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Hackernoon logoTop 5 Time Tracking Tools for Remote Workers: 2020 Edition by@aarushi-singh

Top 5 Time Tracking Tools for Remote Workers: 2020 Edition

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@aarushi-singhAarushi Singh

A freelance technical content writer & strategist.

The number of COVID-19 cases are on the rise and as a precautionary measure many countries have shut their doors to practice social distancing. The isolation and complete shutdown of the operations are taking a toll on the corporate world. With most of the people or workforce confined to their homes, companies are left with no choice but to go with WFH strategy.

When working at home, keeping track of time and daily workflow becomes a little strenuous and as a result, effective communication and work goes a little south. Not to mention the lack of transparency between employer and employee. 

Where Lies The Problem

For as they know, you could be lying on bed, eating cheerios and sipping soda pops. And when stats like, “on average a third of workers waste upto 2 hours of their working time daily,” make routine in the news sections and research paper, employer worries get justified. 

The situation calls for a tool that can help employers easily manage, monitor (Not spying of course) and coordinate with their workforce. 

As every industry works on billable hours, no client wants to hear if his project took longer than it should have or discover how few hours your team has spent on "real" work that week. 

The Easy Solution

Fortunately, there is a simple approach to ensure that it doesn't happen to you – time tracking tool. Allowing you to monitor your remote workforce is just one of multiple advantages the tools provide. 

Today, almost every organization is investing their resources to make their remote work culture more efficient. Nearly 82% of companies in the U.S are using remote work culture to foster better work-life balance.

By leveraging time tracking tools, companies can effectively monitor and analyze the productivity of their employees.

How Does A Time Tracking Tool Work Exactly?

It is just a software that lets employers track how many hours their workforce spend on “work.” While employees get to record their time spent on tasks. The tool can be integrated with a project management system like BaseCamp, Trello, Asana and others. 

When an employee begins working, they start the meter or clock. It records their in-time and as long as the clock runs, it records the number of hours the employee is working. When the employee stops the clock because a task has been finished, the tool records the total number of hours worked and at what time the task was finished. The employer can access the data and see if the employee was working or not.

But wait! Is it even ethical?

Privacy Concerns Around Time Tracking Tools

With time tracking tools at their disposal, companies can track what their employees are doing while they are working on their system, and while they are away from it. Along with this, GPS tracking is also a primary feature that many time tracking tools offer these days.

While using a time tracking tool seems fair for companies, a bigger question of whether or not is it ethical to monitor your employee's activities in this manner, and if they are being treated fairly, in the name of maintaining better security and efficiency.

Today, time tracking tools offer flexibility to remote workers as well. For instance, it's completely up to them when they clock out or shut off the application once their shift is over. Time tracking apps also come with an array of best practices for both remote workers and employers, such as storing only necessary data, avoiding storing sensitive data, etc.

At the moment, there are tons of time tracking applications available but how do you choose the best one for you? 

Different Time Tracking Tools

As we said, there are numerous TTT out there but they all fall under some category. That way, it's easier for buyers to find it directly just by searching for the category. Let’s take a look:

Integratable with project management systems

There are tools that come integrated with project management systems or come with a feature that lets you link both. That helps in viewing available resources for a task, plan and create schedule with availability of task force, real-time tracking of job progress, file sharing, generate invoice and make payments and also an independent time tracker.

Compiled with Invoice Software

An invoice generating software dedicated to produce custom invoices based on the hours you have worked. The time tracking lets you calculate the billable hours with your hourly rates. The system is considered fair and transparent while the client feels satisfied for paying exactly what you have worked for.

Just a Time Tracker

The one with basic features like time tracking and a time sheet for the employee. The tool lets a user start the time when beginning to work and stop it when done. The entries made during a period can later be seen. Users can also manually add the time if they choose to.

The tool provides options to differentiate time by the project worked upon, added tags, associated clients and more. Later, all the data can be procured into a complete report for review.

Automated Time Tracker

Quite obviously the tool tracks time spent on work. How much you used your computer to work, how much you used your smartphone for work, how much time you actually spent working on the project, how much time you dedicated towards various assigned tasks like designing a banner in Adobe Illustrator and finally, time you wasted idling.

Things to consider before you choose a time tracking app or software or tool.

Not every time tracking tool is ideal for everybody with different usage, that is why you have to figure out a few points first.

Evaluate your needs 

Look at the work you have and how you will be working. Will the team be involved or do you require to be in compliance with the Defense Contract Audit Agency? Depending on the needs, pen down what basic features are compulsory in a time tracking tool that you need. Features that allow

  • Real-time monitoring of the time you spend on work or making manual changes to the time sheet.
  • Time entry editing.
  • Parsing created projects into doable tasks and linking the right client with it.
  • Put different tags to categorize the work done.
  • Show billed time and hourly charges.
  • Export generated reports from client into different file formats such as XLS, CSV or PDF
  • Check team member’s progress and activity.

Preferred Integration

If you are using a project management system such as Trello or Basecamp, then you’d require a time tracking tool that not just goes with your need but also allow you to integrate with your project management software. Be it developers, business coaches or managers, everybody uses management software so you have to find the right one.

Ease of Use

If you are deciding to get you a time tracking tool so you could manage time more efficiently, you’d want to invest in a tool that’s easy to use otherwise it's pointless. Saving time is the goal here, not the opposite.

The most simple and yet powerful tools will always be outright about their basic features. Meaning you’d be able to get along just fine within a matter of minutes and few clicks. If you still feel hesitant, do give some tools a try and whichever feels easiest to use, buy that.

Platforms

By platform we mean the device you’ll use to run the tool. Some people would use it on smartphones (Android iOS), their iPads and computers (Windows, mac, Linux) while others keep their work limited to their laptops. If you’re clear about your usage and platforms, single or multi, it makes buying the time tracking tool even simpler.

You know the different tools category and what to consider before choosing a TTT, it’s time we tell you which type to choose based on your type of work.

For Businesses of All Types

For Freelance and Remote Workers

A basic time tracker offering multiple time tracking events will be the right option. This tool will not only allow real-time tracking but also manually adding or editing the entries. Because both the remote workers and freelancers independently handle their task on their own, it's important to maintain a degree of transparency while also having easy access to your work progress. SO a tool with exceptional report creating and sharing options will be the best.

To ensure your work productivity is never at stake, try out these time tracking tools to monitor your remote workforce.

Time Doctor (Ideal for Large Teams)

Time Doctor may not be the easiest or attractive time tracking solution, but it's definitely the smartest, sleekest and most user-friendly tool. Time Doctor effortlessly combines the basic project management software with the most exceptional time tracking aspects to provide a balance, the majority of the remote workforce should love. Companies wishing to monitor their employees through tools should definitely give it go. 

PROS

  • In-depth reports, time sheets, and more
  • Automated screenshots that help monitor activity
  • Compatible with Windows, Linux, Mac, iPhone & Chrome app
  • Integrates with leading project management and accounting tools such as JIRA, Trello, Asana, Basecamp, Salesforce, Slack, Podio, Google Apps, Yammer, GitHub, etc
  • Tracks breaks and time spent away from the computer
  • Measures billable/non-billable hours
  • Facilitates payments and invoices within the console

CONS

  • Syncing can be incorrect while switching between different systems.

Everhour (Manage and View Team Availability)

Everhour's easy way of data entry offers a nifty integration of project tracking and billable hours. The intuitive tool reduces the effort to report the working hours on different projects. Going a mile extra, it provides a way to get a grip on a project by defining budgets. With an organized set of working hours, you can customize reports and run data exports using APIs. Everhour is mostly suitable for organizations looking for project tracking, set budgets and alerts, split billable and non-billable hours. Also, work scheduling and monitoring workload and time-offs. 

PROS

  • Seamless integrations with leading management software and accounting tools
  • Offers clock-in and clock-out
  • Measures billable/non-billable hours
  • Offers reminders to track time

CONS

  • Doesn't have a flat-rate and retainer pricing
  • Doesn't offer much flexibility when it comes to browser

Velocity (Generate Custom Reports)

Simplifying project management and team collaboration, Velocity helps organizations have a detailed graphical report for performance improvisation. Velocity also enables users to create precise reports with ease and offers dashboards and analytics to help the team have a basis of reference. 

What makes Velocity special is its feature to generate custom reports as per demand. The project management tool specializes in top charts and detailed information with the help of which organizations can gain insights, make informed decisions, provide better estimates, and find opportunities for growth.

PROS 

  • Custom data visualization with fast processing
  • Organized custom reports and dashboard
  • Offers custom report builder
  • Provides email scheduler

CONS

  • Lack of in-depth insights
  • The App is not entirely feasible; multiple screen switching causes trouble. 

Outplanr (Check Available Resources)

Outplanr enables users to keep track of their work progress in real-time and compares their performance over previous projects. Being an effective performance evaluating tool, Outplanr balances teamwork and ensures each member is not overworked. It mostly caters to ongoing works that can be reiterated, unlike individual projects. With its simple user interface, Outplanr makes work life easier, turning to-do lists into clear work plans.

PROS

  • Offers quick and easy uploads
  • Benefits with risk analysis and issue tracking
  • Integrations with Slack, Asana, Outlook, iCalender, Google Calendar, etc.

CONS

  • Complicates multiple user accesses and permissions
  • Lack of in-depth reporting in case of numerous users

Toggl (Offers Free Option)

Toggl is an easy to use timer-based time tracking application. By supporting multiple integrations, the tool is an excellent choice for agile teams to adopt to its technicalities. It also eases setting up different tasks allotted for the same project through the sub-projects feature. For businesses looking for a time tracker and nothing more, Toggl is an appealing choice. 

PROS

  • Supports multiple integrations
  • Tracking reminders
  • Offers calendar integration
  • Provides better functionality and invoicing options
  • Get billable reports

CONS 

  • Linking time to cost/billing, invoicing, and adding new projects is cumbersome.

Takeaway

Every business faces some common challenges like strict deadlines, lack of time management and slow progress. To enhance work productivity, time tracking and project management tools are of great help. At a time when every company is working off-site, time tracking tools ensure productivity within the estimated timelines and budget. In the end, transparency and accuracy lead a business to achieve success.

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