Managing remote workers is tough with team members scattered across different locations and time zones. It’s too easy for hours to slip away unnoticed, or worse, for some to take advantage of the situation — unless you have the right time tracker for remote workers. 

Time theft, inaccurate hour reporting, and the occasional creative accounting of work time quickly become serious issues for managers and business owners. Time tracking solutions ensure accountability, transparency, and fair compensation for everyone in the remote workforce.

Let’s take a look at time tracking for remote teams, explore the best solutions, and list some strategies to help you keep your business running efficiently.

Try Hubstaff free for 14 days

Get started

Introduction to Time Tracking for Remote Workers

According to Market Research Future, the U.S. economy suffers a loss of 50 million hours in productivity every day due to undocumented work tasks. This means time tracking is not only important for businesses but also for remote employees getting paid for the work they do.

The Importance of Time Tracking in Remote Work

When team members are spread out across different locations, tracking who is doing what and how long tasks are taking is difficult. Time tracking is crucial for remote employees because it helps ensure productivity and accountability. 

For business owners, accurate time tracking improves billing accuracy and profitability. It ensures clients are billed correctly for the time spent on their projects to avoid underbilling or overbilling issues.

Efficient time tracking solutions provide clear visibility into work hours so you can track project progress. They also help in budgeting and forecasting by providing insights into how time is allocated across different projects.

Benefits of Using a Time Tracker for Remote Teams

Using a time tracker for your remote team offers numerous benefits. It helps everyone stay on the same page, boosts team productivity, and makes managing projects easier. Some of the benefits include: 

  • Better productivity. Time trackers help remote employees stay focused. When team members know their time is being tracked, they are more likely to stay on task.
  • Accurate work hours. With accurate time tracking, you get a clear record of how many hours each team member works. It ensures that everyone is paid fairly for their time. It also helps you identify overworked employees so you can re-distribute the workload fairly.
  • Transparency. Transparency is crucial in remote teams. Time tracking makes it easy to see what everyone is working on. This builds trust within the team and ensures everyone contributes their fair share.
  • Skill development. When you track time, you identify tasks that take longer than expected and areas where team members might need further training or development. With this data, you can invest in personalizing growth plans and improving overall team skills.

Choosing the Right Time Tracker for Remote Workers

Once you’ve identified the need for a time-tracking solution to streamline the workflow of a remote workforce, you need to decide on a solution that best caters to your needs. 

Key Features to Look for in Time Tracking Software

Here are four key features to look for in a time-tracking solution for remote team members that benefit both your team and your business:

  1. Ease of use. A user-friendly interface ensures that everyone on your team can quickly learn how to use the tool without extensive training. The simpler it is, the more likely your team will use it consistently.
  2. Automated time tracking. Automated remote employee time tracking ensures that your team focuses on their work instead of constantly remembering to log their hours. Have remote teams that are on the move? Look for tools with geofenced time tracking to automate time tracking whenever they arrive at or leave a job site.
  3. Integrations. The ability to integrate with popular project management tools and Integrations. The ability to integrate with popular project management tools and outbound call center software streamlines workflows. This way, time tracking is aligned with project tasks, making it easier to manage deadlines and resources.
  4. Reporting and analytics. Detailed reports provide insights into how time is spent. This helps you identify productivity trends, monitor project progress, and make data-driven decisions to improve efficiency.

Comparing Top Time Tracking Tools for Remote Workers

Now that you know the key features to look for in time-tracking software, it’s time to explore some of the top options available. We found the following tools to be the best in the category—let’s look at how they stack up against your needs. 

1. Hubstaff

Hubstaff remote time tracking dashboard

Hubstaff is a powerful time-tracking tool that helps businesses manage employee hours, gauge productivity, and automate payroll. Hubstaff’s comprehensive reporting and cross-platform compatibility make it a valuable asset. 

Key features 
  • Time tracking for mobile, desktop, and web-based apps
  • Convert tracked time to real-time, automated timesheets
  • Integrations with your favorite payroll, invoicing, and project management software
  • Features for managing time off, holidays, and breaks
  • GPS tracking and geofencing for route planning and automated clock-ins and clock-outs
Pricing

Hubstaff offers a 14-day free trial. Paid plans start at $7 per user/month with limited features. Prices increase with more features and user seats. Enterprise plans with advanced features like HIPAA compliance start at $25.00/user/month (billed annually).

  • Starter: $7 per user/month
  • Grow: $9 per user/month
  • Team: $12 per user/month
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing is available upon request

Plus, check out the additional add-ons.

  • Insights: $2 per user/month
  • Tasks: $3 per user/month
  • Data retention: $2 per user/month
  • More screenshots: $3 per user/month 


Try Hubstaff’s time tracking app, free for 14 days. 

2. Timely

Timely remote time tracking

Timely is an automatic remote employee time tracking tool that captures every second worked. Like other tools on this list, the time tracker’s automated aspect helps maximize billable hours much more accurately than manual timers.

Key features
  • Automatic time tracking with “Memory Tracker” that captures all digital tasks
  • Integrates with existing task management tools and calendars
  • Offers real-time insights into how your remote team spends their time
  • User-friendly interface for easy adoption
Pricing

Timely offers tiered pricing based on the number of users and features needed. There are three main plans: Starter ($9 per user/month), Premium ($16 per user/month), and Unlimited ($22 per user/month) billed annually. 

3. Time Doctor

Time Doctor remote time tracking

Time Doctor is one of the best time tracking software solutions available. In addition to tracking time, users can also monitor employee activity during work hours and see detailed reports on websites and applications used. Time Doctor also provides daily, weekly, and monthly summary reports to help businesses accurately bill clients, pay employees, and improve efficiency.

Key features
  • Track time spent on tasks, projects, and clients down to the second
  • Supports all currencies and integrates with preferred payment programs without extra cost for payroll
  • Provides the option to edit tracked time for accuracy
  • The dashboard provides insights into time usage, such as productivity analysis and idle time alerts
  • Optional feature to take screenshots and record keyboard/mouse activity to verify work
Pricing

The basic plan is $5.90 per user/month, billed annually. For bigger teams, it offers standard and premium tiers, priced at $8.40 and $16.90 per user/month, respectively. 

Here is a quick comparison between Hubstaff and Time Doctor:

Free vs. Paid Time Tracking Solutions

Not everyone can afford the expensive per-user pricing that has become the standard for time tracking tools. Free time tracking solutions are great for single players or small teams with limited needs and budgets. 

Top Free Time Trackers for Remote Workers

Here are our top recommendations for free time tracking solutions: 

Jibble

Jibble is a free, feature-rich time-tracking software for remote employees that automates employee time tracking across various industries such as construction, healthcare, and education. It also provides optional upgrades that may appeal to larger SMEs and enterprises, but for small-scale businesses, the free version is more than enough. 

Key features
  • Effortless logging of hours across desktop, mobile, and web applications
  • Automatically calculates employee work hours, overtime, and breaks
  • Syncs with popular apps such as Xero, QuickBooks Online, Deel, and Zapier to streamline workflows
  • Includes GPS tracking and facial recognition for precise tracking

Clockify

This free employee time tracking software allows employees to log their working hours using a timer app available on web, mobile, and desktop platforms. They can also manually enter their time in an online timesheet. 

Clockify also supports tracking team attendance, including arrival and departure times, breaks, overtime, and time off. That said, arguably, their best features come in the form of paid add-ons like Pumble (a remote team communication app) and Plaky, a project management app.

Key features
  • Optional GPS tracking and screenshots of work activities
  • Generates detailed reports that can be exported in PDF, CSV, and Excel formats
  • You can add an unlimited number of team members for free

Toggl Track

This is a desktop-only time tracker app available for macOS and Windows. It tracks time even without an internet connection; the data collected offline syncs once you’re back online. 

Toggle Track also offers browser plugins for Chrome and Firefox. These plugins allow time tracking directly from tools like Asana, Trello, Jira, and Todoist.

Key features
  • Supports offline time tracking
  • Alerts users when they are inactive and allows them to categorize this time when they return
  • Helps users take regular breaks using the Pomodoro technique to maintain productivity
  • The timeline feature tracks every website or program you view for over ten seconds and displays this data alongside your current time entries in a side-by-side overview

When to Invest in Paid Time Tracking Software

Free time tracking software works well for freelancers, solopreneurs, or micro-teams. However, investing in paid tracking software for remote teams becomes essential when your business reaches a point where free tools fall short.

For example, free time tracking tools often limit the number of users or projects. As your team grows, a paid solution can handle more users and multiple projects without restrictions. 

Paid software also offers advanced features like detailed reporting, project management integration capabilities, and automated tracking for more control over your projects.  

What’s more, paid software providers regularly update their products to fix bugs, add new features, and improve performance. So, if you have a large team or an extensive client base, it’s worth investing in paid software.

How to Implement a Time Tracker Effectively

Here’s how to get your remote team on board without creating any waves. 

Best Practices for Introducing New Tools to Remote Teams

Anytime you’re planning to introduce your team to new technology, it’s crucial to inform them about the new tool well in advance. Explain why it’s being introduced, how it will benefit their work, and what changes they can expect. 

It’s also a good idea to begin with a small group to test the tool. Gather feedback, identify potential issues, and make necessary adjustments before a full rollout. 

Next, introduce the tool in stages rather than all at once. Allow remote team members to integrate it into their workflows gradually to prevent them from being overwhelmed.

And don’t forget to provide ongoing support after the initial training. Set up a helpdesk or a dedicated support channel where team members can ask questions and get assistance.

Training Remote Workers to Use Time Tracking Software

 Follow these best practices to ensure everyone in your remote team gets up to speed:

  1. Prepare training materials. Create clear, easy-to-understand training materials — and be sure to include step-by-step guides, video tutorials, live demonstrations, and FAQs. Make sure these resources cover all features of the time-tracking software.
  2. Offer personalized training. Recognize that different remote employees may have varying levels of tech proficiency. Provide one-on-one training sessions for those who need extra help. Tailor your approach based on their specific needs and questions.
  3. Provide continuous access to resources. Make sure that training materials and recordings of live sessions are easily accessible. Store them in a shared, organized location such as a company intranet or cloud storage.

Analyzing Time Tracking Data

A thorough analysis of the time tracked helps you understand how your team allocates their work hours. It can also directly influence productivity improvements and better optimization of resources. 

What Insights Can You Gain From Time Tracking?

Time tracking provides insights into your team’s productivity, project progress, and resource allocation. 

For example, you will be able to pinpoint areas where team members might be spending too much or too little time to allow for better resource allocation and workload distribution.

It also helps you set realistic goals and deadlines because you have a clear picture of how long tasks actually take. You can estimate which projects or clients are the most profitable by comparing the time spent against the revenue generated.

Using Data to Improve Remote Work Efficiency

To improve remote work efficiency using time tracking data, analyze your results to see when team members are most productive. Schedule important tasks during these peak times to maximize output.

Use the data to find tasks or activities that consume a lot of time without adding much value. Reduce or eliminate these time wasters to free up more time for important work. You can also use time-tracking data to set realistic deadlines to ensure projects stay on track without overwhelming team members.

Also, make sure you share insights from time-tracking data with your remote team. Use it to give constructive feedback, recognize achievements, and identify areas for improvement.

While time-tracking software is a great tool to boost team productivity and improve project management, it’s not without its downsides. The biggest hurdle to implementing this type of software is the legal and ethical concerns surrounding employee privacy.

Privacy and Ethical Concerns in Remote Monitoring

Privacy and ethics concerns are significant issues that team members may have with remote employee monitoring through time-tracking software. For instance, teams may worry about how much of their personal information is being collected and who has access to it

Remote workers may also feel uncomfortable with the idea of being constantly monitored. They may fear that it invades their privacy and creates a sense of distrust. 

Ethical concerns also arise around how the data is used—remote employees want assurance that the information collected will not be used punitively or to unfairly micromanage their work. 

You will need to ensure robust data protection measures and respect personal time by not tracking non-work-related activities. Creating a culture of trust and transparency is crucial. 

Balancing Transparency and Trust With Surveillance

To ensure your team adapts to time tracking, be upfront about the use of time tracking software. Clearly explain why it is being implemented, what data will be collected, and how it will be used. A culture of trust and transparency strengthens remote teams and reduces anxiety about being monitored.

You should also obtain explicit consent from your employees before implementing the software to respect their autonomy and legal rights. Ensure they understand what is being tracked and have agreed to it.

Also, make sure you protect the data collected by time-tracking software. Ensure the software complies with data protection regulations such as GDPR or CCPA. Use encryption and secure storage methods to safeguard sensitive information.

Finally, use the data to improve productivity, manage workloads, and support remote employees, rather than micromanaging or penalizing them.

Future of Remote Work and Time Tracking

The future of remote work is about working smarter, not harder. Here are some emerging trends in remote working tools that provide some insight into how time tracking is evolving with remote work.

We’re seeing a shift towards artificial intelligence (AI) that automatically tracks your work based on your activity and makes logging hours less intrusive.

There is also an increasing focus on employee well-being, with tools that monitor not just work hours but also help manage workloads and prevent burnout. These tools help predict workloads, optimize schedules, and provide insights into productivity patterns. 

How Time Tracking is Evolving with Remote Work

There is a shift towards more comprehensive workforce management solutions that combine core remote tracking features like: 

  • Time tracking
  • Expense management
  • Project management
  • Communication platforms
  • Task management
  • File sharing

As remote teams grow, you can also expect time tracking tools to offer top-notch data encryption and access controls to keep information safe. The future of remote work is flexible, so you need to look for time-tracking tools that adapt to your team’s needs — and can integrate with other tools in your tech stack.

Are you ready to elevate your remote team’s efficiency? Embrace seamless collaboration, enhanced productivity, and transparent work processes with Hubstaff, the leading remote employee monitoring software. Experience a new level of team management and performance tracking with this powerful tool.

Category: Product, Time Tracking