Online time tracking can help you monitor your team’s performance, identify improvement areas, or simply track your workers’ attendance. It is also a valuable project management tool—if you want to learn more about it, check our guide to time tracking for project managers.
Employee time tracking offers multiple benefits for organizations. No wonder then that businesses of different sizes and operating in different industries look for perfect employee time tracking tools.
Is there a time tracking software that checks all the boxes for every company out there? Probably not.
But we’re pretty sure that, with a vast landscape of time tracking apps, each company can find a tool that fits their exact needs.
This blog post should help you better understand your organization’s requirements and focus your search for the best time tracking software. The first step is to take a minute and think about the “why” behind your search. Think: what do I want to achieve? Then, picture your team using a time tracking app—how do they do it? Which devices and options do they prefer? Finally, you can pick the features of time tracking apps you will benefit the most from. Once you complete these steps, you have a time tracking software checklist. All you have to do now is check whether any tool you’re evaluating can offer what you need.
Why do you need employee time tracking software?
Before you start browsing the websites of different tools and comparing their features or prices, focus on your company’s needs. It’s absolutely critical that you figure out why you need a time tracking tool in the first place.
Here are some potential reasons. Don’t feel like you have to pick one, but try to prioritize your objectives. Knowing your team’s primary motivation for tracking your team’s time will help you narrow down your search to the tools that best support this goal.
Time tracking software can help you with:
- Billing your clients (especially if you work on time and materials basis),
- Tracking attendance (do your employees show up at work?)
- Monitoring your employees’ work (are they working on their tasks or slacking off?),
- Generating payroll reports (if you pay your team members based on time logged),
- Analyzing the profitability of your projects,
- Calculating billable and non-billable hours of your employees,
- Gathering data to improve internal operations.
Perhaps you have yet another reason for implementing time tracking software at your company. The essential thing is that you spell out your main motivation. Being in the market for a new employee time tracking app, you should focus on tools that bring you closer to that goal.
How will your team use the time tracking software?
Advertising agencies and construction companies may have the same time tracking software but use it very differently. It’s crucial that the tool you end up picking is well suited to the needs of your employees. That’s why you need to picture them using it as you get ready to shop for a time tracking app.
Will your team members need to use their phones to track time, or are they sitting with their laptops most of the days? Does it make sense for your employees to use an automatic time tracker (some tools recognize the apps and websites employees visit and create timesheets based on this kind of data), or do they want to enter their time entries manually?
Getting a clear sense of how your team would use time tracking will help you pick a tool your employees quickly adopt. Otherwise, you risk paying for an app that is inconvenient and time-consuming for people to use.
Which time tracking features are you going to use?
Now that you’re well aware of your company’s objectives and your team’s needs, you can look at particular features of popular time tracking tools and figure out which ones are useful for you. Creating such a “shopping list” of sorts will make you less likely to get swayed by convincing salespeople or marketing copy. You’ll stay focused on your needs and choose software that actually meets them.
Below you’ll find a list of features that you can find in different time tracking apps. Which of these do you need?
- Adding time entries. If you’re looking for a time tracking app, this option is pretty much a given. Various tools will have, however, different approaches to recording time—you need to decide which one(s) will work best for your employees. Some apps allow team members to record the time spent on a given project using a start-stop time tracker. They might also be able to log a time entry by putting it in the timesheet asynchronously. Other tools recognize the websites/apps used by your employees and generate a timesheet with active time spent in each of them.
- Categorizing time entries. This feature will be essential for you when you want to, for example, assess the profitability of your projects by analyzing billable and non-billable hours. If that’s the case for you, find a time tracking app that allows adding custom categories to time entries (like overtime, working from home, training).
- Calculating the cost of each employee/team/project. Some tools allow you to assign hourly rates to each of the team members. Thanks to this feature, you will be able to generate payroll reports and create invoices for your clients. It’s also beneficial to calculate the amount of money your clients should pay for your team’s services.
- Time tracking reports. On top of basic timesheet reports, e.g., how many hours each person recorded, some tools offer more sophisticated analytics. Thanks to time tracking reports you will be able to, say, compare the costs of different projects with their profits.
- Mobile time tracker. Your team will appreciate mobile time tracking if they occasionally need to record their work on the go (business travels, meetings) or if they constantly work outside the office. Time tracking tools that offer a mobile app will be useful for you in that scenario.
- Location tracking. This feature will be handy for businesses with a physically dispersed workforce (e.g., construction or landscaping companies). With such an employee time tracking software, you can see where every team member currently is.
- Automatic GPS clock-in. This is yet another location tracking-based feature. Some tools allow you to define job sites. Once your employee arrives there, they will get a reminder to clock in. Alternatively, clocking time will happen automatically, based on one’s location.
- Screenshots and video recordings. If your main goal is to monitor what your team members do while at work, you might be looking for a time tracking app with screen recording features. Such tools will capture your employees’ screens (via screenshots or recordings), so you can verify what they’re working on.
Is Teamdeck the right time tracking app for your team?
Hopefully this blog post helps you identify your time tracking needs and pick the best tool for your company. Time tracking tools are definitely not “one size fits all” types of software, so we recommend researching your options carefully. Last but not least, we want to give you a quick overview of the time tracking tool we’ve been building over the last five years—Teamdeck. Perhaps it’s the app you’ve been looking for?
Teamdeck – resource management tool for creative teams
Teamdeck is a resource management tool, meaning that, on top of a time tracker, it also offers resource scheduling and leave management features. Essentially it’s a one-stop app for your team where you can plan their work, monitor their performance, and see their availability.
- Platforms – Teamdeck is a web-based app, and it comes with a separate mobile app for time tracking.
- Industries – Most of our clients are creative agencies, software houses, production companies, or startups. Teamdeck has been designed for companies that have to deal with multiple projects at once.
- Adding time entries – Employees can use a start-and-stop time tracker in the mobile app or manually enter the time entries straight to the timesheet. It’s flexible, so even when you forget to track something in real-time, you can add it later.
- Custom categories of time entries – Teamdeck comes with the so-called timesheet tags that allow people to categorize time entries into billable, non-billable, approved overtime, etc.
- Sharable reports – You can generate reports based on your team’s timesheets (employee payroll report, project status report) and share them with people outside of your organization if needed.
- Advanced timesheet analytics – Knowing how much time was spent on different projects allows you to run sophisticated analyses of your projects’ profitability, the difference between estimated and actual costs, etc.
- Pricing – All of Teamdeck’s features are available for $3.99 per team member per month.
If you feel that Teamdeck might be something that checks all the boxes for your team, but you want to see it in action (as you should!), you can schedule a product tour with our customer success experts. We’ll answer all of your questions and show you how Teamdeck will benefit your team.