Final Verdict:
The 5 Best FREE Employee Monitoring Software


Written by Asim Qureshi
By Asim Qureshi, CEO Jibble

“The future of work is hybrid.” – AT&T Global Business Solutions. 

I’ll have to agree with AT&T on this one. Because while back-to-office mandates have started rolling out from some big-shot companies like Meta and Apple, hybrid work remains the new normal for around 92 million Americans. This number is expected to increase even more, with AT&T forecasting the hybrid model to jump from 42% in 2021 to 81% in 2024.

But while hybrid work presents itself as a great middle-ground for fully remote work and highly detested back-to-office mandates, it does beg the question – how can you measure employee productivity when you don’t even see each other regularly? That’s where employee monitoring software becomes pivotal.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at your top employee monitoring options in the market, what their features are, how they can help with employee monitoring, and what actual users have to say. The best part is: you can use these nifty tools for absolutely FREE!

A guy working on his laptop that's placed on top of a wooden table. Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

Best FREE Employee Monitoring Software

The Definitive List

1. Jibble

Jibble is designed to give you advanced employee monitoring while maintaining the right balance of employee privacy. This way, you can get a clearer picture of your employees’ performance based on actual data, not mere guesses.

Attendance and time tracking are made secure and straightforward through the app. Employees can easily clock in with a tap or a quick selfie if facial recognition is enabled. What’s more convenient is that users can use Jibble on any device they’re on – be it mobile, desktop, or laptop. This way, you can track time on your mobile when you’re out of the office and then switch back to your desktop when you get back.

The dashboard acts as a central hub, offering a bird’s eye view of all team activities. No need to sift through extensive data. Right from the dashboard, you’ll get to see who’s in, who’s out, project activities, and total tracked hours.

Aside from time and attendance, Jibble also lets you keep tabs on employee location while with its GPS tracking feature. This is especially useful if you have employees working in the field or at different work sites. And if you need enhanced location accuracy, try setting up geofences around company work sites and offices so employees can only clock in when they’re within the designated locations. This provides an extra layer of security and accountability.

On top of all of these, Jibble also released its newest employee monitoring feature, screen monitoring – after several user requests (yes, Jibble listens!). With the new feature, employers will get to monitor screen activity through screenshots taken at random 10-minute intervals. These screenshots are uploaded on the web app in real time for easy access. As a safeguard against sensitive data leakage, Jibble automatically blurs screenshots containing sensitive information.

And unlike employee monitoring systems that log keystrokes, Jibble employs a more non-intrusive approach to monitor employee activity, focusing on activity rates derived from mouse and keyboard usage. This way, companies can get detailed insights into team productivity without compromising the privacy of individual employees.

So whether you need to monitor work hours, attendance, activity levels, or even screen activity, Jibble is your all-in-one employee monitoring solution. It’s a solution that has proved itself time and time again to its user base, garnering positive ratings on reputable review platforms like Capterra (4.8/5) and the App Store (4.8/5).

Oh, and have I mentioned that Jibble is 100% FREE for unlimited users? That’s definitely the cherry on top of an already stellar employee monitoring tool.

Key Employee Monitoring Features

  • Time tracking with screenshots
  • Attendance tracking
  • GPS tracking and geofencing
  • Screen monitoring
  • Powerful facial recognition
  • Automated timesheets
  • Encryption and security
  • Detailed reporting and analytics 

What Users Like

  • 100% Free
  • Accurate time-tracking due to facial recognition and GPS tracking
  • Excellent customer support
  • Feature-rich software
  • Simple and easy user interface
  • Detailed and accurate reporting
  • Time tracking with screenshots

What Users Don’t Like

  • The CEO wears crazy white glasses

2. ActivTrak

ActivTrak is a handy free employee monitoring software that focuses on analyzing and boosting worker productivity. 

The app provides a detailed view of essential work metrics through its productivity dashboards. There’s an Executive Summary dashboard that offers insights into workload balance and staffing issues. There’s also a Technology Usage and Adoption dashboard that maps application usage, giving employers an idea of which apps employees use the most and for how long.

Users can designate websites, applications, and activities as productive or unproductive, allowing ActivTrak to measure the time spent on each. It then uses these designations to assess individual and team productivity.

Aside from monitoring site and app usage, ActivTrak also keeps tabs on mouse movements and keyboard activity to provide an accurate overview of employee behavior. The app doesn’t log keystrokes, though, so as not to compromise sensitive information.

With ActivTrak’s latest versions, you can access detailed analytics on productive versus unproductive behavior, employee focus and efficiency, tool and application use, and workload balances. Side-by-side analyses help identify high-performing individuals and teams, enabling managers to provide guidance or assistance where needed. The software also allows you to use past behavior to set future usage and performance goals.

Now, while ActivTrak does indeed offer a free version, you’ll have to be on their Essentials plan, which starts at $10/user/month, and pay an extra $2/user/month to access the screen monitoring features. But if you only need basic site and activity monitoring, then the free plan will work just fine.

Key Employee Monitoring Features

  • Application and site monitoring
  • Productivity dashboards
  • Web content filtering
  • Alerts and reporting
  • Workforce insights

What Users Like

  • Quick and intuitive user interface
  • Tracks productivity on the project level
  • Payroll integrations
  • Comprehensive dashboards

What Users Don’t Like

  • Dashboard widgets can’t be customized
  • Data history is only stored for a limited time
  • Initial installation and configuration process is too long

3. Hubstaff

Hubstaff, primarily recognized as a time tracking tool, also offers robust employee monitoring features to help employers gain a comprehensive understanding of their team’s performance.

Time tracking, which is Hubstaff’s main selling point, lets users track time on mobile and desktop. With a simple press of the start button, the app logs employee working hours, minutes, and seconds. Depending on permissions, time can be tracked continuously or entered manually on the app. The software compiles these entries into automatic timesheets, streamlining processes for invoicing and payroll.

Moving beyond time tracking, Hubstaff introduces an array of powerful employee monitoring features. These features include keystroke logging, URL and application monitoring, GPS tracking, and activity screenshots. The desktop app, once downloaded onto users’ devices, not only tracks time but also captures random or custom interval screenshots, providing employers with a visual representation of employee activity. 

Employers will also get to access data on websites and apps visited or opened by employees, along with session durations. This lets them pinpoint the specifics of their team’s online activities and identify potential areas for improvement or optimization.

The Reports module enables custom queries on app usage mapped against time and activity. It also seamlessly integrates with project and task management tools like Asana and Trello for enhanced productivity tracking. While other reports may be more basic, Hubstaff’s comprehensive monitoring features still make it a versatile tool for managing both time and employee activities.

Key Employee Monitoring Features

  • URL and application tracking
  • GPS tracking
  • Activity screenshots 
  • Workforce analytics
  • Time tracking

What Users Like

  • Easy to use
  • Accurate time tracking
  • Smooth project management

What Users Don’t Like

  • Basic reporting
  • Hard to set up
  • Limited customization options

4. Desktime

The main strength of DeskTime lies in its time tracking functionality. Users can effortlessly track time on both mobile and desktop platforms with a simple press of the start button, logging working hours, minutes, and seconds. Time tracking can be continuous or entered manually, and DeskTime compiles this data into automatic timesheets, streamlining invoicing and payroll processes.

Other than time tracking, DeskTime introduces robust employee monitoring features. This includes keystroke logging, URL and application monitoring, GPS tracking, and activity screenshots. While DeskTime’s interactive charts and productivity metrics may not be as extensive as those of some competitors, its smooth user interface makes it easy to track efficiency. The software even ranks employees within their company or team based on productivity.

The Productivity Bar visually represents the day’s work hours, classifying them as productive, idle, or unproductive. DeskTime also continuously tracks productivity through app and URL usage, as well as screenshots, ensuring employees stay focused. Screenshot intervals can be set at 5, 10, 15, or 30 minutes, with an option to blur screenshots for added privacy.

Despite these robust monitoring features, DeskTime acknowledges the importance of privacy. The Private Time Option allows employees to pause all tracking activities, ensuring personal internet consumption habits remain private. This feature recognizes the need for short breaks during the workday and promotes a healthy work-life balance without compromising privacy.

Key Employee Monitoring Features

  • Automatic screenshots
  • URL and app tracking
  • Private time
  • Productivity calculation
  • Project tracking
  • Document title tracking
  • Time tracking

What Users Like

  • Automatic time tracker
  • Detailed reporting
  • Handy cost calculation and billing system
  • Smooth integration with multiple apps
  • Private time option for much-needed downtime

What Users Don’t Like

  • Limited reporting
  • No 24/7 live rep
  • Random app crashes
  • Inaccuracies with time records

5. Traqq

Another free employee monitoring software worth checking out is Traqq.

Traqq simplifies time tracking by recording billable hours through one-touch timers for tasks and projects. The platform offers online timesheets, a more efficient alternative to traditional paper-based or manual entry systems, which not only track time but also record productivity and performance.

Beyond time tracking, Traqq is also equipped with comprehensive employee monitoring tools. It enables users to track website and app usage without delving into specific pages or content, observe mouse and keyboard activity (without recording keystrokes), and safely review blurred screenshots and recordings. This approach allows managers to pinpoint issues and provide coaching for improvement while maintaining ethical boundaries.

Traqq captures random screenshots within 10-minute windows, attaching them to corresponding time entries. Users can delete specific screenshots if needed, but this action also removes the associated work time. 

For detailed analysis and reporting, Traqq’s web app offers weekly summaries that break down time-related metrics into PDF or CSV files. Whether executives need a high-level overview or granular details, Traqq provides insights into how teams spend their time.

Traqq currently doesn’t have a mobile app, though, limiting its use to desk jobs and requiring manual time entries for off-desk work. 

Key Employee Monitoring Features

  • Time tracking
  • Team management
  • Detailed performance reports
  • App and URL tracking
  • Activity levels
  • Desktop video recording
  • Desktop screenshots

What Users Like

  • User-friendly
  • Online and offline time tracking
  • Simplified time management and task prioritization

What Users Don’t Like

  • Does not have a mobile app
  • Does not have a stealth mode
  • No GPS tracking

A man working in a hybrid work environment. Photo by Luke Peters on Unsplash العمل عن بعد

What is an Employee Monitoring Software?

There’s been a lot of buzz around employee monitoring software in the past few years. In fact, according to a study conducted by ExpressVPN, nearly 80% of employers utilize monitoring software to keep tabs on employee performance and online activities. So, what exactly is this magical tool that’s become a norm in the modern workplace?

Employee Monitoring Software is a tool designed to help employers keep track of their employees’ activities in the workplace. It enables businesses to monitor various aspects of their employees’ work, such as time spent on tasks, websites visited, and application usage. The software often includes features like time tracking, website and app monitoring, and, in some cases, screen recording.

The main goal of employee Monitoring Software is to enhance productivity, ensure accountability, and streamline workflows. It provides employers with insights into how employees spend their work hours, allowing for better resource management and informed decision-making.

Is Employee Monitoring Even Legal in the US?

Yes, employee monitoring is legal in the United States, but there are important rules and regulations that companies must follow. Employers can legally monitor their employees, but they need to adhere to federal and state laws that govern employee privacy and data collection.

To avoid legal issues related to time tracking, employers must often inform employees if monitoring is happening and provide a valid business reason for doing so. Additionally, some states have specific laws outlining the requirements for employee monitoring. It’s crucial for employers to consult with legal counsel to make sure they are in compliance with the applicable laws to ensure a fair and lawful work environment.

Learn more about what you can and can’t monitor in the workplace with our comprehensive guide to employee monitoring in the US.

Quick Tips for Successfully Implementing Employee Monitoring Software

Implementing employee monitoring software in your workplace can be tricky. But when done strategically, it can contribute to improved productivity and better organizational insights. Here are some quick tips to ensure a smooth and effective implementation:

  • Clear Communication: Before introducing monitoring software, communicate openly with your employees. Clearly explain the purpose, benefits, and the specific aspects that will be monitored. Whether it’s enhancing productivity, ensuring compliance, or addressing security concerns, having a clear purpose will guide the implementation process.
  • Choose Appropriate Features: Select software with features that align with your organizational needs. Whether it’s time tracking, internet usage monitoring, or screen recording, tailor the features to match your goals without unnecessarily invading employee privacy.
  • Set Transparent Policies: Establish clear monitoring policies and guidelines. Define what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Ensure that your employees are aware of these policies to foster a culture of transparency and trust.
  • Address Privacy Concerns Promptly: Proactively address privacy concerns by implementing safeguards. Clearly outline what data will be collected, how it will be stored, and who will have access. Assure employees that the monitoring is intended for business-related purposes only.
  • Encourage Feedback: Foster an open feedback loop. Encourage employees to share their thoughts on the monitoring system, addressing any concerns or suggesting improvements. This collaborative approach creates a more positive and inclusive workplace.