Top employee time tracking apps need to be convenient, easy to use and provide essential data when you need it.
There may be more flash and bang features in some apps – such as integrations to payroll, working Gantt charts or messaging – but bottom line, you need it to track the time it takes for employees to complete activities and log this in some form of timesheet ready for use by payroll.
If you are a small business, just beginning to employ staff and extend beyond sole trading, then you likely need something simple and easy – and mostly inexpensive.
Even if you are scaling up – now moving towards medium-sized and the technological demands of your business are increasing – but you do not yet need a complicated and expensive IT infrastructure – then a simple app is going to be more efficient and offer the best ROI.
Therefore, you need an app that is convenient, and that will make professionals productive.
You also need an app that carefully walks the boundary between useful and invasive – so that you can ensure efficiency without losing the trust and sense well-meaning support from employees.
The last thing the app needs to achieve is a sense of being spied on and then possibly lose any discretionary effort they might offer – so the app must be helpful to the next user, as well as the manager.
Here are the top employee time tracking apps of 2017 – from both Android and iOS – that go some way towards balancing these needs for project managers.
Top Employee Tracking Apps
App 1: HoursTracker
HoursTracker is an app for the professional who hates making manual entries to timesheets.
The professional starts the timer and stops the timer while completing set activities. The app will track not only time but also earnings, expenses, payment periods and breaks.
This is as simple an app as it gets– it does what it suggests – it tracks hours because it gives employees the chance to clock in and clock out instantly. Better still, for employers, it can clock in on entry to company premises and then clock out when they leave.
App 2: Hours
This app is pretty new, but it has a growing reputation and popularity.
The best feature offered in this app is the visual timeline and the smart reminders to specific employees.
There is a one-click feature for tracking time worked, and there are distinct areas where this app is looking to upgrade in the future.
App 3: Hubstaff
With Hubstaff you get online timesheets and project management tools. This app can scale with your business and is easily used by both small business and large corporations.
As the team inputs activities onto timesheets, it is easy to gain an overview of exactly what is being achieved. You can scan through a series of randomised screenshots and activity levels – to dip into what is being done without needing to dig down using hunches.
The major benefit of Hubstaff is its ability to integrate with other applications.
For instance, Hubstaff has also developed automatic payroll that can calculate and send out payments to team members who use the track time facility in the app. It can also work to an hourly rate and a specific payment schedule.
Your employees might find the apps ability to track URLs visited, and apps download a little creepier – and potentially invasive. However, you can choose to use this useful tool – or not – depending on your relationship with your project team.
The best feature of all? Hubstaff, in its basic functionality, is free to download. You can also download the native desktop versions for Mac, Windows and Linux.
App 4: Toggl
Toggl is the app for the manager who loves detailed reports. If you want to see what is happening, when and in what period – then Toggl is your app!
It is more commonly used on PCs as a pretty extensive application – and this has been turned into an Android app. However, developers have also provided an iOS version.
There is the option to set up the app for a single click entry of time – but you need to go in and activate this feature. There is also the option of starting and stopping a timer as you work on your activity within a project.
App 5: TimeWerks
Let’s start by mentioning the reason why you wouldn’t want this app. TimeWerks does not provide detailed reports, and so seeing the work of your team is not as transparent as you would want.
This is a big deal for project managers, and it might be a deal breaker. However, it does deserve mention on the top apps available because there is a backup service that is cloud-based.
This means if your mobile device is destroyed in some random incident, then you can restore your data with a single tap. Highly desirable feature – we thought so.
TimeWerks does have other features that are useful for the smaller business – for instance – you can create profiles for each professional and go into these profiles to adjust their work on the project.
There is a timer that can be started and stopped – if you hate manual entry on time sheets – or you can do it manually if you forget to start the timer. All in all – this is a handy app – and would be at the top of the list if they sorted out the reporting issues.
App 6: Timely
Timely goes about tracking time a little differently to other apps. The idea here is that the professionals plan their time, setting out how they intend to achieve the projects.
This serves as a calendar for the employee too – which is useful in itself – but when the task is complete, the user can send the time taken through to timesheets to be logged.
The benefit of this approach is the setting of good practice of planning the effective and efficient use of time and then the iterative processes of reviewing whether the time was used well for the next time.
Better still, for managers, this provides reports that show how professionals estimate and then use time and help to mentor them to better practices.
As managers, we like this app a lot. As employees, it might feel like a lot more is expected from you.
App 7: Qlaqs Timesheet Pro
The real benefit of this time tracker app is that it tracks the tasks and the projects – as well as the time used by the employees. It also allows managers to set a cost value that must be met with each task – helping in the tight management of a budget.
Better still – it can display multiple times on one screen for different projects you may be managing. There is also functionality to produce invoices, and there are some simple built-in reports.
This sounds like the closest to a full project management application in an app.
Downside? Well, if you want to use it on a mobile and a tablet – it won’t sync – so you must use one or the other. Second, it does not back up your data, and you need Wi-Fi to use the app. These are significant issues for what is otherwise a great app.
App 8: ATracker
This app is most successful in its design – a great interface the is the ultimate in user-friendliness – it can be given to any member of your team and succeed in its purpose.
There is a screen that shows everything an employee needs to achieve through the day and then a quick click shows that this is done.
The reports are high quality in ATracker and give the project manager the chance of assessing what tasks take the longest and why and then evaluating value for money.
A big plus with the app is that it can network sync via Dropbox, meaning there is a daily automatic backup of data.
What is it that makes top employee time tracking apps?
As you can see, there are some standard features that you are going to want to look for.
You want, for instance, to choose an app that manages both the employee and the project. This means that there should be automatic timesheets and the ability to input manual time entries.
Better still, there would be a timer that can be started and stopped by the user as the task is being completed. You realistically also need to be able to sync files on multiple devices, especially if you are a growing business.
You also need the opportunity for back-up to a cloud and the chance to restore projects.
Finally, the best employee time tracking apps work independently on mobile devices and do not need an extensive IT infrastructure in the background – else – you might as well go out and subscribe to some of the best on-premise project management software for purchase.