Time-tracking apps use automation to monitor time both in the workplace and in personal environments. When it comes to monitoring time with dedicated software, the first question you would want to ask is probably this: “How do I know the essential features of a good time-tracking tool, and what software has these basic qualities?”
In this article, we will show you the all-important ingredients of a reliable time tracker, and then we will suggest the ideal tool you can use.
What Are the Benefits of Time-Tracking Software?
First, you should understand that using time-tracking software will greatly serve your business. Some of the benefits include the following:
1. Improved Productivity
By tracking your employees’ activity, you will quickly curb negative attitudes that can hamper productivity in the workplace. Also, you will find it easier to get your staff to focus on attaining their true potential. When people can measure their activities and also monitor their productive hours, they can easily identify the things that drag their productivity down and fix them.
2. Seamless Time Recording
As much as you desire to keep a close watch on employees’ activity, there are other important things that need your attention. Besides, trying to capture time, record billable hours, compute workers’ wages, and also draft clients’ invoices manually will wear you out.
If you use a time tracker, you only need to do a one-time configuration of your time capture settings and present your billing terms. The tool automatically takes care of everything else after that.
3. Increased Transparency
If your staff feels cheated when you point out their laxity at work, the time tracker’s accurate records will provide a peaceful resolution. You can use the information to assess your employees’ productivity and identify grey areas that need to be addressed – and you won’t look unreasonable while doing that.
4. Better Deadline Awareness and Time Management
By observing employee activity in real time, it will be easy to predict completion times for tasks and assignments. Also, you can quickly identify key delay factors. The negative effects of short-term or long-term adjustments will not be readily obvious as you already have a robust time management system in place.
5. A Solid Workplace Culture
By placing a strict emphasis on effective time tracking, you will gradually build a workplace culture of discipline and accountability. That is, your employees will become goal-oriented. Also, they will learn to trust you more and always feel motivated to perform according to the company’s KPIs.
What Are the Essential Features of a Good Time Tracker?
Time-tracking software typically collects data related to the amount of time employees use to finish the tasks assigned to them. It is convenient and more efficient than traditional timesheets, such as Excel, which requires a manual entry for every second or minute worked.
Most business owners are beginning to realize the need to harness such work time analytics for insights and to streamline the different sides of their operations. For example, to accurately calculate the number of productive hours worked by a staff member and manage the employee’s weekly or monthly payments, you can use a time-tracking solution that has an integrated invoicing feature.
On that note, aside from its basic function of monitoring the time spent on projects, a good time tracker should have the following key features:
1. Holistic Time Tracking
Time monitoring alone is not enough. Very importantly, the formats used in presenting the results can make the information more meaningful. Nowadays, some of the best time trackers render the recorded information in a way that makes it easy for managers to filter the time data according to projects, clients, units, and individual tasks. Moreover, it’s a bonus if the software has a simple interface that makes it suitable for multiple purposes.
2. Automated Timesheets
Timesheets help monitor employees’ absence from work, break times, holidays, and the number of hours worked. The feature uses these pieces of information to calculate billable hours and, by extension, monthly/weekly payable amounts for each employee, making it useful for payroll and invoice processing.
Some time trackers lack this feature. However, those with it have a built-in template to generate timesheets in the PDF, CSV, or DOC format. Besides, you can export the results to email.
3. Built-In Tools for Reporting and Analytics
Reliable time-tracking software will allow you to create summaries of each employee’s work. These usually include the following:
- Activity-related details, such as the total number of hours put in by your employee, overall idle time, overall productive time, and the user’s activity levels for each time period.
- Staff performance details, especially related to team projects, so that you can measure each member’s contribution.
- Task-related reports of each team member to view the nature of the job undertaken. Some employees might be clocking big figures while not being engaged with work-related activities.
The Report and Analytics feature of the time tracker should let you generate this data in a few steps.
It is also ideal if the summaries are displayed in chart-like formats or graphs for easy lookups. However, customizable templates will be far more useful.
4. One-Size-Fits-All Project Management Capabilities
Time-tracking software is essentially useful in project management. However, while most of the time-tracking apps on the market tend to include simple modules that make them fit for most small-sized projects, you may find the following project management capabilities missing in many popular time trackers:
- Task grouping among sub-divisions of a team
- Deadline setting for projects and individual tasks
- Progress monitoring for ongoing jobs
- Budget management
The point is, the above may not be necessary for a small business. Still, you can’t ignore these features if you want to ensure projects get completed on time, within budget, and with the desired quality.
5. An Alert Feature for Timely Reminders
A time tracker can be the difference between a delay and a timely response to an issue. For instance, some employees might forget to sign out, in which case the software sends them a notification before they completely vacate the premises. Also, the app should be able to warn you when a deadline is fast approaching and you are behind schedule. In the same way, it should be possible to grant your team members permission to receive such alerts for pending tasks. Some time management apps automatically send such notifications via email, SMS, and chat room (if integrated).
6. Invoice Management
While timesheets help simplify how billable hours are recorded, you may have to manually sort out the invoicing process yourself. However, that is hardly ideal if you charge your clients on an hourly or daily basis. Also, things can get more complicated as your business expands.
So, a separate invoice management feature to track the worked hours and automatically generate billing documents according to the agreed terms must be available in the time tracker. Asides from taking the workload off your shoulders, the tool also ensures that you can send your clients accurate billing details consistently. That will build trust in the long term.
7. Integration With Other Software
Shuffling across various third-party platforms and applications is an inevitable aspect of most projects nowadays. Moreover, the tools might be offering services that make them indispensable to cross-functional teams.
Some examples are as follows:
Time-tracking software that can integrate seamlessly with third-party applications will ease the way you manage your projects. That said, the need for such a multi-purpose time tracker may not be readily noticeable until you streamline your workplace operations. By centralizing useful apps for your project in one place, you can implement long- and short-term performance strategies effectively.
8. A Mobile App
Having time-tracking software that’s accessible on smartphones can contribute to business continuity. Some brands have mobile apps where users can access almost all the functionalities of their time trackers’ desktop versions.
With the mobile version of your time tracking app, you can keep your business running 24/7. In addition, you get to receive real-time updates on progress made with unfinished projects. Also, you can view your employees’ performance levels. On top of that, being able to use a time tracker on your phone can put you ahead of schedule.
It’s an extra benefit if the app is integrated with cloud storage.
What Time Tracker Has All the Necessary Features?
Some excellent options are available out there. That said, while some may be good at letting you have a thorough view of your staff’s activities, they may not be suitable for effective task grouping, and a few top-rated ones are rather niche-limited.
Luckily, there is a powerful time tracker that has all the desired features. This tool is named Traqq Time tracker. It comes with these and some other exciting functions and can be fully accessed for free.
We recommend using Traqq if you want a time tracker with a full suite of features for monitoring your team’s activity and performance.
The use of time trackers is more than just a trend. However, not all time trackers are worth your time. This article covered the key points to consider when selecting time-tracking software.
Did you find the guide helpful? Kindly let us know via the comments section.