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6 Employee Monitoring Best Practices for 2024

Learn employee monitoring best practices for 2024: Establish policies, be transparent, use the right software, check laws, secure data & respect privacy.


By ActivTrak

A blue clock on a desk with wooden employee blocks to symbolize employee monitoring best practices

With the rise of remote and hybrid work, many companies are turning to employee monitoring solutions. But is your organization using it correctly? There’s a lot of gray area when it comes to security and privacy — and using the wrong software or policies will backfire fast.

To help set the stage for a successful 2024, let’s look at several essential best practices for successful employee monitoring.

What is employee monitoring?

Employee monitoring is a system for tracking employee activity data to optimize workflows, boost productivity, increase engagement, prevent burnout and promote wellbeing. It empowers managers with daily insights and long-term trends that set the stage for building healthier work habits. Organizations use employee monitoring solutions to build thriving cultures and gain a competitive edge.

The benefits of employee monitoring

With the right approach, organizations reap numerous benefits from employee monitoring tools. Many are designed to help create secure work environments and support people to be productive from anywhere, making them especially valuable for companies that embrace hybrid models and let people work from home.

Key benefits include:

  • Measurable productivity: Daily work activity insights empower managers to measure and improve employee productivity by making it easy to identify unbalanced workloads, ineffective workflows and other bottlenecks. 
  • Higher retention: Employee monitoring software surfaces the early signs of disengagement and burnout, allowing leadership to take action before problems escalate.
  • Cost savings: A strong monitoring tool goes beyond productivity metrics to identify opportunities to lower technology expenses, eliminate ineffective meetings and reduce wasted time costs.
  • Increased data security: When implemented properly, employee monitoring software reduces the risk of data breaches due to employee negligence and risky behaviors. 

6 essential employee monitoring best practices

Follow these best practices to get as much as possible out of your employee data.

1. Choose the right software

First, it’s critical to understand that monitoring employees is not the goal. Workforce analytics offers unprecedented opportunities to engage employees and empower teams. But too often, solutions focus on invasive surveillance tactics like keystroke logging and live video feeds. This leads to micromanaging and control — the kind that causes 43% of monitored employees to say the software negatively affects morale.

Instead, look for solutions designed to support a more engaged, motivated and productive workforce. Look for features such as:

Your employee monitoring software should also integrate with the tools you already use, allowing you to combine multiple data sources into one seamless dashboard. 

2. Check for applicable regulations

In general, employee monitoring software is legal in the U.S. as long as you have a legitimate business reason for using it. But you need to identify and follow any legal requirements that apply to your jurisdiction and industry. And if you have employees in Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires you to monitor access to sensitive information and have policies in place to protect it.

Aside from federal laws and regulations, safeguarding collected data is good practice — as is transparency with employees. Keep up with legislative changes to reduce your risk of fines and penalties. Better yet, look for a solution designed to support compliance. For example, ActivTrak can be configured to support GDPR, HIPAA, the Digital Personal Data Protection Act and other regulations.

3. Establish clear policies

Always be upfront with employees about what data you collect, how you use it and who has access. This not only helps ensure compliance but also makes for a productive experience. There’s no need to hide your monitoring plans — in fact, many successful organizations empower employees with their own personal insights to guide healthy work habits.

Whether you’re rolling out your first monitoring solution or want to improve the experience, start by creating a policy document for everyone to sign. Clearly spell out your goals and expectations, and include details on what you will and won’t monitor. Most importantly, use easy-to-read language anyone can understand.

4. Discuss data decisions with employees

The last thing you want is for valuable employees to feel like you’re spying on them. Feeling watched and judged breeds resentment and erodes morale.

Instead, be candid about the “why” behind your monitoring software. After all, the goal is to identify what employees need to feel supported and bring their best to work. Explain how collecting real-time activity data allows you to do just that. For example, share examples of how employee monitoring insights empower managers to:

Whether you add documentation to your employee handbook or hold an all-hands meeting, trust and transparency are essential to building productive teams.

5. Respect employee privacy

Your monitoring activities shouldn’t violate any privacy laws — that’s a given. Strict adherence to any restrictions on personal communications, GPS tracking and monitoring without consent is non-negotiable. But don’t stop at the basics. For monitoring to work, employees need to trust you’re handling sensitive data responsibly.

At a minimum, ensure any solution you use is active only during work hours. And steer clear of other risky features such as keylogging, which increases your risk of compromised credentials and stolen personal information. If it doesn’t support productivity, you don’t need it. This includes live video surveillance, continual feeds and capturing personal conversations.

6. Ensure data security

Did you know 64% of employees say recent scandals over data misuse make them concerned their employee information is also at risk? Even more troubling, only 30% of executives are confident their organizations track employee data responsibly. 

These stats highlight the importance of data security. It’s your job to ensure any monitoring tools you use comply with industry standards to protect sensitive information. Permission settings, compliance configurations, audit logs and privacy-first analytics are all important security features to watch for. Look for a solution that puts you in control of who’s authorized to access what, and provides multiple layers of protection.

Implement employee monitoring the right way with ActivTrak

Ready to get started with employee monitoring? Remember: The secret to success is a focus on employee performance and productivity — not surveillance. That’s why ActivTrak’s employee monitoring software is designed to provide the data you need to help employees do their best work. 

Want to know if employees work better from home or in the office? Measure productivity by location. Wondering if your workforce would benefit from a flex schedule? Use ActivTrak to test it. Companies use our employee monitoring insights to balance workloads, optimize headcount, reduce operational expenses, improve wellbeing and more.

Request a demo to learn why 9,500+ customers choose ActivTrak to implement the best practices detailed above, quickly and easily.

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