Monitoring Employee Productivity in 2021: Benefits, Challenges, Tools

monitoring employee productivity

Interested in monitoring employee productivity?

Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar office or you transitioned into a remote team due to the pandemic, it’s essential to know how productive your employees are. 

Monitoring your employees’ productivity helps both the employer and the employee gain accurate insights into how to boost their employee performance metrics.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about monitoring employee productivity

We’ll go over the benefits and challenges of monitoring, and highlight the best productivity tracking software available today.  

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Let’s dive in.

What Is Monitoring Employee Productivity?

Monitoring employee productivity involves keeping a meticulous watch on your employees’ productivity levels periodically — be it daily, weekly, or monthly.

For example, let’s say you assigned ten different tasks to an employee during a month, thinking that three weeks would be sufficient to complete the work. You had also allotted a buffer of another week. 

However, by the month end, you realize that only seven tasks were near completion while the other three were still in the initial phase. 

This leaves you to think:

  • Is inefficiency at its peak or is the expectation too high? 
  • How much time did the employee spend on each task?

But you can’t answer any of these questions accurately because let’s face it, you have no concrete data to back that.

That’s where productivity tracking comes into the picture. 

How To Monitor Employee Productivity?

Most companies go the manual way of employee monitoring. 

Sure, you can make employees actually sign the attendance register when they walk into work or sign the task register when they start and stop the task. 

However, not only is that a painstaking process, but it also doesn’t give you detailed and accurate insights into productivity.  

Instead, an employee productivity tracking software is more effective and convenient.

The software looks beyond the usual login and logout time of in-house or remote employees and digs deep to answer questions on their actual productivity metrics per day.  

Note that you mustn’t look at the software as an employee surveillance technique that just wants to record what an employee does. 

Sure, it does involve computer monitoring but the analysis that comes out of the tracking software will benefit the manager, the employees and the firm as a whole. 

But what exactly does the software track?

Most employee monitoring software track several productivity data like:

  • Daily login and logout time.
  • Websites (including social media) being accessed during work hours.
  • Types of applications being accessed during work hours.
  • Random screenshots and video recording during work hours.

This way, an employee monitoring solution provides a holistic view of work-related user activity — especially useful when you have a remote workforce.

What Are The Benefits Of Monitoring Employee Productivity?

Here are some key advantages of implementing an employee tracking tool to monitor productivity:

1. Deep Dive Into Actual Workflow 

Want to know the most productive work hours of your team as a whole? 

Or do you want to understand which tool your remote employees use most at work?

Get unmatched insights into your employees’ work lives with an employee monitoring software. 

Not only can you get statistics on relevant employee performance metrics but you can also quantify the team’s productivity rate with the help of comprehensive reports.

This powerful business intelligence on your employees’ activity can then be used to reshape the organizational structure, project plans and various other frameworks on a real-time basis.

2. Always Be A Step Ahead In The Productivity Game

Productivity rate is simply the ratio of work done to how much time was put in.

As a manager, it’s recommended to be mindful of each employee’s and team’s productivity rates.

And how do you measure this rate? 

Relying on guesstimates isn’t the best idea in the long run.

An employee monitoring software provides you with daily and weekly reports pinpointing total hours worked over a period along with hours spent on each task. 

Managers can then easily assess productivity rates at the individual level, team level and firm level to make informed decisions. You can even assign a productivity score to each employee in the process to encourage healthy competition.

Moreover, if your employees know that their time is being tracked, do you think they would spend the company’s time watching Netflix? 

So yes, employee monitoring can also ward off distractions.

3. Manage Resources Efficiently

As a manager, you estimate that two employees will take a total of seven hours a week to complete a task. But it may just happen that this task actually needs only three hours a week with the same employees.

How do you get to know this?

Through the daily and weekly reports generated by the employee monitoring software. 

You now get to learn the ground reality of employee engagement through a productivity tracker — which helps you reallocate and optimize resources. 

Use the analysis offered by the monitoring software to move resources around to enhance efficiency. 

4. Recognize And Reward Productive Employees

With the transparency brought into the firm through monitoring employee productivity, it becomes easier to recognize the employees acing the productivity race.

And it’s always best to reward productive employees.


It serves as an encouragement, not just to the performers but also to others, who may draw inspiration from those being incentivized. It also serves as a great employee morale booster which helps with employee retention.

Additionally, managers can identify which employees aren’t delivering the required productivity metrics and step in to help address their roadblocks. 

What Are The Challenges Of Monitoring Employee Productivity

Here are some challenges of productivity tracking with a few tips on how to tackle them:

1. Employees Lose Trust

Addressing your employees with words like “activity monitoring,” “recording,” or “tracking” would surely cause some amount of tension and of course, affect employee behavior in the workplace.

Think about it. 

If your employer tells you that employee activity, including your internet usage, will be tracked by the second, you could feel insecure.

That’s why, employee surveillance could increase mistrust and affect employer-employee relationships if you don’t perform it correctly. This, in turn, would affect the work quality and reduce employee morale as well. 

2. Privacy Invasion

Skepticism around privacy is bound to pop up among employees on hearing of employee monitoring.

How safe is this? 

Would non-work activities be tracked too? 

What about passwords and access to other key confidential information? 

Privacy is something that can’t be compromised on and employees could view the software as a privacy invasion.

Employees need to know what exactly the company will be monitoring and to what extent. They must also be assured that their personal confidential information will remain safe during this computer monitoring routine.

3. Legal Issues

Workplace surveillance is a sensitive matter — whether it’s for productivity or security purposes. 

Your firm can be prone to legal repercussions if employee monitoring is not done the right way. 

Several regions have employee monitoring guidelines that firms are required to follow. Not following these might bring the company legal distress.

You must also note that some industries and laws actually require companies to monitor their employees and not doing so might just go against you. 

So while the need for productivity monitoring is critical, the hesitation revolves around how you do the tracking and what tracking software you opt for.

Read about the laws governing employee monitoring.

How To Tackle These Challenges

While there is no straight-forward solution to avoid the concerns that come with employee monitoring, here are some ways to ensure you monitor employee productivity properly.

First thing’s first — be honest about why you’ll be monitoring employees.

Start by discussing the problem and employee monitoring solution a few months earlier. You could open the floor up for discussion and accept feedback on the proposed monitoring software.

Emphasize on how it’s a productivity monitoring software more than a workplace surveillance system. You could add that it is a great productivity boosting tool for employees — especially if they perform remote work.

Clarify how the monitoring will be done and assure them that their personal confidential information will be safe. 

It would also serve as a good practice to get written consent from employees before the software is put into place. This would help the firm steer clear of any legal complications that may crop up due to the employee monitoring system. 

Additionally, drafting an employee monitoring policy would help employees understand the activity monitoring process in depth and can act as written consent.

Here’s our guide on how to create an employee monitoring policy. 

The Best Software For Employee Productivity Management

You now know why productivity tracking is important and how to address its key challenges.

However, with hundreds of employee productivity monitoring tools available in the market, which one should you go for?

Fortunately, Time Doctor is the key to all your problems.

time doctor

Time Doctor is an employee-friendly productivity management tool that’s used by major firms as well as small enterprises. 

With several advanced time tracking and employee performance management features, you can use Time Doctor to monitor and boost productivity with ease. 

How Time Doctor Helps Improve Employees’ Productivity

Here’s a quick look into some features of this smart employee performance management tool:  

1. Easy And Transparent Time Tracking 

Time Doctor’s interactive mode lets you track time with the simple click of a button.

Type in the task name, hit the start button, and Time Doctor starts tracking time. Once you’re done with the task, or simply taking a break, click on the stop button for the tracking software to stop.

Since the employee starts and stops the timer voluntarily, you don’t have to worry about any privacy issues. 

Additionally, to make time tracking super convenient, Time Doctor also has an automatic mode — the timer runs the moment you turn on your PC.

Easy and accurate time tracking

2. Idle Time Tracking

Wondering if your employees are truly active during working hours? 

Or do you want some more insights into employee behavior in a typical workday?

Time Doctor’s built-in inactivity feature tracks how long employees track idle time and puts them on a break if they’re inactive (no keyboard/mouse movement) for a defined interval.  

Rest assured, this productivity tool doesn’t record which keys are pressed during activity monitoring to maintain privacy.  

3. Know Which Websites And Applications Your Employees Used  

With Time Doctor, you can see exactly how much time your employee spends on work and non-work related websites/apps, like social media. 

For maximum functionality, this productivity tracker also tracks the frequency of user activity on individual pages of a particular website. 

4. Comprehensive Productivity Reports 

Time Doctor gives access to accurate reports which offer detailed insights into employee productivity. 

Some of these reports are:

  • The Activity Summary report gives managers a view of the total active time out of total working hours that an employee spends over a certain period.
  • The Hours Tracked report (which resembles a timesheet) shows the daily, weekly (or any period) number of hours worked.
  • The Timeline report offers an exhaustive summary of the time spent by an employee on a task or a project per day or per week.
  • Check out the websites and applications that an employee uses during work hours through the Web and App Usage report.
  • The Project/Task report breaks down the time worked as per tasks or projects.

5. Integrations With Your Favorite Applications

Time Doctor integrates with many popular project management, payments/invoicing, communication, CRM or help desk applications for effortless employee productivity tracking. 

This productivity tool integrates with tools like: 

  • GitHub
  • FreshDesk
  • HubSpot
  • Office 365
  • Salesforce

This way, you can track an employee’s activity across your various workplace tools during working hours. 

Integrations and addons

Final Thoughts

Monitoring employee productivity serves as a win-win for both the employer and the employee. 

While the employer can keep track of employee activity at work, employees can improve their own productivity — which benefits them in the long run. 

And whether you have freelancers, remote workers or a physical office set-up, the best way to track employee productivity is with the help of a powerful productivity tracker.  

However, always go for a user-friendly employee productivity management tool, like Time Doctor, to ensure you don’t land in any privacy or legal issues. 
Sign up for a free trial and try out this productivity tracking software today!

Try Time Doctor Free for 14 days

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