Time Tracking

What is the Most Effective Way To Accurately Track Employee Hours?

April 24, 2023

What is the most critical challenge human resource managers face during remote work?

Time and performance tracking.

And what is the cost of tracking employee hours inaccurately for businesses and employers?

Lower productivity, delayed project completion, and loss in revenue!

Time management is crucial in utilizing your workforce to its maximum potential. It involves keeping track of the hours employees work on specific tasks and projects.

According to a survey by Nucleus Research, 74% of employers incur payroll losses due to buddy punching, which has become a serious concern for business growth. While the American Society of Employers found that the US economy loses 20% on every dollar earned to time theft. 

Time tracking can streamline project management by improving several processes:

Payroll Calculation: Tracking employee time allows businesses to accurately pay employees for hours worked on their projects. It helps eliminate errors in payroll calculation, creating a positive work environment for employee engagement and retention.

Accurate Billing:
It helps ensure that clients are billed for the exact amount of time spent on their projects, which promotes transparency and trust between the business and its clients.

Improved Productivity: Businesses can identify the engagements that do not give any productive outcome. This information can be used to optimize work processes and increase productivity.

Cost Control: Businesses can identify areas where costs can be reduced, and adjustments can be made to prevent waste of time and resources.

Performance Evaluation: Managers can identify employees who meet or exceed expectations and those who may require additional training or support.

Compliance: It allows compliance with labor laws and regulations, ensuring employees receive fair compensation for their work hours.

Businesses that prioritize time management can better prevent planning loopholes and achieve their targets efficiently.


Here’s what you are going to take away from this blog:

  • Inaccurate time-tracking/time theft costs you a huge chunk of your resources
  • A comparative review of different time-tracking solutions: automated time-tracking steals the show
  • Choose the right tools to switch from manual to automated time-tracking

How Can You Track Employee Hours?

Here is another fact: the US economy loses 50 million hours in productivity per day because of unrecorded work activities

So what time-tracking solutions can you opt for, and what is the best way to track employee hours?

Let's have a look at the common methods and employee hour trackers used by businesses today: 

Manual Time-sheets: A Relic of the Past

Yes, that's right, manual timesheets are still a thing! Employees must record their work hours diligently and accurately in a paper or digital timesheet. If they forget to make an entry or any other human error occurs, it can lead to inaccuracies and lost productivity for the business. 

And let's not forget about the managers who must review and approve all these timesheets. They must have a whole new appreciation for the term, "paperwork." 

The good old manual timesheets should be credited for making our work lives a little more interesting, at least!


  • It can be a low-cost method for small businesses.


  • It can be time-consuming, as employees are required to individually record time spent on different tasks.
  • It is susceptible to errors, such as omissions and inaccurate time recording.
  • Manual timesheets have limited reporting capabilities, which makes it difficult to analyze data and make informed decisions.

Attendance Punching Machine: The Time-Theft Keeper

There's nothing quite like the satisfying ‘ka-chunk’ sound of punching in and out for work. Who needs fancy electronic systems to track time when you can rely on a physical time clock?

Some businesses continue to use manual punching attendance as a long-standing tradition in their organization. Punching machines track employee attendance using a time punch clock to record their arrival and departure times. The record of punches can be kept in a journal.

The downside, however, is overwhelming: Buddy punching, i.e., employees clocking in on behalf of others, has become a serious manipulative practice related to time theft.


  • It is simpler to use and accessible to employees with varying levels of technical expertise.


  • How do you blame an employee for helping their work buddy who's running a little late? Doesn’t matter if it costs you around 7% of gross payroll!

Biometric Identification: The Ultimate Paranoia Inducer

Biometric time tracking is where science fiction meets human resources! Instead of scanning an ID card or punching a time clock, you have to stare deeply into the cold, unfeeling eye of a machine, hoping that it will recognize you as a human being and not an alien invader.

You can’t blame Loki!

It's like having a bouncer at a club, but instead of checking ID, they're scanning fingerprint or retina. The possibility of errors is not ruled out entirely, in the form of False Acceptance Rate (FAR) and False Rejection Rate (FRR). 


  • Biometric machines make buddy punching impossible unless your employees are trained in advanced prosthetics and are really good at stealing fingerprints!


  • Employees may have concerns about the storage and use of their biometric data.
  • It takes a lot of time and causes long queues of employees for check-ins
  • In case a virus infects an employee, everyone shares the virus by touching the same surface on the biometric machine

Employee Monitoring: Big Brother is Watching You!

The Big Brother has arrived at the workplace with employee monitoring, carried out through employee surveillance tools. There are different kinds of monitoring that organizations can use to keep a watch on their employees, including keylogging, device activity, URL and app usage, and GPS tracking. 

"Orwellian ‘Big Brother’ tries to watch and control the behavior of each employee” (Niehoff and Moorman)

Who needs trust, respect, and autonomy when you can have cameras and microphones lurking in the shadows?

It's also a great way to show your employees you don't trust them. They feel like they are on a reality TV show, but instead of winning a cash prize, they get the anxiety of knowing that you are always watching their every move. 

For employees, it’s like having a personal paparazzi, but instead of TMZ, it's HR!


  • In some industries, such as healthcare and finance, employee monitoring may be required by law to ensure compliance with regulations.
  • Gives detailed reports of your employees’ every more, even when they spent the whole minute picking their nose. 


  • Employees feel uncomfortable and violated when their privacy is compromised by invasive monitoring of their every move.
  • It leads to stooping employee morale, and they may become disengaged and less motivated to do their best work. An obvious consequence is a decrease in productivity and an increase in turnover.
  • Employee surveillance software can generate false positives (by flagging legitimate activities as suspicious), unnecessary stress, and mistrust. This can lead to misunderstandings and a breakdown in communication between employees and management.

Smart time-tracking: Time Potential Unlocked!

Time tracking has definitely come a long way: from obsessing over the hours worked to focusing on quality results delivered on time. And to get there, you need to understand your team's productivity patterns like the back of your hand. 

How do you do that?

You need proper insight into work progress to identify individual strengths and capacities so that you can assign tasks accordingly for maximum productivity. First and foremost, it requires eliminating the risk of inaccurate or false reporting, which has become common with the time-tracking methods discussed above.

That's why you need a switch to smart time tracking!

A smart time-tracking solution automates the process of time management by simplifying time tracking and producing productivity reports for your team. The data compiled by a time tracking app, like timegram, helps analyze the productivity levels of your employees by giving a precise record of time spent on specific tasks. 

You can gain your employees' confidence by letting them pick the data they want to log in and leave out more personal engagements. 

Turns out it’s the most ethical and effective method to track employee productivity and slash the cost of inefficient time management for employers.


  • Automated time tracking saves time and hassle of logging time
  • It allows equating time to completed tasks and outcomes
  • It helps streamlines the process of project management
  • It eliminates the risk of time theft or inaccurate reporting
  • It provides accurate reporting of employee performance, not just hours worked
  • Employees have the freedom to log their most productive hours
  • No invasion of privacy boosts employee morale and productivity


  • A time-tracking app with a complex user interface may require some employee training.
  • Some time-tracking apps may have invasive monitoring features.


The accumulated costs of manual timesheets, buddy punching and inaccurate timekeeping make it obvious that smart time-tracking is THE solution for workforce management, especially for remote employees.

But you must choose ethical time tracking unless you want to create an environment of mistrust and increase employee disengagement. Employee surveillance eventually becomes counter-productive, leading to employee backlash.

timegram is a zero-surveillance automated time-tracking tool that makes productivity management easier, more efficient and transparent for employees and managers.

It comes with a Highlights app allowing your team to search, select and report their most productive hours. After all, when it comes to tracking time, the only thing that should be lost is the notion that there's no such thing as wasted time.

timegram helps managers to:

  • Create and assign tasks based on individual capacities
  • Track billable and non-billable hours for clients 
  • Get accurate insights into employee productivity to improve resource planning and reduce costs
  • Track work progress on projects and tasks to meet deadlines

Find out more about timegram’s key features and how it works to run your projects more efficiently.

Sign up for timegram right now and take the first step towards smart time-tracking!


What does time tracking employee mean?

It is a process of recording hours employees work on tasks or daily to calculate accurate payrolls and track work progress on your projects. It helps evaluate employee performance to improve time and resource management.

How can I track my employee hours for free?

There are several ways discussed above for tracking employee hours. The most efficient and cost-effective option is a web-based automated time tracker. Most time tracking tools like timegram offer a free plan for individuals and small businesses.

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Sidra Ali Shah

About the author

Sidra is a research scholar and a philosophy nerd who fell in love with language at a very young age. She believes it's words and their combinations that make the world go round. In her free time, she likes to brainstorm with her children.

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