Workpuls Teramind ActivTrak Hubstaff DeskTime Time Doctor RescueTime Kickidler Veriato Work Examiner
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
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)
Stealth mode
App and website usage
Real-time monitoring
Offline time tracking
Activity levels
Remote desktop control
Website/activity blocking
Screenshots on demand
Screen recording
Productivity trends
Websites and apps labeling
Category labeling
Productivity alerts
User behavior analytics
Data loss prevention
Advanced file and web monitoring
Productivity reports
Team reports
Email reports
Access management
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
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
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 BeeBole
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$5.99 per user per month
Free trial30 days14 daysYes14 days14 days14 days30 days30 days,no credit card required
Ease of useDifficultEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasyEasy
Timecard management
Shift Trading
Break time management
Real-time tracking
PTO Management
Client billing
GPS tracking
Clock out reminders
Manual time
Web app
Mobile app
Time clock device
Time clock kiosk
Facial recognition
Fingerprint scanning
Group punch-in
Visual reports
Email reports
Time rounding
Manager approvals
Add time for others
Android app
iOS app
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app
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 onlineOnline chat and video support in English,French,and Spanish
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Community forum
Workpuls Hubstaff Toggl TimeDoctor Harvest TimeCamp Timely Everhour Tick TMetric
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
Start/stop buttons
Automatic time mapping
App and website usage
Activity levels coming soon
Real-time tracking
Project adding
Project templates
Project status
Task assignment
Task priorities
Budgeting coming soon
Mark billable/non-billable hours
Payroll calculation
Idle time reminders
Deadline alerts coming soon
Budget alerts coming soon
Client login
Productivity analysis
Email reports coming soon
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
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
On-premise hosting

The transition to remote work is nothing new.

Remote work has existed in one form or another for half a century. It’s just never been as popular as it is now with the tech boom and the pressure to work from home - or anywhere else other than the company office. 

But, in order for the switch to this type of working environment to be possible, companies had to know how to monitor remote employees in order to ensure a smooth transition and optimal business processes going forward.

The benefits of remote work for employees are numerous:

‍Less commute time:

  • Fewer costs (transportation and food)
  • More free time
  • Less work-related frustration
  • Higher level of job satisfaction, etc. 

Also, there are plenty of advantages of remote work for employers, too: 

  • Decreased operational costs
  • Lower carbon footprint
  • Better access to applicants
  • Higher employee productivity
  • Increased staff retention, etc. 

But how has the concept evolved and changed over time? ‍

The History of Remote Work

There was a time when working from home wasn’t closely connected to remote PC monitoring software

You’re right, it was before computers as we know them today even existed! ‍

Corporate Offices

The period after WW2 saw a significant change in the corporate and office working environment. The popularization of high-end office buildings was at its highest, especially in the big cities destroyed by the war, which were just being built back up again. ‍

Moreover, at this time, the role of female workers was more intensified - both in number and position significance. ‍

However, something was bound to disrupt the Mad-Men-esque idyll of the period - and that something was long commute times. 


Before the business world started worrying about finding the best remote monitoring software, it had gridlocks and air pollution to deal with. Even before the concept of remote work existed as such, the clean air movement laid the groundwork for it in the ‘70s by stating its principal advantage - zero commute time. 

In 1973, NASA physicist Jack M. Nilles published The Telecommunications-Transportation Tradeoff, a ground-breaking piece of scientific research that we can now reference as the beginning of telecommuting and remote work.

Here he stated that cities growing and the depletion of non-renewable resources will inevitably lead to a change in the way Americans work in order to avoid performance degradation and productivity monitoring inaccessibility. This, of course, included a necessity for big management and corporate culture changes, together with fewer greenhouse gas emissions caused by fewer miles traveled. 

Personal Computers

Only two years later - in 1975 - we saw the first personal computers being introduced to the world, and right in the middle of the OPEC oil embargo, too. Despite the general hostility towards working from home from the business world, during this period, the press started to publish favorable articles backed up by the argument that working from home saves gasoline. 

While remote work monitoring software was non-existent at the time, towards the end of the ‘70s, we had the chance to see the first instances of corporations sending their employees to work from home, even if partially. In just several years' time, a large chunk of the collective was sanctioned to work remotely. The concept itself appeared to be gaining in popularity and support - even without access to productivity monitoring software.  

The Internet

In 1983, the world saw the beginning of the Internet and, with it, a new way of working in a nine-to-five job. A novel technology was there to provide a work-from-home environment and different means of performing professional duties. 

In these two ground-breaking technologies - personal computers and the Internet - we now recognize the concept of working from home - or anywhere, really - and the ability to monitor PCs remotely. 


Even then, when it was a big unknown, people were attracted to making money in unconventional ways. The Internet allowed people with skills and technical possibilities to make money for small jobs - selling things, writing, designing, etc. As the market grew, so did the Internet. 


In the early ‘90s, WiFi was invented. This gave even more possibilities to people keen on working independently from the office - whether that was as full-time employees or freelancers. However, the concern about how to monitor remote employees stayed - and maybe even increased now that they could truly work from anywhere. 

Nevertheless, most companies still cared more about urgent work being done on time, so the freedom to work from home on a sick day, for example, was slowly becoming the practice. 

Telecommuting Policies

By the mid-nineties, it would also become the norm for US federal workers, when in 1995, Congress approved permanent funding for work-related equipment - to create  “flexiplace” in their homes. 

In the next decade, there was still no remote work monitoring software in sight, but official telecommuting policies were being established in federal agencies, under the condition that it didn’t affect their working performance. 

We soon saw the first examples of co-working spaces and enterprise networking tools, as well as corporations making a sharp shift to employing remote workers, rather than hiring freelancers for their needs. 

Modern Remote Work

The transition to remote work as we know it today was the result of a workforce revolution. For many, remote working and freelancing are the closest they’ll ever get to a nine-to-five job. 

This also means that companies have to resort to using remote PC monitoring software or software to monitor users' internet activity to ensure optimal productivity and prevent time theft from these workers as well. 

Even those that want to work free of office space constraints, strict company policies, and managerial guidelines, are covered by this practice - and many welcome it. 

They have largely found this type of software to increase their productivity, and use only legal services and tools for completing work tasks, and even elevate their communication skills with the rest of those involved in the project. 

They don’t see it as a remote spy monitoring software - they regard it as a tool that promotes fair work and provides a means of objective financial compensation in terms of invested time, efforts, and provided quality. 

It’s no wonder remote work is becoming increasingly popular - the pros are clearly outweighing the cons. Over half of the entire world workforce is continually performing their work assignments from outside the office, and the number is only growing with the health restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has made even the biggest companies rethink their company policies in this sense - in part because of their access to quality remote work monitoring software. 

So what are some of the trends and challenges of the modern remote workforce?

The Rise of Digital Collaboration Tools

Along with the widespread popularity of remote work, digital collaboration tools have experienced a parallel ascent to popularity.

The more teams are fragmented around the world, the higher the demand for digital collaboration tools to bridge the gap between team members. These tools ensure that communication ties aren’t severed, and that effective cross-functional collaboration is still possible in a remote work environment.

Some tools have become so popular they’re part of the common vernacular these days, such as Zoom and Slack.

Global Talent Pool

Another byproduct of the increase in remote workforces is an increasingly global talent pool.

Now that many companies aren’t geographically restricted when they hire, they can look abroad for top candidates. As such, many remote workforces comprise employees from around the world, and companies have a much deeper talent pool to draw from.

With the global talent pool also comes a significant challenge though - juggling time zones.

Coordinating when you have team members in London, Tokyo, and New York can be exceptionally difficult and can bring about many logistical issues as a result. 

The rise of asynchronous communication tools has somewhat offset this challenge, and different time zones are no longer considered such a big problem.

The Dark Side of Remote Work

While remote work has been beneficial for many employees and employers, it has also given rise to new challenges.

For example, many employees now feel isolated as they no longer have a shared workspace where they can chat with their coworkers. As a result, burnout seems to be on the rise, and employee disengagement can also be common.

While this is still a very real challenge today, many companies have tried to mitigate this dark side of remote work through:

  • Creating collaborative remote work environments
  • Providing Zoom calls for coworkers to chat
  • Encouraging communication in teams

Remote is Here to Stay

It seems that remote work has a short history, but intends to stay for a long, long time. While there are issues each company can expect to face when transitioning from an in-office to a remote working environment, plenty of those can be solved by using a tool like Insightful.

Updated on October 6th 2023

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