Software that tracks time can be a valuable tool for people and businesses that want to be more productive and efficient.
With the right time-tracking software, you can keep track of your time electronically, keep an eye on your remote employee time-tracking software, and make accurate invoices for clients.
This guide will give you an overview of time-tracking software and discuss the essential features to look for when picking a solution. We will also give you a list of the best time-tracking software options available in 2023, so you can find the suitable one for your needs.
This guide will help you find the right time-tracking software to meet your goals. Whether you are a freelancer looking to track your billable hours or a small business owner looking for a more robust solution for your team.
How do you Track time?
Time tracking is the technique of keeping track of and writing down how much time everyone in your business spends working. It helps companies to figure out what their employees do during work hours like project management and project planning.
You can use this information to make invoices for clients and pay hourly workers or freelancers. Businesses like landscaping, digital agencies, software developers, and construction companies use time tracking in some way.
Timesheets are used by both in-office and remote teams, as well as field-based businesses because they make payments and billing easier. To bill the right amount, you need to know which clients were helped and when.
Time tracking helps businesses in several ways. Next, we’ll talk about the four biggest ones.
Tracking time has Four Major Benefits.
Are you losing revenue? Do you want to work on projects but need more time? Wasted time and inefficient workflows may be costing you.
A Time tracking tool might reveal what you’re missing and how to fix it. Having a time tracker and accurate timekeeping have four key benefits.
1. Stops making a loss and bills your clients better
Time tracking lets you figure out what causes you to lose the most money, such as:
- Lack of efficiency
- If you don’t measure your marketing efforts,
- Late payments from your clients
- Service fees for things you don’t use or don’t need
- Rent, office supplies, and other expenses related to the office
A lot of these things work together. For example, if your workflows need to be fixed, you might think you need seven people to do a job that only needs five, which can cause you to hire too many people.
When you hire too many people, your costs go up, even if you make less money. This means that your business will have to pay more. When you have more employees, you end up using more services and needing more equipment, and the cycle keeps going.
Since all of these problems come from the same place, you can fix them with the same solution.
Here’s how keeping track of your time can help you deal with some common problems:
Workflows that don’t work well: This is a big deal. Keeping track of time can help you find the weak spots in your system. If you don’t know where your team’s time is going, you can’t figure out what’s slowing things down.
Let’s look at a specific case. On your team, a front-end designer has been given seven tasks and works 40 hours a week, while a part-time developer is waiting for jobs.
If this is the case, you must fix your staffing or project plan. Your workflow isn’t as smooth as it could be, and projects pile up with your designer because they all get to that stage simultaneously.
You can look at the steps before design to see if your project schedules are off or if you need more designers to keep up with the amount of work.
Overstaffing: It’s easy to tell if the resources assigned to a project match the amount of work and project scope if you keep track of how productive each person on your team is.
You can also see who needs to be used more and move them to other projects if you need to.
Some software options include activity rates, which give time tracking more context.
If the activity level of one person who usually works at 60% has dropped to 20%, they might need more to do. This can make you do a check-in, so you only hire a few people or hire people when there isn’t enough work for them to do.
Marketing efforts that can’t be measured: keeping track of time helps you figure out ROI.
For example, if you paid a freelancer $200 to write a blog post and your content marketer $40 to edit it, and your average client is worth about $480 a year, and if each post brought in one customer, you’d have a 200% ROI.
Most time, tracking tools have integrations that let you manage invoices and payment reminders from the same dashboard. This makes it much easier to get paid on time.
So you no longer have to waste time looking through your emails. You’ll know when the invoice was sent, if it was opened, and if it was paid. Some apps even let you set them up to automatically send reminders, which can be annoying but is necessary to make sure the money comes in when it’s supposed to.
Charges for services you don’t want: Keep track of what apps your employees are using so you can figure out which ones are worth the subscription fee.
Some tools let you track time and see which apps and URLs were used. Your team may say that they need that expensive analytics and reporting dashboard, but when you look at the URL reports, you can see that it’s barely being used.
This is also true in reverse. If a team member spends hours every week on one task, there’s probably a tool that can speed things up and take work off their plate.
Rent: Time tracking gives you the confidence to hire remote workers, freelancers, and contractors, which lets you cut your overhead costs by a lot. You won’t feel tied down to an office when you have the tools to work from home.
Most companies now know the benefits of remote work, so giving up office space and the costs that come with it can seem less risky than it used to.
2. Make things more open and trustworthy
Time tracking can boost company trust and transparency.
Any office or industry can have micromanaging bosses or micromanaging employees.
Remote jobs can cause it.
Time tracking lets a project management tool know which projects are being worked on. Workers feel trustworthy and empowered. Since initiatives are visible, they won’t need to report as regularly.
Managers and team members who track time follow the same rules. It all builds trust.
Tell employees what data your time monitoring tool collects. Hubstaff helps remote employees trust their employers because they know what information they’re supplying when tracking time. The app indicates time tracking and screenshots (if that feature is turned on). Additionally, everyone can access their data.
You may need to learn about difficulties that make employees work longer. After work piles up and project deadlines are missed, most managers see a bottleneck.
Unresolved bottlenecks can lead to disgruntled customers, irritated employees, wasted time, and lost income.
Signs of workflow bottlenecks:
- Quality control tasks typically stall.
- Assigning responsibilities to a team member causes delays.
- Some teams or departments are always active, while others have lots of downtimes.
These indicate your procedure could be more efficient. Time tracking identifies underutilized and overworked employees.
3. Boost Efficiency in Your Work
Have you heard, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”? Peter Drucker, the father of contemporary company management, said it.
This underpins time tracking and productivity measurement. Measurement helps you improve productivity.
The average worker is productive for two hours and 23 minutes in an 8-hour day. Time tracking is about learning from behaviors and using the information to make decisions, not creating excessive expectations.
You may estimate your team’s work completion time by tracking their time. This lets you set realistic timelines.
4. Make better estimates for projects
No one loves rushing. That happens when a marketer has two hours to do a 12-hour job. Recording project durations help you plan.
Ask a team member to estimate a task’s duration. It’s easy because they’re nearby or on Slack.
You can use time monitoring data instead of having them think about a past project and guess how many hours it took. Estimate your team’s completion time using similar projects.
This reduces team communication, not to mention the recriminations if the estimate needs to be more accurate. Next, your team may expect six weeks to construct a new website.
As you work on the project, you realize that adding all the features will take twice as long. One of your front-end developers becomes sick, overloading the other and delaying the project.
These occur frequently. The planning fallacy describes this error. Most people underestimate their time. Timekeeping prevents this.
How to Choose Time Tracking Software to Keep Track of Time
Ready to try out some new software? When choosing a tool to track time, you should consider three main things.
- Is it easy to use?
- Does it come with everything you need?
- Does it work with the other things you’re using?
Is it Easy to Use?
New software usually requires learning. Move data, create accounts, add clients, etc. Everything takes time.
After setup, you want the software to simplify your life.
Time tracking should be easy, even if management wants a fancy app.
Thus, your staff should find timekeeping simple. Managers may desire sections of thorough reporting. When choosing a time-tracking tool, consider it easy for your team to start and stop it.
Use their customer support tools to determine ease of use. Can you view videos and share them with your team? Is their customer service helpful?
Check the time tracking software’s reviews for customer service feedback. Live chat can estimate delay time with several tools. These show how difficult it is to reach someone.
More than easy-to-use automation, choose the best for your company. Does the app remind you to start or stop tracking? Does it automatically track its location? Does it provide scheduling to track late or early shifts?
These features simplify timekeeping. Check these to make sure your new time-tracking method is straightforward to use.
Does time tracking softwares come with everything you need?
Consider your characteristics before signing up.
One solution beats combining apps and utilizing spreadsheets to view everything.
Do you want to implement employee monitoring software? Would you prefer project budgeting and payroll? List your desired characteristics and their importance. This helps you choose.
Most firms would benefit from a timekeeping solution that includes the following:
Tracking time should include what was done. Activity levels, apps, URLs, and optional screenshots make timesheets more meaningful.
Automate timesheet export and invoice sending using time-tracking software. Based on team member hours and billing rates or time spent, certain technologies can automatically create line items and totals.
Any firm should budget projects.
Find software that helps you define a project budget and informs you when your team is close to exceeding hours or expenditures. This will help if overspending keeps you awake at night.
Can the app calculate your debt using logged time? Can integration automate payments?
Save time manually creating time-tracking reports. Find a way to generate and email messages automatically. Advanced programs can save filters and generate frequent reports.
Does it work with the other things you’re using?
Time tracking software must be compatible with other software like project management tools.
GitHub-compatible tools may benefit software companies. However, a sales organization needs a technology that works with its sales reps’ CRM.
If you want to track customer support team time, find a time-tracking solution that works with your help desk software.
Before signing up, check for integrations to avoid moving anything.
How to Use Data from Time Tracking to Boost Performance
One of the best things about the software that tracks time is that it lets an organization collect and analyze data about how time is spent. By keeping track of employee hours, project progress, and completed tasks, businesses can find places to improve and make their workflows as efficient as possible.
Here are a few ways to improve performance by using data from time-tracking software:
By looking at the time spent on different tasks and projects, you can find any bottlenecks that may need to be fixed or improved. This can help you put tasks in order of importance and use your resources more wisely.
Improve resource allocation
Time-tracking software can help determine which employees are the most productive and which tasks take up the most time. This will help you decide how to use your resources best. You can use this information to assign tasks more efficiently and better use your team’s skills and knowledge.
Set goals and keep track of your progress
Time tracking apps can help you set goals that can be measured and keep track of how far you’ve come toward achieving them. By looking at how much time is spent on different tasks and projects, you can see where you’re making progress and where there may be room for improvement.
Improve project management
Software that tracks time can give you valuable information about how different projects are going. This can help you spot potential problems and make any necessary changes. This can help make sure projects get done on time and within budget.
Businesses can improve their performance and get better results by using the data that time-tracking software gives them.
How to Get Employees to Agree that Time Tracking is a Good Idea
It would be best to introduce time tracking software to your team now that you understand its value, how to pick the best solution, how many hours spent working, and how to maximize its potential.
Many businesses already have a time-tracking system in place; the next step is to train employees on the new system and workflow.
On the other hand, sometimes everything is brand new, and proper onboarding and task management are required to guarantee team buy-in.
No matter what you do now, these four actions will help you win support for a new time-tracking system.
1. Why is it important to keep track of time?
Tell your employees everything that time tracking can do for them. Tell them how it can help them show off their progress, keep them from getting burned out, and get more done.
Time tracking keeps a record of everything an employee does, so there’s no question about how much they’ve helped.
Most of the time, you can schedule a demo or share a video walkthrough that helps explain what the software is for.
2. Address the most common worries
Assure your employees that you’ll protect their privacy and let them see all the information you’ve collected about their time. Tell them you’re not going to track their time because you don’t trust them. Instead, you want to find bottlenecks and give everyone more time to work on one thing at a time.
To help with this, get in touch with your software’s customer support or sales teams to find materials you can give to your employees.
3. Teach employees how to use software that keeps track of time.
It is essential to teach your employees how to use the software. This will ensure they know how to keep accurate time records and are aware of employee monitoring.
This is more than just getting started. Plan to check in between five and fourteen days after you start because as your team gets to know each other better, questions may arise.
If you have any questions, remember to contact customer service. During this phase, plan a walkthrough for your team.
Creating a list of frequently asked questions and writing down a policy for tracking time are also good things to do. You can give this to your team to increase employee productivity and ask for their feedback to make the process more collaborative.
4. Show the way.
Start by keeping track of your own time and telling your employees what you find. This will give them a reason to start keeping track of their own time.
With daily summaries and reports, in just a few clicks, it should be easy to take a screenshot or forward your own time tracking to reinforce what you can learn about your habits.
Start Better Keeping Track of Time Today
If you follow the advice given here and settle on a suitable time tracker, you will be able to:
- Stop losing money in unneeded places.
- Have more openness.
- Boost efficiency and output.
- Get better results from your estimations and boost your profits.
You sound ready to embark on your journey on Time Tracking Software!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I choose the best time tracking software?
Before making a decision, these are the most crucial factors to think about. You should prioritize features like time tracking and reporting, team management, cost, accessibility, customer service, training materials, platforms, integrations, and simplicity of use.
Is Clockify completely free?
Clockify is an app that lets you keep track of the time you spend working on different projects. Everyone can use it for free forever. It’s free to start time tracking.
How do project managers track hours?
Time Tracking a project time is easier and more accurate when you use software to keep track of time. With the software, workers have to keep track of their time as soon as they start working. Most software for tracking time has a start/stop button that lets you track time manually. Still, you can also employ an automatic time-tracking system.
Best Time Tracking Software: Our Top Picks
In conclusion, businesses and people who want to be more productive and efficient can benefit from using time-tracking software.
By keeping track of and analyzing the time you spend on tasks and projects, you can find bottlenecks in your workflow, bill clients for your time, and track the progress of team projects.
There are many different kinds of time tracking software, such as apps that work on their own, browser add-ons, and tools that work with other productivity tools.
When picking a time tracking solution, it’s important to consider your needs, your budget, and the features and functions each option offers. This guide has given you a good overview of the different types of time-tracking software and helped you find the best one for your needs.