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How to control remote employees without stressing them?

Monitoring computer screens is a measure that many companies have resorted to in order to ensure productive operations. But some employees still view it negatively and consider it a sign of mistrust on the part of management.

Why monitoring programs are gaining popularity

The year 2020 proved to be a watershed year for businesses. Many companies were forced to move to remote work to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection.

According to Microsoft research, 76% of companies have fully or partially implemented remote working, while before the pandemic the figure was 14%. The survey was conducted among organizations with more than 250 employees.

The sudden shift to telecommuting presents many new challenges and difficulties for companies. The PwC survey identified three major fears of employers about working remotely:

  • financial implications;
  • global decline in production and economic growth;
  • performance degradation.

Also, according to an OWL Labs report, 82% of managers fear that remote workers are less productive and attentive. The concerns stem from the fact that they can’t see what their subordinates are doing during work hours. For example, someone may be attending to personal matters at the same time. Do check worker time tracking software or try outlook journal time tracker.

Executives now realize that remote work will be around for a long time, so they are introducing tools that allow productive work to continue under such conditions. One of them is software to monitor employee screens.

How to choose a monitoring program

It is worth remembering that employees have an obligation to know about the introduction of computer screen monitoring in the company. They should be notified in advance, and an additional agreement should be signed with them about their consent to data processing.

All employee monitoring software works on the same principle. The user installs the software on his device, which, when turned on, records the actions on the screen.

Will workers be able to turn monitoring on and off by themselves?

This issue is especially relevant if the monitoring software will be installed on an employee’s personal device. In this case, it is better to pay attention to those platforms that provide the ability to turn screen monitoring on and off at any time.

In this way, a subordinate who uses personal technology will be able to turn off the program at the end of the day or during breaks, so that his personal data is not shared with the company.

What kind of actions will be recorded by the program?

Now there are a sufficient number of programs that allow you to monitor employees, and they all have different functionality.

If it is important for a company to know what sites an employee visits during working hours, then you can consider such services as Bitcop, ActivTrak, Monitask

If your company also uses third-party services for setting tasks or monitoring work time, you can set up integration with them for more detailed monitoring (such as tracking employees’ tasks on screens) using monitoring platforms.

If the bosses want to know what keys and how often the employee presses, it is worth choosing programs where there is a solution – keylogger.

Also, monitoring programs can display reports on employee productivity and the amount of time worked, take screenshots of screens, provide information about violations and perform many different functions.

To select a computer monitoring program, it is necessary to study each one and choose the one that seems to be the most comfortable for both managers and employees.

How to prepare employees for the introduction of monitoring

To begin with, it is necessary to explain to employees the purpose of introducing monitoring. They should understand that this is done primarily to increase productivity, and not because of mistrust of subordinates. In this way employees will be more receptive to the implementation of monitoring systems and will not suspect the manager of constant monitoring of their work screen.

Second, you need to familiarize employees with the program you have chosen to monitor. It is worth showing employees the process and telling them about all the features and capabilities of the program. In addition, employees should be notified of the new rules they need to follow and the benefits they may discover after the introduction of monitoring

We also advise introducing tracking systems on company devices. In this way the employee will have peace of mind that his personal data will not be touched. If personal devices are used at work, the right thing to do is to show the employee how the program is turned off, and to assure him that his personal data will not be viewed by the company.

And lastly, it is a good idea to sign an additional agreement with an employee on the introduction of monitoring. There should be clauses about consent to data collection and about the purpose of using monitoring in the company.

How employees respond to monitoring

Many employees are neutral about the implementation of this system. Agree that a problem can be solved faster if a supervisor looks at an employee’s monitor and tells him or her what needs to be corrected. In addition, colleagues performing common tasks will be able to come to a common solution faster by using the information on each other’s monitor.


Telecommuting will be a part of many companies’ operations for at least the next few years. Despite all the challenges, organizations must learn how to work in the new mode and be productive.

Various tools and services aimed at time control, task management and employee monitoring help in this.

If you don’t want employees to be stifled by the feeling of being tracked during work hours while using all these tools and especially monitoring, you should proceed as follows:

  • Do not hide from employees the monitoring of their computers;
  • provide them with all the information about the program;
  • tell us more about the purpose of the monitoring and what kind of data it collects;
  • Hold a meeting or an online conference with a presentation of the product and information on how to use it;
  • Be sympathetic to the possible initial negative reaction of employees and tell them about the benefits of computer monitoring for both the company and the employee.
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