In the fast-paced landscape of today's economy, effective time management has become a critical factor in reaching company KPIs and maintaining a competitive edge. As organizations strive for peak efficiency and productivity…and all without a growing budget, teams are increasingly turning to innovative solutions (that they may have declined in the past) to optimize their way of work. One such tool gaining prominence? Time tracker online software, a digital ally in the pursuit of efficient resource allocation.

This article delves into the transformative impact of teams adopting time tracker online software like Harvest. We’ll explore how this technology empowers them to strategically invest their time, ultimately propelling businesses toward sustainable growth and success. By shedding light on the tangible benefits and strategic insights gained from meticulous time tracking, we unravel the ways in which this tool becomes a cornerstone for thriving enterprises and small businesses alike in the contemporary business landscape.

Let's go!

What is a time tracking app?

As you propose this new way of working to your team, you may hear questions like, what is a time tracking app? Simply put, a time tracking app is a digital tool designed to record the amount of time individuals or teams spend on various tasks, projects, or activities. This software typically offers users a user-friendly interface that allows them to input and track time spent on specific assignments or projects in a systematic manner. They often come equipped with features such as timers, manual input options, and categorization tools to help allocate time accurately.

The primary objective of a time tracking app is to provide a comprehensive overview of how time is distributed across different tasks, facilitating a better understanding of work patterns and resource usage. Additionally, many time tracking apps offer reporting and analytics features, enabling users to generate insights into their productivity, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions to enhance overall efficiency. Whether used by freelancers, small businesses, or large enterprises, these apps play a crucial role in fostering accountability, improving time management, and contributing to the overall success of individuals and organizations alike.

Many organizations have relied on logging this info into spreadsheets. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? If this tried and true solution has been proven, why would you move from spreadsheets to a time tracker online?

Bye-bye spreadsheets, hello online time tracking

Tracking time online instead of using spreadsheets offers numerous advantages that contribute to efficiency, accuracy, and overall productivity. We’ll go over ten to consider here.

10 benefits of opting for online time tracking solutions

  1. Real-time accessibility

    Online time tracking allows instant access to data from any location (as long as you have an internet connection, of course). This is especially beneficial for remote teams or individuals working from different locations.

  2. Automation and integration

    Any online time tracking tool worth its salt comes with automation features that reduce manual data entry. They can seamlessly integrate with other project management or accounting tools, streamlining workflows and minimizing errors.

  3. Collaboration and communication

    Online platforms facilitate collaboration by enabling team members to input their time data and share updates in a centralized system. This enhances communication and ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding project timelines and progress.

  4. Mobile accessibility

    Many online time tracking solutions offer mobile apps, allowing users to log their time on the go. This flexibility is essential for most teams now that hybrid and fully remote workforces are the norm.

  5. Data accuracy and validation

    Online time tracking tools often include features for validating and verifying time entries. This helps maintain data accuracy by reducing the likelihood of errors or discrepancies.

  6. Reporting and analytics

    Online platforms typically provide robust reporting and analytics features. These tools can generate detailed reports on project timelines, employee productivity, and resource distribution, offering valuable insights for decision-making.

  7. Automatic reminders

    Online time tracking systems can send automatic reminders to employees to log their time, reducing the chances of forgetfulness or procrastination (we’re looking at you, Todd in Design). This helps in maintaining up-to-date and accurate time records.

  8. Security and data backup

    Cloud-based time tracking solutions often have robust security measures in place, ensuring the safety of sensitive time data. Additionally, automatic data backups protect against the loss of information in case of technical issues or system failures.

  9. Scalability

    Online time tracking tools are often scalable to accommodate the growth of your business. Whether you have a small team or a large enterprise, these solutions can adapt to your changing needs.

  10. Accessibility for managers

    Managers can easily access time data for their teams, allowing for better oversight of projects and workload management.

Overall, online time tracking provides a more dynamic and efficient solution compared to traditional spreadsheets. The real-time nature, automation, and collaborative features improve accuracy, productivity, and overall effectiveness in managing time-related data.

Simple time tracking for teams

The first thing to tackle when integrating time tracking into your business is ensuring teams fully understand what it is and how it helps them achieve their goals faster.  Some day-to-day obstacles faced by your employees that a team time tracking app can solve are:

  • Confusing & clunky timecards

    Harvest customers enjoy simple timesheets, which provide an intuitive, lightweight solution for tracking work hours and projects.

  • Inefficient & mistake-prone spreadsheets

    With an online time tracker, it’s easy for your team to capture time (accurately) across any device.

  • Manual back and forth with multiple apps

    With over 50 integrations, Harvest integrates with the tools your team knows and loves.

Shifting your team toward leveraging time tracking software doesn’t have to be tricky. You’ll want to adopt a user-friendly approach and create a smooth process. Here are some strategies to make embracing time tracking straightforward for your team:

  • Choose intuitive software (more on how to select the right software can be found further down below)

    Select time tracking software with a simple and easy-to-use interface. The easier it is to navigate and use, the more likely your team will embrace and adhere to the tracking process.
  • Clear guidelines

    Provide clear and concise guidelines on how to best leverage the software for their role. Offer training sessions or documentation to help team members understand the purpose, process, and benefits of accurate time tracking.

  • Regular check-ins

    Conduct regular check-ins to address any issues or concerns related to time tracking. Solicit feedback from your team to understand their experiences and make necessary adjustments to enhance simplicity.

  • Customizable options

    Opt for a time tracking system that allows customization based on your team's specific needs. This flexibility ensures that the software aligns with your workflow rather than imposing rigid structures.

  • Encourage transparency

    Foster a culture of transparency around time tracking. Clearly communicate the benefits and the positive impact accurate time tracking can have on individual and team performance.

  • Responsive support

    Choose a software provider with responsive customer support. Quick assistance with any questions or issues can prevent frustration and contribute to a positive experience.

  • Incentives and recognition

    Introduce incentives or recognition programs to motivate your team. Acknowledging and appreciating their efforts in accurate time tracking can boost engagement and compliance.

These strategies can help create an environment where time tracking becomes a simple and integrated aspect of your team's daily workflow, rather than a source of friction.

How to choose the best time tracker for your team

With so many employee time tracking apps on the market, it can be difficult to figure out which one is the right fit for your organization. We’ve put together this list to help you select the best time tracker for your team.

Time tracker selection checklist: 

  1. Develop a framework for your needs

    1. What particular functionalities and attributes are essential for your time tracking software?
    2. What data and reports are required? (when contemplating this, keep in mind not only time tracking, but overall project management…and don’t forget about client invoicing)

      Pro tip: Ensure automated reports are a key aspect of your required functionalities. Implementing automation for your reports enables swift generation of precise project progress updates, offering valuable insights into your team's efficiency. These automated reports serve as a tool to pinpoint areas for enhancement and ensure accountability for everyone's contributions.

  2. Explore a number of choices

    1. After pinpointing the crucial features, embark on your investigation. Streamlining the selection process becomes more straightforward when you have a clear understanding of your must-have features.
    2. Explore reviews of various time tracking software applications to glean insights from fellow users. Evaluate the features each program provides and juxtapose them against your list of requirements

  3. Remember, simplicity is where it’s at

    1. Look for simple time tracker software that boasts user-friendly interfaces and easy-to-understand functionality. When making your selection, take into account the preferences of your team members, as they will collectively engage with the new software.
    2. Prioritize programs with straightforward, easy-to-navigate designs. Ensure the software is complemented by accessible training materials and support options.
    3. A responsive and helpful customer support system is essential for a cohesive experience, preventing the use of your new time tracking software from feeling isolated.

  4. Give your options a test drive

    1. Once you've streamlined your choices, it's time to test them. Capitalize on the free trials that most software programs offer, as this provides valuable insight into their worth.
    2. Experimenting with the software allows you to observe its real-time functionality. Take note of how swiftly you can grasp and navigate the system, evaluating its accuracy and reporting capabilities. Always bear in mind that your entire team will be utilizing the software.

  5. Verify integration compatibility

    1. Consider the scenario where the apps and software currently in use don't seamlessly synchronize with your new time tracking software. Transitioning becomes more complex, involving not only adapting to the new time tracking app but also resolving compatibility issues with existing tools. Not an ideal situation.
    2. During your free trial, ensure that the time tracking software is compatible with other programs you already employ. For instance, if you utilize a project management system, verify that the timesheets generated by your time tracking software can be effortlessly exported into it. This ensures a smoother reporting process and consolidates all your team's data in one centralized location.

  6. Select the winning platform and put it to use

    1. After selecting the time tracking software aligning with your requirements, commence the onboarding process. Start by creating your account and acquainting yourself with the system. Avoid initiating a team-wide launch until a designated point person has gained proficiency with the system - let’s minimize potential frustrations, shall we?
    2. Consider customizing the settings to align with your project's specific requirements. Make the most of any available tutorials or support options offered by the software company to facilitate a smooth integration process.

What is the best time tracking use case?

In three words: to instill trust. To track employee hours, the app should be introduced as one that enables trust in your team. Having an inherent trust that your team understands what they need to do to accomplish their greatest work and how they work best is crucial. This should be highlighted throughout the time tracking adoption process.

Implementing online time tracking is about trusting your team to report what they do as they understand the value of that data as it supports the business and the team. For teams that leverage Harvest, any time entered be included in reports, which helps leaders support their teams to ensure they're not burning out. Rather than asserting control over the team, tracking time online is about collaboration, teamwork, and generating insights that improve the business.

So, what is the simplest way to track time?

Harvest sets out to create a design that is inviting to the user. A simple interface takes what can be a complex task and whittles it down to one that is well-organized. Rather than forms with multiple fields, we took a minimalist approach. It’s extremely simple to track time. Requiring the minimum information needed while instilling value and ensuring the process is seamless and quick (and with a beautiful design that delights the user) helps ensure a simple and highly adoptable process). 

Spend your time wisely with the best online time tracker

Harvest is a web-based way to keep time. It’s intuitive, offering flexible options so that you can track your time and invest when it matters. It seamlessly integrates with a range of other tools and applications, making time management even easier.

To get a jumpstart on introducing time tracking to your team, check out our Time Tracking Introduction Template. If you’re ready to see Harvest in action, grab your free trial today. We’re excited to help you and your team spend time wisely so your business can thrive!