Ever since employee monitoring software made its way into the business world, and especially since its popularity started to skyrocket, a lot of questions have been raised concerning the legality of employee computer tracking, which has mostly been resolved in favor of the affirmative answer.


The second question that the use of such a system raises is the one about ethics. And this one is much harder to get a grip on.


The truth of the fact is that employee tracking software can propel your company to success and get your employees to be more productive, but using it requires extra care and consideration. This is because the software allows you to do so many things, such as monitor apps and websites used, track time spent on tasks, take screenshots, and so on.


Basically, a couple of wrong steps and this useful system can turn into a monitoring software spy.


So here’s the list of signs to look out for if you want to know whether you’re inadvertently spying on your employees:


1. You’re Monitoring Your Employees Secretly


Although not technically illegal in some cases, monitoring employees’ computer activities without previously telling them about it is pretty much equivalent to spying on employees.


It might seem like a great idea at first - if your workers don’t know they’re being monitored, they won’t be under additional stress, their performance won’t be affected, and they won’t complain. However, this is a superficial and temporary view of the situation.


Aside from the fact that your employees might eventually find out about this software spy computer, the power of employee monitoring software lies in the fact that you can use the data it collects to improve performance. If your employees have access to this data, it becomes that much more powerful.


In order to avoid ‘computer spy monitor’ scenario, you should always talk to your employees before implementing the software, explain what it’ll be used for, listen to their opinions and answer their questions. That’s the necessary first step towards ethical monitoring.


2. You’re Tracking Computer Activity After Hours


Another clear sign that you’re focused on how to spy on employees more than you should be is the fact that your tracking software stays on after official working hours. This includes monitoring employees during their break times.


This is an especially serious concern if your employees happen to take their work laptops home.


If your goal is to be ethical when it comes to monitoring, one thing you shouldn’t do is use spy PC programs when employees are home or on a break and using their computers for private matters. If you’re worried about corporate data, you can restrict employees’ access to them outside working hours or employ some other method that would eliminate the need for monitoring during that time.


3. You’re Collecting Private Data


Just as serious of an offense as monitoring employees during their time off work is tracking, collecting and storing their private information. This means using spy remote monitoring software on their private social media channels, email and messaging platforms, bank and other private accounts.


This means that if your employees happen to log into their bank account over their corporate computers, you shouldn’t use your screenshot feature to see their balance. Likewise, don’t use advanced tracking features like keystroke monitoring to discover their social media passwords.


This kind of behavior is not only considered spying, but is also very likely illegal because it’s a direct intrusion on employees’ personal privacy.


4. You’re Not Using the Data for Business Goals


Finally, probably the most important distinction between ethical and unethical monitoring is why you’re doing it in the first place and how you’re using the data you gather.


Everything you do needs to be done with a specific justified reason in mind. You might be tracking productivity in order to make employees more efficient or monitoring app usage to see which software is worth investing in. What you shouldn’t do is monitor something just for the sake of monitoring. If any piece of data doesn’t have its designated place within your business improvement strategy, you shouldn’t consider it as a valid metric and you shouldn’t hold it over your employees.


Using a feature just because you have it can easily sidetrack you into spying, so always ask yourself ‘Why am I measuring this?’ before you start collecting data.


Conclusion


Computer monitoring software is a great addition to your company that will enable you to do amazing things, but it can also be misused if you don’t think about the whole process carefully. Spying on your employees is an unethical and often illegal approach to running a business, so make sure you don’t turn monitoring software into a tool for doing this.

Workpuls Teramind ActivTrak Hubstaff DeskTime Time Doctor RescueTime Kickidler Veriato Work Examiner
OVERVIEW
Price $6/user/month $6/user/month $7.20/user/month $7/user/month $7/user/month $9.99/user/month $6/user/month $9.99/user/month $150/licence/year $60/licence (lifetime)
Free trial 7 days 7 days No 14 days 14 days 14 days 30 days 7 days Yes 30 days
Ease of use Very easy Difficult Very easy Easy Easy Very easy Very easy Very easy Very difficult Easy
TRACKING METHODS
Unlimited (tracker working 24/7)
Fixed (defined working hours)
Automatic (when computer is connected to a specified network)
Manual (start/stop)
Project based (track time only on projects)
GENERAL MONITORING FEATURES
Stealth mode
App and website usage
Real-time monitoring
Offline time tracking
Attendance
Activity levels
Keylogger
Geolocation
Remote desktop control
Website/activity blocking
SCREENSHOTS AND RECORDING
Screenshots
Screenshots on demand
Screen recording
PRODUCTIVITY FEATURES
Productivity trends
Websites and apps labeling
Category labeling
Productivity alerts
ADVANCED SECURITY FEATURES
User behavior analytics
Data loss prevention
Advanced file and web monitoring
REPORTING
Productivity reports
Team reports
Timelines
Email reports
Access management
PLATFORMS
Web
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app
Mobile app iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android Android
Browser extension Chrome Chrome Chrome
Other Citrix, VMware Chrome OS
OTHER
Support Phone, email, online Phone, email, online Phone, email, online Email, online Phone, email, online, in-person Online Phone, email, online Email, online, Viber, Whatsapp Phone, email, online, support ticket Phone, email, online
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Integrations comming soon
API
Deployment cloud, on-premise cloud, on-premise, AWS, Azure cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud on-premise cloud, on-premise on-premise
Kronos Humanity Timeclockplus Tsheets Wheniwork Deputy Replicon Jibble EbilityTimeTracker OnTheClock
OVERVIEW
Price (per month)Available upon requestFrom $2 per userAvailable upon requestFrom $6.40 per user + $16Free for up to 75 usersFrom $2.50 per userBasic plan: $30 for 5 users + $5 per additional userFrom $1.50 per employeeFrom $4 per user + $8From $2.20 per user
Free trial30 days14 daysYes14 days14 days14 days30 days
Ease of useDifficultEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasy
FEATURES
Timecard management
Scheduling
Shift Trading
Timesheets
Break time management
Real-time tracking
PTO Management
Payroll
Invoicing
Client billing
GPS tracking
Clock out reminders
Alerts
Manual time
PUNCH-IN METHODS
Web app
Mobile app
Time clock device
Time clock kiosk
Facial recognition
Fingerprint scanning
Geofencing
Group punch-in
REPORTING
Visual reports
Email reports
Time rounding
MANAGEMENT
Permissions
Manager approvals
Add time for others
Integrations
PLATFORMS
Web
Android app
iOS app
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app
OTHER
SupportPhone and onlinePhone and onlinePhone, chat and onlinePhone and chatEmail and onlineChat and phonePhone, email, chat and onlinePhone and onlinePhone, email, chat and onlinePhone and online
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Community forum
API
Workpuls Hubstaff Toggl TimeDoctor Harvest TimeCamp Timely Everhour Tick TMetric
OVERVIEW
Price (per month) $6 per user $5.83 per user $9 per user $9.99 per user $10.80 per user $5.25 per user $99 for 5 users $7 per user $19 for 10 projects $5 per user
Free trial 7 days 14 days 30 days 14 days 30 days Yes 14 days 14 days 30 days 30 days
Ease of use Very easy Difficult Difficult Very easy Easy Very easy Easy Difficult Very easy Difficult
TIME TRACKING METHODS
Manual
Start/stop buttons
Automatic time mapping
IN-DEPTH TASK AND PROJECT ANALYSIS
Screenshots
App and website usage
Activity levels coming soon
Real-time tracking
TASK AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Project adding
Project templates
Project status
Task assignment
Task priorities
Budgeting coming soon
Mark billable/non-billable hours
Payroll calculation
Invoicing
ALERTS
Idle time reminders
Deadline alerts coming soon
Budget alerts coming soon
REPORTING
Client login
Productivity analysis
Email reports coming soon
PLATFORMS
Web
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app coming soon
iOS app Beta
Android app
Browser extension Chrome Chrome, Firefox Chrome Chrome Chrome, Firefox Chrome Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge
OTHER
Support Phone and online Email and online Email and online Online Online, email and phone Email, online and support ticket Email and chat Email and chat Email Chat
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Integrations coming soon
API
On-premise hosting

Ready to Take Full Control Of Your Workplace?

Try the simplest solution today…

Try Now For Free