Our Top Picks

ActivTrak
ActivTrack
  • Employee activity monitoring
  • Employee email monitoring
  • Productivity analysis
ActivTrak provides affordable and intuitive employee monitoring software that’s well-suited to the needs of many small and midsize businesses. With a dual focus that monitors both time and productivity, the software helps hold workers accountable and improve efficiency. Employees can be monitored on an individual or team basis, which also aids in managing projects that multiple employees are working on.

One of the strengths of ActivTrak is the simplicity of its user interface. The benefits of an intuitive interface aren’t just that employees mind it less but that the interface also lets managers quickly drill down for the data they need to make workflow and productivity decisions. They can access meaningful analytics, including past and live data, to adjust their teams for greater efficiency. ActivTrak keeps data on employees’ screen activity, email activity, and time usage, and all this data is compiled through the software’s productivity analysis.

The ActivTrak software is set up via Google Cloud and integrates seamlessly with many Google apps. It also can be easily adapted for iOS and Android environments, however. Both free and paid versions of the software are available.

Pros & Cons

ActivTrak is an affordable employee monitoring solution. While it lacks customizability, the dashboard and general user interface are intuitive. The software also provides insightful productivity reports for both employees and managers. It lacks keystroke tracking, which some other applications have.

Pros

  • Free version
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Useful productivity reports

Cons

  • Lacks customizable dashboard
  • No keystroke tracking

What Customers Are Saying

ActivTrak receives high praise for its usability and reporting. “I’ve been looking for a program that is easy to set up and configure but also provides a wide array of information,” says one customer. Another customer comments, “It provides us with a deep data analysis.”

Summary

ActivTrak
ActivTrack
  • Starting Price
    • $7.20/user/month for Advanced
  • Time Tracking
    Yes
  • Keystroke Recording
    No
  • Screen Activity Recording
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reports
    Yes
Features
  • Employee activity monitoring
  • Employee email monitoring
  • Productivity analysis
Veriato.com-Cerebral
Cerebral
  • Screen activity recording
  • Keystroke recording
  • Employee email monitoring
Cerebral from Veriato is a highly advanced employee monitoring solution that offers plenty of usage and productivity insights. However, its real strength lies in what else it watches for. The software uses artificial intelligence to conduct ongoing risk assessments and monitor for insider threats. In situations where business data must be closely guarded, this aspect of employee monitoring can be even more crucial than productivity management. Knowing exactly what employees did on their computers and devices is crucial if a business must respond to a data breach or other data-related incident.

Cerebral can be installed on both Mac and Windows computers, and it has Android, web-based, and cloud iterations. The software offers all the standard employee monitoring features, including everything from activity and time usage monitoring to screen activity and keystroke recording.

Cerebral isn’t a cheap option, with license costs starting at over $100 per year. This is perhaps the most advanced solution on this list, however.

Pros & Cons

Cerebral is one of the most expensive options on this list, but it’s also one of the most comprehensive employee monitoring solutions. The software uses AI to safeguard against in-house risks, and it also keeps track of employee engagement.

Pros

  • Complete list of included features
  • Uses AI to watch for in-house threats
  • Provides detailed employee engagement reports

Cons

  • Licenses start at over $100 each/year
  • Data files incorporating AI are large

What Customers Are Saying

Many customers say they’re pleased with how much data Cerebral tracks. “Good for checking up on emails communicated to people outside of our network,” says one customer. Another comments, “I am extremely happy with this product and the data that it provides.”

Summary

Veriato.com-Cerebral
Cerebral
  • Starting Price
    • $95/employee Between 50 and 249 employees
    • $75/employee: Between 250 and 999 employees
    • $59/employee: Between 1,000 and 4,999 employees
    • Contact for quote: For 5,000 or more employees
  • Time Tracking
    Yes
  • Keystroke Recording
    Yes
  • Screen Activity Recording
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reports
    Yes
Features
  • Screen activity recording
  • Keystroke recording
  • Employee email monitoring
CleverControl
CleverControl
  • Employee email monitoring
  • Keystroke recording
  • Screen activity recording
CleverControl is an affordable employee monitoring option for businesses that must manage budgets. While the software lacks some features and customization options available with other applications, its price of $79 annually for three computers works out to less than $2.50 per user per month when paid on a yearly basis.

Although CleverControl isn’t the most robust software, it does come with all the features needed to monitor employees’ computer activity. The software has the standard employee activity and time usage tracking capabilities. It also comes with screen recording, keystroke recording, and email monitoring, which are features some other options lack.

The data that CleverControl gathers is compiled into reports that reveal whether employees are remaining on-task and can be used to improve company-wide efficiency. The software has integration options for Mac, Windows, and web-based situations.

Pros & Cons

CleverControl is a low-priced solution that’s loaded with features that give a comprehensive view of what employees are doing on their computers. Email monitoring, keystroke recording, and screen recording are all included. The software isn’t as customizable as some other options, however.

Pros

  • Comprehensive list of features
  • Low price when paid annually

Cons

  • Lacks customizability

What Customers Are Saying

Many of the customers who review CleverControl are small business owners. One says it’s “a really good product for a small company.” Another reports that the software “makes the company owner’s life easier” and it’s “a simple solution for small companies.”

Summary

CleverControl
CleverControl
  • Starting Price
    • $79 for 3 month/ 3 computers
    • $108 for 6 months/ 3computers
    • $180 for 12 months/ 3 computers
    • $288 for 24 months/ 3 computers
    • $324 for 36 months/ 3 computers
  • Time Tracking
    Yes
  • Keystroke Recording
    Yes
  • Screen Activity Recording
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reports
    Yes
Features
  • Employee email monitoring
  • Keystroke recording
  • Screen activity recording
DeskTime
DeskTime
  • Time tracking
  • Screen activity recording
  • Productivity analysis
DeskTime offers employee monitoring with an eye toward improved productivity. The productivity enhancement doesn’t primarily come from analyzing employees’ work practices, however. Instead, the software offers businesses more efficient ways to manage schedules and send invoices.

With regard to employee monitoring, DeskTime offers most of the necessary features. It has employee activity monitoring, time tracking, and screen activity recording, and much of the data gathered can be compiled into productivity reports.

Where DeskTime really improves efficiencies is in managing schedules. It has built-in calendar scheduling capabilities, which include private time that employees can block off. It also offers automatic invoicing for businesses that bill clients by the hour.

A free version of DeskTime is available, but only the paid version includes scheduling and invoicing capabilities. The software can be set up on any desktop, laptop, or mobile device.

Pros & Cons

DeskTime improves efficiency with built-in scheduling and invoicing features. It also lets employees block off approved private time. The productivity reporting features are limited, however, and the reports generated only export as XLS files.

Pros

  • Built-in calendar and scheduling
  • Included automatic invoicing
  • Employees can block off private time

Cons

  • Limited productivity reporting
  • Reports only export as XLS files

What Customers Are Saying

DeskTime is well-designed for tracking employee activity, according to customers. “A very good tool to manage time,” says one. Another states that it’s a “practical attendance and performance tracking application.” A third customer says, “I love that it keeps exact track of what I or my team does daily.”

Summary

DeskTime
DeskTime
  • Starting Price
    • $95/mo for Pro
    • $124/mo for Premium
    • $190/mo for Enterprise
  • Time Tracking
    Yes
  • Keystroke Recording
    No
  • Screen Activity Recording
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reports
    Yes
Features
  • Time tracking
  • Screen activity recording
  • Productivity analysis
DeskTrack
DeskTrack
  • Employee activity monitoring
  • Employee email monitoring
  • Screen recording
DeskTrack is a practical employee monitoring solution that’s reasonably priced and well equipped. While it’s not the cheapest option, it has a competitive price of $5.99-$7.99 per user per month after a free trial. This is within many SMBs’ budgets, and the software does what most businesses need it to do.

When it comes to tracking, DeskTrack does almost everything. It offers employee activity, time usage, employee email, and screen activity monitoring. All this data is compiled into detailed reports, which can be used to analyze both individual and team productivity.

DeskTrack can be installed on any computer and Android devices. It also has a web-based and cloud iteration. Should customers have any issues, a live representative is available 24/7.

Pros & Cons

DeskTrack lacks keystroke recording, but its many other features render this a moot point for most businesses. The software’s live 24/7 support is helpful for businesses that are open beyond standard hours.

Pros

  • Live 24/7 support
  • Mobile & offline time tracking

Cons

  • Lacks keystroke recording

What Customers Are Saying

Customers like the time tracking feature of DeskTirack and the software’s support. “It helps from a billing perspective by allowing me to track the hours by contract,” shares one customer. Another says, “Coordination with the support team was another good experience, as they were always ready to help.”

Summary

DeskTrack
DeskTrack
  • Starting Price
    • $5.99/user/month for Stealth
    • $7.99/user/month for Tagger
  • Time Tracking
    Yes
  • Keystroke Recording
    No
  • Screen Activity Recording
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reports
    Yes
Features
  • Employee activity monitoring
  • Employee email monitoring
  • Screen recording
Hubstaff
Hubstaff
  • Time tracking
  • Reports
  • Screen activity recording
Hubstaff is a comprehensive employee monitoring solution, extending beyond simple activity monitoring and time tracking. While the software has all the necessary monitoring tools, including screen activity and keystroke recording, it’s the software’s other capabilities that really make it shine.

The reporting capabilities of Hubstaff are impressive. Not only do they include individual and team reports, but the software also has task and project management tracking functionalities. These latter features are especially helpful for businesses that need to manage projects across remote teams or multiple locations.

Hubstaff also has some basic attendance, payroll, and human resources features built-in. Although these features aren’t as robust as those of dedicated programs, they’re sufficient for many SMBs. So while Hubstaff’s paid subscription might be pricey at $10 per user, per month, the software may allow businesses to forgo paying for another application to handle attendance, payroll, and HR tasks. There’s a free version of Hubstaff available, but businesses must purchase the paid version to take advantage of all of its features.

Pros & Cons

Hubstaff is a capable program that offers reports for individuals, teams, tasks, and projects. It also has built-in attendance and payroll features in the paid version, although the free version may be suitable for some businesses. The Stopwatch feature requires a second app to be installed when used on computers.

Pros

  • Many reports available
  • Built-in attendance and payroll features
  • Free version available

Cons

  • Attendance and payroll features only available with the paid version

What Customers Are Saying

Multiple customers have switched to Hubstaff after trying other employee monitoring software. “Very happy I moved … to Hubstaff,” says one customer. Another explains, “I tested most of the most famous time tracking software services out there. I always ended up coming back to Hubstaff.”

Summary

Hubstaff
Hubstaff
  • Starting Price
    • $0/user/mo for Free
    • $7/user/mo for Basic
    • $10/user/mo for Premium
    • $20/user/mo for Enterprise
  • Time Tracking
    Yes
  • Keystroke Recording
    Yes
  • Screen Activity Recording
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reports
    Yes
Features
  • Time tracking
  • Reports
  • Screen activity recording
Monitask
Monitask
  • Time tracking
  • Screen recording
  • Productivity analysis
Monitask is a basic time tracking and employee monitoring solution for self-employed individuals and small businesses. The software comes in free and paid versions, with the latter costing $4.99 per user per month.

The free version of Monitask is intended for self-employed individuals. It primarily offers time-tracking features, such as application and activity tracking, and online timesheets, as well as reports generated from the gathered data.

The paid version better meets most businesses’ needs, as it adds more robust screen recording and internet tracking. It also sends the data to any designated individual, such as a manager, whereas the free version is limited to a single user and won’t share data with others.

Although Monitask is primarily designed as a cloud-based solution, it’s possible to install the software on desktops and laptops.

Pros & Cons

Monitask offers 24/7 live support for its customers, and the software is popular among freelancers for this reason. However, it lacks employee email and keystroke monitoring, which limits its usefulness in certain situations.

Pros

  • 24/7 live support
  • Free version

Cons

  • Lacks email monitoring
  • Lacks keystroke recording

What Customers Are Saying

Customers are happy with how well Monitask monitors individual work. “Lets me see what [tasks] are taking much of my time,” says one customer. Another user comments, “Once I started using Monitask, everything became objective and my time has started to become more valuable.”

Summary

Monitask
Monitask
  • Starting Price
    • $4.99 /month/per user for Professional
  • Time Tracking
    Yes
  • Keystroke Recording
    No
  • Screen Activity Recording
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reports
    Yes
Features
  • Time tracking
  • Screen recording
  • Productivity analysis
Teramind
Teramind
  • Employee activity monitoring
  • Employee email monitoring
  • Productivity analysis
Teramind is among the most comprehensive employee monitoring solutions. Few other options match it in terms of the breadth or depth of information it provides.

Teramind’s capabilities include a complete list of employee monitoring features, such as email monitoring, screen recording, and keystroke recording. This information isn’t merely gathered, though. The software can be automated to monitor employee activity in real-time, and instant alerts can be set for certain behaviors.

In addition to these standard features, Teramind also offers productivity optimization capabilities and stays on top of potential threats. It monitors activity to identify both insider threats and data theft risks.

All of this comes at reasonable pricing that ranges from $5-$25 per user per month, depending on the features included. Businesses can choose a level that makes sense for their monitoring and budgeting needs. All customers receive live 24/7 customer support online.

Pros & Cons

Teramind’s automated alerts offer a real-time level of monitoring that few other options match. Teramind also provides internal threat detection and built-in productivity optimization. The one downside is that all of these features can be complex to figure out at first.

Pros

  • Automated alerts
  • Internal threat monitoring
  • Productivity optimization

Cons

  • Significant learning curve

What Customers Are Saying

Customers often choose Teramind because of its many features. One customer says it’s “the most all-in-one monitoring and security system if you know what you are doing.” Another says, “I think Teramind is the only solution that provided all the features.”

Summary

Teramind
Teramind
  • Starting Price
    • Cloud: Starts at $10/user/month when billed annually (minimum 5 users)
    • On-Premise: Starts at $5/endpoint/month when billed annually (minimum 10 endpoints)
  • Time Tracking
    Yes
  • Keystroke Recording
    Yes
  • Screen Activity Recording
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reports
    Yes
Features
  • Employee activity monitoring
  • Employee email monitoring
  • Productivity analysis
Time Doctor
Time Doctor
  • Time tracking
  • Productivity analysis
  • Employee activity monitoring
Time Doctor is a comprehensive software that offers employee monitoring along with other functionalities.

Its employee monitoring capabilities are robust, but they aren’t the most extensive or detailed compared to other programs on this list. Most businesses will find Time Doctor’s employee activity, time tracking, screen recording, and keystroke recording capabilities decent. The lack of email monitoring limits the software in certain situations, though.

In addition to employee monitoring, Time Doctor also provides built-in invoicing and project management features. With additional integrations, the software can do even more.

Time Doctor’s pricing ranges from $7-$20 per month after a free trial period. The software works on all computers and devices, and it comes with 24/7 customer support.

Pros & Cons

Time Doctor does more than just employee monitoring and includes automatic invoicing and project management features. Its time tracking capabilities are particularly robust. One downside is that the software’s stopwatch requires a separate app or Chrome extension.

Pros

  • Built-in automatic invoicing
  • Built-in project management
  • Extensive time tracking

Cons

  • Stopwatch requires a second app or extension

What Customers Are Saying

Customers give Time Doctor high marks for its time tracking and invoicing capabilities. “Loved the tracking of time,” raves one customer. Another explains, “It is very helpful to both me and my client, because it gives us the correct information we need for payroll time-tracking.”

Summary

Time Doctor
Time Doctor
  • Starting Price
    • $7/month for Basic
    • $10/month for Standard
    • $20/month for Premium
  • Time Tracking
    Yes
  • Keystroke Recording
    Yes
  • Screen Activity Recording
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reports
    Yes
Features
  • Time tracking
  • Productivity analysis
  • Employee activity monitoring
WebWork-Time-Tracker
WebWork Time Tracker
  • Time tracking
  • Employee monitoring
  • Screen recording
WebWork Time Tracker is an employee monitoring and time tracking solution for businesses that need to bill clients. The software is an affordable option when not a lot of features are needed.

As its name implies, WebWork Time Tracker has everything needed to track employee time. It accurately monitors where hours are spent, and its built-in invoicing can create bills according to user, activity, or project. Businesses can even set different rates based on personnel or activities.

WebWork Time Tracker also has decent monitoring features, including employee activity monitoring, keystroke recording, and screen recording. This is usually enough for managers to keep their workers honest. The one feature that managers frequently want but isn’t available is productivity analysis.

At only $2.99 per user per month, this is one of the least expensive options available for time tracking and employee monitoring. Businesses that only need a basic solution may be well-served with this choice.

Pros & Cons

WebWork has a strong built-in invoicing feature that takes into account multiple factors and automatically generates accurate invoices. This is also a highly affordable option, being priced at just $2.99 per user per month. The software doesn’t include productivity analysis, however, which is a feature some managers need.

Pros

  • Built-in invoicing
  • Low monthly price

Cons

  • Lacks productivity analysis

What Customers Are Saying

Many customers use WebWork Time Tracker for its invoicing capabilities. One customer comments, “It’s also useful … to keep a record of your working hours in case clients pay you by the hour.” Another says, “It is convenient for freelancers like me to show proof of work and get paid by clients accordingly.”

Summary

WebWork-Time-Tracker
WebWork Time Tracker
  • Starting Price
    • $2.99/user/month
  • Time Tracking
    Yes
  • Keystroke Recording
    Yes
  • Screen Activity Recording
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reports
    Yes
Features
  • Time tracking
  • Employee monitoring
  • Screen recording

How We Chose the Best Employee Monitoring Software

There are a lot of companies that offer employee monitoring software, and their applications offer multiple services and features. We evaluated the different options according to what businesses care about most.

Multiple Employee Monitoring Features

Just as managers gauge in-person work through multiple criteria, employee monitoring software should likewise offer several ways to watch what employees are doing. The best software solutions have plenty of useful features, such as time tracking, keystroke recording, and screen recording. These features not only show employers how much time employees spend working on their computers but also exactly what they're doing during their work hours. You can see whether employees truly are working, along with what their effort includes when they're working. Such detailed information isn’t just useful for ensuring employees put in an honest day’s work but also for evaluating employee performance during reviews and developing best practices that promote efficient workflows.

Integration With Other Applications

Employee monitoring software is frequently used alongside other useful programs. For example, an employee monitoring application might be paired with billing and invoicing software to accurately bill clients for employees’ time. The application may also be integrated with project management software to help keep everyone who’s involved in a project on the same page. All the applications on our list have pre-built integrations to work with other software that’s commonly paired with employee monitoring programs. Bringing this and other software together shouldn’t be a hassle, and we made sure that it won’t be.

Detailed, Flexible Reporting Options

Reports are an essential component of any employee monitoring software. Without detailed reports that show employee performance and behavior, what use would monitoring employees’ on-computer activity be? The programs included have robust reporting capabilities. In many cases, they make it possible to see company-wide trends in addition to individual employees’ actions. The reports usually can be configured in many different ways for various presentations.

What Is Employee Monitoring Software?

Employee monitoring software lets businesses watch what their employees do on computers and devices during working hours. The basics of this software can be thought of as time-tracking and employee monitoring.

Time tracking oversees what employees spend their time working on, and it’s usually done by keeping track of open applications. The insights that time tracking features provide are useful to individual employees and managers who want to maximize efficiency. Some programs have built-in invoicing features that use time tracking data to automatically bill clients.

Employee monitoring involves watching employees to ensure they’re doing an honest day’s work. Depending on a program’s feature list, this may be done through activity monitoring, email monitoring, keystroke recording, and/or screen recording. Typically, screen recording doesn’t take videos of employees’ screens but instead captures a set number of screens per hour.

Some software applications take employee monitoring further and watch for internal threats that employees might pose. This is generally only relevant to businesses that deal with sensitive information.

A few employee monitoring solutions combine time tracking and employee monitoring with payroll, HR, or other useful features. When these other features are added on, they usually aren’t as robust as a separate program. However, they may provide all the additional capabilities small businesses need.

Benefits of Employee Monitoring Software

Employee monitoring software offers four broad benefits that businesses may take advantage of, including:

  • Increased efficiency: The primary benefit of time tracking is increased efficiency. Many freelancers and self-employed individuals use it for this reason, and businesses can likewise see increased efficiency when employee hours are carefully tracked. Not only does it help hold employees accountable for their time usage, but most time tracking features come with productivity analysis that can help boost efficiency on a company-wide scale.
  • Improved accountability: Employee monitoring helps ensure employees put in an honest day’s work when they’re on a computer or other device. This type of feature will note if an employee’s computer is inactive for too long, and features like screen recording go a step further. In an era when many employees are working remotely, an accountability tool like this is essential.
  • Greater internal security: The programs that monitor employee activity for signs of internal threats can help identify potential risks within a business. This type of risk assessment is only needed in certain sectors, but it’s absolutely essential where it’s required.
  • Streamlined operations: The peripheral features, such as invoicing, payroll, and HR features, help automate processes that streamline operations. These can have positive effects on overall productivity.

Must-Have Features for Employee Monitoring Software

The features that businesses need from employee monitoring software depend on their size and the information they handle. Nonetheless, there are some key features most businesses should look for:

  • Time tracking: Time tracking is a fundamental feature, and some freelancers and self-employed individuals get the software solely for this feature. They want to track how they’re using their time so they can monitor productivity and identify ways to improve output. Businesses with employees can also benefit from these same insights.
  • Built-in invoicing: Businesses that bill by the hour should look for time tracking software that has built-in invoicing in order to streamline their time tracking and billing operations. For businesses that don’t bill on an hourly rate, this feature isn’t required.
  • Employee monitoring: This feature monitors employees’ devices to track periods when work is being performed. Generally, activity monitoring and screen recording are the two methods used to verify when employees are working.
  • Internal threat monitoring: Businesses that handle sensitive information should go with a more robust solution that also has internal risk monitoring. This is a proactive feature and one of the most effective ways to prevent leaks and breaches, and the data can be helpful if there ever is a data-related issue.
  • Email monitoring: For businesses that need internal threat monitoring, email monitoring is also necessary. It’s impossible to watch for internal threats without having access to emails.

The Cost of Employee Monitoring Software

Employee monitoring software is generally priced at a per user per month rate, although some applications bill on a quarterly or annual basis. The net effect is that businesses pay an ongoing fee based on how many employees they have, which makes the software affordable for businesses of all sizes.

Businesses generally should expect to pay $3-$25 per user per month for this type of software, although there are a few options.

Free programs are available for single accounts, which means the time tracking or employee monitoring data that a program gathers can’t be shared with someone else. These free programs are generally suitable for freelancers and other self-employed individuals who simply want to monitor their own hours and/or need to bill clients by the hour. A free program that won’t transfer data between accounts doesn’t work for businesses with managers who need to see what employees are doing on their devices, however.

Within the $3-$25 price range, the number of features included in a program normally correlates with the program’s cost. Software that’s able to track time and monitor employee activity is readily available for around $3-$7 per user per month. The software applications that are closer to $20-$25 in cost usually offer automated monitoring, internal security measures, and other features, such as HR or payroll components.