You know the old adage: time is money.
And that’s why in a world that’s increasingly loaded with distractions everywhere (hello Facebook-Instagram-Twitter-Snapchat) it’s important to know where your time is going. This is doubly true of your employees, especially in a growing workforce of freelancers and remote workers (whom you may not even have met in person).
Here are 5 popular free time tracking tools, listed from highest overall score to lowest, that you might want to look into if you’re looking to better track your or your team’s time.
TSheets offers time tracking and scheduling capabilities, replacing traditional time cards, and allowing companies to streamline payroll. TSheets tracks time and GPS points (even without cell or internet service) then automatically syncs when back in service. There’s also a feature called “Who’s Working” which lets a business see what employees are working on and where at any given time. The company offers a free plan for one user, as well as more robust paid options.
TSheets also offers customizable reminders and alerts, integrations with accounting tools Quickbooks and Xero, and free unlimited phone, email, and chat support. One user says, “TSheets tracks and monitors our employees, and their respective punches, without requiring any sort of backend components.”
When it comes to areas for improvement, one user said so “many settings can be overwhelming” and another would like “see more classes from TSheets or customization for internal training handouts,” although it should be noted that TSheets scored a 9.0 in their customer support.
Teamwork Projects is a project management tool that includes time tracking capabilities. There is a small scale “free forever” plan, as well as paid options that allow for more projects and features. Teamwork’s time management tool aims to keep everyone in the office productive and synched in one central location. Employees can update tasks, track time, and communicate on their progress in real-time so that management is constantly aware of the timeline of every task or project. With a helpful ‘Everything’ Tab, employees have an overview of exactly what needs to be done, which can be sorted by due date, priority, and other customizable options. One user loved the simplicity of the associated time tracking tool, saying, “It is really easy to track time and because you can track time according to tasks, it really helps you look at how you are spending your time.”
Another user said that the dashboard is a bit messy and that “in-app reporting is weak, although data exports to .pdf for quick visuals, or .xlsx for data analysis to solve this for my purposes.”
All in all, Teamwork’s high score reflects its simple navigation and quick customer service.
3. Time Doctor
This multi-functional time tracking and productivity app aims to pinpoint exactly how users have spent (or wasted) their time each day to an almost scientific degree. In addition to basic time tracking, the product includes website & app tracking, keyboard & mouse activity levels, and automated screenshots, all to help managers track and increase the productivity of their teams. The company offers a low-cost solo plan and a limited feature free plan, as well as a 30-day free trial of the full-featured version.
One reviewer called it “the most convenient and cost-effective way to manage your small freelancing team” and another reported that their business experienced “healthier time usage with Time Doctor”. Respondents liked that they could see when freelancers are working on a project and when they aren’t. They found it particularly helpful that Time Doctor tracks social media distractions accurately and reports them as an inefficient use of time. In terms of areas for improvement, reviewers said “the user interface and design looks a bit dated” and the fact that “every user costs extra.”
With more than 100 integrations and browser plugins, Toggl aims to make it easy start tracking from anywhere on the web without having to login directly. Simply click a button to start the timer, and stop it once you’re done with your tasks. Toggl also incorporates visual reports that allow you to see exactly how long each task takes and how many hours your team spends on different tasks. The projects feature also allows you to estimate timelines and budgets and track your progress. The company offers a free basic plan, as well as free trials for paid plans.
One reviewer called Toggl “invaluable” for his small company, adding “it accurately tracks your activities in real time and if you forget to engage it, you can enter in time later.” Overall, reviewers like how easy the tool is to use, its “easy-to-understand reporting”, and how you can “spend less time tracking your time.”
Another user noted a few downsides to the tool, wishing Toggl would send “automatic emails with monthly reports” and have the “ability to compare estimated hours to actual.”
Harvest’s core functionality is time tracking, but it also offers expenses, invoicing, and scheduling capabilities. There is a limited free plan for individuals, as well as paid options.
According to reviewers, Harvest offers easy-to-use reporting and a simple interface. One user described it as “elegantly simple and great for consulting firms.” Users love the easy navigation of this software program but say that if your company is too large, or if you’re working on too many projects, it can become cumbersome so it may be best suited for smaller businesses.
Of course, these aren’t your only options. Find and compare more time tracking products here.