I once heard that time is akin to a stalking predator. Oh, you can try to outrun it with doctors, medicines, new technologies, but in the end, time is going to hunt you down and make the kill.
Okay, apologies for the obscure nod to Star Trek Generations, but Malcolm McDowell manages to ham up a good point: ignoring time can be a costly mistake. Is time really a predator, leaping for the throat? Probably not. But is it something you need to manage and take seriously? Definitely yes. In the workplace, time mismanagement (at best) leads to inefficiency and (at worst) will cut huge chunks from your profits.
Unfortunately, tracking employee hours can be a huge pain, both for employees and for managers. Sometimes, a simple punch card system is all that is needed, but in other situations, a more robust and complex solution is helpful.
Enter time tracking software! These apps are designed, in various ways, to help employers and employees not just keep track of how many hours they worked, but also schedule new hours, analyze efficiency, and even track tasks. The thing is, as with most SaaS varieties these days, there is an overwhelming number of options out there. Fortunately, we here at Merchant Maverick are in the business of doing research so you don’t have to. In that vein, what follows are our top five time tracking apps, based on price, features, and friendliness to employees and employers. Here we go! Starting with number 5 on the list…
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Timely (read our review) is a Norwegian-designed app that is attempting to re-define the industry. Capable of basic time sheets and scheduling, Timely also includes elements of project management software, allowing you to create and assign tasks to work on (tasks that can be directly linked to your timesheet). More impressive, though, is the Memory feature. Memory automatically tracks the physical locations you visit, the websites you use, and the tasks you are working on. Then, in a view available only to you, it presents an interactive timeline that allows you analyze exactly how you use your time (at your leisure, without the pressure of your boss breathing down your neck). It is a flashy feature that would normally put Timely higher up the list, but the cost of this app brings things back down. Timely costs, in its cheapest incarnation, $14/user/month. If you want some of the more advanced features, it will run you even more. Is the Memory feature worth the money? It really depends on how you plan to use it.
4. When I Work
When I Work is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Devoted to making waves in the time tracking industry, this app is currently available for the low, low price of 0$ (up to 75 users). If you want access to some “premium” features, you can shell out an extra $1 per user to get them. I was unable to find a comparable software at this price point, and actually, When I Work offers many of the same features as their competitors for a much lower price. Some highlights include GPS tracking (showing where you were when you clocked in), scheduling with automatic alerts, and analytics to help you figure out how to be more efficient.
3. Time Tracker By eBillity
The eBillity Time Tracker is a middle-of-the-road time tracker that offers most of the common features in the industry at a price low enough to be pretty seriously competitive. Those prices start in the $4/user/month range, but range as high as $12/user/month. In terms of features, eBillity’s Time Tracker has a mobile app, email alerts, and analytics, but lacks serious scheduling capabilities. It does, however, let users manually add hours, which is a feature I think makes good sense. If an employee forgets to clock in for some reason, you don’t want to make a huge headache out of reentering those hours. Strangely, this feature is not standard in the industry; comparatively few of the software programs I investigated offered this capability.
Homebase has one of the best features of all time; a free option! Seriously, Homebase is a pretty impressive piece of software, providing you the capability to schedule, remind, and track shifts as an employer or an employee. While not all features are available in the free version, many are, and it is free for unlimited users. The free option was almost enough to take Homebase into the first slot, but it is missing two major features in an otherwise exemplary list: manual timesheet editing for all users and paid time off tracking. For me, the PTO tracking is less of a huge deal than the manual time entry. If someone forgets to clock in, you don’t want to go through a huge ordeal to correct their timesheet. Fortunately, Homebase does allow managers to correct timesheets, which balances things a bit
Here it is! The number one time tracking app! Honestly, the most impressive part of TSheets for me is its dedication to the employees that use it. The features list is impressive, to be sure, but I just appreciate that they take pains to make the use of their app simple and easy for the people that actually interact with it on a daily basis. Call it millennial bias, but I value people and making their lives easier; TSheets seems to do the same. Fortunately, this benevolent attitude is not the only thing that makes TSheets an attractive choice. While not the cheapest of the apps I looked into, it was also far from the most expensive ($4/person plus a $16 base fee). It also features GPS boundaries, manual time entry, an excellent mobile app, and PTO tracking.
Know about another time tracking app we didn’t mention? Enlighten us in the comments. Looking for something more robust? Read our comprehensive project management software reviews or compare top-rated apps.