What are your employees doing when you’re not looking? Your intuition may fool you here. Even if you trust your employees to get their work done in a reasonable amount of time, the average employee admits to wasting about 3 hours of their 8-hour workday, and outliers may waste even more.
If your employees work from home, or if you’re frequently out of the office, you won’t have much of an opportunity to supervise your employees directly—so how can you tell if they’re using their time wisely? How can you be sure they have adequately balanced workloads?
The answer is through employee monitoring software tools, which help you keep an eye on your employees’ productivity and time management.
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Employee Monitoring Software Tools to Try
There are several different ways to monitor your employees, and these employee monitoring software tools tend to specialize in one specific area:
First up, there’s our very own EmailAnalytics. It’s designed to help you monitor the email habits of your employees—since emails are so crucial to so many job functions. EmailAnalytics integrates with Gmail and G Suite so you can view email statistics on your employees like how many emails they send and receive throughout the day, average email response times, how long their email threads last, and who their top senders and recipients are. It’s a Gmail report that provides an ideal baseline for how productive your employees are (and what their workloads are like). It’s especially useful if you want to monitor employees working from home.
Microsoft’s MyAnalytics is designed to work with Office 365, and it serves a similar purpose (though you won’t find as much email-specific data). Instead, you’ll focus on how many hours your employees spend on email, how much time they spend on meetings according to their calendars, and how much time they devote to truly focused work.
Yesware is an employee monitoring software tool that integrates with SalesForce, and as you might expect, its primary intention is to serve sales teams. It lets you track email-related data points like open rates, reply rates, and click-through rates (CTRs), but can also be used to measure the workloads and activity of each of your salespeople.
If you’re interested in a more in-depth report on your employees’ activities, you could install ActivTrak on their devices. Once installed, ActivTrak is invisible for all intents and purposes, but it will track which apps your employees use, which websites they visit, and how they work throughout the day. With it, you can also generate automatic reports, so you can see when employee behavior is improving—or when it’s getting worse.
5. Time Doctor.
There are many time tracking tools available today, but Time Doctor has some built-in features that make it ideal for employee monitoring. With Time Doctor, you’ll be able to track how much time your employees spend on each project and task, and pinpoint specific areas of time waste. You can also monitor team chats and customize the app so it gives you all the collaborative features you want. We have a list of the best time tracking software here, so be sure to check that out!
Teramind is an app with many potential purposes. It was designed for user activity monitoring and user behavior analytics, but it’s also powerful as an employee monitoring software tool. With it, you can keep track of how your employees spend time on various apps and websites, as well as specific tasks and projects. As with most of the other options on this list, you can also set up custom automatic reporting so you can measure employee progress.
Veriato is an in-depth employee monitoring software tool that allows you to record your employees’ screens and track all their online activity. With it, you can set up alerts that automatically trigger when your employees are straying from productive work, and see live video playback of your employees’ screens on demand.
8. Work Examiner.
Work Examiner is a tool that lets you monitor all your employees’ activities, including how they use the internet. You can even go a step further by acknowledging and blocking any particularly distracting domains. It runs invisibly in the background and provides you with detailed ongoing reports of employee productivity.
Getting Started With Employee Monitoring Tools
You shouldn’t have to use all these employee monitoring software tools, or even more than one or two, to get a better understanding of how your employees are spending their time. Ideally, you’ll inform your employees how and why you’ll be monitoring them; this will simultaneously build employee trust and serve as motivation for them to improve their personal performance (if necessary) through accountability. But you can also deploy some of these tools more stealthily if the situation calls for it.
As with most analytic methods, gathering data is only the first part of the equation. To be successful, you have to act on it. Note where your employees’ performances are lacking, and make a concentrated effort to compensate for those weaknesses.
For more tools that can help you monitor employee productivity, see our top 10 employee productivity tracking software tools. Be sure to also check out our list of the 7 best email tracking apps for Gmail!
Ready to start visualizing you and your team's email activity? Try EmailAnalytics now, instantly, with a 14-day free trial. No credit card required, no sign-up required, and no software to install. You'll see your data within seconds!
Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before selling it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics, and co-host of the podcast The Entrepreneur Cast.