Time cards and punch clocks used to be the most efficient tools for managing employee time. But as more small businesses hire remote workers or do away with a physical office altogether, having employees punch in and out the traditional way makes less sense.
The following seven apps offer a mobile software update to the traditional punch card. Whether you just want a virtual version of the old standard, want your remote employees to be able to track their time, or need to track the time employees spend on specific projects, you'll find something on this list to help you manage your employees' time.
If you currently use an app for time management that we didn't mention, let us know about it in the comments below.
Because each of your employees download PayRecord, this app may be most practical for businesses with traveling or dispersed employees. Unlike a few other apps on this list, this app allows employees to check in from their own phones instead of punching in on one designated phone. The app enables employees to record their paid time, including overtime and double-time, by using a stopwatch-like interface. When they submit their reports by email, the app includes an attachment that can be imported into Quickbooks.
Other convenient features include an option to record travel time, lunch breaks, and customize settings for your State's Pay Calculation Laws. The only essential thing the app seems to be missing is an option to edit time if an employee forgets to punch in or out.
2. TimeClock ST
Giant "in" and "out" buttons are the center of TimeClock ST's interface. The $2.99 app works like a time clock and compiles a report for each time period, which you can export to multiple e-mail accounts. If you'll be having your employees check themselves in, there's an option to set up pin numbers that block access to other employees' time sheets and reports. This prevents an employee from signing in or out as somebody else.
The app doesn't interact with other phones, meaning that all employees must check in from the same phone in which the app lives. That means it can only be used in an office environment where all employees are present. This may not be the best solution for companies with dispersed teams.
3. Employee Time Tracking
The $0.99 Employee Time Clock differs from the TimeClock ST in several ways: it requires you to set up pin numbers for each employee, it delivers "you're late" and "you're leaving early" messages if employees sign in during their set working hours, and it can help you calculate payroll. The punctuality reminders might be annoying to employees who need to sign out for lunch, and the pin requirement might make it a hassle for an employer to clock employees in and out rather than allow them all access to the app-loaded phone.
4. My Timesheet
Although this $0.99 app is pretty basic, it has one feature that is important for businesses who need to bill clients by the hour. Instead of working like a punch clock, this app allows employees to create separate entries for different clients and identify what project they are working on at each point. E-mailed timesheets can be easily uploaded to a spreadsheet.
5. Billable Hours
Similar to My Timesheet, this slightly more expensive ($2.99) app tracks hours by client and project. Employees can email daily summaries, weekly summaries or weekly CSVs. While its cool that the stopwatch looks like an actual timer, it would be cooler if users could also view their reports without exporting the data.
6. Harvest Time & Expense Tracker
While this mobile app extension of the Harvest web app is free, the web app comes with a price, based on how many active users will be using it.
The app is especially useful if your employees or team members need to track expenses. Not only can they track their time, expenses and even their mileage by project, but they can also photograph receipts and go paperless with their record-keeping. The data automatically syncs with a password-protected personalized Harvest account.
The website helps you create invoices based on the time sheets and expenses all team members on a project submit.
The Toggl iPhone and Android apps are extensions of a free web app by the same name. Team members can manually enter the time they spent on a specific project or use a stopwatch feature. Like the Harvest app, all tracked hours on the app are automatically synced with the web app.
One nice feature of Toggl is the ability to download real-time performance charts that show where time went and what portion of it was billable. Paid versions also allow you to plan tasks ahead and send reports to clients with your logo.
Image courtesy of Flickr, The U.S. National Archives
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