Solve for time theft (mouse-jigglers), low schedule adherence and more –  Register now →


Types of Employee Monitoring

Learn more about the different types of employee monitoring tools on the market today, and find out how you can take an ethical approach to monitoring with ActivTrak’s help.  

The ActivTrak approach to employee monitoring is open, transparent, and ethical so companies can focus solely on the benefits that employee tracking tools provide, such as increased productivity, security, and compliance. Employee monitoring is simply a method of collecting data that empowers businesses to improve work processes, increase employee productivity, and protect themselves from data breaches or cybersecurity threats. It’s a means to an end, not an end in itself.

When you hear the phrase “employee monitoring,” you might be skeptical at first. After all, traditional approaches to workplace monitoring have earned a bad reputation due to privacy concerns. Video surveillance, keystroke logging, GPS tracking, and other forms of tracking tools have spawned numerous debates over company policies on workplace privacy and the legal issues they may create. These methods never have been and never will be a part of the ActivTrak platform.

There are many different types of employee monitoring tools on the market today, but not all of them are the right fit for the modern enterprise. This article will walk you through some of the most common employee tracking tools and explain how ActivTrak’s employee monitoring software and strategies have helped over 9,000 organizations around the world work wiser.

Choose where to start:

Why Analytics-based Computer Activity Monitoring Is The Best Employee Monitoring Software

When companies were forced to employ remote or hybrid work models during the pandemic, many turned to employee computer monitoring to bolster workforce productivity and improve their business practices. Many employee monitoring software providers saw upwards of 300% increased inbound demand for their products. Typically, computer activity tracking tools record a worker’s Internet and app usage during business hours in order to catalog what they’re doing and when.

Many employee computer monitoring tools use Internet monitoring to gather data. Internet monitoring involves tracking the URLs and other Internet usage information from the websites that employees browse during the workday in order to address any potential productivity concerns.

When you consider that so many employees use the Internet for their work, it becomes challenging to ascertain what Internet usage is productive and non-productive. Even social media use can be integral to an employee’s responsibilities, depending on their role. In fact, 40% of all Internet users across the globe must log into social networking sites for work. In ActivTrak, websites and applications can be categorized as productive or unproductive for individual employees and teams to reflect their job responsibilities.

ActivTrak’s approach to computer activity monitoring begins with the collection and aggregation of data, which is then analyzed to provide clear insights into workflows and workforce productivity. Some examples of these actionable insights include employee productivity trends, employee engagement levels, workload balance, and even the oft-overlooked employee burnout risk.

When computer activity monitoring is utilized properly, the data it collects on employee activity is thorough but not invasive. For example, ActivTrak’s employee monitoring software does not perform keylogging or any video surveillance. Accounts can be configured to exclude detailed webpage tracking and non-work-related activity, enabling managers to understand work habits and identify meaningful trends without micromanaging an employee’s workstation.

Our approach to employee monitoring emphasizes:

  • Analytics — We make it easy to understand the important trends and patterns in workforce data so leaders and managers can draw meaningful conclusions and take action to empower all employees, whether they are remote workers, hybrid, or in-office. The primary function of traditional employee monitoring tools is to track when an employee is or isn’t working, rather than providing more meaningful insights, such as how employees are spending their time and how well work is distributed across teams.
  • Transparency — Our commitment to transparency means never abusing an employee’s trust or compromising their expectation of privacy. It’s ActivTrak’s belief that managers should always be open and communicative about why they’re deciding to implement new monitoring policies. Used correctly,  tracking software yields insights that help improve employee experience and uncover opportunities to work wiser. The goal is to help workers — not to infringe on their expectations of privacy.

Other Types of Employee Monitoring Software

Time tracking is a very common way to monitor an employee’s activity. Time tracking is a form of employee monitoring that records work hours using timesheets, biometric time-punching solutions, or other systems. This can be helpful for monitoring freelance or contract workers, remote workers, or hybrid teams. However, the data that time tracking provides is only surface-level. At ActivTrak, we place greater emphasis on how an employee’s activity and time are used, rather than fixating on the work time itself.

In addition to time tracking, some organizations rely on non-essential invasive tactics like keylogging or email monitoring to gather employee activity data. Keylogging, or keystroke logging, is the process of recording what an employee is typing on their keyboard in real-time. This method of employee monitoring is particularly invasive and has largely fallen out of favor due to employee privacy concerns. Email monitoring — used by nearly 80% of major companies, according to a study conducted by the American Management Association — tracks the communications sent and received by employees, which offers a very limited view of employee activity. ActivTrak doesn’t promote or offer these methods of employee monitoring.

Transform Your Business with Employee Monitoring Software

Employee monitoring software is a powerful tool for all organizations, whether you’re a small business or a large one. However, managers must ensure that they’re respecting employee privacy and only collecting employee activity data to help their employees work wiser, not to micromanage them. ActivTrak’s motto — “insight, not oversight” — is the perfect representation of this sentiment. By prioritizing transparency and non-invasive data collection and analysis in your employee monitoring systems, you can give your business the spark it needs to grow, fostering a culture of continuous improvement for your team members and increasing employee productivity.


  • Using analytics-focused employee monitoring software is the best way to gain meaningful productivity insights and take action to shape your organization into the best version of itself.
  • Transparency is essential to establishing trust and building supportive relationships with your team members. Communicate openly and show them that you’re trying to help them, not spy on them.
  • Be mindful of which employee monitoring tactics your organization is investing in, as some are more impactful than others. By focusing on the wrong areas, you will miss out on the insights that will take your business to the next level.

Ready to get started? Be up and running in minutes.

Create free account Get started
Watch demo Watch demo