Once the decision has been made to keep a closer eye on your workforce it can be quite a task to decide on how best to monitor work activity – for example do you need to record phone calls or just computer usage. Modern technology has made it possible to track all devices including cell phones, tablets and computers.
At Hillstone we review the best tools and apps to securely record office and worker activity. We understand this is a sensitive area where solutions need to be robust, reliable and offer value for money.
From a small office set up to monitoring hundreds of employees, some of which may be travelling and use mobile tech such as laptops, tablets and cell phones our ratings offer a good starting base in order for you to decide which is the right way forward for your own unique situation.
We start by looking at why you should monitor your own staff and then move forward exploring the legalities, comparing free to paid solutions and finally looking in depth at the finer details of tracking software that can be installed on both PC and mobile smartphones. If you are still undecided and are asking yourself “should I monitor my employees?” then read on – at Hillstone, we give a strong case on why monitoring can be a positive action to take, for both employer and employee.
Why You Should Monitor Employee Activity
There is no mistaking monitoring your own staff is a big decision; but many companies already have CCTV cameras installed to watch over cash tills or to check working hours. For the blue collars, it’s trickier – but what if you suspect your executives are giving away company secrets to competitors? Or you need to collect hard evidence that an employee is not where he or she is supposed to be at any given time?
Also for the security of your own staff, its totally acceptable to install software on their phones or computers to track activity – cyber bullying is not just happening to kids and teens but office workers are now whistle blowing on their colleagues so as a company, having emails monitored is vital and in fact, operating a responsible best practice in the work place.
For GPS tracking in the US, law firm Greensfelder has an excellent article on the legalities. In general, as long as employees are fully aware that their computers/phones are being monitored then this is legal practice but please consult your own legal team as laws vary from state to state and overseas laws may be also different.
PC Monitoring: ActivTrak offer a free PC monitoring solution for up to 3 PCs and 3GB of data. The installation is invisible and features include website blocking, daily reports, alarms, pretty dashboard and scheduled monitoring.
Phone Tracking iOS and Google Play: Find my Friends is the free app that can be used to locate the whereabouts of the target phone. It has fairly limited capabilities but essentially acts as a free GPS checker. This app can be downloaded off the Google Play store for Android devices and iTunes for iPhone/iPad.
The app is simple to install and you can see the “friends” on a map so at any point you could instantly find out where an employee is at any given time. There is no recording however, so it’s a case of checking up manually.
For a total solution we recommend you take a look at professional spy apps. These are sophisticated and well supported software tools that basically record all data off a phone or computer. Our reviewed phone trackers feature 3 leading tools, mSpy, Highster and FlexiSpy.
All of them have recording facilities so if you need proof of a misdemeanour such as unauthorized internet use or an employee sending an email that contains sensitive information then you are covered. For pricing, all products are different so please check our reviews to find out which app is best for you.
What Can Spy Apps Monitor?
Read our below checklist to see if you require the features included on your employee monitoring requirement:
1. GPS location tracker.
2. Monitor all incoming and outgoing going phone calls, text messages and instant chats.
3. Monitor company emails and web based free mail providers such as Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, Gmail and ME.com.
4. Track all download images/photos documents and popular work files such as .PDFs, .DOCs and videos.
5. Listen in LIVE on phone calls.
6. Take control of the target’s camera to take photos directly and then send them back to your control panel.
7. Track all social media activity including Facebook, Tinder, Instagram, LinkedIn and more.
PC Windows Software for Computer Monitoring
The above apps also have computer equivalents where you can restrict internet access, track usage and record activities such as web surfing, games playing, accessing Facebook or watching video websites like YouTube. In order to track PC usage you simply download a small, hidden file on the computer and from that point all activity is stored.
The great advantage spy apps have over other tools is that you log in to a separate control panel which can be accessed anywhere. This has all the information and evidence you need in order to confront the troublesome employee.
Issues that can be resolved by recording activity
Because spy apps record data, there can be no denying the evidence. There can be many issues at work that need dealing with such as slack time keeping, verbal abuse, improper use of company equipment and of course sending over classified company information to rival companies.