The 6 features the best employee time tracking apps have

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An hourglass represents the old ways that are being replaced by time tracking apps.

If you want to run your business more efficiently, employee time tracking apps are a great place to start. 

The simple act of recording the amount of time it takes to complete every task in a workday gives you vital information you need to:

  • Streamline your operations.
  • Reduce your operational costs.
  • Maximize your productivity.

And so much more. 

So how do you know which is the best time tracking app for your business? Keep reading to find out how these tools strengthen your operations and the features you need in your time tracking software.

Why time tracking apps are beneficial for growing businesses

As you know all too well, there’s a lot more to managing a business than making sure that the work gets done.

If you’re not using a time tracking tool, much of your workload is likely weighed down by tasks that are better off being automated.

Here are some of the advantages you get with an employee time tracking app.

Accurate records and less work for your team

Having your team manually fill out timesheets leaves you open to reporting errors. 

The reality is that your crew may forget to record time entries until the end of the day or pay period. And even if they are filling them out as they go, there’s still a good chance that time is being rounded up or down. 

This means that either you or your customer is losing money — which isn’t a win for anybody.

There’s also the possibility of mistakes being made when work hours are manually entered into your payroll and invoicing programs. Especially when you’re trying to manage stacks of paper or multiple spreadsheets.

In other words, manual logs can far too easily lead to payroll mistakes and inaccurate invoices. With employee time tracking software, your team simply clicks a button on their mobile devices and the app records their actual working hours. This gives you one source of truth that you can rely on, instead of multiple sources that have the potential to conflict with each other.

Find inefficiencies in workflows and operational bottlenecks

Another benefit of using time trackers is the business insights available to you.

By analyzing the time logs of each individual task, you can easily identify the tasks that take the longest and look for the reasons why.

Not only does this help you streamline your business, but simple time tracking of tasks inspires your team to become more productive.

Data-driven employee performance reviews

The time records collected from each of your employees also act as a reliable source to base employee performance reviews. 

Comparing results from similar tasks done by several employees allows you to quantify areas where an employee may be struggling.

By sharing this data with them, they get a clearer picture of where they stand.

Better forecasting

A time tracking solution gives you exact data on the amount of time it takes to complete specific jobs and overall projects. 

So now your estimates will be even more accurate and earn you the kind of credibility that gets spread by word of mouth.

Better yet, having precise data on the number of working hours needed to finish a job helps you optimize your scheduling and cut down on labor costs.

The 6 best employee time tracking app features

As you’ve probably guessed, there are countless time trackers out there. So, trying to figure out the best time tracking app can be a daunting task. Until now!

Here are the key features that every service business needs in an employee time tracking app.

1. User-friendly timesheet and attendance tracking

Your office and remote teams have plenty on their plates.

So, to fully realize the benefits of your employee time tracking app, you need buy-in across all departments. This is a lot easier to accomplish with a time tracking solution that’s easy to use. 

Ideally, your team should be able to start and stop a time entry within a work order when they arrive on site. That time entry should be uploaded into a centralized system so that your office staff can:

  • Track attendance.
  • Seamlessly convert time entries into employee hours for payroll. 
  • Add time tracking details in your invoice software.

The best time tracking apps allow you to do all of the above without having to enter the same data twice, so make sure to add these functionalities to your wish list.

2. Scheduling and work order creation

A key feature you want to look for when comparing time tracking apps is versatile scheduling functionality.

As a business with remote teams in the field, you need the ability to view everyone’s calendars and add last-minute work orders to them.

Having a web-based time tracking app that adds new jobs to employee calendars keeps you from losing out on valuable business.

3. Real-time updates on job progress

It’s one thing to know the details of your team’s workday when it’s all said and done. But having the ability to troubleshoot problems as they come up is one way to level up your service.

So you want to make sure you can get updates on events as they happen with a cloud-based time tracking app. 

Say, for example, your team arrives at a job site and there’s nobody there to let them in. Or they were scheduled for landscaping work but a thunderstorm makes it unsafe for them to be working outdoors.

With real-time updates, you can reach out to the customer and start finding solutions right away.

4. Robust reporting

You learned earlier how time tracking each job can give you the insights you need to streamline your business operations.

For that to happen, you need a time tracking app that pulls the data points you need and presents them in insightful reports.

When looking for an employee time tracking app, you want to look for those that go beyond reports that are limited to time spent on tasks. Instead, look for tracking tools that can provide you with analytics on costs vs profit as well. Even better if you can find a solution that lets you easily filter time entries by employee, customer, month, etc. 

With these insights, you’ll know exactly which are your most profitable jobs and teams. And if you offer any flat-fee services, you can monitor them to make sure they aren’t costing you money.

5. Integrations with the software you love

The benefits of a time tracking solution can only truly be enjoyed when it’s connected to the rest of your tech stack.

Software integration is what allows your data to flow from tool to tool. Key software integrations to look for in your time tracker are with your payroll and invoicing programs as they eliminate double data entry between systems.

Let’s take a look at Method’s sync with QuickBooks as an example. When a time entry in Method’s Time Tracker app is stopped and the work order is completed, the time entry automatically appears in QuickBooks. 

From here, you can include these time details in your invoice as well as approve these entries for payroll. Both of which simplify your payroll and billing processes. 

Another recommendation is to use a time tracking app that works with Zapier. This way, you can connect your time tracker to your email, scheduling tool, CRM, etc., to automate your workflows even further.

6. A time tracking tool with a mobile app

Mobile is the perfect medium for time tracking in the field. It’s a lot easier to click a button on a mobile app than it is trying to remember how much time was spent on each task/job after the fact.

This is huge because one of the key selling features of an employee time tracking app is the accuracy of your reporting. So your team needs to be able to start and stop the timer as they begin and finish their work.

An added bonus of employees reporting time on their mobile phones is that you know exactly who completed each job. Now, any feedback from customers can get added to your employee performance reviews.

Recap: What to look for in your employee time tracking app

To take your business to the next level, you need an employee time tracking app that:

  • Makes it easy for your team to record time entries. 
  • Takes the data entry burden off your office employees.
  • Lets you schedule and add work orders on the fly.
  • Keeps you in the loop on progress and incidents at the job site.
  • Gives you reports on productivity, profitability, and more!
  • Integrates with your other software tools.
  • Empowers your team to start and stop the time tracker as they work with a mobile version of the app.

Find a time tracking solution with all of the above, and you’ll help ensure your growing business is a success!

See how Method elevates your time tracking abilities with a free demo.

Image credit: Pixabay via Pexels

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