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Last modified date

Jan 24, 2024

23 Best Employee Time Tracking Software for Small Businesses

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Alexandra Martin

Blog average read time

20 min

Last modified date

January 24, 2024


Employee time tracking software is used by many top-performing small businesses and companies that focus on employee productivity and efficiency. When employees track their work time, you know what tasks they are working on. You can make better estimates, prevent bottlenecks, and accurately bill your clients. A free version means you can test it unlimitedly before deciding which suits you best.

If you’re wondering what software should be used to track employee hours, we’ve written this post for your managers, team leaders, and business owners.

In this article, we’ve gathered, carefully analyzed, and tested the best employee time-tracking software of 2023. Out of the 23 tools we reviewed, 13 are free of charge, like yours truly:

  • Paymo – native automatic time tracker for stress-free work
  • TimeCamp – a simple attendance tracker for your employees
  • Clockify – an employee monitoring tool with GPS tracking
  • Everhour (max. five users) – an employee monitoring tool with screenshots
  • Toggl Track (max. five users) – an intuitive time tracker with color-coded entries
  • Harvest – time tracking with other PM features
  • RescueTime – a time-tracking tool with analytics
  • Hubstaff (one user) – intensely-close employee monitoring app
  • MyHours – a timesheet-like time-tracking solution
  • connecteam (max. ten users) – employee attendance with digital geofencing
  • homebase (one location) – the best solution for hourly work
  • TrackingTime (max. three users) – a colorful employee time tracker with a modern design
  • Tick (one project) – a basic time tracker mainly for Mac users

Everhour, Hubstaff, Toggl Track, TrackingTime, etc., are also free but with limitations, which is not bad if you want to test the tool yourself before you adopt it for your team. Paymo will remove the user limitation this coming month, so give it a test run.

We try to update this list as often as possible. However, please double-check whether their free plan is still in effect if pricing plans change after publishing this article.

Criteria in review

  • Strong time tracking capabilities: native time trackers, automatic time tracking, timesheets, active timers, idle detection, etc.
  • Business needs: does your business need project management capabilities, robust reporting features, or even employee monitoring?
  • Team-oriented: is the app suitable for teams? Do employees find it helpful? This question is rhetorical since we’ll allow you to decide for yourself.
  • Pricing. Is it affordable for your team or business?

Before we start the review, we need to state our case against employee monitoring. We hate surveillance tactics, spyware, or hidden processes infringing employee privacy. We believe in psychological safety, dignity, trust, and the right to privacy: respect and empathy.

You shouldn’t police your employees but empower them using the right tools and a safe company culture. We know how important trust is to every team, distributed or not, and the digital tools you use should foster it.

The benefits of time tracking cannot be dismissed, from accurate estimates and billing to proof of work, efficiency, productivity, and other insights. However, we don’t encourage incentivizing employee time tracking or using pure time metrics for performance review without a qualitative assessment of your employees’ performance.

Time tracking helps create healthy work rhythms and cadences, ensure a healthy work-life balance, and get to do significant and profound work that furthers your career or bolsters your goals.

Without further ado, let’s inspect some of the best employee time-tracking software that is free of charge.

Free employee time-tracking software

1. Paymo

native automatic time tracker for stress-free work

Pricing: Average

93

of 100

Pros
pros-image

robust project management tool with time tracking at its core

pros-image

multiple ways to track time, including Pomodoro

pros-image

reliable automatic time tracking

pros-image

active timers

pros-image

100% data privacy on tracked time

pros-image

bolsters employee trust

Cons
cons-image

it lacks timesheet approval for managers

cons-image

it has fewer integrations than its competitors

2. TimeCamp

a simple attendance tracker for your employees

Pricing: Low

88

of 100

Pros
pros-image

geofencing tracks multiple locations

pros-image

automatic and manual time tracking

Cons
cons-image

‘Active Computer Usage’ and ‘Total time between computer turn on/off’ can be misleading in terms of job done

cons-image

slow and clumsy UI

cons-image

inconsistent automatic time-tracking

cons-image

buggy start/stop button

3. Clockify

an employee monitoring tool with GPS tracking

Pricing: Average

87

of 100

Pros
pros-image

free tier for basic time tracking

pros-image

customization options and flexibility for various work setups

pros-image

user-friendly interface

Cons
cons-image

weak Internet connection issues

cons-image

limited functionalities regarding time tracking and advanced PM

cons-image

synchronization issues on Android

4. Everhour

an employee monitoring tool with screenshots

Pricing: High

85

of 100

Pros
pros-image

great for team management

pros-image

advanced PM features, like project budgeting and invoicing

pros-image

it integrates with various PM tools

Cons
cons-image

constraints concerning time tracking at a task level

cons-image

pages can be slow to load

cons-image

issues with the Chrome widget

cons-image

invasive monitoring tool due to screenshots

5. Beebole

a timesheet solution with resource scheduling

Pricing: Average

84

of 100

Pros
pros-image

various ways to track employee time

pros-image

it comes with approval flows and bulk review

pros-image

great for HR and resource management

pros-image

flexible reporting

Cons
cons-image

complex navigation in the admin interface

cons-image

less user-friendly click/drag function

cons-image

confusing settings

cons-image

free plan no longer available

6. Toggl Track

an intuitive time tracker with color-coded entries

Pricing: High

83

of 100

Pros
pros-image

intuitive interface

pros-image

comprehensive reporting

pros-image

compatible with various workflows and IT environments

pros-image

unintrusive time tracking

Cons
cons-image

limited time tracking functionalities, especially in the free tier

cons-image

it lacks advanced PM features

cons-image

some users dislike the color palette

cons-image

time sync issues

7. Harvest

time tracking with other PM features

Pricing: Average

82

of 100

Pros
pros-image

light team management features

pros-image

comprehensive reporting

pros-image

invoicing and expensing modules

pros-image

analytics with insights

Cons
cons-image

time tracking mishaps, such as double entries when timekeeping and billing

cons-image

awkward timekeeping and editing invoices

cons-image

limited mobile app functionalities

8. RescueTime

a time-tracking tool with analytics

Pricing: High

81

of 100

Pros
pros-image

productivity tool to ignore distractions

pros-image

great reporting feature

pros-image

time management insights and analytics

pros-image

unintrusive time tracking

Cons
cons-image

it lacks advanced PM features

cons-image

less user-friendly free version

cons-image

occasional bigs, glitches, and crashes

9. Hubstaff

an intensely-close employee monitoring app

Pricing: Average

80

of 100

Pros
pros-image

intuitive interface

pros-image

productivity analytics

Cons
cons-image

invasive close monitoring of employee work

cons-image

surveillance features like screenshots, URL and app tracking, keystroke & mouse click tracking

cons-image

glitchy GPS and location tracking

cons-image

limited PM functionality

10. MyHours

a timesheet-like time-tracking solution

Pricing: Average

80

of 100

Pros
pros-image

advanced time-tracking module

pros-image

profitability tracking

pros-image

neat reporting

pros-image

can import data from Excel

Cons
cons-image

unintuitive and outdated interface

cons-image

occasional downtime and glitches can disrupt work

cons-image

poor customer support

cons-image

lack of integrations

11. connecteam

employee attendance with digital geofencing

Pricing: Very Low

79

of 100

Pros
pros-image

scheduling tool great for specific industries

pros-image

light task management features

pros-image

in-app employee messaging system

pros-image

time clock and attendance tracking

Cons
cons-image

limited time tracking functionalities

cons-image

steep learning curve

cons-image

glitches and frequent crashes

12. homebase

the best solution for hourly work

Pricing: Low

77

of 100

Pros
pros-image

great for in-app team communication

pros-image

reporting feature with milestones

pros-image

performance metrics

pros-image

easy to use and beautiful design

pros-image

paycheck management

Cons
cons-image

time tracking can be hijacked, e.g., clocking in early

cons-image

occasional glitches and bugs

cons-image

not your traditional PM tool

13. TrackingTime

a colorful employee time tracker with a modern design

Pricing: Average

76

of 100

Pros
pros-image

in-depth reporting

pros-image

ease of use and uncomplicated interface

pros-image

highly customizable

pros-image

integrations with popular apps

Cons
cons-image

inaccuracy and failures in tracking time

cons-image

it lacks advanced PM features

14. Tick

a basic time tracker mostly for Mac users

Pricing: Low

75

of 100

Pros
pros-image

budgeting and cost tracking

pros-image

it integrates with Basecamp and other popular apps

pros-image

some reporting features available

Cons
cons-image

glitches and failures in tracking time

cons-image

limited functionalities in terms of time tracking and project management

cons-image

unintuitive and unfriendly user interface

15. Timely

Timely is a powerful time-tracking solution for teams and businesses that need automated timesheets and cost tracking. Timely promises it’ll help users find time sinks, balance workloads, and get a detailed record of work done across the organization—all without the hassle of manual timesheet creation.

Timely is not affordable – for teams of at least three, the price per employee is either $20 or $28 per month—most of the tools in this article are half this price.

Would employees find Timely helpful?

An automatic time tracker, Memory App, is private to the user and has no screenshots or mouse tracking. Paymo shows the same care for privacy with its automatic time tracker, where data is stored locally and can be deleted at any time. Users have more psychological safety when their privacy is protected.

Time tracking app

  • Web: Windows, Mac, Linux
  • Mobile: Android, iOS
  • Plugins: Chrome
  • Desktop apps: Windows, macOS

Pricing

  • No free plan available.
  • Starter: $11/user/mo (max. three teams and 50 projects).
  • Premium: $20/user/mo.
  • Unlimited: $28/user/mo.
  • Custom plan available by quote.

There’s a detailed review of Timely should you need more info.

16. QuickBooks Time

QuickBooksTime (it was T-Sheet before its acquisition in 2017) was added to Intuit’s offering of mostly bookkeeping and accounting software. It helps teams keep track of time and coordinate projects besides managing their expenses and invoices by integrating it with QuickBooks for payroll and invoicing.

Would employees find QuickBooks Time helpful?

What I’ve noted about QuickBooks is that it’s accounting software, first and foremost. However, they’d like to offer workforce management for their customer base, which is why their time-tracking capabilities and simple timesheet functionality revolve around employee monitoring. Take, for example, their GPS tracking, geofencing, and “Who’s working?” features.

Employee monitoring app

  • Web: Windows, Mac, Linux
  • Mobile: Android, iOS
  • Plugins: Chrome
  • Desktop apps: Windows, macOS

Pricing

  • No free plan available.
  • Premium: $20/mo (base fee) + $8/user/month for one admin
  • Elite: $40/mo (base fee) + $10/user/month for one admin

If you need more info, here’s a dedicated subsection of QuickBooks Time about its tracking features.

17. TimeDoctor

TimeDoctor is an employee time-tracking software that helps individuals and businesses improve productivity and understand how time is spent. It offers time tracking, productivity insights, and performance monitoring features.

Would employees find TimeDoctor helpful?

The software provides productivity insights and analytics based on the tracked time, helping employees understand their work habits and identify areas for improvement, leading to better time management and increased efficiency. RescueTime also promotes accountability by providing employees with valuable knowledge about their strengths, weaknesses, and time utilization.

However, there’s also a degree of employee monitoring – managers can see what employees are doing in real-time, whether there’s idle time tracked, how long they spend on “unproductive websites and apps,” and how much time was added manually.

Tip: if you’ve got more experience and are looking for project management software for creative agencies to manage your tasks or projects, we have examples and reviews of tools used by firms worldwide. Also, there’s a list of the best software tailored to architects and tools made for consultants that help with cost estimation, billing, and time tracking.

Time tracking app

  • Web: Windows, Mac, Linux
  • Mobile: Android, iOS
  • Plugins: Chrome, Firefox
  • Desktop apps: Windows, macOS, Linux

Pricing

  • No free plan available.
  • Basic: $7/user/month
  • Standard: $10/user/month
  • Premium: $20/user/month

Here’s a detailed explanation of TimeDoctor’s time-tracking features.

18. Insightful.io

Insightful.io is recognized as a great employee monitoring solution and time-tracking app. The software offers a range of monitoring features, including automatic and manual time tracking, productivity labeling, web/app usage tracking, and productivity trends. The software allows tracking billable hours against team hourly rates, helping small businesses keep projects within budget and protect profits.

Would employees find Insightful.io helpful?

Insightful.io is more like a workforce analytics software with time-tracking abilities. Its productivity analysis ensures employees get up-to-date charts of their working style, which they can adjust for increased performance. With productivity tracking, employees understand how they allocate their time and identify areas for improvement.

At the same time, Insightful.io has intrusive monitoring features, like regular screenshots (up to 30/hour), time and attendance, and computer monitoring to spot abnormal usage patterns. The core issue with Insightful.io is that there’s a Stealth Mode, which automatically tracks activities in the background without the user’s knowledge or input—which is illegal within the European Union.

Employee tracker

  • Web: Windows, Mac
  • Mobile: n/a
  • Plugins: n/a
  • Desktop apps: Windows, macOS

Pricing

  • No free plan available.
  • Employee Monitoring: $8/user/month
  • Time Tracking: $10/user/month
  • Automatic Time Mapping: $15/user/month
  • Enterprise plan available with a custom quote

Read this subsection of Insightful for more info on time-tracking capabilities.

19. DeskTime

DeskTime is a time-tracking software with a focus on employee monitoring that’s been designed for teams and freelancers needing a little bit of project management as well. DeskTime has resource management features like shift scheduling, leave management, and bookings.

Would employees find DeskTime helpful?

DeskTime automatically tracks employee activity on apps, websites, and programs, categorizing them as productive or unproductive, giving them detailed reports and insights into employee productivity and time insights, and ranking their performance, aka “Productivity calculation.”

DeskTime’s automatic time tracking includes idle time, URL, and app tracking—everything from email subjects to document titles. Paid plans have a “Private time option,” which employees may toggle for off-the-clock computer use. Optionally, managers can keep an eye on their team via automatic screenshots.

Employee monitoring app

  • Web: Windows, Mac, Linux
  • Mobile: Android, iOS
  • Plugins: n/a
  • Desktop apps: Windows, macOS, Linux

Pricing

  • Free plan available for one user.
  • Pro: $7/user/month
  • Premium: $10/user/month
  • Enterprise: $20/user/month

20. Float

Float is a resource management platform that helps teams maximize their time by planning capacity and scheduling project work. With basic time tracking, Float is a power tool for capacity planning, forecasting, and scheduling.

From what I’ve tested, it provides reporting tools that allow managers to compare estimates with actual hours or combine logged time with future scheduled hours to predict budget consumption, which can be great for employees to understand their work habits and ensure productivity.

Would employees find Float helpful?

I wouldn’t say Float is the ultimate time-tracking tool, but it does the basics. It allows employees or team members to log hours in a single click or pre-fill timesheets based on a schedule, which makes it easy for business owners or managers to ensure accurate billing.

Float sends automated reminders via Slack, email, and mobile to ensure that employees log their hours on time, helping employees stay on top of their time tracking.

Time tracker

  • Web: Windows, Mac, Linux
  • Mobile: Android, iOS
  • Plugins: n/a
  • Desktop apps (beta): Windows, macOS

Pricing

  • No free plan available.
  • Starter: $7.50/user/month (max. 30 users)
  • Pro: $12.50/user/month
  • Enterprise plan available on demand

21. Replicon

Replicon is an all-in-one solution for project time tracking, time attendance, and professional services automation. Replicon’s online timesheets and cloud clock are an alternative to paper timesheets or punch cards. Replicon has partnered with several HR, accounting, and payroll software and features an open API that allows developers to integrate Replicon with their existing applications and software.

Would employees find Replicon helpful?

ZeroTime is a new feature offered by Replicon that provides AI-powered automatic time tracking for employees, designed to save time for employees by eliminating the need for manual time tracking and reducing the time spent on administrative tasks.

The tool automatically tracks employee activity and consolidates entries for the same type of work, with the help of AI, reducing the number of entries workers have to manage. Some users complained of inaccuracies and data jumps between tasks, however. Before submitting timesheets, employees have the flexibility to review their time entries.

ZeroTime uses data collectors, apps that integrate with ZeroTime, to gather information on an employee’s activities throughout the day. At least ZeroTime doesn’t store any employee data across apps.

Employee time tracker

  • Web: Windows, Mac, Linux
  • Mobile: Android, iOS
  • Plugins: Chrome extension
  • Desktop apps: Windows, macOS

Pricing

  • No free plan available.
  • Time & Attendance: $6/user/month
  • Project Time Tracking: $12/user/month
  • PSA & PPM: $29/user/month

Deltek acquired Replicon in 2023, so stay tuned for its further development.

22. Timeular

Timeular is an all-in-one time tracking solution that helps individuals and teams track and increase their billable hours, improve estimations, and become more productive, thanks to their custom reports and insights. Timeular kicked off its context tracking (beta), automatically filling your timesheet with the apps and websites you’ve used throughout your work day.

Would employees find Timeular helpful?

Employees have multiple time tracking options, such as the classic stopwatch with a Quick Track, its mobile app, and automatic tracking.

Timeular has an exciting concept for time tracking: using a physical time-tracking device called ZEIº. The device is tangible, fitting in the palm of one’s hand, and it looks like a die (an 8-sided polygon) that users can personalize, connect, and use to keep track of their time.

Timeular’s time tracking gadget, ZEIº. It’s a tangible, tactile device that connects with Timeular and automatically switches between tasks as you flip sides.

By flipping the device, the timer starts tracking time for specific tasks. Some users find the setup of ZEIº “too much work,” especially if they forget to flip the device, and others found that the device poses connectivity issues and its battery gets quickly depleted.

Time tracking device

  • Web: Windows, Mac, Linux
  • Mobile: Android, iOS
  • Plugins: n/a
  • Desktop apps: Windows, macOS, Linux

Pricing

  • No free plan available.
  • Personal: €8/user/month
  • Personal Pro: €12/user/month
  • Team: €18/user/month
  • Custom pricing available for more than ten users

Timeular’s ZEIº Tracker costs €57.50 (excl. taxes) and works with any active subscription.

23. ClockShark

ClockShark is a comprehensive time-tracking tool that offers a range of features—GPS tracking, time attendance, and scheduling—to help businesses track employee hours, manage schedules, and improve productivity. All for the sake of accurate payrolls.

Would employees find ClockShark helpful?

ClockShark is an employee monitoring tool, so it makes sense that there’s GPS tracking to see the location of employees in real-time. ClockShark’s ‘Digital Time Stamping’ feature helps businesses calculate the effective working hours of employees and generate accurate payrolls for them at the end. It’s useful in project management and project planning industries like construction or architecture, focused on engineers and field-work professionals.

There’s also a Clock-In and Out for attendance tracking, especially in fields like hospitality or construction, and a scheduling feature. ClockShark is designed for field service and construction businesses with mobile time tracking, timesheets, location tracking, and geofencing in any environment.

Employee time tracking app

  • Web: Windows, Mac, Linux
  • Mobile: Android, iOS
  • Plugins: n/a
  • Desktop apps: Windows, macOS

Pricing

  • No free plan available
  • Standard: $20/mo base fee + $8/user/month
  • Pro: $40/mo base fee + $10/user/month

Final thoughts

Here’s a word of advice for all the managers reading this. As with any software, don’t dive in headfirst. Test a couple of tools first and see which one fits your current and future business needs. Luckily, Paymo offers a two-week free trial to experience the full-featured app without strings attached.

Start tracking your employee work time right away.

Regardless of your chosen solution, you’ll get something much more valuable than just metrics: a stress-relieved environment where everyone can manage their time and express their genuine self—a true hallmark of a happy culture.

Send this page to your employees who want to work stress-free with Paymo.

Alexandra Martin

Author

Drawing from a background in cognitive linguistics and armed with 10+ years of content writing experience, Alexandra Martin combines her expertise with a newfound interest in productivity and project management. In her spare time, she dabbles in all things creative.

Laurențiu Bancu

Editor

Laurențiu started his marketing journey over 18 years ago and now leads a marketing team. He has extensive experience in work and project management, and content strategy. When not working, he’s probably playing board games or binge-watching mini-series.

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