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Employee-Monitoring Software: Overstepping Boundaries or Helpful Tool?

Is employee monitoring software a beneficial tool for company owners and managers or an invasion of privacy for employees?

Melisa Cabrera

By Melisa Cabrera

Chief of Staff, Professional Services, Melisa Cabrera ensures that BairesDev processes and tools remain consistent and efficient across the company.

10 min read

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Employees are the most critical part of any organization. A company’s success is directly linked to the productivity of its employees. Hence, it is a crucial concern for the upper levels of management. 

According to a report by Atlassian, an average employee is productive for only 60% of the time, which means that they “waste” about half their time on matters of less significance. 

Employee-monitoring software helps increase the productivity of a workforce. With remote work becoming more of a norm than an exception, keeping tabs on employee efficiency is more difficult, yet more important than ever. The solution to this issue is deploying software that monitors employee efficiency and generates detailed reports for the stakeholders.

What Is Employee-Monitoring Software?

Employee-monitoring software is a solution for monitoring a company’s workers that allows the company administrators to keep track of and supervise their employees’ computers from a central location. These systems are generally deployed over a business network and create a centralized log that the management can view over one main networked PC. Employers can also use remote desktop software to monitor their employees.

Types of Employee-Monitoring Software

There are 3 major categories of employee-monitoring software, as follows:

  1. Productivity Suites: This software has an advanced analytical ability that allows companies to sort out which employees make the most of their stipulated time, improve any shortcoming areas, and help employees who lag. 
  2. Surveillance Tools: Companies can use this type of software if their business deals with losses in assets, security breaches, and severe impediments to employee productivity. Configurations of this software allow it to control file access rights, track documentation, keep an eye on emails, and impose constraints on hardware.
  3. Project Management: This software consists of tools that distribute and track tasks as well as the time consumption of team members worldwide. Project managers can follow newly applied procedures and methodologies for their efficacy.

Benefits of Monitoring Employee Activity

  • Better Task Management – With employee-monitoring software, leadership has the ability to view what the employees are currently working on and direct them toward issues of high critical nature if needed. 
  • Global Tracking – The software helps keep managers in the loop within teams scattered across various time zones. Project managers can then manage the delivery pipeline, and companies can harness the time difference to maximize the available workforce. 
  • Enhanced Administrative Management – With a proper employee management system, the stakeholders can focus on the essential issues of the business rather than the trivial ones. 
  • Secured Information – A breach of intellectual property leads to lengthy court battles and the destruction of entire companies. Employee-monitoring software helps prevent these breaches before they happen.

Disadvantages of Employee-Monitoring Software

  • A Feeling of Distrust – When companies consider deploying employee-monitoring software, ethical concerns arise. It can cause a decrease in workplace morale, and employees may feel that their privacy is being violated and their company doesn’t trust them. 
  • Resource-Intensive – Monitoring the employees is a time-consuming task and costs money. The company has to work hard to find the appropriate tool for their system and implement it in their organization. Spending time, money, and energy can remove the focus from major and critical tasks.
  • Legal Implications – There might be legal implications for this venture. The law in many countries may allow employee tracking on their work devices. However, the rules might differ in various parts of the world if you have a global team.

Apps That Monitor Employee Productivity

Some of the most popular employee-activity monitoring apps include:

  1. FlexiServer
  2. Time Doctor
  3. RescueTime
  4. Hubstaff
  5. Pivotal Tracker
  6. Aqua Teams
  7. Clever Control
  8. Kickidler

Salient Features of Employee-Monitoring Software

  • Timesheets – This type of software typically provides comprehensive attendance features and details of when the employees log in and out in an automated fashion.
  • Management of Tasks – Organizations can configure employee-monitoring software to track the tasks each employee is working on despite their location. In this way, the management can keep track of the employees who have breached deadlines or those with the capacity for more tasks. 
  • Alerts – Companies can set up automated alerts that go off when certain conditions are not met, such as a deadline breach, uninformed absence, etc. 
  • Location Tracking – Employee-monitoring software can track company assets essential in recovery in case of unsolicited theft.
  • Evaluation – Employee-monitoring software allows us to create specific criteria for evaluating the workforce. Management can define rubrics for productivity evaluation and provide incentives for better performance.

The Final Verdict

Employee-management software has both benefits and negatives associated with it. Businesses can use these products to automate many processes, such as timesheet tracking and breach of deadlines. However, in the current agile development environment, the focus has shifted toward task delivery rather than completing the bureaucratic 8-hour work day.

Stakeholders must decide if they should employ such software in places where all-time availability is an absolute must and information is highly critical. In other cases, however, the focus should be on task delivery rather than keeping track. While this software is incredibly beneficial for company owners and managers, they must weigh the pros of productivity versus the cons of employee upsets to make their own decision.

Melisa Cabrera

By Melisa Cabrera

As Chief of Staff for Professional Services, Melisa Cabrera makes sure that BairesDev processes and tools are consistent and efficient across several internal areas. Working closely with the Client Services team, Melisa aims to continually make a positive impact on the client's experience.

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