To track or not to track… That was the question.

Not anymore.

To track manually or automatically – that is the question of today’s importance. Because of poor time tracking habits and, consequently, untracked time, US companies lose $8.8 billion per day.

Image author: Annie Spratt 


Businesses still face burdensome disagreements around employee work hours and struggle to decide how to monitor the latter efficiently. Let’s take the controversy around old-fashioned paper timesheets vs digitally-driven solutions for worker time monitoring.

Are you still using paper timesheets or have you already switched to digital methods and productivity apps?

You’ll definitely change your mind in favor of automatic tools after reading this article. Dive in.

Key Controversy: Manual vs Automatic Time Tracking Methods

With rapidly boosted digital transformation and post-pandemic changes, the need for attendance tracking for remote work has ignited a higher interest in automatic time monitoring methods.

Let’s see why automated solutions for timekeeping and effective control have more advantages for the business owner as well as the employee.

Here’s why you need automated time tracking:

  • It guarantees precise calculations in contrast to indicating hours manually which results in human error.
  • It helps with arrangement of working time, scheduling and prioritization of tasks.
  • It minimizes distraction (like the need to manage timesheets, timers, and calculate data manually) and optimizes productivity.
  • It reduces time to record the data about work hours and structures it effectively.
  • It shows real-time reports and contributes to transparency.
  • It helps payroll staff avoid inaccuracies and streamlines processes like tracking overtime or absence, as well as generating the right paycheck.
  • It opens more possibilities for simplification of processes and integrations with other tools.

And now, let’s take a look at what might interfere with time administration, if you stick with a “long-bearded” manual way of time tracking.

Main Troubles with Manual Employee Time Tracking and Reasons behind Them

If you are to deal with recording and calculating individual hours or team projects time manually, there’s no way you can escape the following difficulties that may trigger even greater issues in the workplace:

Manual tracking of employee working hours increases the workload.

The scope of job-related activities is expanded by unnecessary manipulations with data. Manual calculation of time spent on projects and tasks increases the burden and overwhelms workers with extra repetitive activities.

Max Wesman, COO of GoodHire, believes that “Besides additional manual tasks that increase the amount of labor, the quality and speed of basic work are also affected greatly, because employees get distracted to fill out the timesheets. Consequently, they feel overloaded and oppressed with too many assignments.”

Inaccurate work time calculations lead to payroll issues.

Strikingly, 80% of timesheets updated by workers themselves contain manual calculation errors, based on the time and attendance stats.
Inadequate pay due to such mistakes can result in violating labor laws on the behalf of the employer.

“Miscalculation of worker’s hours causes payroll headaches and provokes legal issues,” says Mark Pierce, CEO of Cloud Peak Law Group. “Absence and overtime are the “trickiest” records. That’s where the majority of calculation mistakes occur. Those in turn lead to payroll errors which may be the reason for workers to quit their jobs,” Mark continues.

Note: 49% of employees will be ready to leave the company after two errors in their paychecks.

Employees are bad at filling out paper timesheets.

And it costs the US economy $7.4 billion or 50 million hours daily.

The process of filling in the paper form to indicate hours worked makes some people cringe, while the time-tracking skill itself largely depends on the personality type.
“Your workers may feel demotivated, if they see no correlation between the amount of hours and the expertise/skills needed to fulfill the task,” shares Logan Mallory, VP of Motivosity. “They also experience the pressure and stress of timesheets filling up instead of doing their best at work. To avoid that, explain the “whys” behind the time tracking process to your team members and tell them about the advantages they’ll get, if their work hours are tracked fast and flawlessly,” he recommends.

Get your employees to start tracking time correctly avoiding mistakes and time robbery.

Time theft affects business and can be costly.

Stealing time is a counterproductive behavior when employees forget to mention their breaks, exaggerate the number of work hours, have fun, socialize, sleep, etc. instead of performing their duties. It often leads to low morale at the workplace and causes damage to the business itself.

According to the time tracking statistics, employers lose as much as $11 billion yearly, on average, due to time theft.

Pal punching is another kind of time fraud frequented by employees. In this case, workers punch in for their co-workers’ sake and “back-up” each other to avoid missed minutes/hours of the work time.

When looked at from a different angle, however, time tracking is not about control and suspicion, but about stimulating a culture of productivity, openness and trust.

How to Find the Balance and Track Work Hours Effortlessly

Need help with tracking the working time of employees? Would you also like to eliminate time sinks and unfinished projects?

Automation is the golden key in your digital transformation strategy that can help you eliminate the aforementioned problems and concerns that arise in case the work time is monitored manually.

Here’s what to be aware of choosing an automated solution for time tracking:

Type of software

 “If you google time-tracker software, you’ll get approximately 2 billion search results,” observes Mark Daoust, CEO of QuietLight. “Don’t hurry to pick just any of those. Make a wise decision based on your business and work environment requirements. Depending on the type of work, the number of employees, work conditions, etc., your choice should fall on the most appropriate timekeeping tool to fit everyone’s needs,” Mark adds.

Time-tracking apps top the list of the tools you need to build your business successfully. And the Timing app is among those time trackers that allow you to record everything without lifting a finger. Scroll through the app features to see it yourself.

Got a tiny team? Compare RescueTime vs TimeCamp vs Timing for small teams and choose the best one for your team.

Flexibility and integration

With a fast-evolving digital world, the necessity of adjustability and integrational capacity is felt more than ever. You should connect your time tracker with other operational tools for communication, enterprise resource planning, analytics, finance, etc.

A dedicated timekeeping system can help you become more flexible and improve project management as well. How exactly? Though organization and using accurate time reports for insights into projects and subprojects.

To manage the duration of projects and organize workflows more fruitfully, integrate Timing with Zapier, for example.

Alternatively, allow your workers to use a web app. And they can always start and stop tasks on the go with Timing and Siri Shortcuts.

Transparency & trust

Importantly, you can boost team productivity with psychological safety and autonomy in controlling the amount of time spent on each project. Without the “big-brother-is-watching-you” fear. Timing protects team members’ privacy while working, because managers or team leads can see only aggregated time spent on team projects. Timing doesn’t share each team member’s work times or personal details. For this reason, the manager can’t see private information about the employee.

Choosing an automatic time tracking product for your team, you open a channel of trust between co-workers. They now can see a more comprehensive picture about time distribution on tasks from a broader perspective. You also establish a transparent company culture and build trust between project members and stakeholders.


In fact, the Founder & CEO of BIWS, Brian Dechesare states that “Employees’ greatest time tracking fear is about a violation of their privacy rights at work. They may even equal it to spying.”

Privacy is the utmost thing to consider, in case you go with a SaaS solution for employee time tracking. Security protocols, privacy policies and data breaches are the top 3 aspects that help you determine whether you can trust the SaaS product with your data.

Timing is a privacy-friendly app that lets managers see employees’ work hours in an aggregated fashion. Team admins can access time records of team projects only. It means that managers cannot see individual times of each team member. They cannot see which app/document/website was used either. This allows preserving each team member’s privacy.

High Time to Use a Time Tracker

Loud disputes around automatic vs manual employee time tracking don’t subside even now, in the era of digital technologies. However, more and more companies make a successful transition from manual to automated time clock software because of some proven and acknowledged benefits.

Now that you know how time monitoring automation may contribute to effective project management and company growth, there’s only one step left to take, right?

Ready to use a time tracker? With the Timing tool, you have document-based activity and meeting times tracking, detailed reporting, data synchronization, calendar & other integrations, etc. Besides, Timing can also improve time management skills.

Don’t wait for tomorrow. Start tracking employee time automatically and easily today. Download Timing to grab the 30-day free trial – no credit card required.