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 BeeBole
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$5.99 per user per month
Free trial30 days14 daysYes14 days14 days14 days30 days30 days,no credit card required
Ease of useDifficultEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasyEasy
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 onlineOnline chat and video support in English,French,and Spanish
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

Since 2020, we have seen undeniable changes in the way we work. According to FlexJobs’ research, 80% of people are working hybrid or remote right now.

These circumstances have brought many positive changes to the lives of employees. Businesses are also seeing productivity improvement.

Still, not all employees are driven to give 100% and even the best of us can, when not supervised, do a below-average job. The way employees handle sensitive data is another concern for companies. This is why they turn to monitoring apps that many employees fear for privacy reasons.

So, while companies are trying to determine how to monitor employees’ computer activity, employees are worried about their privacy.

How do you tell if your boss is monitoring your computer? Here are a few ways you can discover that:

1. Use the Command Line  

Running the command `netstat -b -n` as an Administrator in the Command Line can show which apps are transmitting data over the internet. This approach relies on the assumption that monitoring software connects online to send activity logs to your management.

Still, it requires admin rights that many employees don’t have. Moreover, skilled system administrators can obscure this data transmission. This way, the software becomes hard to detect, especially if employees are on a local network.

2. Check Task Manager

Open the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del and take a look at the Processes or Services tabs. Search for unusual background apps. If you find any unknown software, research it online.

This method won’t work if you don’t have admin privileges on your work computer. Without admin access, you probably can’t open Task Manager.

Bear in mind that identifying tracking apps in this way is tricky since some of them, like Insightful, have stealth modes. Others can even be disguised as legitimate system services. All in all, this method requires patience and time for thorough inspection.

3. Install Anti-Spyware Software

Anti-spyware or antivirus software can identify monitoring tools by scanning devices from an external USB drive. Yet, corporate antivirus programs usually whitelist monitoring software as an exception. In other words, these types of detection software are often ineffective for spotting tracking apps.

In addition, many employee monitoring tools operate below the user or system level. This means they cannot be detected even by comprehensive anti-spyware programs. This strategy may prove futile for another reason—attempts to use external software may be flagged as unauthorized by your company’s IT department.

4. Monitor Network Traffic

Free traffic monitoring software, like Glasswire, lets users monitor all outgoing traffic from their computers. Its effectiveness in detecting employee tracking apps depends on the way the tracking tools function.

While some of these tools transmit data continuously to the server, others only upload at specific intervals. The latter kind is harder to detect reliably. An additional hurdle is the fact that employees might need admin rights to install such software.

Despite these challenges, monitoring network traffic is a reliable method for detecting tracking apps on your computer if you use it properly.

5. Use Social Engineering

Social engineering sounds illegal. Depending on your and your colleagues’ work contracts, it might really be out of bounds.

Still, if you are strongly determined to confirm or deny your suspicions, you can resort to this sneaky method. Try building rapport with tech or HR staff connected to monitoring practices. Ask questions that can reveal whether monitoring is occurring.

Remember—before trying this, make sure your contract doesn’t mention any prohibition regarding these inquiries. Also, respect your colleagues’ boundaries if they refuse to talk on the subject.

The Key Takeaways

When attempting to figure out how to monitor employees' computer activity, employers need to strive for improvement in both productivity and workplace happiness. The best way to do this is to choose a customizable software such as Insightful. 

This software helps the managers to track the relevant metrics like web and app activity, as well as active and idle time. At the same time, it allows full respect for the employees’ privacy

For example, screenshots from messaging apps and other sensitive websites can be blurred. In addition, detailed productivity reports can be unlocked for each employee. Thanks to this, Insightful can quickly become indispensable for everyone in the company trying to improve their productivity.

Open communication about the monitoring strategy is probably the most important. Discussing the monitoring strategy transparently is a huge step towards building a trusting relationship and fostering employee loyalty.

The main takeaway for you as an employee is—show you are not afraid of monitoring, but demand that your employer is straightforward and respectful of your privacy.

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Employee Monitoring

How Do You Tell if Your Boss Is Monitoring Your Computer?

Written by
Vanja Savic Petrovic
Published on
May 13, 2024

Since 2020, we have seen undeniable changes in the way we work. According to FlexJobs’ research, 80% of people are working hybrid or remote right now.

These circumstances have brought many positive changes to the lives of employees. Businesses are also seeing productivity improvement.

Still, not all employees are driven to give 100% and even the best of us can, when not supervised, do a below-average job. The way employees handle sensitive data is another concern for companies. This is why they turn to monitoring apps that many employees fear for privacy reasons.

So, while companies are trying to determine how to monitor employees’ computer activity, employees are worried about their privacy.

How do you tell if your boss is monitoring your computer? Here are a few ways you can discover that:

1. Use the Command Line  

Running the command `netstat -b -n` as an Administrator in the Command Line can show which apps are transmitting data over the internet. This approach relies on the assumption that monitoring software connects online to send activity logs to your management.

Still, it requires admin rights that many employees don’t have. Moreover, skilled system administrators can obscure this data transmission. This way, the software becomes hard to detect, especially if employees are on a local network.

2. Check Task Manager

Open the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del and take a look at the Processes or Services tabs. Search for unusual background apps. If you find any unknown software, research it online.

This method won’t work if you don’t have admin privileges on your work computer. Without admin access, you probably can’t open Task Manager.

Bear in mind that identifying tracking apps in this way is tricky since some of them, like Insightful, have stealth modes. Others can even be disguised as legitimate system services. All in all, this method requires patience and time for thorough inspection.

3. Install Anti-Spyware Software

Anti-spyware or antivirus software can identify monitoring tools by scanning devices from an external USB drive. Yet, corporate antivirus programs usually whitelist monitoring software as an exception. In other words, these types of detection software are often ineffective for spotting tracking apps.

In addition, many employee monitoring tools operate below the user or system level. This means they cannot be detected even by comprehensive anti-spyware programs. This strategy may prove futile for another reason—attempts to use external software may be flagged as unauthorized by your company’s IT department.

4. Monitor Network Traffic

Free traffic monitoring software, like Glasswire, lets users monitor all outgoing traffic from their computers. Its effectiveness in detecting employee tracking apps depends on the way the tracking tools function.

While some of these tools transmit data continuously to the server, others only upload at specific intervals. The latter kind is harder to detect reliably. An additional hurdle is the fact that employees might need admin rights to install such software.

Despite these challenges, monitoring network traffic is a reliable method for detecting tracking apps on your computer if you use it properly.

5. Use Social Engineering

Social engineering sounds illegal. Depending on your and your colleagues’ work contracts, it might really be out of bounds.

Still, if you are strongly determined to confirm or deny your suspicions, you can resort to this sneaky method. Try building rapport with tech or HR staff connected to monitoring practices. Ask questions that can reveal whether monitoring is occurring.

Remember—before trying this, make sure your contract doesn’t mention any prohibition regarding these inquiries. Also, respect your colleagues’ boundaries if they refuse to talk on the subject.

The Key Takeaways

When attempting to figure out how to monitor employees' computer activity, employers need to strive for improvement in both productivity and workplace happiness. The best way to do this is to choose a customizable software such as Insightful. 

This software helps the managers to track the relevant metrics like web and app activity, as well as active and idle time. At the same time, it allows full respect for the employees’ privacy

For example, screenshots from messaging apps and other sensitive websites can be blurred. In addition, detailed productivity reports can be unlocked for each employee. Thanks to this, Insightful can quickly become indispensable for everyone in the company trying to improve their productivity.

Open communication about the monitoring strategy is probably the most important. Discussing the monitoring strategy transparently is a huge step towards building a trusting relationship and fostering employee loyalty.

The main takeaway for you as an employee is—show you are not afraid of monitoring, but demand that your employer is straightforward and respectful of your privacy.

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