7 of the top employee time tracking software options that actually help prevent micromanagers
Employee time tracking software has its pros and cons.
On the one hand, you (the manager) need to know how long your team is spending on tasks and monitor progress. This information influences resourcing, budget, task delegation, and more.
On the other hand, there’s nothing worse than your staff feeling like you’re breathing down their necks while they’re trying to work.
Micromanaging is not an attractive trait for a manager. In fact, it can lead to increased stress and burnout, decreased productivity levels, and negatively affect mental health.
In one report, data showed 85% of workers believed micromanagement had a destructive influence on their morale. Additionally, 69% said they would leave a job if they were micromanaged.
Not to mention, micromanagement increases staff turnover because nobody wants to stay at a company that’s watching their every move like a hawk. It's simply not sustainable.
Luckily, there are solutions. Even better, there are employee time tracking software options that don't feel invasive or too watchful. Your goal is to get a top-level view of who’s working on what at any given time.
And for your team, they need a solution that highlights their daily work as well as track the time and effort for specific projects so your employees know they won't be overworked.
If you’re on the brink of tipping into micromanager territory, buckle up because we’ve got a selection of tools that will give you the information you need and the peace of mind you crave.
We couldn’t kick off this list without giving ourselves a little hat tip. While Teamwork is a comprehensive project management software at its core, it has a time tracking element that lets you track, benchmark, and analyze employee productivity.
As well as seeing how much time employees are spending on their individual tasks, you can access valuable insights to understand how long it really takes to do something. That means your team will have the tools to plan projects more efficiently in the future.
The time tracker easily integrates with Teamwork’s suite of other features, including Kanban boards, templates, calendars, task lists, and reports. This makes it easy to stay in Teamwork without having to load a third-party app for time tracking.
Teamwork's project time tracking features also give more visibility into projects, which is perfect for client services companies. We make it easy to generate invoices from your project timesheet so you present clients with the most accurate invoicing for your work.
If you're looking to build stronger relationships with your clients, give them full visibility into your team's workload and hours used. With Teamwork, you can create more accountable and trusting partnerships with clients so everyone has peace of mind on the work completed.
Pravda Media Group increased their productivity levels by 40% with Teamwork by simply getting a better bird's-eye view.
I call it the heartbeat of the business because I’m actually able to see everything that is happening. My role as a manager is to empower my team members to do their best work. Now I’m able to do what I call ‘proactive mentoring’. Because I have transparency with tasks and progress, I’m able to jump in and give them guidance on everything from client interactions to troubleshooting.
Kfir Pravda, CEO of Pravda Media Group
Price: Free for individuals and small teams. Other plans start at $10 per month per user.
Clockify is a time-tracking app at its simplest. Your team simply has to write what task they’re working on and hit “start” to get the timer going.
The stopwatch-style tracker keeps counting until someone presses stop. If a team member forgets to track their time on a task (a very easy mistake to make), they can add manual time later on.
Accompanying timesheets let you log your weekly activities quickly and get a complete view of how many hours have been spent on each task. Finally, the calendar view allows anyone with access to visualize and edit their tracked time.
Detailed reports show you high-level project progress in a visual snapshot, and you can go into each specific project on a granular level to learn more.
Clockify has made my life so much easier. I’m able to record my work hours for my manager without spending half the day doing it.
Capterra review from Aoife K., a campus minister, and outreach director
Price: Get started for free. Basic plans start at $3.99 per month for additional features.
TimeCamp pitches itself as the modern alternative to spreadsheets and guesswork. Employees can use a basic timer to track how many hours they spend on a project which is then pulled into an entire team overview.
TimeCamp also automatically scans the domain names of the apps your team uses and groups them into suggested categories.
If you’re prone to micromanager behavior, the productivity tracker lets you stay on the same page as your team without standing over them and breathing down their necks.
Automatic time tracking
[TimeCamp] proved to be an essential management tool that gives us clear insight into a project’s efficiency and helps to avoid an overblown workload for our team.
Adam Wagner, co-owner and chief strategy officer of Raindrop Marketing
Price: TimeCamp offers many features for free. Basic plans start at $5.25 per user per month.
Workpuls knows it’s impossible to watch your employees every minute of every day. The employee monitoring software indulges the micromanager by providing detailed timesheets and time tracking data on each team member.
Managers can track computer activity to ensure employees are being productive and collect regular screenshots throughout the day. Time tracking and time mapping give you an overview of where employee time is spent and eliminates the human errors that can inevitably happen if you’re tracking time manually.
Manual time entries
Computer activity tracking
Joe D’Angelo, an Information Systems Specialist at The Housing Association of Bergen County, explained how Workpuls helped his team monitor remote work activity during the pandemic. It wasn’t intended to monitor every minute of an employee’s day. Instead, it became a trusted source of proof of work.
Price: Packages start at $4.80 per month per employee.
DeskTime is another basic time tracking tool that lets managers organize their teams and track their performance without needing to stoop to micromanaging levels.
The tool lets you plan and create shifts for staff, manage any absences, and track productivity to see who is working on what.
Reports provide a top-level view of your working week or month, giving you detailed insights into who was absent, who spent how much time doing a certain task, and which tasks are completed.
Project time tracking
Idle time tracking
Document title tracking
Cost calculation and project billing
Employee absence calendar
Third-party app integrations
I would recommend DeskTime for companies with remote employees or home-office days. Time tracking allows people who work remotely to feel certain that their work, effort, and dedication won’t stay unnoticed. Since everything happens automatically, they can feel safe that any work they do will be logged and their hours adequately compensated.
Kaspars Milbergs, chief technology officer at On The Map Marketing
Price: Limited features can be accessed for free. Pro plans start at $7 per month per user.
HubStaff positions itself as the “all-in-one work time tracker for managing field or remote teams." The tool lets employees select their chosen task and track their time spent on it.
Once completed, the time is submitted to the dashboard so you can get an overview of who’s been working on what and how long they’ve spent on it.
One key feature is the ability to suss out struggling team members through the activity reports. You can access screenshots to identify friction points so you can swoop in and help them out as needed.
The biggest challenge we face from an HR perspective is getting everyone on the same page and establishing a uniform system of tracking hours and paying team members. We knew we needed something more scalable than just spreadsheets.
Christian Mairoll, founder and CEO of Emsisoft
Price: Free for one user. Basic plans start at $7 per month per user.
Harvest makes it easy to track employee time, identify billable hours, and generate reports on the progress and time spent on each project. Team members can simply select the project they’re working on and start tracking their time right away.
From the project manager’s perspective, you can see what projects an employee has been working on during any given day and the amount of time spent on that project.
For creative agency The Charles, using Harvest eliminated squabbles over the time spent on microtasks.
We’ve had some clients that have been like, ‘Oh, you spent 10 minutes on this, and I remember that task and it wasn’t 10 minutes. It was five.' The value of tracking time so precisely is not having to explain it to the client when they ask.
Aaron Edwards, co-founder, and CEO of The Charles
Price: Free for one user. Pro plans start at $12 per month per user.
Stop micromanaging to increase team productivity
Micromanaging is the antithesis to productivity. Team members feel undervalued and disrespected when they’re constantly being checked on.
That doesn’t mean you need to be kept in the dark about what they’re doing and where they’re spending their time, though.
Time tracking software lets team members quickly track the time spent on each project, giving you a comprehensive overview of who’s done what and how long it took them.