guide-time-tracking-tools

Your Ultimate Guide To Time Tracking Tools That Will 10x Remote Employee Productivity

In the modern era of technology, telecommuting, which is another name for remote work, is no longer a surprise.

Today people should not necessarily work in the office – they rather stay at home or go to the nearest coffee shop or coworking and “commute” via the Internet.

Telecommuting seems to be a win-win both for the employee and employer.

That is, the employee saves lots of time and becomes more flexible whereas the employer gets a more productive worker and saves on administrative costs such as office space rent.

How do companies control their remote teams?

Even the in-house workers are sometimes subject to strict control by their employers. For example, recent research by Gartner has shown that 57% of companies out of 239 surveyed are going to monitor the employee data with special tracking software.

Companies track their employees for two key reasons: to remain secure and to monitor the productivity of workers.  

Specifically, they would like to control the movement, texts in internal messaging systems, workspace usage and biometric monitoring. Such tracking is especially helpful in places such as call centers to monitor employee productivity and compliance with the rules. Also, monitoring employee activity minimizes the issue of trust between remote development teams and their managers. 

Other use cases of employee tracking software can be found in the governmental, medical, and financial institutions, i.e. places where sensitive data is involved.

When it comes to remote employee monitoring, these reasons still remain the same but no surveillance cameras are needed – the software tailored to the specific needs of remote teams will be enough.

In this article, we will explain how to choose the right employee monitoring software to manage your remote workers and highlight the top 10 tools that we recommend.

Choosing the right employee time tracking app

Simply put, an employee time tracker app is a tool that logs the time of an employee that they spend working on specific tasks. Basically, all of these apps are the same, but each of them also has its own specific features. Therefore, it is important to choose the best time tracking app that will meet the needs of your remote team – because all teams are different, you know.

 

Currently, the following types of time tracking apps are available on the market:

  • Employee based time trackers. This type of trackers is designed for employees who spend most of their working time on the go, e.g. employees that deliver services at the clients’ homes or those who make sales calls. Such trackers use the GPS data, customer signatures, and the time and location stamps.
  • Automatic time trackers or desktop monitoring software. If an employee uses a single device for work, i.e. a laptop or desktop computer, this computer may have the pre-installed software that automatically tracks the work of the employee until they turn off the computer. It is also possible to customize such software so that it can monitor the number of hours spent on specific tasks.
  • Cloud-based time trackers. This type of software requires no installation and can work directly from the web browser, with all data stored in the cloud. Employees can log hours and employers can approve them from nearly any location or device with a stable internet connection. Cloud servers can quickly process large amounts of data in real time. For this reason, a cloud-based tracker is a perfect solution for companies that have a very big number of remote workers.

Important to mention, the employees monitoring software can offer the following functionality:

  • Basic time tracking. This is the most basic software that includes time tracking only. Such software captures the worked hours in real time and records them in a time sheet, which can be further exported to an Excel or CSV file.
  • Keystroke logging. In addition to clock monitoring, some time trackers can also record the employee’s keystrokes. When there are no keystrokes for a set time period, the software stops tracking.
  • Screenshot and video recording. A time tracker can also make the screenshots of the employee’s monitor and in some cases even record videos. The shooting occurs at random time slots so the person cannot adjust their actions to the screenshot.
  • Location monitoring. If the software has a built-in GPS module, it can track the location of the employee.
  • Productivity tracker. This feature of a time tracking app gives users a detailed insight into the remote staff’s productivity with the help of in-depth progress reports. Freelancers often use apps with such features with the purpose of self-monitoring.

Top 10 Time Tracking Tools

We have prepared a list of 10 remote employee monitoring software products that we consider the best and highlighted their pros and cons. Feel free to browse this list and choose the optimal solution for your business.

#1. Time Doctor

guide-time-tracking-toolsPros:

The app is easy to use and intuitive. It provides the ability to create invoices based on the hours worked directly from the app. You can track the individual performance and productivity of each employee. You can also track the time by project and get the reports via email.

Cons:

Requires a desktop app or Chrome extension to use the stopwatch feature. Somewhat limited graphical display functionality.

Bottom line:

Time Doctor is suitable both for employee monitoring and project management. It has some limitations, but in general, it is a powerful employee tracking software product.

#2. TSheets

guide-time-tracking-toolsPros:

TSHeets seamlessly integrates with QuickBooks and other accounting/payroll software. Before an employee checks in, it is possible to make their photo with TSHeets to verify their identity. The app has excellent customer support resources, such as webinars, blog, knowledge center, and support group.

Cons:

Limited reporting and customization. Sometimes syncing with QuickBooks can be buggy. Bugs can also be found in the mobile version.

Bottom line:

Despite some minor issues with reporting and customization, TSHeets includes almost everything a company may need to track its remote employees, from any device and any location.

#3. Harvest

guide-time-tracking-tools

Pros:

The app is mobile friendly, cross-platform, and can be accessed from anywhere. You can track time against projects and individual tasks. Harvest supports payment/invoicing via PayPal, Stripe, Xero accounting and offers seamless integration with project management tools, such as Asana. 

Cons:

Can be difficult to scale for growing teams. The time tracking feature is limited by two projects only. No daily breakdown by projects. Lack of permission sets.

Bottom line:

Harvest is perfect for small teams and individual freelancers. However, if you are planning to grow and scale, the current feature set may be not enough.

#4. Toggl

guide-time-tracking-tools

Pros:

Toggl is free to use for a team of 5 members or less. The reporting tool is very intuitive with an unlimited number of projects available for free version users. The app also has an API for integration and in-depth customization functionalities. Besides, it is easy to synchronize across multiple devices. 

Cons:

No scheduling, invoicing, or other extra features beyond the basic time tracking. The desktop app has less functionality than the mobile version.

Bottom line:

Toggl is a simple, easy to use, and highly customizable app for small teams with a big number of projects that need only the time tracking functionality.

#5. TimeCamp

guide-time-tracking-toolsPros:

The app is flexible and can be integrated with various tools. It tracks each window that is viewed and the amount of time spent on specific windows. Works across multiple devices and has a browser extension. Offers the in-depth reporting capability. Enables the users to edit incorrect entries.

Cons:

Sometimes the total time is calculated incorrectly. Graphical visualization is available only for the mobile version.

Bottom line:

Despite some minor issues and bugs, TimeCamp employee tracking software is flexible, easy to use, and offers comprehensive tracking functionality, such as the calculation of time per window or app.

#6. I Done This

guide-time-tracking-toolsPros:

This lightweight progress tracking tool is designed specifically for remote teams. It enables asynchronous communication between remote team members. Supports the check-ins via email and integrations with tools such as GitHub or Slack.

Cons:

It may be difficult to edit the entries. The comments section works poorly. Despite the simple and intuitive user interface, the admin panel is somewhat difficult to use. Limited reporting and graphical visualization capabilities.

Bottom line:

I Done This is perfect for tracking the time of distributed teams in different time zones that would like to stay in sync.

#7. VeriClock

time-tracking-tools-guidePros:

The tool is easy to use both for the end users and admins, with affordable pricing. VeriClock is cloud-based and can be accessed from anywhere. It also features the easy hourly billing, ability to monitor the costs in real time, and payroll integration. Nice customer support via chat.

Cons:

Only 1 GB of storage capacity. Cannot schedule time in the future.

Bottom line:

The app has some minor issues, but overall it is affordable and highly customizable.

#8. Teramind

guide-time-tracking-toolsPros:

Teramind is packed with useful remote employee monitoring features, such as keystroke logging, on-screen recordings, screenshots, advanced reporting, remote desktop control, location tracking, etc. Despite such a large number of features, both cloud and hosted versions of the app are easy to use.

Cons:

The price of the cloud version is a bit high. The abundance of features can be overwhelming.

Summary:

Teramind is a comprehensive remote employee time tracking app that can meet the needs of almost any company.

#9. Hubstaff

guide-time-tracking-toolsPros:

Automatic screenshots. Employee GPS tracking. Integration with payroll and other services. Timesheet templates. Screenshots and keystroke monitoring. Allows reports for a customized date range. Lightweight user interface. Easy to onboard new employees.

Cons:

Lack of customization and advanced reporting. The stopwatch feature requires an additional desktop app. No restrictions by IP addresses.

Summary:

Hubstaff has the core functionality required to monitor the remote team. However, it lacks customization for more in-depth insights.

#10. Tick

guide-time-tracking-toolsPros:

The app can track time against the estimated budget and timeline of the project. Makes it possible to assign the team members who can add time to the projects and set recurring projects to auto reset every month.

With each new entry in the timesheet, the app automatically estimates the time required to complete the specific project or task. Tick can also send alerts when the time or budget is not enough to complete the set deliverable. Can be integrated with payroll software.

Cons:

Users can forget to log in their time because the app is always in the background mode.

Bottom line:

Tick is a good option for small businesses and startups that need to stay up to date with their budget and timeline.

Wrap Up

Employee tracking software is a must for any team, be it a co-located or distributed team.

However, remote teams need it even more because it is easier to cheat with hours worked when being far away from each other.

We hope that our top 10 list will help you choose the best time tracking app for your particular project.

Want to boost your remote workers’ productivity? Learn how to keep your remote employees happy and engaged with our detailed how-to guide.

Mary Atamaniuk

Mary Atamaniuk is a content writer at YouTeam — a curated b2b tech talent marketplace that matches businesses with dedicated development teams from pre-vetted software outsourcing agencies.

Mary's areas of interest include digital marketing, tech entrepreneurship, and influencer blogging.

Add comment

Subscribe