Are you looking for more insight into how much time your employees spend on projects and tasks? Do you have multiple client projects that your employees work on, and you need a way to track their hours so you can accurately bill your clients for the hours worked? A time tracking app can track employees' hours by running a timer in the background while employees complete their work. It's a great way to make it easy for your employees to track their hours worked without ending the week racking their brains while they fill out a timesheet. While many professional service businesses use time tracking software, it can also help companies with salaried employees get better insight into their employees' productivity, resource planning, and business success.

Need a time tracking example? I'm a full-time employee at Harvest, and my job is to write all kinds of content and articles like this one. Let's say I took an extended leave of absence (a three-month sabbatical to Bali… ah), and Harvest hired a contractor to fill in for me while I was away. Since the contractor would be paid by the hour, meaning they would get paid for every hour they worked on writing articles, my manager would want to know: precisely how long it takes a writer to create an article like this one?

I have my time tracker on (and I'm daydreaming about the beaches of Bali). Thanks to that data, my manager can estimate how much it will cost to pay a contractor to cover my work while I'm away.

What is time tracking software?

Time tracking software captures the amount of time spent on projects and tasks. It’s a valuable tool to manage employee hours worked when businesses bill their clients. Time tracking software eliminates the guesswork about whether a project is profitable. Time tracking software also gives project managers real-time insight into resource allocation and costs, making it easier to scope future projects to ensure profitability.

What is a time tracking app?

A time tracking app is software developed for mobile devices to track hours worked. It typically runs in the background and offers functionality similar to desktop software. The great thing about time tracking apps is that if your employees work remotely and have to travel to client worksites, an app can capture that data and sync it with the project manager in real time.

What are the pros and cons of time tracking software?

The biggest pro to time tracking software is the insights that come from the data. For example, most full-time salaried employees handle multiple work tasks, many of which take varying amounts of time. Time tracking software is a great way to understand which tasks are time intensive and whether they're the best use of your time.

With time tracking software, businesses can spot and eliminate time vacuums (weekly meetings, anyone?) and keep their employees focused on the most critical tasks with minimal distractions.

So, what are the cons of time tracking software? The biggest drawback is that your time tracking software might uncover truths about how your employees work.

For example, it's Saturday night, and I am writing this article outside of traditional working hours. Am I a productive employee or a procrastinating employee? A little of both. The truth is, my job entails more than writing articles full-time. I spend a lot of time collaborating with teams, scoping content, researching, and participating in meetings. But for me to do my best writing, I need uninterrupted time. And this week, that means Saturday night. I am okay with my manager or team seeing my time tracking entry that I'm working while they enjoy their weekend. However, some employees might find it intrusive or an invasion of their privacy.

What is time tracking software needed?

Despite your best efforts to frame time tracking software as a positive to your employees and not a monitoring tool, there will still be some naysayers. And with that doubt comes the question: can you beat time tracking apps or game the system to keep your employer from tracking your work hours? The answer depends on how your time tracking app is configured and how your business prioritizes data capture. For example, suppose your employees are hourly exempt workers, and you rely on a time tracking app to ensure that paychecks are accurate. Overtime hours are recorded and paid at the proper rate. In that case, your time tracking app settings should automatically log hours and alert the team manager and finance team when employee work hours reach a threshold.

Also, suppose you have a client project with a very tight budget, and your Project Manager needs real-time data to manage the budget and client expectations. In that case, time tracking software that integrates with your project management software, like Asana or Monday, will be helpful.

Time tracking software can help you run your business

Time tracking software and apps are crucial in efficiently managing employee hours and project costs. Whether for billing client projects or gaining insights into productivity, these tools provide valuable data. Suppose you're looking for ways to optimize your business. In that case, time tracking data can provide insights into how to scope projects, staff client engagements, and minimize distractions. It's a win-win for your business, clients, and employees.