Business Is Facing New Challenges: How Does One Control Employees That Work From Home?

With the global spread of coronavirus, new challenges have emerged for businesses at all levels. Quarantine restrictions resulted in companies having to transfer most of their employees to a remote work mode. A survey conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology indicated that one-third of all employees in the U.S. were forced to switch to remote work in 2020, and the overall number of the so-called “regular” remote employees compared to 2019 increased by 87%.

Yet the results differ from one company to another, oftentimes quite drastically. Research shows that those who managed to do things the right way intend to work in such a mode even after the pandemic is over, seeing how companies are able to save an average of $11,000 a year for each position that has been transferred from office workplace to home office.

So what issues do those who can’t organize proper work under such new conditions experience? Many things depend on how employers monitor employees that work from home. Working remotely may make it hard to ensure proper time tracking and productivity control. Plus the inability to personally supervise and motivate your employees poses a problem. The only effective solution for such problems is the introduction of employee monitoring software.

The most popular employee monitoring tools

Contents:    The most popular employee monitoring tools Automated productivity monitoring and time tracking with Kickidler Remote monitoring of employees with Hubstaff Time tracking with Time Doctor PC and mobile device monitoring with KnowIT Project management of remote employees with Roadmap Time tracking for PC and mobile devices with Tick Tracking working hours with Timely Time tracking for remote teams with HiveDesk Advanced time tracking with TSheets Automating control over business is the key to its efficiency

The market offers a multitude of corporate-use software for every taste. A successful transition to remote work directly depends on choosing the proper tools to organize this shift. When it comes to employee monitoring software, it’s important to find one that strikes the perfect balance. On the one hand, it should provide the supervisor with enough information to make correct decisions concerning their employees, and on the other hand, it should prevent corporate control from becoming an act of direct spying on every move employees make, since it’s not only ethically wrong, but also incredibly awkward for the employees.

Based on the experience of successful companies, we’ve compiled a list of remote employee monitoring tools that fit the above-mentioned criteria perfectly.

Automated productivity monitoring and time tracking with Kickidler

Kickidler is one of the most popular remote employee monitoring software at the moment. The program is in the top 10 of its segment by the number of Google searches, and it has a noticeable pattern of growth. For example, according to Google Trends, in May 2020 “Kickidler” was the second fastest growing search query in terms of software for monitoring employees.

Such popularity is mainly due to the fact that the software offers the most comprehensive and diverse functionality that’s required to solve tasks such as:

  • online monitoring of employees’ computers;
  • time tracking;
  • productivity analysis (by specific employees, departments or even whole teams);
  • continuous video recording from screens;
  • keylogger;
  • automatic notifications to employees that are sent to ensure self-monitoring;
  • notifications to the executive;
  • remote access;
  • tools to control freelancers.

Unlike other software, Kickidler offers more than purely supervising, monitoring, controlling, or time tracking. The program is more ample, and its implementation helps automate all of the aforementioned processes, relocating them from the executive to the program and thereby freeing up the individual’s time to handle managerial tasks.

To put it another way, Kickidler provides all the tools for the supervisor to know exactly what their employees are doing at the moment, were doing earlier, how productive they are, and what’s keeping them from becoming more efficient. The software is equally effective in companies with dozens or hundreds of employees that work both in the office and remotely.

When it comes to genuinely comprehensive solutions for employee monitoring, Kickidler is currently the most compelling option.

Kickidler review

It’s a feature-rich tool. The support team works pretty well. I received all the help I needed even during the test period. The specialists configured both remote access and the server for me. Considering the features it provides, the program is very affordable price-wise. It’s a really nice and foolproof tool for a company. I also want to highlight the amount of pretty detailed reports that come in handy when you need to analyze certain data.

— Neide Paula, Bradesco Bank.

Remote monitoring of employees with Hubstaff

Hubstaff is considered one of the most used programs in the world for controlling remote employees. The secret of its popularity lies in the simplicity of its interface and its limited number of features. This makes its implementation and adoption incredibly easy, especially for the executives who haven’t used such software prior to that.

Hubstaff allows you to:

  • take and view screenshots from a remote employee’s desktop;
  • track the history of keystrokes on the keyboard;
  • record employee activity over an hour, day, or week;
  • keep track of each employee’s individual working time.

That being said, Hubstaff creates rather basic reports; it doesn’t limit the number of IP-addresses and provides minimal tracking capabilities. So yes, the software is a good choice for time tracking, but the depth of personnel monitoring it provides is quite limited.

Time tracking with Time Doctor

Time Doctor is a program that keeps track of the time spent on each individual project. It also includes features that allow you to supervise what your employees are busy with, be it job assignments or unrelated activities.

Time Doctor main features are:

  • time tracking;
  • precise time tracking in automatic mode;
  • viewing screenshots of employees’ screens;
  • monitoring sites visited by employees;
  • generating reports on productivity, schedules, etc.

Time Doctor review

I consider Time Doctor to be one of the best tools for tracking remote employees’ working time. It’s even capable of capturing the screens, recording the amount of working hours, and everything else you may need in between.

— Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster.

PC and mobile device monitoring with KnowIT

KnowIT is an increasingly popular product that allows you to assume full control over employees’ computers, laptops, and even their smartphones and tablets. The software provides total monitoring, so you should install it only on a work terminal after you get the employee’s consent.

Here are some of the program’s features:

  • tracking working time;
  • gathering statistics on personal productivity;
  • protecting from insider threats;
  • monitoring site visits;
  • detecting potentially unsafe software installation.

KnowIT is a flexible and configurable platform, so you can customize your configurations to meet any requirements for small, medium, and large businesses.

Project management of remote employees with Roadmap

Roadmap can be considered a good choice for projects that involve office and remote workers as well as freelancers. The program’s functionality is designed to create a roadmap that shows project implementation and controls its execution.

The service allows you to manage internal resources, balance the workload of your employees, and track working time. Yet its capacity to control discipline and productivity of your team is rather limited.

Roadmap review

Roadmap offers time tracking features that worked so nicely for our remote employees that we even started using the software in our office team ourselves! Both our productivity and work engagement have increased tremendously. It was an extremely important step for our business.

— Joe Afelbaum, Ajax Union.

Time tracking for PC and mobile devices with Tick

Tick can hardly be called a full-fledged tool for monitoring remote employees’ productivity, since the program is essentially just a time tracker with extended functionality that synchronizes the software with employee payroll costs.

It enables the supervisor to see how much time certain employees spend on projects and compare actual payroll expenses to planned ones, which in turn helps control the budget more effectively.

Tick review

Our remote team has been using Basecamp to manage project work for years now. Recently, we’ve added hourly consulting to our services. Tick has become a nice way not only to track time, but also to ensure that projects stay on budget. It integrates directly with Basecamp and allows team members to see in real time how close they are to completing a project.

— Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now.

Tracking working hours with Timely

Timely is very popular software. The program allows you to not only track working time, but also to analyze, to an extent, what employees do with the hours compensated by the employer.

Timely features are:

  • cross-platform;
  • automation;
  • quick and easy installation of the agent on any device.

Supervisors usually choose Timely when they’re making first steps in monitoring remote employees and time tracking. Many people like the automated nature of the program. All you need to do is install and run the client, and it will automatically track employees’ performance and analyze their productivity, providing various reports in the form of simplified infographics.

Timely review

Even though I’ve worked with quite a few time tracking applications, I consider Timely one of the best. You can track the amount of time you spend on each project separately, the program’s interface is simple, and it’s easy to use. It even sends you email notifications if someone on your team isn’t working but has left the timer on. You can customize pretty much everything, including the guidelines. It’s definitely a good assistant when it comes to employee monitoring.

— Rob Fulton, consultant

Time tracking for remote teams with HiveDesk

Essentially, HiveDesk doesn’t differ much from other time trackers in terms of its functionality. Users like its simplicity and the ability to track working time and productivity of whole groups instead of just individual employees.

HiveDesk main features are:

  • time tracking (both for employees separately and groups in general);
  • task management;
  • project progress tracking;
  • time sheet generation;
  • employee activity monitoring;
  • creation of screenshots of employees’ desktops.

HiveDesk review

HiveDesk is a great tool for tracking remote employees. It has features such as random sampling of screenshots, registration of logging in and out, and easy-to-use schedules.

— Josh Weiss, Reggie.

Advanced time tracking with TSheets

TSheets is a program that’s capable of tracking both the engagement and working time of remote employees. It’s also able to control the employees’ location (if installed on mobile devices). That’s why it’s quite popular in companies where employees need to frequently travel for business meetings, organize sales, etc.

Its key features are:

  • tracking the amount of working time;
  • sending notifications to the executive;
  • GPS-tracking;
  • generating automatic reports and statistics on productivity.

TSheets review

Since our clients are located all over the world, we let our team members create their own work schedules. We often recommend TSheets to our clients, since the software has many tools that help monitor remote workers and keep track of their actual working hours.

— Marjorie Adams, Fourlane.


ezClocker is a highly rated time tracking and scheduling app for small businesses. Ideal for small teams who need a simple to use app that works within their budget. One of the reasons ezClocker is highly rated is its simple design where even a non-tech person can figure out how to use it.

Key features of ezClocker:

Employees can track their hours using a desktop or phone.

Assign jobs to time entries to keep track of labor job costing.

Prevent overtime by restricting early clock-in.

GPS is recorded if the app is installed on a phone.

ezClocker review

I looked for months and tried out many different timekeeping apps before finding ezClocker. Love the simplicity of the app, helps with employee accountability and it has saved us payroll dollars that were previously being stolen. ezClocker has truly simplified our timekeeping woes.

– Kara Hale, manager of Hale Appliance Services LLC

Automating control over business is the key to its efficiency

The introduction of employee monitoring software is the appropriate and reasonable step even for the companies that aren’t have no plans to switch to remote work. As for the employees that work from home, it’s truly a crucial solution. Implementing, let’s say, Kickidler seems like the only real chance to maintain control over your employees, acquire tools to monitor and manage remote employees as well as analyze the amount of time they’ve spent working.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.