Employee monitoring in South Africa - WorkTime

June 7, 2023

7 min read

Employee monitoring in South Africa

Demand in employee monitoring in South Africa

Employee monitoring software offers a comprehensive solution for tracking workflow, monitoring efficiency and productivity, and overseeing employee activity. The recent surge in remote work has propelled the popularity and demand for monitoring solutions across various industries worldwide.

WorkTime is a company that has been helping companies in South Africa save money and monitor employees for 25 years.

What businesses use employee monitoring in South Africa

Employee monitoring software is in demand across numerous industries, with some of the most popular sectors including:
  • IT companies
  • Insurance
  • Financial services
  • Helpdesk services
  • Software developers
  • Manufacturing
These industries primarily rely on employee monitoring to ensure high-quality employee tracking and data security. Monitoring is not only used to track workflow but also to enhance the security of company data.

Employee monitoring & Business in South Africa

Employee monitoring is widely used across various industries in South Africa. It streamlines work activities in several aspects, such as: IT: Monitoring is often used to boost efficiency and productivity, monitor attendance and absenteeism, and control the work process for remote employees, who are abundant in IT companies. Software development: Developers use monitoring to oversee employee work processes, coordinate between team members, and control the performance of specific tasks. Healthcare facilities: Employee monitoring is employed to ensure strict compliance with regulations and maintain the confidentiality of patient data. Manufacturing: Monitoring is primarily used to control productivity in the workplace, track attendance, and maintain visit and absence schedules.

Employee monitoring systems can be used in a variety of areas and industries.

Computerized businesses in South Africa & monitoring

The computerized business sector in South Africa is experiencing rapid growth, with many specialists arriving to contribute. Companies quickly recognized the need for employee monitoring, which can be used to track the workflow of contractors or freelancers who can be challenging to monitor. Employee monitoring operates remotely, making it a valuable tool for businesses. During times of pandemic or other situations that necessitate full-time employees working remotely, monitoring can effectively track remote employees. This functionality is invaluable for businesses, as many companies may be hesitant to transition employees to remote work due to concerns about reduced productivity or absenteeism.

Employee monitoring helps companies monitor the workflow of contractors, freelancers and outsourced employees.

Operating a business in South Africa

South Africa boasts a flourishing business infrastructure, particularly in the IT industry. Many IT and financial sector companies in South Africa utilize employee monitoring, which significantly enhances employee efficiency and productivity, crucial for business growth.

South Africa has a favorable policy for investors, resulting in a steady flow of investment that aids the development of companies.

Additionally, the country has a relatively lenient taxation policy, which also contributes to the growth of businesses.

According to statistics, there are many companies operating in South Africa, especially in the IT sector, and not only. Some of them are:
  • Vodacom
  • Amazon
  • Discovery
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Investec
  • Nestle

In office, remote, hybrid settings in South Africa & monitoring


In an office setting, where all employees are in the same office and communicate with each other quietly, monitoring employees has fewer tasks than with remote and hybrid employees. This is because in an office, employees are likely to be monitored by a manager, communication occurs directly, and visits to the office are recorded as soon as the employee arrives. However, even in an office setting, there is a need for monitoring, as employees may not be monitored every second. Without monitoring, an employee can become unproductive. Therefore, monitoring employees is in demand in the office as a means of monitoring the work process.


In the case of remote work, employee monitoring is crucial. This includes attendance monitoring, activity monitoring, efficiency/productivity monitoring, and other functions that are necessary to track employees' workflow. Due to the pandemic, many employees are forced to work remotely, and employee monitoring helps employers establish quality control over the work process of their employees.


Hybrid is a compromise between remote and office work, such as two days of work from home and three days of work in the office. In this setting, monitoring is also essential, as when working from home, no one knows what an employee is doing or whether they are working at all. Without monitoring, an employee may choose to work in the office and relax at home, or skip work altogether. Therefore, monitoring employees is just as important in a hybrid work setting as in a remote setting.

Outsourcing business in South Africa & monitoring

Business outsourcing in South Africa is a prevalent practice in which companies collaborate with external service providers to perform specific business functions or fulfill particular needs on their behalf. Outsourcing can enable companies to reduce costs, enhance efficiency, and acquire qualified professionals to carry out specialized tasks. However, when outsourcing involves hiring employees, significant challenges may arise in managing their workflow.

Employee monitoring software serves as a vital tool for overseeing a remote workforce. It encompasses workplace attendance tracking, activity monitoring, and productivity assessment, among other features.

In South Africa, outsourcing is also employed in a reverse manner. Numerous companies from other countries engage South African employees, as doing so allows them to save on staffing expenses and office rental costs since employees can work remotely with the aid of employee monitoring software.

Features of Outsourcing in South Africa

Outsourcing is most often used so that people from South Africa can work for companies in more developed countries, where the level of wages is different. This way, companies save money on employee salaries, and at the same time, employees receive a high level of wages, sometimes even higher than the same position in companies in South Africa. According to Business Chief, there are three companies in South Africa that are members of the Global 500. It is not surprising that these companies also use outsourcing, for example, by hiring specialists from neighboring countries. This helps save the company's budget and office space. In this case, employee monitoring drastically improves the tracking of remote employees.

Most of the time South African employees outsource their work to foreign companies.

The law & employee monitoring in South Africa

In South Africa, employers are generally permitted to monitor employees' work processes, efficiency, productivity, workplace attendance, and activity. However, there are nuances to this, as the law also provides its own framework for employee monitoring. POPIA Act: In South Africa, employers are required to notify employees when their work activity is being monitored and explain the purpose of the monitoring from both legal and ethical perspectives. RICA law: Wiretapping communications is prohibited, except in cases where it is essential for the employer. Generally, employers cannot wiretap communications without a valid reason. However, they can eavesdrop if the messages are related to the business for which the employee works.

To learn more about the laws in South Africa read the article "23 most asked questions on South Africa employee monitoring laws".

Invasive monitoring features, such as keyloggers, microphone taps, and webcam recording, can only be used in specific exceptions when necessary. Typically, these features are forbidden by South African law. Non-invasive features, including keystroke counters, activity monitoring, attendance tracking, task tracking, and internet traffic monitoring, are allowed as they are not considered threats to employee privacy.

WorkTime is a prominent non-invasive monitoring solution in the market. The WorkTime monitoring system complies with South African laws and ethical guidelines.

Privacy expectations in South Africa

In South Africa, privacy is recognized as a fundamental right and is protected by the country's constitution. Therefore, expectations of privacy in South Africa are appropriate. In general, people in South Africa have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their personal information and communications, and the country's laws and regulations provide some degree of protection against breaches of privacy, though it may not be complete. However, there are exceptions to these laws when an employer has to violate an employee's confidentiality. In such cases, it is crucial for the employer to communicate the reason for this action to the employee and not abuse it. Violating an employee's confidentiality is unethical and violates the employer-employee relationship. In general, privacy in South Africa is at a fairly high level, and misconduct by an employer using invasive monitoring can result in administrative penalties against the employer. “In this matter, a private bank employee used his corporate email account during working hours to assist his spouse in the running of her business. This resulted in the employer terminating his employment. The employee challenged his termination on the basis that his employer had infringed his right to data protection and freedom of communication when the employer inspected his corporate email without his prior notice or consent.” - according to the source. This is one example where South African law has dealt fairly with the actions of the employee and the employer, but it is also worth remembering to use personal email or personal messenger accounts for personal needs, as the actions of both employer and employee in this situation are not legitimate, and it can lead to litigation

WorkTime does not use tools to spy on correspondence, such as email or instant messaging.

Monitoring – what’s too invasive for South Africa?

There are employee monitoring functions deemed too invasive even in South Africa. The degree of invasiveness for these functions may vary, but they are generally unwelcome in the country, and employers can be held accountable for using them without justifiable reasons. Some of these features include:
  • Listening to phone calls
  • Continuous listening from the microphone
  • Illegal recording from a webcam device
  • Viewing employee geolocation
  • Use of hidden cameras in the workplace
  • Keylogger, viewing traffic on an employee's personal device

WorkTime does not use any invasive monitoring tools or anything else that could be considered invasive in monitoring.

WorkTime for non-invasive employee monitoring in South Africa

Considering the situation in South Africa, including outsourcing and employee monitoring, WorkTime excels at tracking the workflow of outsourced employees and beyond. Many companies in Africa engage freelancers for temporary, specific tasks. As is widely known, freelancers are challenging to monitor since they are not part of the staff, typically do not work in an office, and their activities during assigned working hours remain unknown. WorkTime monitoring allows for the seamless integration of freelancers into the monitoring system and promptly tracks their workflow. WorkTime monitoring's non-invasive approach ensures compliance with South African laws on monitoring (RICA, POPIA) and other regulations governing employee monitoring in the country. Furthermore, WorkTime monitoring avoids ethical issues and employee concerns by employing non-invasive methods instead of invasive functions. The main functions of WorkTime:
  • Keystroke counter
  • Attendance monitoring
  • Productivity/efficiency
  • App usage
  • Internet usage
  • Active time
  • Inactive time
In summary, WorkTime monitoring is an excellent solution for IT businesses, finance, insurance, government agencies, computerized enterprises, and various other sectors. As the number of remote employees in the country increases, the demand for employee monitoring grows. It is crucial to select a high-quality solution that is non-invasive and compliant with the country's laws and ethical standards, which is precisely what WorkTime offers.

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