Can Employers Track Computer Activity? 5 Facts
With the growing popularity of the work-from-home model, there is an ever-growing need to keep track of employee productivity during work hours. Are they working as they would when in the office, or is something distracting them, affecting how much gets done in a day? If you are considering tracking your employees’ computer activity, what do you need to know?
Employers can track employees’ computer activity on company-owned devices and remote networks. With monitoring software, employers can track what employees type, how long they are active, what they do on their devices, and their social media activity during work hours.
In this article, I’ll highlight how remote monitoring software can track what employees do on their computers during work hours. By the end, you’ll have a clear idea of how remote monitoring software can help your business. Let’s get started!
What Activities Can Remote Monitoring Software Track?
The goal of remote monitoring software is to give you a clear idea about what your employees are doing on their company-issued devices while working. Most employees have no problem with tracking, as long as it is work-related, such as business tasks, emails, phone, software downloads, and demographic information.
Here are five activities you can track with remote monitoring software:
1. Keyboard Usage
Remote monitoring software can come with a keylogger. When this software is installed on an employee’s computer, it tracks what they type on their keyboard. This data is regularly uploaded and clarifies whether employees are workin or doing something else on their devices.
For instance, if the job is data-entry or transcription-related, tracking keyboard activities will show you how long employees work during a day.
It can also be set up to flag specific keywords which aren’t related to your business. If you don’t want your employees visiting social media websites during work hours, you can earmark websites like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Reddit. Then, any time employees type these words, the keylogger will mark them and send you a notification.
Similarly, you can also flag keywords and phrases which could indicate that employees might be looking to jump ship to another company, like jobs for data analysts and data entry jobs.
At the end of the day, your remote monitoring software will create a report to help you analyze employees’ typing activity.
2. Social Media Activity
While social media platforms have their pros, the downside is that they are designed to keep users on their websites for as long as possible. A short five-minute break can become thirty minutes as employees lose track of time.
If projects are on tight deadlines and you need your employees to complete their tasks on time before moving on to the next milestone, social media can be a hindrance.
Remote monitoring software will notify you when employees visit social media websites while working. You can also set conditions on how long you find it reasonable for employees to spend time on these sites. If they exceed it, the remote monitoring software will also notify you.
Along with keyboard usage, you can see whether employees are talking negatively about your business on various social media platforms, and you can trigger notifications for profanities. Also, it allows you to see if employees are using your company’s devices to perform actions that are considered abusive or harassing.
3. Websites Visited
Another common feature among remote monitoring software is the ability to track websites visited by employees while working. It monitors and records their browser activity, letting you know what they’re doing on their device.
For example, if employees visit a job website during work hours, you’ll get to know about it immediately. You can use this software to notify you when they visit websites with illegal content. You could also set the software up to alert you if employees visit e-commerce websites, especially if it isn’t a part of their assigned tasks.
This feature ensures that employees don’t mix their business activities with personal ones.
Employee productivity is essential for the work-from-home model to be effective. If your employees spend more time doing something other than focusing on business activities, it will affect operational efficiency.
One way this software monitors computer activity is to take periodic screenshots and screen recordings. You get to decide how frequent or infrequent the screenshots and screen recordings must be to ensure that employees don’t only work when it is about to be taken.
Another way to measure productivity is through remote desktop access. This gives you a live recording of what employees are doing on their computers. Are they performing the task as expected or watching a Netflix show on another tab?
Remote monitoring software can also track mouse movements. This feature lets you know whether employees are working or away from their devices.
This software can also use artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms to determine how productive employees are throughout the day. It tracks user inputs such as:
- Mouse movement
- Keyboard activity
- Information entered into the company’s database
- Time taken to complete tasks
The software then aggregates the data and sends you a detailed report depending on how frequently you need it.
5. Email Use
You can look closely at emails depending on which remote monitoring software you deploy, and find out how long your employees respond to client emails after receiving them.
It shows the subject of emails and their attachments. This is useful when dealing with sensitive data you don’t want to be leaked accidentally or intentionally. You can also perform keyword searches to find out if there’s any suspicious activity going on in the emails.
If you’re looking to track employees’ computer activity during business hours, the best way to do it is via remote monitoring software. This software has powerful features to let you know how your employees use their time when logged in.
It can track keyboard usage, mouse clicks, email behavior, social media activity, and websites visited. You’ll also know about employees’ productivity, take screenshots and screen recordings, and flag specific keywords, phrases, and user behavior.
With the help of AI and algorithms, the software will consolidate the data and send reports for deeper analysis.
- Brookings Institution: How employers use technology to surveil employees
- CNBC: Even if you’re working from home, your employer is still keeping track of your productivity—here’s what you need to know
- Gartner: The Future of Employee Monitoring
- The Guardian: ‘Bossware is coming for almost every worker’: the software you might not realize is watching you
- org: Little Tech Is Coming for Workers
- The Washington Post: Here are all the ways your boss can legally monitor you
- NY Times: Wirecutter: How Your Boss Can Use Your Remote-Work Tools to Spy on You
- Electronic Frontier Foundation: Inside the Invasive, Secretive “Bossware” Tracking Wonders
- YouTube: How Employers Could Be Spying On You While Working From Home
- Society for Human Resource Management: Watching the Workers
- Wolfeye: Homepage