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The sudden shift to working from home forced many companies to recreate the office setup with remote teams. Now that many employees are accustomed to hybrid or remote work, companies need to adopt the right tools to accommodate this new normal. One tool that enables companies to provide more flexibility while guarding against time theft is a free time tracking app.
Read more:Project Management Time Constraints
Time tracking is the process of measuring and documenting time spent on any activity. It allows a person or a company to get a better picture of where time goes during a given day or period. Free time tracking software can provide this insight to help both the individual and the organization.
Time tracker apps can show employees which time of the day they are most productive and allow them to build a work schedule around these times. Time tracking software also lets workers see the total effort they have put in, building accountability and greater responsibility. For companies, free time tracking software is an inexpensive but valuable tool to identify top performers and balance workloads more effectively.
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Top 10 Free Time Tracking Software
workload management tools and time tracking software are important solutions — especially for remote teams. The best free time tracking app allows users to focus on tasks and avoid getting distracted. It also reminds them when to take a break and when to call it a day, wherever they may be working. Here is a list of the best free task tracking software that are compatible across platforms and devices.
Harvest is a free time tracking app for a single user for up to two projects. It also has a premium Pro plan with unlimited users and projects. Both plans include compatibility across web browsers, desktops, and mobile devices, a wide selection of visual reports, a self-help portal, and integration to productivity apps for optimized workflow. Users can start and stop timers on individual tasks from its website or from apps integrated with it. It also allows manual entry on a daily or weekly form.
Harvest comes with a free invoicing tool. With Stripe and PayPal integrations, users can easily generate and send invoices by email, keep tabs on payments, and allow their clients to pay online. Users can also set up automatic reminders and thank-you notes, allow clients to pay recurring invoices, and automatically see paid invoices with up-to-date records.
TimeCamp is time tracking software for businesses of all sizes. It has a free plan and several premium plans with more advanced features. All plans come with unlimited users, projects, and tasks. It is fully automated and keeps track of all work using an installed desktop app that scans and groups work into different categories. Users can add, adjust, and delete time entries from a graphic timesheet. They can also maintain their workflow using integrations by tracking within their tools using a browser extension for Chrome or Edge.
TimeCamp can help track team performance by showing how much time they spend on a given task or project. It can also track project profitability, showing whether the project is still within its budget. Other features include pre-built and customizable reports, export to PDF and Excel formats, billable and non-billable tagging, timesheet approvals, invoicing, and PayPal integration.
Toggl Track free time tracker is an easy-to-use software for freelancers and small-to-midsize businesses. It is free for up to five users with unlimited projects, clients, and tags. Individuals and teams can use web apps, desktop apps, and mobile apps for iOS and Android that sync time tracking across devices, or within productivity tools using Chrome or Firefox plugins. Users have a choice to enter time using timers, manual entry, or via a calendar.
Toggl Track time tracking features include auto-tracking of applications or websites used for more than 10 seconds, auto-tracking based on software used, pinning frequently used time entries, and Jira synchronization. It also has summarized and detailed reporting, project and revenue tracking, and team scheduling and management features. Users can export reports, as well as upload project and client data from a CSV file.
Hubstaff Time is a simple time tracking and reporting software with a free plan for a single user and paid plans for multiple users, such as freelancers and teams in field services and remote work. The free plan includes time tracking and timesheet features that work on the web, desktop, mobile, and as a Chrome browser extension. It simplifies invoicing and payment with a timesheet that allows users to set pay and bill rates for each team member.
Aside from keeping track of employee hours, projects, and tasks, Hubstaff Time can also automate time and attendance tracking. Users can plan and schedule shifts with a drag-and-drop interface. Managers have visibility when employees arrive late, leave early, or miss their shift. Types of detail reports are timesheet, attendance, time off, and budget reports. It also serves as a GPS tracker and a free time card app for automated online payroll.
Clockify is a free time tracking app that lets unlimited users track work hours across projects. It works across devices with a web app; iOS and Android mobile apps; desktop apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux; and as a browser extension for Edge, Chrome, and Firefox. Users can choose to enter time via a timer, manually on a timesheet, manage time in a calendar, or automatically by tracking apps and websites.
Clockify time tracking allows users to mark hours as billable. Users can accomplish their online timesheet easily by choosing the activity, entering the corresponding work hours, and navigating to any week for time entry. Templates let them load weekly activities quickly. Other features include timesheet approvals, reminders, calendar view, calendar integration, dashboards, and reports. The software also has a project tracker, team tracking, invoicing, time off tracking, and integrations.
Paymo is work and project management software for teams with a free plan that includes time tracking features. With up to 10 users, the free plan has native time tracking, time entries, and time reports. It works across platforms such as the web, desktop apps, and mobile apps for iOS and Android. The timesheet allows users to view, add, and edit time entries, with the option to customize the timeline scale, modify the snap interval, and choose the name to display on the time entry card.
Paymo has automatic time tracking to monitor everything running on the computer. It runs on the background and lets the user pair the recorded time with the associated activity or automatically link them using rules. Users also have the option to track work in real time, add it in bulk, or use the Pomodoro technique with a desktop widget. Other features of the software include an integrated online timer, mobile apps, timesheet reporting, team scheduling, invoicing, task management, and integrations.
TMetric time tracking app is free for up to five users, but also has professional and business plans for up to 200 users. All plans come with unlimited projects and clients. It helps growing businesses gain higher profits, satisfied clients, and happier teams. Available as a downloadable desktop app, a mobile app, and a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, and Safari, it helps users focus on actual work without getting bogged down on time micromanagement.
TMetric enables task performance and app usage tracking to simplify how users see their work time. Users can also set special reminders, spot idle time and zero activity, or notify users about break time. The free time tracker has an offline mode, mobile time tracking that syncs with the web app, and integrations with many popular productivity tools.
Timesheets.com is free time tracking software for small businesses. It is easy to use and helpful for employees in the office or working from home. A paid plan for standard users and for non-profit users is available, too. The time tracking feature helps in running accurate payroll, invoicing billable time, or for job costing. It also handles electronic signatures and supervisor approvals, as well as providing real-time reports.
Timesheets has customizable user permission settings to ensure security. It has tools like IP locking, an approval process, and a comprehensive audit trail. Users can enter time in multiple ways, such as with a digital punch clock, individual time tracking entries made daily, tracking jobs in real time using timers, or filling in a weekly timesheet. Other features include GPS time tracking, time off and PTO, mileage and expenses, reporting, and an integrated HR system.
TrackingTime software for teams offers a free tool for up to three users and a paid plan with advanced features for larger teams. The free plan comes with time tracking across platforms: the web, desktop, and mobile devices. Users can start tracking tasks with a click of the timer button. They can keep track of the team’s hours with an online timesheet, and track time wherever work happens using a mobile app or a Chrome extension on their favorite productivity tools.
TrackingTime provides a free time card app that facilitates timecard approval. Other use cases where it is helpful are keeping projects on time and on budget, managing work schedules, and holding timesheet audits. It also has email and in-app reminders and notifications, classification for billable and non-billable hours, and recurring time entries.
My Hours is a free time tracking app for projects and tasks designed for individuals and teams. It includes unlimited team members and projects, allows for billable rates and budgets, and generates detailed reports. The software helps coordinate teams and their projects and tasks. It can track work hours with a detailed description of time logs and expenses.
My Hours also has dashboards and advanced time analytics to provide reports. Users can also export their time data. They can prioritize tasks, add details, and assign them to team members with an estimated budget at the project or task level. The time tracking software also allows custom rates for every client, project, task, and team member.
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Types of Time Tracking Software
Time tracking software is a type of timekeeping tool that keeps a record of work hours for various purposes. Businesses use it to track hours allocated on projects. Professionals providing services to multiple clients use it to track and bill each client accurately. Remote teams also track hours to measure productivity. The types of software depend on the method of tracking time.
Timesheet software is a digital version of a paper timesheet. Timesheet software can include time entries for the whole week for the entire team, or the time entry of each team member with hours for different clients, tasks, or job categories. Users fill out the timesheet software daily or once a week, and the software can issue reminders to team members about deadlines for submission to managers or payroll.
Time Recording Software
Time recording software is a type of time tracking system that allows users to track hours on various activities by clicking a timer button to start recording time. In the same way, users click the button to pause the timer when they want to stop tracking time for the activity. This method is easy to use and highly visual, with a display of total hours at the interface that users can see at any time while working. Providers of time recording apps integrate with many productivity tools, including project management and task management software.
Time Clock Software
Time clock software is a modern version of the bundy clock, where workers punch in and out cards to get a time stamp of when they start or end their shifts. Time clock apps are now accessed by employees using different methods. Some set up touchscreens or kiosks instead of the physical clock, with the option to use biometrics for identification. Others use mobile apps to clock in and out, or GPS tracking to automatically track time for an employee who enters a geo-fenced area.
Automatic Time Tracker
An automatic time tracker is an intelligent time tracking software that recognizes patterns, usage, or applications. It automatically starts recording time and labels or categorizes time spent according to the rules configured in the software. The software can also use machine learning to become smarter and more accurate with usage. It also learns as users edit or correct the generated timesheet.
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Free Time Tracking Software Features
Many time tracking apps offer both a free plan and one or more premium plans. Free plans usually have basic features or lower limits. The best free time tracking software offers the right features for businesses to simplify the time tracking process and boost productivity. Here are some of the essential features to look for:
Flexible Time Tracking
Capturing and recording time is the core functionality, but the software allows different methods to track worked hours down to the minute or second in real time like a stopwatch. The time entries are automatically recorded, and can be viewed, edited, and deleted with the option to add additional notes, tags, or labels.
Free time tracking software not only simplifies the recording of time, but also makes viewing recorded time entries easy and accessible. Employees and their managers can easily access and view the timesheet subject to any process it needs, such as approval for payroll or for invoicing.
Time tracking apps today allow users to work more flexibly. Apps that are available on the web, desktop, mobile, and as a browser extension provide workers — especially remote teams — the convenience to track hours wherever work happens. Time tracking apps are also lighter in terms of system resources, and give users the option to use the right app for the right feature. For instance, a mobile app can serve as a clock timer while the desktop app generates reports.
Ease of Use
Time tracking needs to be easy to do. Otherwise, inconsistent use or misuse will not provide the expected benefits. Time tracking features in the software should not be disruptive, but instead conform to the company’s workflow naturally.
Many free time trackers come with reporting tools, such as pre-built reports to choose from or a custom report to design. The reports provide teams and businesses information about where users spend time, as well as the impact on their goals. Reports can also give users insight on where to focus or which processes to improve for greater productivity and profitability.
With a record of time entries that managers can compare against tasks, activities, and projects, teams have a more balanced assignment of workload that matches their capacity. These can help teams avoid fatigue or burnout, and instead increase morale and motivation.
Billing & Invoicing
Timesheets generated by time tracking software can be quickly formatted and categorized. This functionality allows users to create invoices easily. The automated transformation and simple editing streamlines a company’s processes. Integration to other systems such as payroll, HR, accounting, and online payment systems also remove the need to spend time on administrative tasks that recur several times in a given period.
Some free time tracking apps offer simple automation, like sending reminders for timesheet submission and notifying supervisors to approve timesheets or allow time entry edits. Users can also schedule the automated generation and sending of reports, or keep tabs on unsent and unpaid invoices.
Time tracking is an important part of greater work activities like task management, project tracking, attendance monitoring, or payroll and billing. A free time tracker should be able to work with other apps and systems to provide a more comprehensive business solution.
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Features for Small Business
Free time tracking apps are valuable to small businesses that need to be more selective in where they invest their resources. In addition to core time tracking functionality, some features are more valuable than others.
Ease of Use: Employees in small businesses like startups wear many hats and perform multiple responsibilities. Easy-to-use time tracking software ensures that employees will actually use it.
Cross-Platform: Again, employees may have multiple responsibilities within a business, including remote work or travel. To be able to track time from different locations is an advantage.
Integrations: A startup may still be finalizing their business systems, so the ability to connect to many possible applications through integration will be handy.
Midsize companies need to support their next-level growth with the right features of the best free time tracking software that fits their unique needs.
Online Timesheet: Aside from core time tracking capabilities, growing companies need a clearer overview of the time spent by its employees to comply with fair labor practices regarding overtime.
Time Reporting: Growing businesses can receive valuable information and insight from time reports regarding productivity and team capacity. Then they can decide better if they can take on new business or add more resources.
Billing & Invoicing: Having a free time tracking app that can also categorize billable and non-billable hours is efficient. A built-in invoicing tool can help make the process for receiving payment quick and smooth.
Enterprise businesses can use a free time tracking software to test if that product can scale to their needs and work with their other systems. They can easily upgrade to premium plans if needed.
Integrations: Enterprise businesses have other business systems, so a time tracking software that integrates with existing apps without problems is worth considering.
Custom Time Reports: Larger companies will need to look at their business and operations from many angles. The ability to customize time reports will be valuable in giving them multiple perspectives.
Automation: Bigger teams will likely be handling more clients and a greater volume of work, and therefore can benefit from automations such as pre-filled timesheets, approval reminders, and overtime notifications.
Jose Santos is a long-time contributing writer for project-management.com. He is a subject matter expert in the field of project management and has many years of experience writing about project management software and tools. He has written hundreds of articles for the project management industry, including numerous software reviews, book reviews, training site reviews, and more.