8 Great Examples of Employee Monitoring
Businesses can’t hope to be efficient if their employees spend office hours sitting idle or chatting with friends. So, employers need to take measures to monitor employees. But what are some examples of employee monitoring?
Some great examples of employee monitoring include using employee monitoring apps, virtual workspaces, business emails, smart cards, data recovery software, video surveillance, network management software, and data loss prevention (DLP) software.
In this post, I’ll talk about some excellent tools and methods you can use to keep a close eye on your employees. So, if you’ve struggled to supervise your employees, keep reading!
1. Employee Monitoring Software
With physical labor, it’s easy to spot who’s working and who’s not. All you have to do is look at the live video surveillance footage of any part of the office and see what your employee is up to.
However, as more and more jobs comprise sitting in front of a screen and pressing keys, it’s hard to tell whether employees are actually working; or using work devices for personal use. The only way to be sure would be to peek into each employee’s screen and see what they’re actually doing.
But since that’s impractical, managers must find another way to see what their employees are doing on screen. This is where screen monitoring software comes in. It allows employers to view what’s going on on the screens of employees’ work devices—basically the digital equivalent of video surveillance.
How does it work? All employers have to do is download employee monitoring software into the business’ PCs and pay the software’s subscription fee. Once that is done, they’ll be able to remotely monitor almost anything that’s going on on work devices from anywhere in the world.
Each employee monitoring software comes with its unique set of features; however, you can expect some standard features from almost every monitoring software. These are:
Time tracking is a standard feature in almost every employee monitoring device. Through these features, employers can track exactly when a work device is used, when it is closed, when certain apps are opened, and when they are closed.
Additionally, through time tracking, employees can gauge whether they are using work devices efficiently for the business or are spending time on social media during work hours.
Live Screen Recording & Screenshots
Live screen captures either take the form of screenshots or live screen recordings. This feature allows employers to see the exact contents on a work device’s screen at any time, so employers always know exactly what work devices are used for.
Additionally, the live recording feature often has the option to record and store screen recordings. This way, employers can audit the use of any company work device anytime they’re free.
Website and app tracking features of employee monitoring software allow employers to see a complete list of each website or application used in a work computer and the amount of time spent on it. This way, employers can tell if a work device is used to play games or spend time on social media.
Keystroke tracking is another standard feature in most employee monitoring applications. It tells employers exactly what their employees have been typing on their work devices—meaning they can tally whether their employees are typing work-related emails during office hours or simply chatting with friends.
Now that you know what employee monitoring applications are, you might want to test one out. To save you the trouble of researching, I’ve listed two recommendations down below:
Wolfeye is the perfect employee monitoring software for small businesses that have few workers to monitor and are low on budget. The software’s subscription plan comes with all the features small businesses need to keep a close eye on their workers. Examples of such features include things like:
- Timed screenshots
- Live screen recording
- List of visited websites
- Invisible app start-up, and more.
The best part? You can get all these features for just $97 a year—a bargain compared to other monitoring apps.
If you have a lot of employees to monitor and are willing to invest a lot of money in supervising them, then DeskTime is the perfect employee monitoring solution for you.
Optimized for larger businesses, this app is packed with features you need to track your employees’ activities, plan and manage projects, and automate time-consuming tasks.
Some of the most noteworthy features of this application include the following:
- Automatic time tracking
- Productivity report
- Private time option
- App tracking
- Screen capture
- Project tracking
- Website/ app tracking and more
2. Online Workspace Monitoring
Online workspaces are virtual tools where people collaborate and communicate with each other to work on projects or run a virtual business.
Online workspaces are crucial to both virtual and physical businesses. For virtual businesses, online workspaces act as the center for all collaboration and communication, since there is no other way employees and managers can interact with each other.
On the other hand, for physical businesses, these tools can help structure communication and help with project management.
In both cases, managers would be interested in finding out how each employee uses their virtual space, whether or not they’re working on the tasks assigned to them, and what progress they’re making every day.
Luckily, virtual collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft teams, and Google Workspace have built-in analytics features that allow workspace admins (employers) to track individual and collective performances.
What kind of data can they monitor using these workspaces? Well, virtually anything that happens in the workspace.
The exact analytics options depend from software to software, but generally, as a virtual workspace admin (provided you’ve subscribed to the right plan), you can view all chat records of the workspace, including individual chats between two team members.
You can also see who’s online and what their login patterns are (i.e., what days do they usually sign into the space and for how long).
Other than this, virtual workspaces let you plan projects, set sub-goals, set deadlines, and assign them to individuals or teams within your workspace.
Additionally, you can set reminders for tasks that are approaching their deadlines and tally their progress. This way, virtual collaboration spaces let you keep a close eye on your employees’ progress regarding different assignments and even appraise their performance across different periods of time.
With so many monitoring options available, virtual workspaces are one of the best supervision tools in an employer’s arsenal—especially regarding communication and progress evaluation.
3. Work Email Monitoring
Email monitoring is another option employers can use to see what their employees are up to. Companies can subscribe to email hosting services and get their own personalized and private email domain.
This way, they can assign each employee a unique business email address. Now, these emails aren’t private channels. Employers have admin rights to the entire domain and can check any emails sent or received through any employee’s business email.
Additionally, employers can also browse through any unsent messages (aka drafts) on any individual employee’s account.
Through email monitoring, employers can keep track of any messages sent to outside parties and see whether employees are using work hours for business correspondence or personal email contacts.
As far as practice goes, email monitoring isn’t a day-to-day employee monitoring tool. This is because it would be almost impossible for employers to read through every mail sent to every employee’s account.
So, this supervisory method is more suited for periodic situational checks, i.e., it is only feasible for employers to go through employees’ emails every few months or if they want to investigate a situation that has developed.
4. Monitoring Through Data Recovery Software
Data recovery applications aren’t built for the purpose of employee monitoring, but when used correctly, they can help employers keep track of their employees’ browsing activities.
Data recovery software helps restore a business’s data in case it is accidentally deleted. How is this related to employee monitoring? Well, tracking employees’ browsing activity is an essential part of employee monitoring. However, employees may delete their search activity before employers can go through it.
If employers back up the browsers of their work devices using data recovery software, they can restore their search history and find out what employees were up to. This way, data monitoring software can be used to supervise employees.
5. Smart ID Cards
Smart ID cards are an excellent way to monitor employees inside the physical premises of your business. Smart ID cards (or smart cards) contain chips that can be scanned at doors using scanners. Each time a card is scanned, the system checks whether the holder is authorized to access that part of the company’s premises. If they are, they’re allowed in; if not, they’re rejected access.
This way, managers know who accesses which parts of the company’s premises at what times, making it much easier for them to hold employees accountable.
Another great way smart cards help businesses keep employees accountable is by allowing employers to track their workers’ attendance. Whenever an employee enters the company’s premises, they scan their card at the entrance, and the system automatically registers the exact time they came into the building.
Similarly, when employees leave the company’s premises, they scan their cards at the entrance again to update the system about when they leave work.
6. Network Monitoring
Employers can also monitor what websites employees access through the company’s router. This is known as network monitoring, and many businesses use it to ensure that employees don’t access any malicious websites that could threaten the business’ data.
A common misconception regarding network monitoring is that it allows employers to read any chats sent or received through the company network.
This is simply not true. Employers can’t see chats sent through the company’s network unless they’re sent through unsecured sites. Unsecured sites are unencrypted, so anyone managing the network can see any activity performed on the site.
Other than tracking what employees search on the internet, network monitoring can also be used to keep track of employees requesting access to sensitive business files. This way, if any sensitive information about the business is leaked, the upper managers would know which employees to hold accountable for the breach.
7. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Software
Data loss prevention software is a security tool that safeguards a business’ sensitive information by classifying its files across different levels of sensitivity and then imposing verification checks in proportion to its level of sensitivity.
This way, the application prevents unauthorized access to a company’s information and saves it from a data breach.
If an authorized person does access sensitive files, the software takes note of it for accountability purposes.
On the other hand, if a data breach is detected, the software blocks access to the data to prevent it from getting leaked.
8. CCTV or Video Surveillance
Video surveillance is a widely used method of employee monitoring. IT teams are hired to set up a chain of cameras strategically placed throughout the business premises such that almost all parts of the building are under camera surveillance (the exceptions being places like bathrooms, of course).
The footage captured by these cameras is fed into the security room of the company, where security team members monitor any activity in the building.
In addition, all recorded footage is usually sent and stored on off-site servers for at least a couple of months in case it’s needed for some investigation.
For these reasons, video surveillance is a great way to ensure that:
- Employees don’t steal anything from work
- Employees don’t sit idle during work, and
- Employees don’t access parts of the building they’re not authorized to access.
In summary, businesses need to invest in tools and resources that can help them track their employees’ work progress; otherwise, they’ll never be able to increase the efficiency of their operations.
Thankfully, in the digital age, there are several tools and resources businesses can use to keep their employees in check:
- Employee monitoring software
- Online workspace monitoring
- Email monitoring
- Network monitoring
- Video surveillance
- Smart cards
- Data recovery software
- Data loss prevention
Use the option that best allows you to keep a close eye on your employees according to the nature of your business.