Updated · Jun 27, 2022
Best for: Unintrusive worker monitoring
What Is ActivTrak?
Herb Axelrod and Anton Seidler founded ActivTrak in 2009, and by 2015, it was fully operational. It now has close to half a million customers who benefit from its advanced machine learning and software suite that gathers and analyzes worker productivity data. Moreover, it presents this via a series of intuitive cloud-based dashboards, with endless reports and insights to assist you in fine-tuning your productivity approach.
Despite its cutting-edge technology, ActivTrak monitoring prides itself on being unintrusive. For example, it doesn’t log keystrokes, monitor employees’ email content, record screens, or access webcams. Moreover, it has no interest in personal devices.
The ActivTrak agent runs in the background on Windows, macOS, Chrome, Terminal Services, and VDI. There is also an ActivTrak extension for Chrome. Subsequently, it collects mouse and keyboard movement data and stores it for processing.
This robust workforce analytics platform provides insights and analysis to set the right goals for optimal efficiency and business outcomes. Most importantly, it’s up to you to take a team approach or single out individuals. Either way, it supports you in making informed changes.
The software integrates with your favorite web services and applications without any hassles.
I carried out ActivTrak reviews of each key feature, so let’s see what they can do.
ActivTrak features focus on learning about and then managing productivity. You use its data-driven insights to understand how employees complete their workloads, identify best practices, and build a more efficient strategy.
It helps you analyze trends, formulate better team goals, and learn productive behavior patterns from one employee or the whole team. Moreover, you can discover distractions and develop corrective measures to counter bad habits.
The amount of data is staggering. You can display ActivTrak reports that include top users, categories of work, and individual projects or applications. Furthermore, it reveals which tools are most productive.
This section gives you insight into the team’s highflyers and those who are underutilized. This is not necessarily to praise one and reprimand the other, but rather to help you better allocate the overall workload.
ActivTrak workload management can also help you identify employee burnout and appropriate measures to ensure a balanced and efficient workload for everyone.
Operational Efficiency and Compliance
By constantly tracking workflows and resources, ActivTrak boosts operational efficiency and compliance. You can refine your processes, optimize the tools and tech you use, and reduce risk.
With detailed productivity and employee data, it is easier to comply with security and privacy regulations.
And by creating detailed activity reports, auditing is easier.
ActivTrak productivity reports are the software’s bread and butter. Here you analyze work-time trends, including the total amount of productive work. This gives you the average productivity across the business and provides a starting point for improvements.
You can monitor active workers and whether they’re on permitted and non-permitted breaks. Furthermore, time interval settings give you more insight into how productive individuals and teams are throughout the day, improving time management.
For example, does one team drop off sometime after lunch? Perhaps it is worth investigating why.
Or, are employees generally more productive in the morning? Maybe it’s best to assign the most difficult tasks at the start of the day.
Productivity Pulse is a particularly beneficial feature, which displays summary cards of individual and team productivity and other crucial stats. If you are busy, these are a quick window into how to proceed tomorrow.
You can find a significant portion of ActivTrak employee monitoring details under team summaries. This gives a quick window into unit productivity, including stats like the top departmental performers, what apps and sites they are frequently using, and who’s currently unavailable.
It displays this data in real-time, showing if their task is complete and their availability or what activity they are currently working on.
You can also compare similar teams to see which is most productive. Most importantly, it helps you understand why so that you can impart wisdom to the sluggish team.
App and Website Usage
The software lets you analyze where online employees spend their time and whether they view inappropriate content. With such info, distractions are observable and hopefully mitigated. Alternatively, it reveals how employees use project tools and whether they adopt new ones. Moreover, you can determine the risk of commonly used unvetted tools.
Getting a broad picture of app and website usage lets you determine the best tools for the job.
ActivTrak productivity management also extends to coaching. It facilitates a program that teaches managers how to analyze the data and provide guidance to the team.
It gives them the knowledge needed for success in their role while empowering everyone else. In this manner, all team members know the tools and strategies to boost their productivity effectively.
Benchmarks and Goals
Use the ActivTrak Benchmark feature to set individual and team goals based on historical data. Tracking progress gives insights into who performs well and why. Then, you can fine-tune your approach for the rest of the team.
The software is not just about giving more power to an overbearing boss. ActivTrak personal insights empower individual employees to improve their productivity by revealing observations.
Using visual graphics, it shows individual focus, collaborative work, and multitasking. This allows workers to identify any areas of neglect and work towards improving their performance. The software makes suggestions on the best times of the day to do specific tasks based on continuously gathered data.
Furthermore, individuals can see which apps or sites consistently draw their focus away from the task at hand so that they can retake attentional control.
It even contrasts work hours with productivity using graphs to help improve focus and consistency.
All businesses are different. They use various apps and software and permit access to specific websites and tools. ActivTrak features, like Activity Classification, allow you to decide what counts as work and what doesn’t.
It’s essential to get this right from the start because this is the crux of defining productivity. For example, you may use YouTube as a marketing platform. This must be classified as such so productivity is measurable. Of course, most workplaces consider YouTube entertainment, so accessing it in that context would categorize it as unproductive time.
The ActivTrak software can automatically classify regularly used applications and build up its knowledge over time. Still, leaving the software to do all the work is not recommended. Some apps and sites will fall through the net and log incorrectly.
The activity logs essentially list everything the software tracks. It can help you scale processes and ensure adherence to compliance rules.
Because it’s a running log, you can view the workflow as it happens, learning what happened at certain times and what led up to it.
This is also another area of the software that provides insight into employee behavior patterns.
ActivTrak also displays security logs that show a chronological list that links administrators with events. This reveals anything that’s a security risk. You can even use alarms or triggers to know when something adverse occurs.
Alarms and Website Blocking
To stay on top of things, ActivTrak has an alarm feature. It provides several preset alarms to monitor everyday events like changes to user accounts, USB stick insertion, file sharing, etc.
You can send these notifications to Slack and Microsoft Teams on the Advanced Plan. Meanwhile, you can also use ActivTrak email reports on the Premium Plan under the Email Subscription section. This sends these alarms and other reports to your email.
However, the real benefit of alarms comes from being able to set your own.
Perhaps you’d like to know if a USB stick has been inserted somewhere on the network. Or, maybe it's good to be aware of when a computer is actively using Instagram.
An accompanying feature permits the blocking of websites employees shouldn’t use during work hours, like social media, pornography, personal email, etc. When someone accesses a blocked site, it can trigger an alarm, and you can seek accountability.
Although off by default, ActivTrak screenshots employee computers based on certain rules, and you cannot do this on a whim. Instead, when an action triggers a security alarm, it screengrabs evidence of suspicious or potentially illegal activity.
And while you have control over the events and triggers, the feature is not overbearing surveillance-wise. For example, you cannot record a worker’s screen or webcam.
Data Privacy and Security
No employee likes to feel like they have someone on their back 24/7. This is especially true when you actively collect data about their performance. ActivTrak user activity is protected by data privacy controls, safeguarding sensitive and private information. This means it does not store URL subpages or actual screen views of an employee’s browsing habits. All it logs is the primary domain name.
Moreover, despite many employers desiring the ability to monitor keystrokes, ActivTrak does not support this. Nor does it do any kind of webcam, screen sharing, or video monitoring. It turns off screenshots by default.
Furthermore, it does not classify non-work-related apps or web pages. It only stores the period that the user is unproductive.
You can also set permissions to limit access to user activity. In other words, it only grants data access to managers that need to know.
ActivTrak GDPR compliance paired with HIPAA and COPPA keep it at the forefront of all major legal privacy regulations.
On the security front, ActivTrak SSO support allows users to authenticate logins with multiple applications and websites securely. Similarly, multi-factor authentication is also an option.
ActivTrak integrations easily connect to your other apps and web services to better manage your data and expand functionality. Above all, you mustn’t drastically alter how your business operates.
Integrations include Salesforce, Google Workspace, Zoom, Slack, and others.
For example, you gain an understanding of whether employees are uninterested, not engaging, multitasking different work, or even doing non-work activities during Zoom meetings with its integration.
If you are sufficiently tech-savvy, you can use the ActivTrak API to integrate with other tools. It’s always positive to see computer software with open access to APIs.
ActivConnect is a handy add-on for an extra fee that lets users query against behavioral activity data and integrate it with your current BI data visualization tools and other business software. It’s accessible from the Advanced plan onwards.
Ease of Use and Interface
The web-based ActivTrak dashboards are fast-loading and intuitive. It is important to note that this is the day-to-day administrator side of the platform. Users must also install the agent software on the computers that require tracking.
This is available on Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, remote and virtual desktops. The ActivTrak Chrome extension is also available to any operating system that uses Chrome. This is how ActivTrak Linux users make use of it. Naturally, ActivTrak Chromebook users have this feature by default.
Typically, you won’t run into any issues, but it's always best to double-check that ActivTrack Task Manager functions in the background.
The cloud-based user interface does a superb job organizing everything you need with well-titled tabs down the left-hand side. As the main dashboard, the homepage displays an overview of the past day's individual and team productivity metrics. In addition, more detailed charts sit just below, accounting for individual and team productivity across daily, weekly, monthly, and annual timeframes.
The main parent tabs are:
- Team Pulse
- Live Reports
Most of these have subcategories, which are also very straightforward.
Unlike some other employee monitoring solutions, the downside is that you cannot customize your dashboard. However, it’s unlikely anyone will struggle to find what they need.
It would also be nice to have a dedicated ActivTrak mobile app to monitor productivity. Likewise, it has discontinued ActivTrak for Android and iPhone for the agent software and dashboard monitoring, as the apps are being reevaluated at the time of this ActivTrak review. This may change in the future, so be sure to check back.
On the other hand, any device with a web browser can log in to the dashboard. Nothing felt clunky or too small to navigate when testing ActivTrak for iPhone via the browser. It’s still somewhat mobile optimized.
Praise for its speed and uptime is also due. Many Software-as-a-Service platforms hosted away from your servers can be slow and temperamental. Not ActivTrak!
Once you have things set up to your liking, you will spend most of your time exploring insights and reports.
Thanks to its filtering and sorting options, I cannot understate how deep you can go with the data. Yet, it never feels overwhelming. ActivTrak for macOS and other operating systems functions similarly.
You can access your account details in the top right corner, including user info and current plan status.
Whether you’re the head honcho or have allocated access at various levels to managers, it’s a cinch to monitor the productivity of workers, teams, project management, or the company as a whole.
Platform users can contact ActivTrak support in many ways, so you’ll never be left in a lurch. You can reach tech staff by regular email, or there is a convenient live 24/7 chat accessible from any page on the site. In conducting this review, The response time was only a couple of minutes, and the staff was genuinely helpful and knowledgeable.
There is also a toll-free telephone number if you prefer to speak directly to a representative.
Furthermore, paying users receive access to onboarding support to help them start up the platform and fully integrate it into their businesses. Premium plan subscribers get extra ActivTrak customer service, including Comprehensive Productivity Lab recommendations and an exclusive Learning Hub.
Nonetheless, there are plenty of resources and guides on the site for anyone that likes to teach themselves. This includes everything from FAQs and text guides to video tutorials and blog posts.
ActivTrak pricing is straightforward with its annual subscription plans.
A basic ActivTrak free forever plan limits you to three users and grants access to the Activity Dashboard and reports for Productivity, Top Applications, Websites, Users, and Categories. Additionally, users receive access to Automated Classification of Websites & Apps Activity, Activity Alarms, and Email Notifications.
per user: $108/year ($9/month)
This plan has a five-user minimum and includes everything in the Free Forever plan. Additionally, you receive Productivity Pulse, Working Hours Report, group classifications, Slack and MS Teams notifications, USB and File Transfer alarms, and more.
per user: $180/year ($15/ month)
Advanced team goal setting and tracking are exclusive to this plan. It, too, has a five-user minimum. In addition to the Advanced Plan features, it includes Team & individual productivity benchmarks, Virtual Coach recommendations, Email subscriptions and sharing, Personal insights dashboard for employees, inefficiency and distraction analysis, access to the learning hub, and more.
Other ActivTrak Services:
Several extra services are available for an additional monthly fee. These include ActivConnect for $2 per user and Data History for $1 per user. It provides the latter in one-year increments and stores it for a maximum of three years.
There is an ActivTrak demo on the site, but this takes the form of video overviews of each web dashboard section rather than a dummy account you can physically test. However, the free version gives you the chance to get better acquainted.
While there is no money-back guarantee, the free service gives you more than enough of a taste to know whether it’s for you. Similarly, the 14-day ActivTrak trial of the Premium plan lets you test all the features without handing over your credit card details.
ActivTrak Alternative Software
It goes without saying there are ActivTrak pros and cons, so here’s a breakdown of how the platform fairs against other similar solutions.
ActivTrak vs. Hubstaff
Hubstaff is one of the most popular alternatives to ActivTrak, but which is better?
Both appeal to all sizes of businesses, small, medium, and large. However, in terms of deployment, the edge goes to Hubstaff for having dedicated Linux support and fully functional apps for Android and iOS. For day-to-day management, both use a web dashboard.
Customer support is more accessible at ActivTrak, with the addition of a phone number, which the other platform lacks. Both have the coveted live chat feature.
Meanwhile, ActivTrak services, like its training program, offer paying customers extra in-person onboarding, training, guides, and multimedia. In contrast, its rival is much less hands-on for those struggling to get things up and running.
While both offer free versions, Hubstaff pricing is more expensive and supports only two users until you opt for an enterprise plan. On the other hand, ActivTrak’s paid plans range from five to unlimited users and are cheaper.
Since each platform is even when it comes to features, ActivTrak comes out on top thanks to better technical support and pricing. It’s easy to overlook the lack of apps or Linux support because of its in-built browser support.
ActivTrak vs. TimeDoctor
TimeDoctor is another formidable ActivTrak alternative that also offers a free version.
This challenger gets the edge in pricing with $70 and $100 a year plans, though its top Premium subscription is $20 more than ActivTrak. With that said, TimeDoctor provides overall better value for money.
However, there’s a bit more to it. ActivTrak has way more training, onboarding, and hands-on technical support. Furthermore, it has a few additional features like employee email monitoring, remote access, and better visual presentation of its data. Yes, TimeDoctor does have keystroke logging, but since it’s a controversial feature, ActivTrak is arguably still the leader when it comes to features.
Deployment is essentially the same, though accomplished in different ways. Like Hubstaff, TimeDoctor actively supports Linux, while ActivTrak Linux comes through a browser extension. The rival supports mobile apps, while ActivTrak is reworking its offerings, letting users only access dashboards via a mobile browser.
When aggregating user reviews, ease of use and general functionality goes to ActivTrak, but the differences are slim. Go with ActivTrak if you want a more intuitive experience with greater support.
ActivTrak Review – Verdict
ActivTrak employee monitoring software is one of the best solutions to help boost company productivity. Its free plan starts you off, and its competitively priced paid plans are comparable to similar platforms. Considering such, it’s worth a try.
The lack of a workable ActivTrak app and no keystroke logging option may be a turn-off. It’s not for businesses that want to monitor smart devices. However, it is one of the easiest and most feature-rich options available.
While it reserves certain tools and perks for the most expensive plan, this is not exactly an unheard-of business model, and no reason to overlook it.
Do you operate a business that needs workforce productivity analysis? Then, this software is for you. It tracks team members without being overbearing and helps improve output, empower managers, and work to employee strengths.
Can ActivTrak access your camera?
No, ActivTrak cannot access the camera on an employee’s computer or capture them visually. An exception is if a security trigger occurs during a Zoom meeting.
Is ActivTrak HIPAA compliant?
Yes, ActivTrak complies with HIPAA and other common privacy regulations and standards like GDPR.
Who owns ActivTrak?
ActivTrak Inc is the corporate owner. Herb Axelrod and Anton Seidler founded it. Rita Selvaggi currently acts as CEO.
Does ActivTrak track mouse movement?
Yes, ActivTrak monitors mouse movement but only in the sense that it is active or not. This is a sign that the worker is engaged in an activity. It does not track exactly where the mouse is on the screen.
Similarly, while the software knows a user is active on the keyboard, it does not register precise keystrokes. For example, it does not capture what individuals type.
Does ActivTrak work without Internet?
Yes, the agent can still function in ActivTrak offline mode. However, you must use the internet to gain productivity insights. The ActivTrak reviews of each feature reveal that data logs locally until it reestablishes a connection. Therefore, you will need internet access eventually. Nonetheless, it’s ideal for running things smoothly when it’s down.
A qualified journalist and longtime web content writer, Keelan has a passion for exploring information and learning new things. If he's not writing or pushing his own brands, you'll find him watching pro wrestling or trying not to rant about politics online.
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