Key Features and Benefits You Need in a Team Time Tracking App
You’ve decided that time tracking is right for your team due to the potential productivity and work/life balance benefits. Now you’re ready to get started.
You’ll need a team time tracking app to track time accurately and reliably with as little disruption to your business and team as possible. While teams previously used paper forms and punched clocks to record time, those methods have become outdated and inefficient. We’re in the digital age; you need a powerful app.
A proper time tracking tool is more than just a stopwatch. It’s easy to use, records detailed information about individual activities, and keeps private data private. It lets teams work their best and administrators manage effectively.
But which time tracking app should you choose? Admittedly, several are available, so you must search for the right app for your organization. Consider your options carefully because this tool can profoundly impact your team’s performance.
This article lists the most important features you should look for in a potential time tracking app. Don’t settle on a tool until it meets these criteria.
(Before you dive in, consider browsing our complete guide on team time tracking. It’s a great primer on tracking the time of a group, including how time tracking works, the benefits you can get from it, and how to implement it in your team.)A proper time tracking tool records detailed information about the individual activities the team spends time on and puts everything under one platform so team administrators can manage their teams effectively. Click To Tweet
1. Automatic Team Time Tracking
The most significant point of failure in most team time tracking tools is the user. If the user fails to start timers, no data gets tracked. If they fail to stop timers, too much data gets tracked. This reality is why automatic time tracking is so important.
Automatic time tracking is a simple and effective solution that makes your time tracking easier, more accurate, and more reliable. It tracks everything you do on your device – every program/app, browser tab, and URL. It knows when you take calls and attend meetings.
Most importantly, automatic time tracking ensures that you and your team are billing clients properly. The time tracking software records all activity, so you can be sure that you are billing for the appropriate number of hours or projects.
Automatic time tracking makes it simple to introduce time tracking to your team because it doesn’t require any extra work. This unobtrusive software works in the background while your team performs their regular duties. It doesn’t add any unnecessary administrative tasks, and it doesn’t require the user to remember anything. (As we know, human memory can be unreliable.)
Timing is one of the few time tracking tools to offer automatic team time tracking. You and your team can focus on work while Timing records everything automatically. You can review your time when it’s convenient to you. Timing even detects when you stop using your device. This allows you to exclude idle time for your reports.
2. Organize Your Tasks by Projects and Clients
Many team time tracking tools calculate the total time you spend working, but they don’t break that time down by client or project. They allow you to see how long you worked, but you don’t get enough data to make intelligent optimizations.
The best time tracking tools let you sort your activities by client and project. For instance, you could sort all time spent in Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape to Client A. Instead, you might assign all activities to client B, no matter the app or URL you use. Simply drag and drop your activities into projects to categorize the time you spent for super-accurate time management. You can even create advanced rules to save you even more time.
These distinctions are what you get if you use Timing. This type of organization is great for identifying activities that take more time than you expect. Team administrators can use this information to bill clients accurately, assign staff to projects better, or get team members the help or training they need to be successful.
3. Scalable to Your Needs (No Limits)
Your team time tracking tool should be robust, comprehensive, and scalable. It should adapt to your work, not constrain your activities. If you decide to take on new clients, kick off new projects, or build entirely new teams, your time tracking software should be there to manage the load.
Some time tracking solutions charge for this type of organization. They limit the number of projects or teams you can create, forcing you to spend more as you grow or risk losing the organization of your work.
Timing will keep you organized no matter how quickly you grow. It’s 100% scalable to your needs. As long as each team member has a subscription seat for our “Connect” plan, you can create any number of teams. Plus, you can easily add or remove seats from your subscription at any time.
4. Focus on Privacy and Trust
Any time you share data with others, especially when personal devices are involved, it’s important to consider privacy and trust. Team members may be happy to share their work activities with their leaders, but they won’t be comfortable sharing everything that happens on their devices.
Maintaining agency over one’s time is an important benefit for many people these days. We want to control when we work to achieve better work/life balance. We’re happy to share data with our leaders to optimize our work (among the other benefits of team time tracking), but we still reject the practice of intrusive employee monitoring.
In Timing, team administrators only see aggregate times associated with team projects. They can not see the times of personal activities or other private details. The administrators can not see which apps, documents, and websites their team members use, to preserve team members’ privacy. Instead, Timing shows the total time a person spent on a given team project. This also means that any private time that gets tracked with Timing will not be visible to administrators, as those times would not be part of a team project.
What about other team members? In Timing, team members cannot access any of their coworkers’ data. Team members can generate and send reports to each other if they like, but this does not happen automatically. How people spend their time is entirely private.
5. Manual Time Entries
Like many professionals, you probably engage in some work away from your primary computer. You might check emails in the morning on your phone, have phone conversations with clients while driving in your car, visit customers on-site, or perform work on secondary devices. These activities won’t be captured by your team time tracking software.
Obviously you want all of your work to be tracked, so you need a way to add it manually to your time tracking software. This ensures that you and your team have a complete picture of how time was spent. If work performed away from your computer isn’t tracked, the resulting inaccurate timesheets could affect your business and revenue.
Fortunately, Timing’s timeline makes it super easy to add those times retroactively. With just a few buttons, you can amend your timeline to include any time you spend working away from your computer. You can even keep a manual timer running during your work, for maximum accountability.
6. Detailed Self-Help Guides
If you and your team are new to time tracking, you may need help onboarding everyone. The sooner you and your team learn how to use your time tracking software, the sooner you will enjoy the benefits.
We try to make this easy for Timing users. You can get started without any formal onboarding, but you or your team may have questions as you get into the sophisticated features. Plus, you and your team will probably use your team time tracking app in specific ways that fit into your process and workflow. For instance, you might opt for a particular naming convention for client projects.
For this, we offer in-depth self-help guides for administrators and team members. Our comprehensive list of FAQs is a great reference for anyone and helps administrators manage queries. These are simple, but effective resources that can be accessed any time.
7. Reports You Can Trust
Reporting is an essential team time tracking component. It gives you the chance to go through your week or month to find ways to optimize your time. The information can be used to identify the productivity and profitability of the business or individual projects. They can also help you and your team find areas for improvement so that everyone works smarter.
For instance, suppose you are a team administrator and you know that a client’s project took far longer than similar projects usually take. You could sit down with your team, each armed with a report of their time spent, to determine the problem. The purpose is not to blame your team for laziness, but to identify why this project was unusual and how the team can react to similar issues in the future.
Reports are also great ways to determine which employees struggle with work/life balance. If it seems that one team member is continually forced to work more hours than everyone else, you (as the team leader) might take steps to adjust workloads.
In Timing, team administrators can view all team members’ times in a central location and export that data for billing. This saves time and ensures accuracy as compared to manually collecting time data from individual employees. But like we mentioned earlier, team member privacy is critical, which is why tracked times are stored locally and never leave your computer (unless you opt into sync), private/incognito browser tabs are ignored, and you can add any activities to the exclusion list to prevent them from being tracked altogether.
You can also export your time data as a PDF, XLSX, CSV, or HTML. This functionality makes it simple to create timesheets and invoices without using additional software. We also offer a plug-in that lets you automatically import tracked hours as billable items in the GrandTotal invoicing app for Mac.
8. Integration With Your Calendar Tool
Like most organizations, you and your team probably spend a lot of time in virtual meetings. Sometimes, these are quick five-minute calls, but others can last hours. All of this time needs to be tracked and sorted properly.
Sadly, meeting time is often unproductive. Statistics show that 71% of professionals waste time weekly due to unnecessary meetings, often as many as three full working days each month. We even spend excessive time waiting for a meeting to start: The average meeting delay is nearly 11 minutes or 3 days lost annually.
Imagine if you had detailed information about how much time you and your team spend in meetings and with which clients. You could use that information to optimize your time so everyone returns to productive work. And if that’s billable time, you can ensure your clients are paying what they ought to.
Timing’s calendar integration can show you and your team’s calendar entries from your Mac’s Calendar.app or iCloud Calendar right on the timeline and create time entries for them. This function helps you ensure that every meeting is accounted for and billed. Furthermore, Timing automatically asks you to record time after each video or audio call, ensuring you account for all time.
9. Your Data Synced Across Your Devices
We strongly feel that your team time tracking tool should do as much heavy lifting as possible. Automatic tracking means reliable tracking and better productivity because users can focus on doing their best work without having to worry about starting and stopping timers, even if you use multiple devices. Furthermore, your time tracking tool should store your data safely, so it’s never at risk, even if something disastrous happens to your devices.
Timing helps by syncing your tracking data across all of your Macs, so you’ll never forget to log hours spent on-the-go. There’s no need to consolidate reports from different devices. And should your Mac ever break, all your data is stored safely in the cloud.
Choose the Right Time Tracking App for Your Team
The above features are important to any team time tracking program. Without those benefits, your time tracking won’t be as effective as it could be, and you won’t enjoy the optimization potential and productivity benefits that a robust time tracking tool can provide.
We designed Timing to meet these criteria because we wanted it to be the best. We recognize that teams need to be as efficient and productive as possible in a competitive world to reach their revenue goals and achieve personal satisfaction and well-being. It’s a powerful tool that automates your time tracking while giving you total control.
Get the free 30-day trial and see for yourself!
Once you’ve chosen a time tracking solution for your team, your next step is to introduce it to them. Check out our full guide on introducing time tracking to your team.