How Does Time Tracking Software Work?

Time tracking softwarePunching the clock is a thing of the past. Gone are the days when we’d insert our paper time cards into a chunky gray machine and receive a satisfying ka-chunk as it stamped our work hours in ink. These days, we have more sophisticated ways of keeping track of employee time.

As the number of Americans who work from home grows, time tracking software has become essential for keeping track of hours clocked remotely. And the options for time tracking software have increased as well.

In this guide to employee time tracking software, we’ll break down the purpose of this essential business tool, how it works, and point you in the direction of some of the most exceptional solutions in this field of software.

Let’s dive in.

What Is the Function of Time Tracking Software?

This is self-explanatory. Everything you need to know about time tracking software is in the name, isn’t it? It’s for keeping track of employee time!

Not so fast. Yes, every time tracking software system under the sun keeps track of employee hours, but the best ones do much more. Depending on the type of time tracking software you choose, you may also get any one of the following.

  • An accounting system
  • A system for billing and payroll
  • A project management tool
  • A tool for allocating business resources

These benefits make time tracking software attractive beyond its most basic function.

Open Source SoftwareMost Important Features to Look for in Time Tracking Software

So which of these features should you prioritize in your search for time tracking software? That depends on the priorities of your business.

You can refine your search by knowing the features that are available.

One thing to pay attention to is the way the software monitors employee time. Is it operated by the simple press of a button, which requires a great deal of trust in your employees? Or does the system offer monitoring by GPS or IP address, which allows for more pinpoint control of your employees?

Similar to the monitoring function is recording. Time tracking software can record employees’ keystrokes or their screens.

You may find these useful to review if you need detailed accounts of your employees’ time. Your employees may find these functions useful for tracking their productivity.

Most time tracking software solutions worth their salt offer apps for iOS and Android, but you’ll want to make sure yours does if that’s an essential feature.

Other features various time tracking software providers offer include check-in via photo, clock-in via dial-in, and in-app messaging.

Best Open Source Employee Time Trackers

If you’re looking for maximum simplicity and accessibility from a time tracking tool, you may want to consider open-source software. Here a few of the best open-source employee time tracking software tools on the internet.


ezClocker is an easy-to-use employee time tracking and scheduling software for small businesses. Employees can use their phones to clock in or out and the app will capture the GPS information so employers are able to verify the location without the need to be physically there. The software is Ideal for employers who have remote employees like landscape companies, janitorial services, home health care, construction, sales teams, or if they have an office and want to use a more modern time attendance solution.


TimeTrex has no limit on the number of employees, users, or time. It works as well for Windows and Linux as it does for Mac. Its free features include time and attendance tracking, vacation and overtime tracking, payroll with tax and benefit calculations and direct deposit functionality, and employee scheduling.


The simplicity is strong with Kimai. It has a clean, straightforward design and the ability to print out summaries of activities by customer, project, and action across time periods ranging from yearly to daily. And as a web browser-based system, it can run across platforms.


This is another simple interface, complete with a calendar tool that resembles Google Calendar. In addition to the standard basic features, eHour offers the ability to lock timesheets and automatic email reminders about projects.

Employee Time Tracking - OnlineThe Benefits of Employee Time Clock Software

By now, the benefits of employee time tracking software may be plain to see, but these benefits go beyond the functional.

By using time tracking software, you empower your employees to take charge of their time. They increase their accountability automatically. This can make them better about deadlines.

If your employees take greater responsibility for their work, they will increase their productivity too. It’s easy to spot wasted time with time clock software. Managers and employees can work together to minimize these inefficiencies.

Workflow Integration

We’ve discussed the ways time tracking software can become a multi-function business tool. Your software may including billing, payroll, and project management.

What’s more, many time tracking software systems also integrate with other apps and services that make business easier.

Do you want to add messaging capabilities to the transparency of your time tracking software? Integrate it with Slack.

Do you want to make your system’s project management even stronger? Integrate it with Trello.

You can also integrate your software with Jira, Asana, and Basecamp. Basecamp even has its own time tracking software called Timecamp.

Types of Time Tracking Software and Reporting

Time tracking software systems fall into a few categories when it comes to organizing principles and their reporting. Here are those categories as we see them.

First, there is the time tracker model. This model prioritizes the time tracking function. It uses straightforward clocking in and out and a stopwatch to start and end tasks.

The time tracker offers analytics that consolidates this raw time data into cumulative insights.

Next, there is the timesheet model. The timesheet is more likely than the pure time tracker to integrate into a payroll system.

Many timesheet model software systems offer a dashboard with real-time data reporting. This allows managers to approve employee hours quickly. It also allows employees and managers to handle time-off requests and absences directly.

Finally, there is the project management model. Time tracking is just one feature in these systems. Because of their focus, the reporting they offer prioritizes task-based insights instead of pure time analysis.

Employee Time Tracking Software Pricing

Many time tracking software systems are free or offer a free option. However, the free options frequently limit the number of users or employees. Here is a sample of pricing tiers for some of the top time tracking software.

  • Wrike Business: work management with the customization and executive reporting for 5-200 users for $24.80 per user month.
  • Zoho Enterprise: customization and multi-user portals for $35 per user month.
  • TSheets Small Business: payroll and invoicing plus unlimited customer support for 2-99 users for $4 per user month.

Make sure you research what features come at their price points.

Solutions for Everyone

With so many different time tracking software solutions available, you’re bound to find one that fits your needs. We hope this guide has been helpful in figuring out what those needs are.

Take a look at our time tracking software options for even more help.