What Should We Know About Bossware So We Don’t Risk Losing Good Employees?

What Should We Know About Bossware So We Don't Risk Losing Good Employees?

The hybrid workforce is just about past being the new keyword in business. Most companies are now settling into the new normal of having employees work remotely and at the office as needed.

Before the pandemic, only 17% of American workers worked remotely from home at least 5 days a week. Now, that number has jumped to 44% of employees working from home full time. 

One of the challenges for companies managing this transition is how to ensure employees are doing the work that’s expected of them and not watching TV when they should be working.

A study of 16,000 workers over 9 months showed a productivity increase of 13% with remote work.

While statistics have been favorable for increased productivity when employees work from home and have fewer in-office distractions, managers are still looking for the best ways to track productivity and performance from a distance.

This has led to the rise of a newer type of software with a new name – Bossware. 

What is Bossware?

Bossware refers to any application designed to be installed on an employee’s device or used within a cloud application for the purpose of tracking employee activities.

This tracking can consist of things like monitoring how often an employee signs into a work app. It can also be more invasive, taking screenshots of their computer screen intermittently throughout the day. Some even go so far as to access the video camera on a device to spy on employees.

Bossware isn’t inherently “good” or “bad”, but you do need to understand how it can impact your relationship with your employees. It’s important to balance necessary monitoring with employee trust, otherwise, you could end up losing good employees.

Examples of Bossware 

Here are a few examples of bossware to give you an idea of the range of monitoring activities that are available.

Microsoft Productivity Score

Microsoft productivity score looks at your team in aggregate to see if they’re following best practices for an optimized workflow. This tool is tied to the use of apps within Microsoft 365.

Productivity Score provides insights on eight different metrics of productivity, including:

  1. Communication
  2. Teamwork
  3. Meetings
  4. Content Collaboration
  5. Mobility
  6. Microsoft 365 Apps Health
  7. Network Connectivity
  8. Endpoint Analytics

This is an example of an application that looks at your team as a whole and doesn’t single out any one employee in its reporting.


Now let’s look at the other extreme of bossware. Kickidler is one of the more overbearing types of employee tracking apps that does single out individuals. It can also do it without them knowing about it.

The software provider’s on-screen monitoring tool allows an employer to view and record the screen of an employee. It also includes much more invasive features, such as keylogging and remote access.


Teramind is another more “big brother” type of employee monitoring software. It includes the ability to track user keystrokes, do video capture of real-time employee activities on their computers, track emails, and monitor Zoom sessions

Best Practices for Employee Monitoring

While employers may think all those tracking features sound great, employees are likely to push back on such intrusive measures. While a new employee might understand upfront that productivity tracking is a part of the deal of working for a company, someone that’s been a loyal employee for a while will likely see it as a breach of trust.

Here are some best practices to follow when putting employee productivity monitoring in place to help you keep track of productivity as you need to without hurting morale or losing your great employees.

Be Transparent

It’s never a good idea to use covert tracking on an employee device. This will inevitably lead to problems and if you capture sensitive personal information from a remote worker’s device, could lead to a lawsuit.

Don’t Treat All Employees the Same 

When it comes to productivity tracking software, this is an area where you don’t want to create a blanket policy for everyone.

Employees that have been with you for a while should have garnered your trust, thus you should not need to track their every keystroke to ensure they’re being productive. 

For newer employees, it may make more sense as you ensure they’re working out and achieving expectations. You could even use monitoring and the removal of that monitoring as a way to elevate employees that have “graduated” to the next phase with your business and have earned your trust.

Have a Conversation With Your Team About Monitoring

Don’t make employee tracking software decisions in the boardroom. Include your employees in the conversation. You may find that they are not resistant to some forms of tracking and understand the need for them.

It’s best to include them in a decision as early as possible to help reduce resistance when a new productivity tracking system is introduced.

Get Help Putting Smart Remote Productivity Tools In Place 

C Solutions can help your Orlando area business put the right tools in place for your remote and hybrid teams to power productivity in a positive way.

Schedule a free consultation today! Call 407-536-8381 or reach us online.