If your remote team is distributed around the world, how can you make sure they’re completing tasks efficiently—or even working at all?
With a reliable remote employee monitoring platform, you can manage your team and track their activity during work hours without having to micromanage every project.
So which app is the right choice for your team? In this article, we’ll cover the best remote employee monitoring tools so you can easily find one with the features you want and the pricing you need.
What to look for in a good remote employee monitoring tool
There are dozens of remote employee monitoring tools to choose from, but not all will help you save money or improve productivity. Before you commit resources to a new platform, make sure it checks these essential boxes:
1. Automated tracking: Busy teams may not always remember to start and stop task tracking. To reduce errors and improve accuracy, look for a platform that can track employee activity automatically.
2. Team management: The bigger your tech stack becomes, the more you might struggle with productivity. Prioritize platforms that also offer team management so you can oversee tracking and scheduling on the same dashboard.
3. Real-time monitoring: If you wait weeks or months to address productivity issues, you could waste tons of time and money. Invest in a platform that offers real-time dashboards so you can find and respond to problems quickly.
4. Employee-friendly features: Reduce potential resistance to employee monitoring by giving your team control over the process. Choose a platform that lets employees maintain some level of privacy and edit time entries when necessary.
5. Cost control opportunities: The right remote employee monitoring tool should end up costing you less, not more. Seek out a platform that helps you optimize resources, streamline software licenses, and improve integrations.
Top 11 remote employee monitoring software
With these five things in mind, let’s look at some of the best remote employee monitoring tools on the market right now. We’ll start with our own, Time Doctor.
1. Time Doctor
Time Doctor is one of the most powerful time tracking tools on the market. It has a web app, an Android app, and a Chrome extension to monitor employee activity across devices.
With Time Doctor, managers can track:
- Which tasks your team is working on.
- How much time they spend on each task.
- Which websites and apps they use.
- When they log in and log out.
- Billable hours down to the second.
Let’s take a closer look at the features that can help your team work smarter.
Flexible time tracking
Time Doctor offers both interactive and automatic time tracking for additional flexibility.
In interactive mode, employees can start the timer when they begin a task and stop the timer when the task is complete (or when they want to take a break). In other words, they get control over time tracking.
In automatic time tracking mode, Time Doctor starts tracking time the moment employees turn on their device for work. This option offers less control but tends to improve accuracy.
Comprehensive productivity reports
With Time Doctor, you get access to detailed real-time reports to help you analyze employee performance.
Here are the insights you can get from these reports:
- Activity summary report: View the active minutes, active seconds, unproductive time, manual time, and mobile time for each employee over a selected period.
- Attendance report: Learn when an employee is present, absent, partially absent, or late to work.
- Hours tracked report: See how many hours employees have tracked per day, per week, or for any date range you select.
- Projects & tasks report: Review user activity for each project and task for more efficient team management.
- Timeline Report: View the time each remote team member has spent working daily and weekly.
- Web & app usage report: Visualize the time spent on different websites and applications to help ensure that employees are spending their time productively.
- Custom export report: Create reports that include the data that matters to you so you can avoid downloading separate reports.
Note that you can customize some of these settings for your team. For example, you can set a website like Asana as productive and a site like Facebook as unproductive. Then you can see how much time your team spends on productive vs. unproductive sites.
To ensure your remote employees are actually working, Time Doctor can identify how much time your virtual team members spend unproductively.
The platform displays time in percentages, showing the percent of seconds and minutes that the employee spent idle.
What is idle time exactly? Time Doctor labels a second or minute without any keyboard, mouse, or computer activity as idle. This feature helps you see if employees spend too much of their time not actively working so you can address productivity issues.
Note: Time Doctor isn’t a keystroke logger. This time tracking software will only check if an employee pressed any keys or mouse buttons to calculate idle time.
Time Doctor’s screencasts feature is ideal for managing remote employees.
It allows you to record screencasts of your employees’ screens at set time intervals to see what they’re working on even when they’re working from home.
Additionally, since they’re aware that you’re monitoring them, employees may be less likely to engage in distracting activities like browsing social media.
Note: You can blur or delete screenshots with sensitive data like passwords to protect employee privacy.
Team and project management
Time Doctor’s work schedule and time management tools help ensure that your team shows up and delivers projects on time.
With the work schedule feature, you can upload team schedules and track whether employees log in on time.
With Time Doctor’s team management dashboard, you can set performance benchmarks, identify top workers, and find your best teams. Then you can use these analytics to enhance training, set better goals, and improve performance.
Powerful Chrome extension
Time Doctor’s Chrome extension lets you track time across third-party apps like Asana, Zendesk, and Basecamp.
After enabling the browser extension, you can add a start/stop button in your preferred project management tool. Then employees can use the Time Doctor button to track time across various apps without switching between them.
Payroll capabilities and integrations
Need to process a lot of employee timesheets quickly? With Time Doctor’s payroll integrations, you can ensure that your team gets paid more efficiently.
Time Doctor automates timesheets and integrates with payroll apps like Gusto, PayPal, and Wise so you don’t have to waste time on manual payroll tasks.
Time Doctor’s paid plans start at $7/user per month. This tool also has a free 14-day trial (no credit card required).
- G2: 4.4/5 (320+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (480+ reviews)
2. Toggl Track
Toggl Track is an employee monitoring solution that lets you keep track of your remote team. It’s easy-to-use and most suitable for medium and small businesses.
- Offers a built-in Pomodoro timer for added productivity.
- Has iOS, Android, and desktop apps for Windows, Mac, Linux devices and extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers.
- Displays data from all projects and user activity on a single dashboard.
- Supports third-party app integrations with Asana and Evernote.
Toggl Track’s paid plans start at $10/user per month. It also has a free plan with limited features.
- G2: 4.6/5 (1500+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (2150+ reviews)
Read our in-depth Toggl review for more information on this time tracker.
RescueTime is a time tracking app and a web-based employee productivity platform. It runs in the background and helps teams work more efficiently with defined focus sessions.
- Tracks the time employees spend on a particular tool or website during your work hours.
- Blocks distracting sites using a customizable list.
- Allows productivity goals and provides notifications when employees spend too much time on a task.
- Automatically generates an accurate timesheet showing time spent in meetings, focus work, and other employee activity.
RescueTime’s paid plans start at $12/user per month.
- G2: 4/1/5 (80+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.6/5 (130+ reviews)
You can learn more about this employee monitoring software in our RescueTime Review.
Hours is a timesheet app for simple time tracking. It keeps a running list of in-progress tasks and lets employees switch between tasks to start and stop time tracking.
- Has a simple timer that can measure time spent on different tasks.
- Provides notifications to limit time tracking errors.
- Syncs data across iOS devices (including Apple watches) for more flexible time tracking.
- Lets you include timer notes on your invoices when billing clients.
Paid plans for this employee monitoring tool start at $8/user per month.
- G2: N/A
- Capterra: N/A
Timely is an automated time tracking software that’s a good option for remote teams. With this platform, you can centralize remote workflow in a real-time project management dashboard.
- Compare schedules across teams and projects to find the best time for collaboration—even if your team works remotely.
- Maintains employee privacy and lets team members control what data to share.
- Supports report customization and allows sharing with employees, clients, and other stakeholders using a private URL.
- Captures time spent in every web and desktop app in the background.
The paid plans for this employee monitoring solution start at $11/user per month.
- G2: 4.8/5 (250+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (210+ reviews)
Harvest is a great time tracking and monitoring solution for organizations that work with multiple clients. With its advanced invoicing capabilities, Harvest can seamlessly integrate with your billing processes.
- Starts and stops recording time automatically and allows manual timesheet entry.
- Turns tracked hours into invoices or payroll and processes payments across time zones through Paypal or Stripe.
- Automatically syncs across devices to keep up with flexible work patterns.
- Supports customized rate and time tracking settings for individual clients.
Harvest’s paid plans start at $12/user per month.
- G2: 4.3/5 (775+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.6/5 (540+ reviews)
Want more information on Harvest? Here is our comprehensive review of Harvest.
Everhour is a good web-based monitoring software for remote employees. It has built-in time tracking capabilities designed for remote workforces.
- Provides team overviews so you can manage workloads efficiently.
- Supports advanced billing tasks and invoice generation in multiple currencies.
- Has browser extensions for easy accessibility.
- Allows manual edits within customizable time frames.
Everhour’s paid plan starts at $6/user per month for a minimum of two users.
- G2: 4.7/5 (150+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (370+ reviews)
Timeneye is a straightforward time tracking app that offers transparent monitoring for remote teams, with manual and automatic time tracking.
- Tracks billable hours separately from non-billable hours for easy categorization. This is helpful if you have nonexempt employees who are entitled to earn the federal minimum wage and qualify for overtime pay.
- Offers detailed reports on each team member’s time to keep track of your team’s efficiency.
- Has activity tracking for specific projects, budgets, and workloads to simplify project management.
- Integrates with multiple third-party apps like Asana, ClickUp, and GitHub.
Paid paid plans for this employee tracking software start at $7/user per month.
- G2: 4.5/5 (20+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.8/5 (120+ reviews)
ClickTime is a handy tracking tool that can manage your projects, remote employee schedules, and available resources.
- Accurately tracks remote employee hours logged to specific projects in real-time.
- Creates helpful reports to provide a more accurate look at your workforce.
- Has a centralized dashboard that provides an overview of all projects and their schedules and deadlines.
- Includes browser-based apps that allow you to track your time without leaving a webpage.
ClickTime’s paid plans start at $13/user per month.
- G2: 4.6/5 (675+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.6/5 (200+ reviews)
TopTracker monitoring software lets you track time at the click of a button. It’s suitable for freelancers, managers, and smaller remote teams.
- Has a multifunctional dashboard that lets you keep track of your remote staff and manage employee productivity.
- Generates reports that detail remote team performance and project progress.
- Provides desktop apps for Windows, Linux, macOS, and Fedora systems.
- Offers in-app invoicing and payment features.
This remote monitoring software is a free tool.
- G2: N/A
- Capterra: 4.6/5 (5+ reviews)
EmailAnalytics shows you how many emails your employees send and receive and indicates their average response times. However, it isn’t a fully featured remote employee time tracking tool.
- Has robust filters so you can include or exclude only the emails you want to analyze.
- Delivers daily or weekly email activity reports for your team.
- Shows real-time email activity dashboards for you and your team.
- Lets you create teams and group your team members into them.
EmailAnalytics paid plans start at $15/user per month.
- G2: 4.0/5 (4+ reviews)
- Capterra: N/A
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.