Should You Spy On Your Team’s Daily Work?

Should You Spy On Your Team's Daily Work? - cartoon of a man keeping an eye on his employee through a magnifying glass


Since the pandemic, employers around the world have needed to change. They’ve had to shift how their employees operate. Remote work is very much here to stay. Organisations and employees can both benefit from the work-from home and hybrid work revolution.

Cost savings is a driver for supporting remote work. Employee morale and productivity also can be higher when employers grant this flexibility.

A majority of organisations support some type of remote work. Statistics show that:

  • 16% of companies are completely remote
  • 40% support hybrid office/remote working
  • 44% don’t allow employees to work remotely

While there are benefits, there are also challenges to this new environment. Employers worry

about the cybersecurity risks of remote teams. Managers can find it more challenging to make sure employees are doing what they should do.

The remote and hybrid work environment has led to the rise of employee monitoring tools. Such tools have mixed reviews from employees.

What is Employee Monitoring Software?

Employee monitoring software tracks digital movements.

This can include everything from general clock-in clock-out tracking to taking screenshots of an employee’s computer several times per hour.

Tracking tools like Hubstaff and others track many activities on a person’s computer. The information is then sent in a daily or weekly report to the company.

Items that such tools can track are:

  • Time clock
  • Keyboard activity
  • Keystrokes
  • Mouse activity
  • Websites visited
  • Screenshots of the desktop
  • Apps used and how long in use

The most invasive of tools can even track the sounds and video of the employee.

Tracking can be visible, so the employee knows about it, or the tracking can be completely hidden from the employee.

It depends on the tool used and the cultural and ethical considerations of the employer.

This type of monitoring can benefit an organization worried about “productivity theft.” But it can also alienate good employees and torpedo morale and trust.

Let’s go through the pros and cons before you opt for this type of system.

Monitoring Software Pros

  1. Understand Time Inputs
    Knowing exactly how much time employees spend on a project can help with future with ROI projections.
  2. Reduce Time Wasting
    About half of monitored employees spend 3+ hours per day on non-work activities. When employees know that their boss is monitoring their app usage, they’re less likely to ‘goof off’.
  3. Billing Time Tracking
    If you invoice your clients based on time, Monitoring Tools can help capture the teams time correctly so it’s billed properly. This stops hours falling through the cracks.

Monitoring Software Cons

  1. Hurts Team Morale
    Many employees feel they are put in a cage when monitoring is introduced. Morale can plummet, which takes productivity and trust along with it.
  2. Activity isn’t Productivity
    Many tools simply report on keyboard and mouse activity. But what if the employee must solve a workflow issue and needs to use their brain for a few hours, not their mouse?
  3. Good Employees Leave
    Nearly half (47%) of surveyed employees said they would quit if their boss tracked them.


Ensure that you fully understand the pros and cons of such a solution before investing. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, but if you do decide to implement employee monitoring software, the reasons for and the benefits to the organisation should be clearly communicated to staff well in advance.

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