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10 Best Employee Time Tracking Software 2021 + Free Options

By 03/01/2021 15 Comments
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Time tracking software doesn’t have to be painful! As a project manager on a variety of agency teams, I’ve used my fair share of time tracking software—both for simply tracking time and also for tracking budgets and estimating future projects. Each team is different, so I’ve chosen a handful of the top time management tools that I recommend, along with summaries of their features, pricing, and main pros and cons to help you choose the right time tracker for your projects.

10 Of The Best Time Tracking Software

Here’s some of the best time tracking tools on the market:

  1. monday.com - Best for customization capabilities
  2. 10,000ft by Smartsheet - Best for mobile time tracking
  3. Wrike - Best time tracking software for integrations
  4. Paymo - Best for desktop widget time tracking option
  5. Forecast.app - Best for AI capabilities
  6. actiTIME - Best for small teams and businesses
  7. FunctionFox - Best time tracking software for creative teams and agencies
  8. Actually - Simple time tracking for companies working with projects
  9. Timesheets - Best free time tracking software
  10. Toggl - Best free time tracking tool

Below you’ll find an overview of each of the 10 best time tracking software, with screenshots, feature overviews, and pricing.

Jump straight to time tracking software reviews

Quickly Compare The Best Time Tracking Software
Time Tracking Software Logo Soup

As project managers trying to manage project budgets and getting our teams to track their time accurately, we use time-tracking tools for many different purposes aside from simply filling in timesheets.

Time management tools can be expensive, so I’ve hunted down a good number of the best free, or nearly free time tracking software. Most importantly, though, we’re looking for the best in class tools that are so easy to use, people actually want to submit their timesheets. Just imagine that!

The Best Time Tracking Software

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  • 14 days free trial
  • From $17/2 users/month

monday.com - Best for customization capabilities

Keep track of tasks based on timeline and status in a table view.

monday.com is a project management software with time tracking features that has done away with a lot of the trimmings of typical management tools and focused on simple, visually intuitive layouts that help clarify the sequence of work.

monday.com features for managing projects include resource and project management, time tracking software, collaboration, and reporting features. For example, users can upload and attach files to cards, make comments, mention teammates, and more. It also offers a great project reporting dashboard that can collect data from multiple boards, allowing better tracking abilities of progress.

And while monday.com doesn’t offer a complete set of tools for project accounting and invoicing solution as other tools, you can use monday.com to track hours, timelines, and invoices. You can assign owners to new tasks, prioritize each item, set due dates and know exactly how much time is spent on each project and task. You can also keep track of time on their app.

monday.com’s integrations include business apps like Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform, and many more, accessible via Zapier.

You can try monday.com for free.

  • 30 day free trial
  • From $25/user/month

10,000ft by Smartsheet - Best for mobile time tracking

Effectively find and schedule the best project team, resolve staffing conflicts in real time, and forecast hiring needs.

10,000ft, a high-level project and resource management software, helps modern teams make confident decisions about project planning, team capacity, budget forecasting, team utilization, and hiring needs in real time.

Built-in timesheets, mobile time tracking, and expense tracking, enables you to create rich project reports by filtering project data with just a few clicks. Reports can give insight into historical data or offer a forecasted view of team utilization, actual vs. planned time reports, budget tracking, expense reports, and projects in the pipeline.

Over 1,000 of the most innovative companies in the world rely on 10,000ft, from 10-person shops and 100-person teams within global brands to 1,000+ person professional services firms. 10,000ft has been recognized for its design excellence with awards from FastCo, SXSW, IxDA + IDSA.

10,000ft easily integrates with a variety of internal workflows and software suites. Additionally, it provides a flexible API and Zapier integration that can connect with top operational tools for analytics, communications, PM, ERP, and finance.

With a unique project and resource matching feature, 10,000ft helps match team members to the project’s requirements according to different criteria like disciplines, skills, availability, and more.

Pricing starts at $25/month.

  • freemium version
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $9.80/user/month

Wrike - Best time tracking software for integrations

Create Gantt charts to easily see how team member time will be spent.

Wrike is a powerful, easy-to-use time tracking software trusted by 20,000+ organizations worldwide. The tool is suitable for teams with anywhere from five members to an unlimited number of members. It’s highly configurable and users can customize workflows, dashboards, reports, request forms, and more.

Wrike offers automatic timers and the ability to log time manually, as well as simple reports to see exactly how time is being spent each week. Users can drill down to an individual or project level. Wrike also features advanced reports for project or individual performance, resource management and allocation, and more. Schedule real-time insights to be sent to your inbox for a picture of overall time management.

Wrike has an easy-to-use, intuitive interface and navigation with distinct spaces, folders, and tasks. Toggle between the home screen and timesheets, dashboards, calendars, reports, and an activity stream for notifications and messages. Wrike has a dedicated help center with interactive training, videos, a ‘Getting Started’ guide, and a thriving community.

Wrike offers 400+ pre-built native integrations, including the most popular file management software from Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox, along with sales and marketing software from Salesforce and Marketo.

Pricing starts at $9.80 per user per month, although a free version is available. There are four different price points, including plans which offer the ability to invite free external collaborators to a paid account.

  • 15 days free trial
  • From $9.56/user/month

Paymo - Best for desktop widget time tracking option

Color-code tracked time for easy visualization and organization.

Paymo is a full-featured work management tool that pairs task management with advanced time tracking functionalities under an intuitive digital workspace. The platform is a popular option because it also integrates planning, resource management, and invoicing, to help you manage your entire workflow and ensure you’re getting paid fairly.

In Paymo, time tracking can be done either via an in-app web timer or manually through the Timesheets module, in case you forgot about the web timer in the first place. There’s also a free desktop widget available for those who are more comfortable working from their Mac, Windows, or Linux taskbar.

If you attend conferences or client meetings and still need to keep track of them, use the mobile app for Android and iOS. They also work offline, just in case you lack Internet connection.

Designers can use the Adobe CC Extension to track time within any Adobe tool with a 2017 or newer license (InDesign, Photoshop, InCopy, Illustrator, and Premiere), while working in parallel at their design sketches.

All time logs are instantly recorded into the Timesheets module to give you an accurate insight into how your team is spending their time. You can then easily turn them into time reports that will help you invoice your clients, spot any bottlenecks, and act as accurate benchmarks for your future projects too.

If you find yourself multitasking or forgot to start your tracker, use PaymoPlus as an automatic time tracking option. The tool tracks all the time spent within a browser tab, file, website, or software. All you have to do is hit Record and you’re all set. At the end of the day, what’s left is to pair up your time entries with their corresponding tasks or set up a rule to do this for you.

Paymo also provides different integration options with tools like Zapier, Google Apps, GrandTotal, or LambdaTest. To customize your own integrations, access Paymo’s API and build them to suit your team’s needs.

Paymo’s time tracking features are free to use for individual users, while paid plans start at $9.56/user/month with a 15-day free trial.

  • 14 days free trial
  • From $29/seat/month

Forecast.app - Best for AI capabilities

Review and assess team member time sheets for completeness.

Forecast takes advantage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to support your estimates in becoming better and more accurate. Total time spent on tasks will automatically be benchmarked against your estimates and the AI learns from this to improve future estimates, thereby reducing your risk of under- or over-estimating your projects. This will have a significant impact on the effectiveness of your resource planning, enabling you to improve your delivery and profitability.

Forecast is a full resource project management solution that lets you track time using any method you want. Effortlessly track time on the projects and tasks you are assigned, whether on the go using mobile iOS and Android apps or directly on the web. It’s great for distributed teams and has both daily and weekly timesheet views so you can track time the way that suits you. Set up weekly or daily reminders to ensure that everyone tracks their time correctly. Keeping track of budgets and estimates becomes second nature with Forecast.

Forecast is fully integrated with the most used web apps and they can seamlessly be installed from the app catalog. For instance, the deep Jira integration makes Forecast ideal as a time tracking and resource planning add-on. Forecast’s functionality covers a large spectrum of the capabilities needed to run and manage projects and people effectively, with as little overhead as possible. Forecast can tell you if your project is profitable, how much money your team is making and whether or not your favorite client is also bringing in the most for the bottom line.

Forecast is currently used in 40+ countries worldwide, by agencies, consulting companies, and enterprises – it has Lite, Pro, and Enterprise options that cost from $29/user/month (14-day free trial).

  • freemium version
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $5/user/month

actiTIME - Best for small teams and businesses

actiTIME is available on desktop or mobile.

actiTIME is a time tracking software designed to keep track of hours spent on projects, and it also allows project managers to analyze hours and timesheets to make informed decisions about estimates, invoices, and more.

actiTIME allows you to create projects and allocate tasks to team members so you can keep track of time per project and per task. Project managers can collect data on employee performance, as well as project costs and revenues, and review it in reports and charts.

This tool also offers the ability to compare estimated vs. actual time, as well as the ability to use that information to create invoices and adjust estimates as needed. These features foster a comprehensive and objective analysis of individual and team performance.

actiTIME is highly flexible and configurable to a diverse set of needs and preferences. It can also be integrated with other project management apps through Zapier or their API.

actiTIME offers free plans for teams of up to three members. Paid plans start at $5/user/month, and a free trial is offered.

  • 14 days free trial
  • Premier plan starts at $50/month for the first user, plus $10 USD/month for each additional user

FunctionFox - Best time tracking software for creative teams and agencies

Users can track time and complete timesheets manually or automatically through the Timer.

Built by creative professionals for the creative industry, FunctionFox has the tools to help you manage your projects effectively. Whether working solo or with a team, users can track billable and non-billable work. FunctionFox is designed to reduce your admin time and improve productivity.

Powerful time tracking tools allow you and your team to track time simply and efficiently on projects and clients. Use the timer function to track time as you work, or add time in manually. Time summaries can be reviewed in a daily, weekly, or monthly view.

In addition to time tracking features, FunctionFox also includes features for managing project timelines, budgets, and expenses to ensure that you are not over or under servicing clients.

FunctionFox is easy to use and made even easier with the tutorials and support provided. The tool provides dedicated onboarding, and all customer support is unlimited, ongoing, and included in the subscription cost. The FunctionFox website also includes a help center, and there are detailed help files included within the software itself.

Pricing for the FunctionFox Premier plan starts at $50 per month.

Pros

  • Well-suited for creative teams and agencies
  • Supports both billable and non-billable time tracking
  • Built-in client retainer tracking

Cons

  • Does not integrate with external programs like QuickBooks
  • Gantt charts and to-do lists only available through the Premier and In-House plans
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $4/user/month

Actually - Simple time tracking for companies working with projects

Actually is a simple and easy to use time tracking tool. This software is suitable for small and medium-sized teams working with projects. Actually, it is easy to enter project hours on desktop and mobile without the frustration of complex forms, timesheets and user interfaces.

It is easy to input hours and view flex time balance. Managers can see missing time entries and check the overall hours by person or by the project. Team and individual flex time balance can be connected to different calendars for holidays—one can even create a calendar of their own. Actually also supports individual workday lengths fluctuating over time. This makes it really easy to track and report the hours of part-time employees. Reporting needs are met quickly with Actually’s dynamic reports.

Actually’s look and feel is fresh and modern, with an easy to use interface design.
Actually provides a simple to use JSON API for retrieving all the data you need for your reporting and other master systems. Actually can also be used for larger teams alongside existing ERP/PSA systems. Actually is also integrated into Silverbucket, the resource planning software, for the combination of agile and extensive project resource planning and hour tracking.

Pricing starts from approximately $4/user/month. 30 days of free trial available.

  • 15 days free trial
  • From $4.50/user/month and $3.60/user/month for nonprofit organizations

Timesheets - Best free time tracking software

Project timesheets allow for weekly entries.

Timesheets.com is a fully-featured time tracking software tool, complete with hourly time clock, project time, mileage and expense tracking, time off / vacation, and stacks of powerful HR functionality to support managing your team. Timesheets.com is easy to use and they offer the option to brand the service with your logo.

Timesheets.com integrates fully with projects and tasks and they offer flexible entry options with tracking projects in real-time using timers feature, single project entries daily, or fill in their timesheet at the end of the week. Budgets are easily managed and reporting is simple with the ability to use live, up to the minute data to drill down to separate out specific employees, projects, and dates.

Timesheets.com has some pretty powerful HR tools if you’re looking for a more complete HR time tracking software solution that does more than just track time and expenses. The HR functionality includes powerful time off management with the ability to review accrued balances for vacation, and request approval for vacation time to manage and review the agency’s time off in a single view on a calendar. The HR functionality also includes a suite of standardized employee documentation including employee training manuals, performance reviews, staff communication, employee files, and notes.

Timesheets.com has a QuickBooks integration and the data can easily be exported for other accounting software.

Timesheets has a 15-day free trial for all users. Once activated, pricing starts at $4.50/user/month and $3.60/user/month for nonprofit organizations.

  • freemium version
  • From $9/user/month

Toggl - Best free time tracking tool

Visualize team member time in charts and graphs.

If you’re looking for a simple and free time tracking software, Toggl is a great place to start. It’s beautifully designed and incredibly easy to use. If you’re looking for a solution to get started today and to simply track time against different projects and clients, then Toggl is great.

Toggl allows you to create projects, tasks and track hours using your browser, Chrome extension, mobile, or desktop apps. While it allows tracking of accruals, there’s no way to set budgets and track against them. If you want to track against an estimate or create an invoice, you’d need to use a 3rd party tool.

Toggl has some good functionality to support helping people do their time tracking properly with automated reminders to keep people on track, and you can create required fields for time entries, to ensure people always add comments or tags to their timesheet entries. You can also enable auditing tools where you can trigger alerts for suspicious-looking timesheet entries, like if someone claims to have worked 10 hrs straight on a single task!

Toggl has some good out the box, which make it one of the best free time tracking software options available with integrations for Jira, Asana, Basecamp, Freshbooks, GitHub, and Teamweek among many others. So even though it’s lacking in some of the budget tracking and invoicing functionalities, you can easily tie it in with other tools that specialize in reporting and invoicing.

Toggl is a free time tracking software tool although paid versions cost from $9/user/month.

Software Overview Free Option Price Site
monday.com monday.com logo Read monday.com features & functionality

14 days free trial

From $17/2 users/month Check out monday.com
10,000ft by Smartsheet 10,000ft by Smartsheet logo Read 10,000ft by Smartsheet features & functionality

30 day free trial

From $25/user/month Check out 10,000ft by Smartsheet
Wrike Wrike logo Read Wrike features & functionality Freemium version

14 days free trial

From $9.80/user/month Check out Wrike
Paymo Paymo logo Read Paymo features & functionality

15 days free trial

From $9.56/user/month Check out Paymo
Forecast.app Forecast.app logo Read Forecast.app features & functionality

14 days free trial

From $29/seat/month Check out Forecast.app
actiTIME actiTIME logo Read actiTIME features & functionality Freemium version

30 days free trial

From $5/user/month Check out actiTIME
FunctionFox FunctionFox logo Read FunctionFox features & functionality

14 days free trial

Premier plan starts at $50/month for the first user, plus $10 USD/month for each additional user Check out FunctionFox
Actually Actually logo Read Actually features & functionality

14 days free trial

From $4/user/month Check out Actually
Timesheets Timesheets logo Read Timesheets features & functionality

15 days free trial

From $4.50/user/month and $3.60/user/month for nonprofit organizations Check out Timesheets
Toggl Toggl logo Read Toggl features & functionality Freemium version From $9/user/month Check out Toggl

Other time tracking software tools worth considering:

None of the above work for you? Check out the list below for 15 additional time tracking software tools:

  1. Streamtime
  2. Staff Timer
  3. Clockify
  4. FunctionFox
  5. Paymo
  6. Minute Dock
  7. Zoomshift
  8. Boomr
  9. Time Doctor
  10. Big Time
  11. FunctionPoint
  12. Freshbooks
  13. SpringAhead
  14. Replicon
  15. Intervals
  16. Journyx
  17. BillQuick
  18. Hub Planner
  19. Elorus
  20. TimeLog

Time tracking software – why is it important?

Time tracking software and expense tracking software is no one’s idea of a party, but it’s a necessary evil in the digital agency world, for professional services and consulting when you’re charging time and materials or billing by the hour and you need to track budget burn. Likewise, invoicing is not fun, but it’s necessary and requires accurate timesheet detail to function.

Fundamentally, there’s budget and financial tracking information that’s needed to keep a business alive; we need to know the project budget essentials:

  1. Are we above / below the project budget?
  2. Are we tracking to hit the budget?
  3. How much should be invoiced to the client?
  4. How profitable is the project / job / client?

Accurate timesheet reporting is also important to us as project managers so we can give proper analogous estimates based on past project performance. In order to estimate properly, we need to be able to look back at timesheet data, in the time tracking software and gauge how much should be charged for the next project. We need reliable, accurate time reporting data and people to use time tracking software properly.

Unless you’ve got no interest in the effort it takes to deliver your project, and the profitability of your projects then there’s no avoiding the pain of timesheets, time tracking software and hours reporting.

The problem is, if the time tracking software you’re using is more than a bit fugly and a pain to use, then no one wants to use it, and the data you get from it can be almost useless.

But does time tracking and reporting need to be painful? Surely there must be some hot time tracking software tools out there, right?

Criteria For Choosing The Right Time Tracking Software

As a given, the best time tracking software needs to be able to handle large teams, lots of clients and many projects simultaneously. But beyond a product that works well at capturing time, we need to think about what happens with that time-tracked information; how does it start as an estimate, how is it tracked, and once tracked, how is it then invoiced?

In choosing the best time tracking tool, it’s worth thinking through your agency or studio workflow, and think about the end to end experience – from the person creating the estimate to the person doing the work, to the person invoicing it; how does it all fit together?

So what does it take to track time well? We’ve identified five key aspects of time tracking software that we think makes managing digital projects easier.

  • Will people actually use it? The software needs to look pretty and be really easy to use.
  • Integrate time tracking easily with projects and tasks? It needs to link to a source of truth of clients, projects and tasks.
  • Integrate with estimates and tracking? It should easily create a project estimate or quote, and then be able to track estimate vs actuals with visual reporting and analytics.
  • Integrate well with invoicing? It has to be easy to then turn project reports and actuals into estimates to send to clients.
  • Integrate well with 3rd party applications? Particularly useful is the ability to integrate with accounting software like Quickbooks or Xero.

What Do You Think?

What do you think we’re missing? What other time tracking software tools or timesheets software have you found that we don’t know about? We’d love to hear if you’ve got any suggestions, tips or thoughts on using this kind of software – why not share them using the comments below?

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Ben Aston

About Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedigitalprojectmanager.com. I've been in the industry for more than 15 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

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