time tracking application

There’s been a paradigm shift in how organizations approach project timelines, employee productivity, and overall operational effectiveness…and it all begins with time tracking. From startups to established enterprises, the adoption of time tracking apps has become a cornerstone in the pursuit of (synchronized) success. In this article, we’ll explore the experience a business might navigate via the implementation, challenges, and ultimate triumphs of integrating time tracking technology into their workflows.

What is a time tracking app?

Time tracking apps, whether mobile or desktop, serve the common purpose of helping individuals and businesses track and manage their time efficiently. However, there are distinct differences between time tracking mobile apps and desktop software. Here's a back-to-back comparison between the two against some common features:

  1. Accessibility and mobility

    1. Mobile app: highly accessible and provides the flexibility to track time on-the-go. Users can log hours, breaks, and activities from anywhere, making it convenient for those who are frequently away from their desks.
    2. Desktop software: offers robust features, but lacks the portability of a mobile app. Users are typically confined to tracking time when they are at their computer, limiting flexibility.

  2. User interface

    1. Mobile App: simplified user interface optimized for smaller screens. They are designed to be intuitive and easy to use with touch controls, making it simple for users to log their time.
    2. Desktop Software: more extensive features due to the larger screen space, but the interface can be more complex. They might be better suited for detailed tasks and analysis.

  3. Integration

    1. Mobile App: seamlessly integrate with other mobile tools, such as calendars, task management apps, or communication tools, giving a leg up on overall workflow efficiency.
    2. Desktop Software: more extensive integrations with desktop-based applications, such as project management tools, accounting software, or local file systems.

  4. Offline capabilities

    1. Mobile App: some mobile apps offer offline functionality, allowing users to continue tracking time even when they don't have an internet connection. The data is then synced when the device is back online.
    2. Desktop Software: might rely more on a constant internet connection, making offline use less feasible. However, some desktop apps do offer offline capabilities.

  5. Platform compatibility

    1. Mobile App: designed for specific operating systems (iOS, Android) and are optimized for the respective platforms.
    2. Desktop Software: typically designed for Windows, macOS, or Linux, catering to a wider range of operating systems.

How can I keep track of my own hours? 

Whether employees are working remotely or in-office, the need to keep accurate records of their work hours can be critical. From utilizing user-friendly time tracking applications on their smartphones to employing desktop software that seamlessly integrates with project management tools, individuals have a plethora of options at their disposal. At Harvest, we’re all about leveraging empowering ways in which employees can take control of their time, ensuring not only compliance with organizational policies but also facilitating a greater understanding of their own productivity patterns.

To illustrate how a small business might integrate time tracking into their ever-evolving workplace landscape, we’ll tell a little story. Our three characters are Erica  the Entrepreneur, Melanie the Manager, and Kyle the Employee, starring in…

How do I track my employee working hours? (a Notflix Original)

Setting the stage: An employee time tracking app

Melanie, a seasoned manager at We Love Music, notices that her typically stellar employee, Kyle, has been slipping in his productivity lately. Where he used to go beyond his daily quota of writing music reviews, he now barely reaches around 80%. When speaking with him about the decline, Kyle shares that ever since the company merged with We Dig Tunes, he’s been stretched thin. He’s floundering with the number of additional genres he’s assigned to cover (and don’t get him started on the never-ending Taylor Swift media machine - keeping track of ‘Taylor’s Version’ and The Eras Tour with all the endless ‘unreleased’ material).  

After some serious deep thinking on how to help her star team member not be an anti-hero (sorry, we couldn’t resist), Melanie realizes that Kyle needs a way to autonomously manage his working hours as a key component in fostering a productive and harmonious professional life. She discovers her friend and entrepreneur Erica’s time tracking app, Time Tracking Trace.

An implementation challenge: To track employee hours with an app 

When approached with the idea of using a time tracker online to manage his use of time, Kyle understandably resisted. How could this help him? Wasn’t this more of a help for Melanie so she could more closely supervise his work?

Melanie confides with Erica regarding the resistance she faces from her team, most notably Kyle. Having hard this from other customers, Erica encourages Melanie to conduct training sessions to help ensure a smooth transition. Always the visionary, Erica introduces incentives (additional features that are customized for their industry for free, etc) for early adopters to help motivate teams like Melanie’s to embrace the time tracking app.

Achieving synched success: Best time tracking app ever 

As Melanie’s team becomes accustomed to the time tracking app, the company overall experiences increased efficiency, better project timelines, and improved collaboration. The app becomes an integral part of the company culture, helping achieve their goals and establishing a reputation for solid project management.

After his initial skepticism, Kyle becomes a top supporter of time tracking and even conducts further research and starts asking questions like, ‘What is the best app for real time location tracking?’ Encouraged by his enthusiasm, Melanie gives herself a pat on the back - implementing a time tracking app has increased the productivity of her team by 50% and team morale by 90%. Not only does the data reported through the time tracking app help her ensure her team is happy and productive, but it also helps her show her manager how well she’s doing - ensuring her next performance review will be award-winning (she’d like to thank the Academy…)


This story of collaboration, resilience, and company success through productivity and efficiency can also be yours through embracing a time tracking app.

Beyond clocking in: Leveraging advanced features of time tracking apps 

Love the story but need more reasons to adopt a time tracking app for your business? We hear you. Beyond the fundamental task of recording work hours, these apps have often-overlooked aspects and advanced functionalities that extend far beyond basic timekeeping.

In the contemporary landscape of workforce management, the role of time tracking apps has evolved significantly and have eclipsed the traditional notion of clocking in and out. Today, these applications serve as dynamic tools, offering an array of advanced features that contribute to the optimization of business processes. Beyond the fundamental task of recording work hours, time tracking apps have become instrumental in elevating organizational efficiency, productivity, and strategic decision-making.

From facilitating efficient invoicing processes to integrating smoothly with project management tools and providing in-depth analytics for business optimization, these lesser-known features empower organizations to not only manage time but also to refine and enhance their overall operations.

Time tracking apps for invoicing

A noteworthy feature is the capability of time tracking apps to facilitate efficient invoicing processes. Beyond tracking hours, these apps integrate invoicing features, allowing users to generate accurate and detailed invoices based on tracked work hours and tasks. Automated billing processes further streamline the invoicing workflow, automatically calculating billable hours, rates, and additional expenses. The inclusion of customizable invoice templates ensures a professional touch, allowing businesses to tailor their invoices to align with their branding and communication style.

  • Invoicing integration: allows users to generate accurate and detailed invoices based on tracked work hours and tasks
  • Automated billing: automatically calculate billable hours, rates, and additional expenses, streamlining the invoicing workflow and reducing manual effort
  • Customizable invoice templates: enables businesses to tailor invoices to match their branding and communication style, upping the professionalism factor
  • Expense tracking: allows users to log and categorize project-related expenses, helps ensure all billable items are accurately accounted for
  • Real-Time financial insights: helps maintain a clear overview of earnings, outstanding payments, and overall financial health; saving time and facilitates informed decision-making for improved financial management

Time tracking apps for project management 

One of the lesser-known but highly impactful features of time tracking apps is their ability to integrate with project management tools. This integration goes far beyond simple timekeeping, fostering collaboration and efficiency across teams. By synchronizing time data with specific tasks and projects, these apps provide a holistic view of project timelines, task completion rates, and resource utilization. This ensures not only accurate time tracking but also enables project managers to make informed decisions, preventing bottlenecks and optimizing overall project timelines.

  • Project management integration: fosters collaboration and efficiency across teams
  • Task synchronization: sync time data with specific tasks and projects in project management platforms, ensures accurate tracking of time spent on individual project components
  • Resource allocation: provides insights into team member workload, enables managers to distribute tasks effectively and prevent burnout
  • Project timeline optimization: offers real-time data on task completion and time spent to empower project managers to make informed decisions, helping projects stay on track
  • Collaborative analytics: allows teams to collectively analyze data against project milestones; can help increase project transparency and accountability

Time tracking apps for business optimization analytics

Moreover, time tracking apps offer in-depth analytics that transcend basic timekeeping. These analytics provide valuable insights for business optimization, including detailed productivity metrics, project profitability analysis, and resource utilization reports. Businesses can gain a deeper understanding of individual and team performance, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to enhance overall operations.

  • Productivity metrics: allows businesses to assess individual and team performance, aiding in identifying areas for improvement and optimizing workflows
  • Project profitability analysis: by integrating financial data with time-tracking information, businesses can understand the true cost and profitability of each project
  • Resource utilization reports: these can indicate how effectively team members are allocated across different projects, assisting in optimized resource distribution
  • Predictive analytics: offering forecasts based on historical data can help businesses make informed decisions and anticipate potential challenges
  • Customizable dashboards: showcases key performance indicators (KPIs) tied to specific business goals, enhancing visibility and data-driven decision making

Time tracking apps for overall business optimization

The advanced features of time tracking apps extend to predictive analytics, offering forecasts based on historical data. This forward-looking feature assists businesses in anticipating potential challenges, optimizing resource allocation, and making informed decisions for future projects. Customizable dashboards showcase key performance indicators, allowing businesses to track progress toward goals and refine strategies for continuous improvement.

  • Workflow analysis: helps identify bottlenecks, streamlines processes, and optimizes task sequences for improved efficiency
  • Task prioritization: assists in understanding which tasks consume more time which helps businesses prioritize and allocate resources to ensure critical tasks get the necessary attention
  • Employee performance insights: helps to identify top performers as well as recognizes areas for improvement and implements targeted strategies to increase overall team productivity
  • Cost allocation: by associating time entries with specific projects or clients, businesses can accurately calculate project costs, allocate resources, and make informed decisions regarding budgeting and resource management
  • Client and project profitability: integrating time tracking data with financial metrics gives businesses a holistic view of profitability, enabling strategic decision-making for future projects and client engagements
  • Continuous improvement: time tracking apps can contribute to an ethos of continuous improvement within organizations by fostering a culture of efficiency and innovation

Time tracking app integration is the move

As highlighted, the integration of time tracking apps into business processes extends far beyond the basic recording of work hours. In addition to enhanced productivity and streamlined workflows, individual employees experience a sense of empowerment and teams feel increased morale. Ready to learn more about how time tracking apps can become a strategic investment for your business?  Grab your free trial of Harvest today.