Trying to track employee hours using Excel spreadsheets, paper timesheets, or biometric scanners is often a waste of time and exposes your company to various data security and privacy issues.
So how can you keep track of employee time securely and efficiently?
In this article, we’ll highlight the top tools for tracking employee hours—so you can find the ideal platform to do everything from monitoring your team’s work to automating timesheets and payroll processing.
What to look for in a tool for tracking employee time
Should you keep it simple or adopt an app with all the bells and whistles? Any time tracking tool you choose should have:
1. Manager-friendly features: To track employee hours seamlessly, you need an app that automates much of the process. Look for a tool that automatically starts and stops tracking and that prompts employees to focus when they appear to be idle.
2. Employee-friendly settings: To get employees on board, you need a platform that doesn’t feel intrusive or compromise privacy. Choose an app that doesn’t track keystrokes and that allows employees to protect sensitive information.
3. Multi-device support: Whether your team operates in the field, works from home, or takes a hybrid approach, you need a tool they can use anywhere. Seek out an app that works across desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile devices.
4. Time-saving integrations: Don’t let your time tracking data get stuck in an app. Prioritize a time tracking tool that integrates with the other platforms you use—so you can bill clients and process payroll faster.
5. Productivity tips: Data is great, but actionable information can help your employees work smarter. Make sure you choose an app that automatically alerts you to issues and recommends tips to make your team more productive.
10 best tools to track employee hours
With these must-have elements in mind, let’s look at the top 10 employee time tracking apps. We’ll start with our own, Time Doctor:
1. Time Doctor
Time Doctor is a robust time tracking and productivity management software. Large corporations and SMBs alike use it to keep employees motivated and productive throughout their work hours.
With Time Doctor, you can:
- Track how long employees spend on tasks down to the second.
- Prevent staff members from idling during work.
- Generate real-time productivity reports.
- Export timesheets for easy payroll management.
Time Doctor also has a mobile app that helps manage employee productivity via Android devices.
Here are some of Time Doctor’s best features:
A. Time tracking
Time Doctor features simple time tracking so employees can easily keep a record of their hours.
With Time Doctor’s manual/interactive mode, all employees have to do is open the app, input their current task, and start the timer.
Time Doctor runs in the background and tracks the sites employees visit and the apps they use. Once they finish the task or opt to take a break, they can stop the timer with one click.
With Time Doctor’s automatic mode, the app can start tracking time automatically when employees turn on or log into their work devices. This mode is ideal for improving accuracy and reducing the need for manual edits.
B. Idle time tracking
Time Doctor tracks the idle time of employees throughout their workday. You can choose when to start counting idle time for each employee.
Idle time is measured in idle seconds and idle minutes.
An idle second is one second without keyboard and mouse activity. An idle minute is one full minute without keyboard and mouse activity.
With Time Doctor’s idle time measures, you can easily find out which employees work consistently throughout the day and which need help improving productivity.
Moreover, you can set how long the timer can run without any activity. Once it reaches the limit, the tracker automatically stops tracking time and displays an idle time pop-up. This pop-up alerts employees to focus on their tasks.
Note: Time Doctor is not a keylogger. It only tracks if any keys were pressed; it doesn’t record any keystrokes or mouse clicks.
Want to stop employees from wasting time at work?
Check out our guide on how to avoid common time-wasters at work.
C. Productivity reports
Time Doctor tracks several data points related to employees activity. You can access a wide range of reports generated in real-time.
Here’s a quick look at these reports :
- Activity summary report: See active seconds, minutes, unproductive, manual, and mobile time for each employee over a selected time period.
- Attendance report: See if an employee is present, absent, partially absent, or late in real-time.
- Hours tracked report: View the total number of hours tracked by employees for any date range.
- Projects & tasks report: See the time spent on projects as well as individual tasks.
- Timeline report: Look at the time spent on tasks and breaks in a day or the whole week.
- Web and app usage report: View the time spent by an employee on each app and website during work hours.
- Custom export report: Customize the fields you’d like to include in one single report.
You can quickly identify high performers with these reports and decide how you can help struggling employees.
D. Shifts and schedules
Managers can use Time Doctor’s Work Schedules feature to create and edit employee shifts.
Here’s what you can do with schedules:
- Save time by automating schedule creation and updates.
- Easily adjust schedules to ensure round-the-clock availability.
- Monitor and manage employee overtime.
E. Chrome extension and integrations
Time Doctor’s powerful Chrome Extension integrates with 50+ tools that include project management, helpdesk, accounting software, and more.
For example, Time Doctor integrates easily with tools like Asana and Jira.
You can even add time tracking to tasks you’ve created on tools like ClickUp. As a result, you can help your team avoid wasting time and work more efficiently.
Time Doctor has three affordable pricing plans, and you can quickly sign up for a 14-day free trial without a credit card.
Here’s an overview of the pricing plans:
- Basic: $7/user per month – offers time tracking + task management + activity tracking + unlimited screenshots.
- Standard: $10/user per month – includes “Basic” features + integrations + payroll and invoicing.
- Premium: $20/user per month – includes “Standard” features + executive dashboard + client login access.
- G2: 4.4/5 (320+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (485+ reviews)
Connecteam is an online employee attendance tracker app. It also offers a customizable tracking app that enables business owners to manage their teams from anywhere.
- Time clock to track and manage employee work hours.
- Assign shifts, duplicate, drag-and-drop, or create templates with employee scheduling.
- Easily create tasks and add task descriptions, images, files, and more.
- Tax and labor compliance to monitor overtime shifts.
- Offers employee training software for onboarding new hires and routine training.
Has a free plan for up to 10 users. Paid plans for this time clock app start at $29/month.
- G2: 4.3/5 (35+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.8/5 (250+ reviews)
3. When I Work
When I Work is a time clock and employee scheduling tool. Organizations can use this tool for timekeeping, tracking attendance, creating work schedules, and reviewing any timecard.
- Easy employee scheduling with a drag-and-drop interface.
- Ability to forecast labor costs.
- Supports applicant tracking and onboarding functionalities.
- Receive attendance data as soon as employees clock in or clock out.
- Mobile clock in with GPS location tracking for Android and iOS devices.
Pricing plans for time and attendance tracking start at $2.50/user per month.
- G2: 4.4/5 (270+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (1015+ reviews)
4. Toggl Track
Toggl Track is a cloud-based time tracking app that allows small businesses to manage the working hours of their teams.
It also offers useful task management and revenue tracking functionalities.
- Gain insights into team members with detailed reports.
- Track work time across the web, desktop, and mobile app or browser extension.
- Team dashboard to view each employee’s workload.
- Calendar integration to convert meetings into time entries on your mobile device.
- Integrates with more than 100 websites and apps.
Here’s our detailed Toggl Track review.
Free plan includes auto tracker, idle detection, and Pomodoro timer. Paid plans start at $10/user per month.
- G2: 4.6/5 (1520+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (2150+ reviews)
Desktime is a time tracking tool that helps boost employee productivity. It’s suitable for business owners to track employee time as well as for freelancers.
- Automated time tracking via the desktop app.
- Offers Pomodoro timer to help prevent employee burnout.
- Automatic screenshots to capture employees’ computer screens at random intervals.
- Supports offline and online time tracking.
- Easy integration with task management tools like Jira and Basecamp.
Check out our DeskTime vs. Time Doctor comparison article.
Has a free limited plan. Paid plans start at $7/user per month.
- G2: 4.6/5 (175+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (490+ reviews)
Hubstaff is a simple time tracking solution that supports employee scheduling and payroll functionalities. It also offers mobile apps (Android and iOS) that enable teams to track time from anywhere.
- Record employee work hours with timesheets.
- Send shift reminders to employees if they are late.
- Employee monitoring to view work in progress in real-time.
- Records employee activity levels based on mouse and keyboard usage.
- Geofencing to automatically track work based on custom locations.
Read about Hubstaff vs Time Doctor comparison here.
The free plan includes timesheets, activity levels, and limited screenshots. Paid plans for this timesheet app start from $5.83/user per month.
- G2: 4.3/5 (410+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.6/5 (1375+ reviews)
TimeCamp is a time management and tracking software suitable for teams as well as freelancers.
It also offers project management features to help you organize all your projects and tasks in one place.
- Automatic time tracking through calendar integration.
- Automate employee timesheet approvals and reminders.
- Project cost analysis for expense tracking and better resource management.
- Activity tracking to identify the tasks your employees spend most of their time on.
- GPS tracking using the Android or iOS mobile app.
Has a free plan. Paid plans for this time and attendance software start at $8.99/user per month with team productivity tracking features.
- G2: 4.7/5 (190+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (580+ reviews)
Clockify is a simple time tracking software that allows employees to track work hours across different projects.
- Track time with a timer or manually log time entries on an employee timesheet.
- Set hourly rates and see team member activity.
- Categorize time by projects and mark time as billable.
- Export and download reports as PDF, CSV, or Excel sheets.
- Use Pomodoro timer for Mac and Chrome operating systems.
Has a limited free plan. Paid plans for this employee hour tracking app start at $4.99/user per month.
- G2: 4.5/5 (140+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (4400+ reviews)
Everhour is a web-based time tracking tool suitable for small teams. It’s an all-in-one time management software for budgeting, invoicing, and payroll.
- Employee schedules to see who’s available and assign tasks accordingly.
- Easily track work hours using clock-in, clock-out, and break buttons.
- Set project budgets to track progress in real-time.
- Central dashboard to view all time and expense data.
- Integrates with project management tools like Asana and ClickUp.
Plans start at $6/user per month for five users. Offers a 14-day free trial (no credit card required).
- G2: 4.7/5 (150+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (370+ reviews)
Timely is an automated time tracking and productivity tool. It can allocate time to specific tasks based on websites accessed, files worked on, software used, and more.
- Automatically record billable activity across apps and create timesheets.
- Customize employee timesheets, payroll, and more with personal branding and various designs.
- Monitor employee work hours, overtime, capacity, and workload in real-time.
- Drag-and-drop functionality for allocating tasks and visualizing project plans.
- Use Windows and Mac desktop apps as well as Android and iOS mobile apps.
Plans start at $11/user per month for 50 projects and three teams with a 14-day free trial.
- G2: 4.8/5 (260+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (210+ reviews)
Using manual techniques may not provide accurate information, while invasive methods like employee surveillance software could violate your employees’ privacy.
That’s why you should use a user-friendly and accurate automatic time tracker that protects employee privacy and data.
And while you can explore the tools we covered here to find what fits your needs, Time Doctor is clearly the best way to track employee hours. It also helps you manage your team’s productivity levels and help them improve over time — leading to a highly efficient workforce.
Sign up for Time Doctor’s free trial today and boost your employees’ productivity in no time!
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.