How to Track Employee Hours (5 best ways)

This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.

Read our review guidelines.

Are you looking to revitalize your company? 

Changing the way you track your employees’ hours is a great way to do so, as inefficient time-tracking systems can cost businesses valuable time and money!

In this article, I’ll detail the five best ways to keep track of your employees’ hours from time-tracking software to physical time clocks, and why it is so important to track employees’ hours in the first place. 

So, if you’re looking to boost productivity, increase accuracy, maximize compliance, and optimize client communication: keep reading!

The 5 best ways to keep track of your employees’ hours

  1. Time tracking software
  2. GPS tracking & mobile apps
  3. Biometric clock-in
  4. Manuel timesheets
  5. Physical time clocks

1. Time tracking software

Time tracking software allows for the automated recording of employee hours. Eliminating the need for manual timekeeping reduces errors and variation, maximizing payroll and billing accuracy. 

Time tracking software works by calculating the time taken to complete a task based on when a user indicates they started and stopped.

Logged tasks can then be retrieved and viewed on demand.

Clockify interface

Clockify is an example of a time-tracking software.

Quick Tip: While the software features that add missing punches can be a nice thing to ensure employees get paid, it can also be abused by some dishonest employees, so it is important to always inspect and verify that the employee truly did simply forget to add a punch to their timecard. As an experienced HR professional, the most common form of abuse I have seen with this feature is employees ending their shift early and just not entering a punch, so the system does it for them when they are already gone.


Time tracking software used by millions. A simple time tracker and timesheet app that lets you track work hours across projects.

Sign up for free

2. GPS tracking & mobile apps

If your employees are constantly on the move, it makes sense to track their locations.

This allows you to gauge how long it takes them to get from job site to job site without having to be in the field yourself. 

It can also give you a better idea of how much work they are doing, how long their breaks are, and the time spent on odd jobs employees may have to carry out.

Some leading GPS tracking apps include Timesheet Mobile, Quickbooks Time, Hubstaff, and eBility.

Quickbooks Time interface

An example of Quickbooks Time’s user interface.

3. Biometric clock-in

A biometric clock-in system may use your employees’ fingerprints or faces for identification and verification purposes. 

This system offers a highly accurate and efficient method for employees to clock in and out, contributing to smoother workflow and higher productivity.

Another advantage of using a biometric clock-in system is that it reduces fraudulent activity such as buddy punching or time theft.

Buddy Punch interface

The aptly named Buddy Punch is a prime example of a biometric clock-in system.

Buddy Punch

Buddy Punch is an online punch clock software or online time clock for employers to use to have their employees track time.

14-day free trial

4. Manual timesheets

Manual timesheets require employees to detail their work hours, breaks, and any other relevant information.

This can be done either digitally or written down on paper. This is a flexible and affordable method of time tracking that works well for smaller, more diverse businesses.

However, there are some risks involved that you should be aware of:

  • Risk of unintentional errors – this can create compliance challenges
  • Manual timesheets can be time-consuming
  • Difficulty in scaling up – digital/automated solutions can be more suited to evolving needs.
manual timesheet example
An example of a manual timesheet by

5. Physical time clocks

Also known as punch clocks, using a physical time clock is a traditional method of tracking employees’ hours. 

They may involve using a physical card, or integrate a biometric system such as fingerprint or retina scanner to register employee’s arrival and departure times.

Physical time clocks are generally simple to use, meaning they may benefit a more diverse organization.

The lack of cutting-edge technology means they are also generally quite cost-effective. 

Just be aware that as they are physical machines, physical time clocks will need regular maintenance such as cleaning and software updates to ensure they are working as accurately as possible.

HR Tip: If you’re after a time-efficient, cost-effective means of tracking your employees’ hours, look no further than Homebase! Homebase turns almost any device into a time clock and makes payroll admin a breeze. 

HR and compliance are also drastically simplified; it’s easy to ensure your company is compliant with local labor laws using Homebase.

If this sounds like the leg-up your company needs, don’t hesitate to join Homebase today!


Simplify scheduling, time clocks and payroll all in one app for small businesses.

Get started for free

Why is tracking employee hours important?

Tracking employee hours is a crucial component of workforce management for several reasons. The most important of these reasons are:

  • Payroll accuracy: If you want to ensure employees are compensated accurately for the amount of hours they work on a weekly/biweekly basis, tracking their hours is vital.
  • Compliance with labor laws: It is commonplace for specific jurisdictions to have their own regulations surrounding working hours, overtime pay, and break periods. Tracking employee hours is necessary In order to ensure compliance with these regulations.
  • Resource planning: If you want to know how long it will take an employee/team of employees to complete a specific task or project, knowing how each employee manages their time will help you optimize schedules and workloads.
  • Productivity monitoring: Identify high-performing employees, areas of improvement, and trends by tracking employee hours.
  • Project management: If your business needs to be able to accurately bill clients for projects, estimate costs, and ensure a strict schedule is adhered to, your employees’ hours are some of the most effective pieces of data you can use.

Start Tracking Your Employee Hours Today!

Now that you know the five best ways to track employee hours and why it is so important to do so, you’re in a great position to decide which method is the best suited to your company’s needs.

It is vital to understand that you need to take your business’ uniqueness into consideration if you want to ensure the accuracy, compliance, efficiency, and productivity of your workplace. 

Only you know how your company works, and which time tracking method will be best suited for it.

That’s all from us – Good luck!


What is the best way to track employee hours?

This depends on the size, diversity, and scope of your business. Five of the best methods include time tracking software, GPS tracking, Biometric clock-in systems, manual timesheets, and physical time clocks.

How to track your employees’ time for free?

There are multiple ways to track your employees’ time, each coming with its own pros, cons, and costs. Good free time tracking software includes ClockInEasy and OnTheClock.

Should I track my employees’ hours?

Tracking employee hours is a necessity for any business. You should be doing this to ensure the accuracy, compliance, efficiency, and productivity of your workplace.

Ricky Torres mission is to help entrepreneurs and businesses receive the guidance and support they need so they can maximize their potential and achieve economic prosperity. He is a SHRM certified professional as well as a data analytics certified professional.