Hybrid and remote work have become the new norm in many sectors with approximately 26% of U.S. employees working remotely as of 2022 and an expected 36.2 million Americans expected to do so by 2025.
But with employees working both in the office and from their homes (and other locations such as co-working spaces), ensuring uptime, security and employee productivity are more challenging than ever.
However, there are software solutions that can help you proactively support and understand your workforce without resorting to “bossware.”
Benefits Of Monitoring Work from Home Employees
Knowing how your team works best is good managerial practice, but how can you truly know how a remote team is working? The short answer is remote employee monitoring. The same way you invest in keeping your infrastructure up-to-date, you want to be sure your most valuable asset — your people — are connected and engaged even when they’re not in the office.
In an interview with Computerworld, ActivTrak CEO Rita Selvaggi said, “By understanding insights about how employees work, you can derive improvements in productivity, you can actually make work more enriching — all of those types of side benefits from using the data.”
Selvaggi goes on to argue that work from home monitoring software should be implemented to support employees, not spy on them. “Insight versus oversight is an important mantra for [ActivTrak]; data should be insightful, and it should not necessarily be used for oversight or monitoring alone.”
Potential Drawbacks of Remote Employee Monitoring
Remote employee monitoring has its fair share of disadvantages. Morale may suffer, trust between management and teams can degrade and the cost of maintaining remote and hybrid positions can increase with the addition of a monitoring campaign. Plus, you need to consider the legal ramifications.
More invasive methods of work-from-home monitoring may look closely at an employee’s screen, log keystrokes or even capture video but fail to consider un-measurable work such as research, analysis or communication, which may provide a false picture of an employee’s productivity.
Types Of Remote Employee Monitoring
- Email monitoring: Most employers have full access to company email addresses via the hosting service or a communications hub such as Google or Microsoft.
- Phone: Similarly, if an employee is using a company phone or VoIP, management has access to messages, and those services are easily monitored.
- Login/logout monitoring: As the name suggests, login/logout monitoring tracks employee access to company systems in real time.
- Website activity monitoring: Some employee monitoring tools enable administrators to receive detailed reports on the tasks completed by staff members on company websites, as well as optimal versus unproductive times and system downtime.
- Keyboard and mouse monitoring: Also called keystroke monitoring, this type of remote employee monitoring software logs keystrokes during work hours or on company machines, tracking “busy” vs. “idle” time.
- Video monitoring: This remote employee monitoring strategy uses an employee’s webcam to keep “eyes” on employees while they work.
- Collaboration/communication tool monitoring: Collaboration apps like Slack, GChat or Teams Chat help employees connect informally and flexibly as they work. These apps can be monitored by management to collect productivity data.
How To Determine What Should Be Monitored
Which remote monitoring tools, if any, your organization or business chooses to implement will depend on your end goals. Here are some questions to consider:
- Are you looking for data to support your remote teams and find ways to boost morale or reward productivity?
- Do you have employees who are chronically failing to respond to communications or complete tasks?
Perhaps you need to gather information to guide a return-to-the-office initiative or determine if it’s more productive to go full-time remote instead of hybrid. Different remote employee monitoring softwares offer different solutions. Some may solve more than one challenge while some may be tailored toward a specific type of monitoring, like email or keystroke monitoring.
Remote Employee Monitoring Softwares
There are a wide variety of work-from-home employee monitoring solutions on the market. Let’s take a look at five examples:
- Teramind: With extensive tracking capabilities, Teramind can record any user action. Options include screen recordings, live viewing of staff PCs and tracking of emails, keystrokes and Zoom sessions. It costs almost $13 per seat, according to their starter package.
- Insightful: Insightful’s key features include employee monitoring, productivity analytics, time tracking and automatic time mapping. Insightful can automatically track employees’ working hours and generate daily productivity reports. Pricing starts around $14 per employee monthly.
- ActivTrak: The free version of ActivTrak allows for monitoring up to three individuals. Apply content filters and other controls, as well as track behaviors including website visits, app usage, USB device detection and security audits. Upgrading will cost $17 per employee per month.
- Hubstaff: Hubstaff combines screenshots, time tracking and automated reporting to assess employee productivity. It can also track mouse and keyboard activity. Hubstaff costs $6 per employee per month.
- EmailAnalytics: This software displays your team’s email activity with clients, leads, customers, vendors and other team members, as well as non-business emails to and from a company address. EmailAnalytics costs $15 per inbox monthly.
Just like keeping tabs on your AV systems, remote employee monitoring software can be a valuable addition to any unified communications and AV integration plan. DGI is already helping organizations of all sizes make sense of their remote and hybrid systems, including how to reduce costs and maximize productivity. Contact us to create a work-from-home monitoring strategy that works for you.