Work hours are the essential currency of business – essential for invoicing, estimating projects, managing overtime and improving efficiency. But that time data is only useful if it’s actually accurate. Businesses seeking reliable, cost-efficient tracking solutions are increasingly realizing that the best work hours trackers are automatic. Here’s how an intelligent new breed of work tracking apps are making manual timers a thing of the past.
What makes a good work hours tracker?
When choosing a work hours tracker, you need consider the “job” you are hiring it to do and the functionality it offers which makes it able to do that job better than using a spreadsheet or notepad.
Work hours trackers can be used for one or all of these jobs:
Recording weekly work hours to create time sheets
Seeing time spent on specific project work to improve project management
Documenting total daily overtime for labor law compliance and remuneration
Understanding time on different tasks to improve efficiency and scheduling
Surfacing time on internal tasks to improve address process and admin
Seeing how you spend your day to gauge personal productivity
While some people are just looking for a basic time record, others want more advanced features to make billing and time management easier. Some of these to watch out for include:
⏰ Hourly rates, so you can charge differently across projects and client
💰 Budget tracking, so you stay within a profitable margin
📊 Intuitive reporting, so you can quickly represent and share time data
The problem with work hours trackers
Regardless of the level of sophistication you’re after, as a bare minimum your work hours tracker should be accurate and productive. But unfortunately, the majority of work hours trackers perform poorly on both fronts due to their reliance on manual input.
Manual trackers require employees to consciously remember to start, stop and pause timers as they move between tasks and tools. Since this is extremely difficult, many people forget to do so. As a result, time logs are often reconstructed by memory. Naturally, this introduces a huge margin for error into time records, as people forget details or misrepresent their activity.
Aside from producing bad data, manual work hours trackers are also wildly unproductive. By being so intensely hands-on, employees can spend two hours each week just tracking their time – a sum total of managing timers, entering notes, correcting errors and trying to recall past work. Unnecessary overhead aside, this constant management also fosters a state of continuous partial attention, where employees are unable to fully focus on their work.
How automatic work hours trackers differ
By completely removing manual timers, note taking and piecemeal logging throughout the day, automatic work hours tracker apps create extremely reliable records with minimal effort. They do this in two steps:
They capture everything you work on (down to the time you spend in each app), to create a fully representative timeline of your work day.
They use AI to intelligently group your activities and draft time sheet entries for you.
While the technology is certainly complex, actual app usability is refreshingly straightforward – employees just need to ensure automatic tracking is “on” and go about their day. They don't have to constantly break their focus to take notes, since everything is being captured in the background. It means people can review and log their work hours when it actually suits them.
Data you can trust
Automation excels at doing the menial mathematical tasks we hate, so if you’re looking to improve time tracking compliance and reduce the overall cost of time tracking, automatic work hours trackers are a no-brainer.
The biggest benefits include:
Billing accurately for all your work
Removing low-value admin tasks from your day
Reporting with data you can actually trust
Getting the full picture of your business’ time
Working naturally without constant interruption
Removing the anxiety of managing timers
Reporting on your time when it suits your schedule