $25 per month with a five user minimum.
Although this software features a pretty clean interface, there’s a bit of a learning curve in terms of using its many features, so it might not be the best employee monitoring solution if you’re looking for a simple and intuitive experience. Veriato Workforce Analytics has a rating of 4.2 on Capterra.
10. Work Examiner
Finally, we have Work Examiner - a slightly less intrusive software than Veriato but still with a lot of functionality. One big downside of this system, however, is that it’s only compatible with Windows.
This employee monitoring software has features that include: website blocking and whitelisting, attendance tracking, categorization, website usage timer and alerts, stealth mode, keylogger, search, downloaded files and instant messages monitoring, etc. It can also compile productivity reports that you can send to your employees. Furthermore, this software has one of the most flexible screenshot functionality - you can access screen captures in real-time or as records, monitor multiple displays like this, and there’s also a snapshots player with search and filter capabilities. These capabilities are shared within its keylogger and instant message monitoring features, which makes Work Examiner a highly customizable solution.
The interesting thing about this employee tracking system is that it can only be deployed as an on-premise solution, although there is another linked product called Controlio which offers cloud hosting. Work Examiner has phone, email and online tech support, but only a help center and a blog as additional resources.
This monitoring system only offers lifetime licenses, so it might not be the best PC monitoring software for you if you’re not willing to make a long-term financial commitment. The price of these licenses is based on the number of seats (i.e. computers you want to track).
Work Examiner Controlio pricing starts at $7.99 per month. The Standard package starts at $25 per PC and the Professional package starts at $37 per month.
Work Examiner is intuitive and detailed at the same time, and its Capterra rating is 4.9 stars, although it’s only based on 12 reviews since this software isn’t quite as popular as some of the others on the list.
Choosing the Right Solution
And that’s it - the comprehensive list of computer monitoring software reviews!
Hopefully, this will give you some direction when you start looking for the perfect solution for your company.
The last piece of advice is to carefully consider your business needs and how your chosen software will help you fulfill them. From there, it’s just a matter of using the monitoring system the right way and with consideration to your employees’ privacy, and you’ll see tracking software insights transform your business in no time.