Employee monitoring software – all you need to know [2021 Guide]

Employee monitoring software – all you need to know [2021 Guide]

About employee monitoring

Employee monitoring has been a controversial subject for a long time, but nowadays, more and more companies understand the need of implementing such a tool to protect their company’s resources and to improve their organization workflow. Such a monitoring tool was, mistakenly associated with Big Brother at the office but as we deep dive into the subject, we will see that employee monitoring isn’t automatically invasive or Big-Brother-ish. There are a few employee monitoring software specially designed with productivity in mind and they are not invading employees’ privacy.

employee monitoring

What is employee monitoring software?

Employee monitoring software or computer monitoring software is the software installed on the company’s computers to monitor and record the activities performed by employees during the work schedule. Such software allows company administrators to supervise all their employees’ computers from a central location. Usually, it is deployed over a business network and allows its administrators to view centralized reports regarding employees’ actions.

The purpose of using work tracking software is to monitor employees’ performance, improve organization workflow, identify areas of abuse or malpractice, prevent illegal activities and avoid confidential info leakage.

Generally, the monitoring program can track almost every action made on computers: from keystrokes, websites visited, chats on Skype, Facebook Messenger or other social platforms, documents and files accessed, documents printed, emails, to even capture screenshots.

But, if we get back to the purpose of using work tracking software for better productivity, performance, and time savings we will find specific software which reports are focused on productivity and security. Such tools do not invade employees’ privacy and are very helpful productivity tools and time tracking tools.

Choose non-invasive employee productivity tracker

to increase your team’s productivity.

Why would you need employee monitoring software?

There are many different reasons why a company would decide to start using monitoring tools to track its employees’ activity on the company’s computers and to measure productivity within company.

Let’s start with a few facts discovered in surveys conducted on US and Canadian employees (and confirmed by many Cyclope clients) and we will get to the conclusion in no time 😊.

Wasting time at work – Infographic

wasting time at work statistics

Employees waste important time at work which results in lost productivity:

  • An employee uses his office computer for personal use for an average of 90 minutes each day.
  • 64% of employees surf on personal interest pages during working hours.
  • 67% of employees access Social Media ( mostly Facebook and Instagram) at the office.
  • Lunch break time is exceeded in over 90% of the cases.
  • Overtime is justified with only 50% of the employees.
  • 60% of online shopping occurs during working hours.
  • 48% of security breaches are due to employees.
  • A company with 1000 employees loses $5 million annually if the employees waste 1 working hour daily.

Conclusion: the 2 main reasons managers decide to monitor their employees’ computer activities are related to productivity and security.

Computer monitoring software increases employees’ productivity by keeping workers focused on the tasks and responsibilities.

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How to measure productivity at work.

  • Distractions at work. Employees face distractions at work every single day and every single hour and this negatively impacts their productivity. In case you’re wondering: smartphones, the internet, social media, and emails are the biggest workplace productivity killers. New CareerBuilder survey reveals that 3 in 4 US employees (meaning 75%) face distractions at work while 60% of Canadians lose 2 hours a day due to distractions, according to a new national survey commissioned by iQ Offices.
  • Operational efficiency. By tracking employees’ activities it is getting easy to identify problem areas. How long employees spend on certain tasks, where they get stuck and need guidance. This allows you to optimize parts of your organization’s workflow or even the entire workflow if needed.
  • Company resources. By knowing how your company’s time and resources are being spent, you can optimize resource allocation. There might some situations when more resources should be required.

By using an employee productivity tracker in a company, both individual and team productivity will increase: whether it is by limiting distractions at work or by collecting data that allows managers to improve the entire organization’s workflow.

Security

The second main reason managers choose an employee monitoring tool is to keep their data safe. In many cases, security breaches occur due to negligent or unsatisfied employees. If the company’s private information is shared via unsecured channels the data can be easily compromised. Imagine how your brand reputation would suffer if the personal information of your customers and partners would end up in the wrong hands. This could be irreparable damage.

By keeping an eye on your employees’ computer activity you will see what websites are being visited, what applications are being used, what files and documents are being accessed, and what programs are being downloaded. Any unusual or strange activity would signal you about problems with a specific employee and potential security threats.

Increase your team’s productivity, avoid wasted time at work and protect your business with Cyclope – computer monitoring software

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Is employee monitoring software legal?

This is the most frequently asked question on the subject and the answer is YES in most cases. Laws about monitoring employee computers differ from country to country and from state to state.

In the US, for example, it is your right to monitor your employees at work, to monitor work-related tasks in work areas and on work computers. Legislation concerning employee privacy and data security varies depending on the relevant jurisdiction and since legislation is incredibly complex and subject to change over time, the best practice is to consult directly with lawyers that specialize in your organization’s industry and jurisdiction.

For example, some states require companies to notify their employees before monitoring them. Other states do not even require such prior notice.

As for the European Union’s countries, although the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) does not specifically talk about employee monitoring, it does include requirements for providing notice about data collection.

Anyway, as a best practice, it is recommended to keep in mind the following and to inform your employees about a few facts. As long as employees are working on the company’s computers and the company owns the entire IT infrastructure, including hardware, software, and communication, and the intellectual property of all business data, it has the right to protect these data and assets. Also, every company must have an acceptable use policy (AUP) that explains how company resources can be used and whether they can be used for personal purposes. If you do not have such a policy, we recommend you define one. This also applies to remote workers, where the work from home policy must be created.

The most important legal aspect of employee monitoring is consent.

Steps to make before buying an employee monitoring software:

Deciding to implement an employee monitoring tool in your company is a hard job, but purchasing one, just like any other software these days, is not an easier job. With so many options out there, with so many different features it’s not easy to make a decision and to make sure you have found the perfect solution, especially when you have a budget and you must stick to it.

However, before deciding the purchase of a computer monitoring software, there are 3 important steps every company needs to follow.

Step 1: Talk to your employees

  • Be transparent – inform your employees about the reasons you decided to implement a work tracking tool
  • Prepare a list of benefits – both for the company and for the individual and teams
  • Leave time for questions from your employees
  • Accept honest opinions – what might seem ethical for you, for others might not be as ethical as you think.

Step 2: Research the options

  • Choose the features you need – too many features could make the software usage more difficult, especially if they are useless for you.
  • Technical details –search software that suits best to your network architecture. Usually, local installation or cloud installation is available for most computer monitoring solutions.
  • Take advantage of trials – there are plenty of software that allows you to test them before buying them.
  • Set your budget – unfortunately, money is a limited resource so, price is very important when choosing work tracking software for your company. We have a useful ROI calculator to help you with this.

Step 3: Create the Employee Monitoring policy

  • The employee monitoring policy clearly explains when, where, and why the employee monitoring tool is used. In this way, it helps both the employer, their employees, and their clients to protect themselves from legal issues around employee monitoring in the workplace.  A well-done policy increases employee morale and clarifications about job expectations and privacy while at work. It should also state who will be monitored and who will have access to the reports with the monitored data.

In the case of remote workers, the Work-from-Home policy must be created. We’ve written a complete guide for managers about this.

 Cyclope does not record keystrokes nor captures screenshots. It is a non-invasive productivity monitoring tool and it respects employees’ privacy.

Try Cyclope free

Conclusion

Make sure you choose simple employee monitoring software you can set up in minutes and start increasing your team’s productivity. Calculate the return of your investment and don’t spend a fortune on this. There are many options available on the market at reasonable prices. Talk to your team and decide what computer monitoring software suits your needs. Don’t forget to ask your legal adviser about the employee monitoring laws in your country.

Stay productive folks! 😉