What is Email Monitoring?

There are many reasons an organization might consider an email monitoring solution for their teams. Email monitoring can provide an excellent way to improve communication, accountability, and security.

Any company that uses email regularly can access valuable productivity and employee performance data.

This article explains email monitoring and how an organization can leverage it as a cost-effective workforce management strategy.

A manager explores email monitoring software while working remotely

What email monitoring is and what it is not

Email monitoring is a valuable tool companies use to track communication activities and behaviors. Real-time employee email monitoring allows business leaders to:

  • Discover how much time an employee spends checking personal email versus business email

  • Collect data about the content of emails to and from the company

  • Protect digital data from intentional and unintentional security threats and vulnerabilities

This data allows managers to make informed policies about workplace productivity and compliance. Many companies implement email monitoring protocols as part of their overall digital security plan.

Employee monitoring does not, however, allow employers to violate personal privacy boundaries.

Ethical employee monitoring practices are vital for both employee trust and legal compliance. For instance, an employer should not review emails to collect "dirt" they can use to fire an employee.

Suppose an employee has permission to check private email on a business computer. In that case, an employer could not punish a worker based on the content of transmissions in which that employee had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

And without written consent, an employer cannot collect personal information to sell or give to a third party. Protected data can include:

  • Home address

  • Age or birth date

  • Gender

  • Non-business-related buying behaviors

  • Phone numbers

  • Political affiliation

  • Social Security Numbers

Employee email monitoring can improve work and elevate employee morale. You'll only get these benefits if you follow ethical guidelines and if you follow all federal, state, and local employee monitoring laws.

Some states, including Delaware and West Virginia, have enacted employee monitoring laws to protect employee privacy against unlawful surveillance. Be sure to double-check the requirements for your state to make sure you're compliant.

Real-life reasons for email monitoring

Eric Rolfe Greenberg, director of management for the American Management Association, said in an interview with ABC News that monitoring employee emails and server monitoring is "not just a matter of corporate curiosity..." but it's also about "very real worries about productivity and liability."

He said, "Personal email can clog a company's telecommunications system, and sexually explicit or other inappropriate material downloaded from the internet can lead to claims of a hostile work environment."

An employee monitors email from a mobile device

To ensure full compliance, business leaders must protect company assets (such as communication channels) while ensuring employee privacy. This requires a fully compliant, highly-ethical electronic monitoring program.

And the key to your program's success? That lies in creating a transparent and ethical computer monitoring policy.

How does email monitoring work?

Now that you have a basic understanding of the benefits of email monitoring in the workplace and the importance of creating a fair, ethical policy, here's a brief snapshot of how email monitoring works.

What kind of equipment is required?

Most email monitoring tools are software or cloud-based and will work across devices. You'll want to ensure your solution is compatible with your current communication platforms, such as Outlook or Gmail.

For teams that use multiple software tools, such as Office 365 for document creation and Gmail for email, it is essential that you use an app or plugin that works seamlessly with both.

An ideal email tracking solution should also be fully compatible with various browser extensions and add-ins.

Basic tools may have limited reporting capabilities or offer only minimal monitoring features. A fully-integrated solution will provide real-time data that informs better workforce management company policies.

Is an individual software license required for each email account?

Some email monitoring services require individual licenses for each separate email account. In contrast, others offer free tools to monitor email messages as stand-alone components or as complementary add-ons to a larger service package.

What kind of information can be learned from business email tracking?

Email activity tracking can include alerts. Managers can get notifications when emails are received, read, or sent. This data helps department managers track various behaviors, including how quickly employees respond to messages.

This functionality can be especially useful in customer service settings, allowing supervisors to see in real-time if the support team is following response time protocol.

Why is this so important? A Microsoft study revealed that "Nearly two-thirds (58%) of consumers will sever a relationship with a business due to poor customer service."

Benefits of email monitoring

The size of an organization and its goals cause many leaders to look for business benefits in email monitoring.

For example, a small company may be exploring automation as a way to improve workplace productivity, while a large company is primarily concerned about monitoring a rapidly expanding remote workforce.

Sometimes, different departments within a single company have specific goals that drive the decision. Outbound sales, timekeeping, or information processing departments might use sent and received emails as a way of tracking goals.

Employees manage tasks at their development workstations

Workload and task evaluation

Email monitoring data provide opportunities to improve team workload management and schedule workers based on demand, individual performance, and skill.

Capturing performance metrics, such as how long it takes an employee to compose an email and how many emails an employee sends each day, allows companies to evaluate efficiency and bandwidth.

Poor performance may indicate training gaps, a lack of coaching, or unreasonable expectations or deadlines. In some cases, facilitating faster email composition may be as simple as creating templates that team members use to respond to frequently asked questions.

Email monitoring data inform scheduling, training, and staffing decisions to reduce employee burnout and turnover rates. Through monitoring, you can overcover if an employee needs more training to use the appropriate communication tools.

And when employees are regularly assigned more work than they can complete, collected data inform staffing and scheduling decisions. Remember, overworked employees often mean higher turnover rates.

Ensure email security

It might surprise you that almost half of all email message traffic is spam, according to Kaspersky SecureList. And one Valimail (2019) report said more than 3 billion fake emails are sent daily.

Employees who unknowingly open and fall victim to one fake message could open your network to larger-scale email security issues. Real-time email monitoring tools allow IT to spot phishing schemes and other external threats.

Ensuring brand standards, of course, goes beyond data and asset protection. Email tracking and a solid email communications policy that includes email monitoring ensures company policies are followed consistently.

Ensure communication efficiency

Supporting communication efficiency with automation is an excellent way to improve customer engagement.

Automation expedites response times with auto-reply and standardized templates, making it easier for employees to create clear, concise responses to inquiries. Personalized business emails should always maintain a professional tone and structure.

Sending out company email messages that contain errors or are unprofessional can harm a brand's reputation.

When implemented correctly, email communication policy and company email monitoring can ensure effective communication and elevate your reputation.

Top 5 email monitoring tools

There are several excellent email monitoring tools on the market today. Here are five top-rated company email monitoring solutions that fit the needs of organizations of any size.

Microsoft Viva

Viva is a good choice for protecting against data loss and ensuring personal information is protected. A privacy-first philosophy protects personal data and insights based on work patterns.

Plus, email security safeguards help companies enforce legal compliance regulations.

This software integrates with Microsoft Teams.

M365 Manager Plus

M365+ makes the top five list because it offers extensive email traffic report options. Monitor inbound and outbound emails and gain insights into which employee has the highest email volume rates. You can also see spam, malware, and email compliance reports.


Inky claims to have the only email client that offers a "behavioral email security platform." AI informs coaching and training to ensure team members use best practices when working with business email accounts.

Their proprietary algorithms identify and block phishing attacks. Administrators can see attack patterns based on targeted users and dates.

Just Not Sorry – Chrome and Outlook Extension

While this last tool does not provide helpful metrics or protect business email with a sophisticated spam filter, it does monitor email text and content.

Just Not Sorry is a plugin that alerts workers when they use words or sentence structures that may undermine the email message. Companies that have not switched to templates may benefit from this email content monitoring tool.


A screenshot of Hubstaff employee, URL, app, and email monitoring featuresAt Hubstaff, we offer a full suite of products that help companies enhance worker satisfaction and performance.

But it's not just for employee monitoring; Hubstaff customers rave about its workflow management features, user-friendly design, and easy setup.

"Nice user interface, good reporting functions, thorough tracking options, client/project budgets, very good customer support."Ewan M. via GetApp

We do much more than monitoring emails — our proof of work software allows managers to see if employees are spending time in their email clients or being distracted by social media or YouTube. Further, it logs activities such as URL and software usage. These are handy features to see if team members are making the most of their workdays while protecting their privacy.

When employees manage their emails effectively, this will translate into more sales, closed deals, and happier customers. And when you can manage an employee’s workday — more than just their email accounts — you’ll see drastic improvements in efficiency.

We integrate with Outlook, Google Workspace, Gmail, and Office 365. Our apps work across Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices.


Implementing an email monitoring program is easy, cost-effective, and proven to help companies solve many time management challenges in the workplace.

An ideal monitoring solution with a full range of analytics tools helps employers spot training gaps and catch security threats before they cause problems.

Hubstaff tracking and monitoring tools

Hubstaff's monitoring software is compatible with Slack, Asana, Trello, Quickbooks, Salesforce, and more — making it easy to integrate with your favorite apps and tools.

Ready to see how well Hubstaff can take email monitoring to the next level? Set up your free 14-day trial today.

Create email superstars.

Develop more efficient communication with Hubstaff’s email monitoring software

Try Hubstaff free