Monitor What Your Employees Do on Their PCs with Spyware Software That Works for You

Last Updated Jul 4, 2011 1:01 PM EDT

If your employees spend most of their day in front of a PC, keeping tabs on their activities can be a bit of a mixed bag. Sure, you want to ensure they're not playing Solitaire or surfing the Web all day. But tracking their activities has creepy privacy implications, and some studies even show that there are productivity benefits to letting employees blow off steam on Facebook from time to time.

If you decide that some monitoring makes sense for your company, then you might like this news: ExtraSpy Employee Monitor lets you monitor your employee activities on their PCs. Moreover, it's easy to install without a dedicated IT staff, and it's free.

It's easy to install, in part, because there's no real installation process at all. The program consists of just two files; one goes on the employee's PC (the client) and other goes on the computer on your network that you plan to monitor activities from.

Once configured, you can use ExtraSpy Employee Monitor to track what programs are open on the client PC. You can grab a screen shot at any time of exactly what's happening on their PC, and the software can be set to generate regular reports with details about what programs are run and how much time was spent in each. It's a reasonable way to ensure that Facebook doesn't consume more than a few minutes per day.

One word of advice: If you want to install a program like ExtraSpy Employee Monitor, be sure that your employee agreement gives you the leeway to monitor their PC activities. Many courts have ruled that employers have the implicit right to monitor employee PCs, but I would err on the side of caution.

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