15 years helping Australian businesses
choose better software

Employee Monitoring Software

Employee Monitoring software is used to track employee productivity and to ensure the appropriate use of corporate resources. Remote employee monitoring software can set up and track network access permissions, improve cybersecurity, and increase work output. Find the best employee monitoring software for your organisation in Australia.

Featured software

Most reviewed software

Explore the products reviewed the most by our users in the Employee Monitoring Software category

Australia Show local products

Employee Monitoring Software Buyers Guide

Employee monitoring software is any tool used by organisations to observe and control the activities of their workforces while on duty. This may include online activities, journeys, the software tools they access, the premises they enter, and the hardware they use. Monitoring these activities enables employers in the corporate sector, healthcare, education, manufacturing, retail, and finance to keep workers on track, ensuring that company resources are used adequately, safely, and efficiently.

Employee surveillance technology has been part of the corporate environment for some time.

Tracking software for employees often comes with downloadable time card-style reports and performance metrics displayed alongside workstation availability reports, forms, and custom checklists on a central dashboard. Managers can use this data to schedule shifts, match work hours with GPS locations, track time spent on each project, estimate project costs, generate invoices, calculate overtime, plan time off, and store contact information. As such, this type of tool may resemble Clocking Systems and Remote Work Software.

Employee tracking software may also carry out computer monitoring tasks for on-site and remote workers for security reasons. These can help identify suspicious activity, detect security threats, optimise productivity, prevent data loss, and ensure regulatory compliance with the Data Protection Act and other laws. Some work with remote desktop connections (RDC) to gain access to workstations and servers, gathering logon and screen capture data in real-time. With real-time alerts and logs, these tools enable administrators to send warnings or lock users out to keep the business running smoothly and securely.

However advanced an organisation's staff monitoring software may be, it must satisfy a few basic criteria to serve as an employee monitoring tool. Here are some of the basic capabilities of employee monitoring software:

  • Monitor and record employees' online and offline activities while on duty
  • Gain remote access to company hardware and software tools
  • Log browsing history, screen activity, and keystrokes
  • Track active and idle phases in employee activity
  • Monitor employees' use of email, chat, and data transfer tools
  • Send alerts, reminders, and notifications for unauthorised, suspicious, or inadequate activities

What is Employee Monitoring Software?

Employee monitoring software is a tool that gives organisations visibility into their workers' location, activities, and hardware usage. Its purpose is to help keep workers on track, ensuring that company resources and data are used appropriately. This provides peace of mind to employers and other stakeholders, who are kept abreast of security breaches and productivity slumps.

Employee tracking software usually runs in the background, continuously monitoring online and offline activities, tracking how workers spend their time and sharing the data gathered with HR staff, senior managers, and supervisors. This may include screenshot capture, app usage data, GPS-enabled time-clocking, browser history reports, and other essential information that feeds into individual worker and group productivity reviews. With time card reports, checklists, forms, and other documents that update in real-time, supervisors can download and share this data instantly, schedule shifts more adequately, simplify communication with workers, and manage various other daily tasks.

Employee monitoring tools may also integrate with popular business apps to enable tracking use of collaboration software, video chat apps, payment processors, and other tools. This data may then be interpreted, compared with company benchmarks and historical data, and analysed to generate attendance and productivity metrics. It may feed into performance reviews, productivity reports, employee recognition initiatives, and wider business practices. It can also point out work habits, issues to do with company culture, and areas HR managers need to address.

Employee monitoring software also gathers login activity and usage data for every company workstation and server, both on and off the premises. It includes remote work in its activity reports and updates the data continuously. With this tool, IT administrators can monitor computer run time, identify suspicious activity, block users, and prevent data loss. With remote desktop control, they can respond to breach alerts, check logs, and restrict access to sensitive data. Using employee computer monitoring software, corporations, SMEs, educational institutions, healthcare clinics, and government agencies with distributed workforces can better manage their security, time, and resources for optimum productivity.

Depending on the type of monitoring software for employees, it may be deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or outsourced to a trusted managed service provider (MSP).

What are the benefits of employee monitoring software?

The benefits of employee monitoring software tools relate mainly to how they streamline back-office activities and reduce task redundancy. But there are many other advantages to using staff monitoring software, including:

  • Higher productivity: Knowing that their activity is tracked for performance purposes can serve as extra motivation to workers. Using machine learning technologies and pre-determined benchmarks, supervisors can view the amount of work being carried out directly from their dashboard, gauge productivity, single out distractions, and match these temporary slumps with screenshots captured from the workers' screens. Aware of this, workers are more likely to avoid procrastinating and pausing their work for too long.
  • Seamless project management: Employee productivity monitoring software also enables supervisors to view worker progress on individual projects. With this information, which works as a single source of truth for all managers across departments, they can assign new tasks and prioritise existing ones, replace workers, regroup teams, reallocate resources, and rethink project deadlines. Time-tracking data can also be downloaded, shared with managers and clients, or fed straight through to project management and other tools via API linkage.
  • Better performance insight: With seamless, automated attendance and time tracking, managers can obtain in-depth insight into employee performance. They can then use this information to make decisions that may enhance their performance and well-being. This may include time off, employee benefits, and team-building activities. The information can also inform succession, dismissal, and promotion decisions.
  • More accountability: If employers suspect foul play, they can use employee computer monitor software to collect evidence before confronting the workers involved. Illegal activity may involve data leakage, theft, misappropriation, and computer misuse. The latter includes hacking, unauthorised data copying, chat room abuse, identity theft, and virus attacks, which are activities forbidden and punishable under the Computer Misuse Act. Notifying workers that they are monitored may help prevent these activities, but employers may feel safer knowing that they can collect evidence to support their claims in case of litigation.
  • More transparency: Employee computer monitoring software ensures transparency and compliance within the organisation. Non-invasive monitoring is preferable, but workers can also be made aware automatically that their communications via email, video chat, and instant messaging apps are stored. They also know that their browser history, social media activity, file transfers, and document edits are recorded, often with video surveillance cameras on their computer screens or in communal areas. Invasion of privacy, low morale and increased stress were some of the most essential concerns, but staff monitoring tools ultimately ensure the safety and job security of all employees.
  • Greater security: Employee monitoring software generates actionable reports and alerts, helping IT administrators and security staff prevent and respond to incidents. It also enables them to focus on high-risk individuals and devices, protect the organisation's resources, and decide on the type of cybersecurity needed, such as ECC encryption and server-level blurring.

What are the features of employee monitoring software?

The features of employee monitoring software are made possible today by advanced technologies like GPS tracking, machine learning (ML), speech recognition, and optical character reading (OCR). Some developers go as far as developing white label versions of their tools. But staff monitoring tools do not need to contain advanced features or customisations to serve an organisation well. Here are the basic features of worker monitoring software:

  • Activity monitoring: See how employees are using their devices in real-time. This capability is useful to companies with distributed teams, whose managers log in remotely to check up on staff. Supervisors unable to remain online throughout the day can check in periodically or when prompted by alerts and notifications triggered by suspicious activity.
  • Email monitoring: Keep a record of employee communications from their work email addresses. Employee computer monitoring software can help store these messages for future references, archiving them and any attached documents for a specific amount of time, in line with requirements on tax returns, privacy data, and the employer's preferences. Saved data can also serve in training initiatives and procedural improvements.
  • Time tracking: Track and record the time employees spend on specific projects, apps, or websites. With real-time updates, staff management tools can help managers visualise a worker's time across apps, websites, and projects while the work is still in progress so that they may take immediate action to address gaps in activity or poor use of time. As the tool matches each increment of time with specific projects and tasks, it enables supervisors and team leaders to calculate project costs based on hourly rates, generating reports and invoices for clients.
  • Attendance management: Track worker attendance and participation in projects, meetings, or online activities. When it comes to tracking software for employees, it can be used for both physical and virtual tracking. Linking with visitor management software, meeting room tools, and smart buildings, a staff tracking system can help confirm an employee's location via GPS and IoT technology, confirming to supervisors that they have achieved their attendance benchmarks.
  • Workload management: Keep an eye on time spent on projects and devices to optimise workloads—various programs and apps. According to government guidance, workers are entitled to various types of rest breaks at work, whether they work at an office, in a factory, or the open. Employee tracking software can help managers enforce these rules so that the workload does not become too hard to bear for employees. The software can also help plan and schedule employee vacations and time off, calculate overtime pay, and store contact information for temporary workers willing to pitch in at peak times.
  • Idle time monitoring: Monitor when and how long workers are away from their workstations. Staff monitoring software can help determine not only when an employee is away from their device but also when they are inactive while using their device. It can also pinpoint specific times during the day when workers are affected by fatigue, distractions, or other issues, helping managers address these instances and boost motivation. Screen activity recording: Save and store visual footage of employees’ screens. Whether it is continuous video recording, regular screenshots, or random screengrabs, employee computer monitoring software can capture this information and store it for future reference or immediate action.
  • Keystroke recording: Keep a record of what workers are typing at their workstations. This type of monitoring could be considered invasive but may prove particularly useful in fields like education, policing, journalism, customer service, and entertainment, where back-office workers with access to sensitive information must carry out strenuous typing activities with tight deadlines.
  • Productivity analysis: Generate productivity reports for individual workers, groups, and departments. Thanks to employee monitoring tools, managers have access to comprehensive reports on a weekly or monthly basis, making it possible to compare output over time and across projects or departments and determine where best to allocate resources.
  • Performance analysis: Generate performance analyses for workers, teams, and departments. Staff monitoring enables managers to track individual progress over time, detect changes in work styles, and identify patterns in their performance. This data can be used in performance reviews, reward initiatives, and resource allocation if the worker's equipment is found to affect their performance.

Staff monitoring platforms come with all these features as standard, albeit at a different cost and using different technologies. For more information on standard and advanced capabilities, our readers are welcome to scroll through the Capterra software directory, where filters and comparisons can help narrow down the list of employee tracking tools to that perfect match.

What should be considered when purchasing employee monitoring software?

When purchasing employee monitoring software, users may experience some difficult decisions. Assuming the use of an employee tracker doesn't clash with corporate culture, users should ask themselves these four basic questions before deciding on a staff monitoring tool:

  • What is the legal context for using an employee tracking tool? In Australia, employee tracking is legal and part of a wider culture of mass surveillance. However, the practice is regulated. The Data Protection Act and the Employment Practices Code stipulate that, while employers don't necessarily need the worker's consent to monitor them, covert monitoring should only be carried out in exceptional circumstances, with senior management's approval, and with reasonable suspicion that criminal activity or malpractice is taking place. Also, covert audio and video monitoring are forbidden in areas workers deem private, such as restrooms and private offices, and must only be used in and during investigations.
  • Does the staff monitoring tool raise employee security concerns? People are rightfully concerned nowadays about how their data is used and especially their biometric data. This includes signatures, fingerprints, voice, face, iris, movement, and DNA data. People have grown more concerned about data security since the pandemic. Companies considering staff monitoring tools must address these concerns and allay their employees' fears before proceeding with implementation.
  • Does the employee tracker support access and escalation? It's essential to delegate employee monitoring duties and privileges to the right people from the onset. This includes day-to-day monitoring activities, typically carried out by an IT administrator or member of cybersecurity staff, as well as complex situations due to escalations, which require a very different set of skills. Designating reliable people to handle every aspect of the incident quickly, from detection through to HR reprimand and even police involvement, minimises complications further down the line.
  • How would the employee tracker affect communication with staff? The use of an employee tracker may lead staff to change their behaviour and how they interact with one another. So, when notifying employees that they are under surveillance, it's essential to clarify the extent to which their communication is monitored without going into too much detail. Ideally, employers should draft a policy that workers can access at any time and strive to obtain universal consent before implementing the software.

The most relevant employee monitoring software trends are derived from new expectations relating to lifestyles, work-life balance, and learning. Unimaginable decades ago, these trends were likely a harbinger for even greater societal change. Program managers and organisations trying to prepare for the future would do well to contemplate these emerging trends in mentoring:

  • Remote work is no longer a privilege: As remote work is part of the new normal, more employers are adapting their monitoring to this growing chunk of their workforce. But monitoring people in their own homes comes with limitations, and organisations that choose to go down this path must be sensitive to the growing needs and expectations of off-premise workers, which may include things like 'remote fika' or spontaneous family time when monitoring should be off-limits.
  • Personalising data: Employee data is a valuable commodity. Rather than sell it or misuse it, organisations should apply it to personalise and optimise their employees' work experience. Whether it is redesigning their workstations, coming up with new layout options for their software, setting up custom lighting ambiences, or letting them set up new workflows, a data-storing staff monitoring tool can be a gateway to a more inclusive and comfortable work environment.