This article is part of a larger series on Time & Attendance.
Employee time tracking apps support managers and employees by monitoring hours and overtime worked using mobile devices. When determining the best app, cost—some are free while others cost a few dollars a month per worker—ease of use, and scheduling capabilities are most important to consider. Online storage for time worked data is also essential.
Top 6 Employee Time Tracking Apps
Employee Time Tracking Apps
(Best Overall) Businesses with < 75 employees needing to track employee time worked
Brick and mortar stores like restaurants and retail wanting free software
Companies that bill clients for employee time worked (consulting businesses, CPA firms)
Cost-conscious firms needing robust analytics to help optimize scheduling and reduce labor costs
Businesses struggling to enforce paid/unpaid breaks for entry level positions (customer service, sales)
Foodservice operations (cafes and coffee shops) that schedule in shifts and manage worker tips
How We Evaluated Employee Time Tracking Apps
The best employee time tracking apps monitor employee work time by providing an automated means for employees to clock in and out. They automatically calculate hours worked and let you export that data to your payroll software. Most also offer features like employee scheduling, time off requests, and team member text messaging.
Based on what a small business needs, we evaluated employee time tracking apps for:
- Price: We only looked at apps affordable for a small business to implement and use.
- Ease of use: We choose tools that both managers and employees find intuitive.
- Apps: All of these options have iOS and Android apps for managers and employees.
- Virtual time clock: All the employee time tracking apps provide a virtual time clock.
- Electronic time sheets: Time sheet data is available electronically for export.
- Employee scheduling: We omitted any tools that didn’t offer a scheduling function (to trac k worker time against) either through the app or as an add-on option.
- Leave management: Nearly all time tracking apps can manage time off requests and leave management.
- Reports and interfaces: The apps can interface with payroll software and most provide additional reporting options.
- Resource scheduling: Some of these tools manage resource scheduling too.
After testing multiple employee time tracking apps and reviewing customer feedback, we found that When I Work is the best fit for most small businesses. It offers a free version of its time tracking and scheduling tools to small businesses with fewer than 75 employees. Paid packages have advanced features like Global Positioning System (GPS) locations and task management.
When I Work: Best Overall Employee Time Tracking App
When I Work’s employee time tracking app is best for businesses with less than 75 employees that need to keep tabs on employee clock-ins and outs for free. You can build a shift schedule in advance and alert employees when it’s time to clock in. The app is mobile-friendly and easy to set up.
When I Work Pricing
When I Work is affordable for small business owners, ranging in price from free (for up to 75 employees ) up to $2.25 per worker per month. Its free plan provides team scheduling, team communication, and employee attendance tracking. Paid plans offer more tools such as remote job sites, task management, and single sign on (SSO).
When I Work Pricing Tiers
|Time Clock and Attendance|
|Team member availability and scheduling|
When I Work Features
For employee time tracking, When I Work provides a free time clock app as well as a free employee scheduling and messaging app available 24/7. You can account for employee breaks, set clock in rules, and use it to avoid buddy punching. As When I Work serves the needs of small businesses with an hourly workforce, it also includes a hiring app to help you find new workers and employee messaging tools to stay in touch with them.
Time & Attendance
When I Work’s free time clock app lets you track when and where your employees are working. Your team members can clock in from a tablet,such as an iPad mounted to the back entrance of your office or store, or staff can use the free mobile time clock app to clock in and out from their own smartphone.
If you wish to prevent clock-ins until the employee is on-site, you can upgrade to an option that allows you to geo-fence your workplace. That prevents employees from clocking in before they’re on-site. Also, with each employee clocking in from their own device, buddy punching is eliminated.
Alerts & Notifications
When I Work provides notifications to your employees. They’ll receive alerts when it’s time to clock in as well as reminders if they forget to clock out. When I Work also offers a feature called WorkChat that lets employees contact managers or other team members, improving overall team communication and coordination.
Reports & Interfaces
When I Work lets you export your data to small business payroll software like Gusto. It also includes a time sheet summary and clock in and out time. And if you use When I Work’s free scheduling software, you’ll be able to see the difference between employee work schedules and the actual hours they worked. Paid account holders can use API tools to sync time worked data with other business software, like their Point of Sale (POS) system.
Scheduling & Leave Management
When I Work excels in managing employee schedules. Even using the free plan, you can schedule your employees for shift work, which makes tracking time easy (as it automates reminders to employees based on criteria you set). Your team members can also request time off through the employee time tracking app. Once you approve it, that time is marked off on the employee’s time sheet.
What When I Work is Missing
When I Work doesn’t offer phone support. In addition, it doesn’t have a robust analytics tool beyond the standard data exports you can download via a CSV file. Therefore, if you need professional looking reports, you’ll have to create them yourself in a spreadsheet for example.
What Users Think About When I Work
We found that When I Work user reviews are top notch on third-party review sites. Users typically like how easy the software is to set up and use. They would like to see additional permissions and user roles added, as well as a better way to track PTO.
How to Sign Up For When I Work
The best way to get started with When I Work is to sign up for your free account for up to 75 employees. You can select that option on When I Work’s website. Managers and employees can download it through Google Play, GetApp, or the iTunes App Store. Claim your free When I Work employee time keeping account.
Homebase: Best Free Scheduling App for Brick-and-mortar Businesses
What makes Homebase great for brick and mortar businesses is that it provides all the time and attendance tools in a free employee time tracking app. Like When I Work, the free service is limited to businesses with one location; the difference is that you can use Homebase’s free forever tool for an unlimited number of employees, including seasonal workers. Since Homebase does pricing by location, not by employees, brick and mortar operations will find it very affordable.
Homebase ranges in price from free to $49.95 a month for small business use. The free plan has all the basics from time sheets to team communication. But the paid plans offer even more, including a GPS time clock and time sheet approvals. Homebase also has an enterprise plan for multi-location businesses. It provides a dedicated account manager and more for just under $100 per month per location.
Homebase Pricing Plans
Price per location
Timesheets, Timeclock, Scheduling, Team Communication, Reports & Mobile App
Homebase’s free plan offers more than most other time and attendance software include in their free versions. For example, it includes employee scheduling free (similar to When I Work), unlimited users, a free time clock, time sheets, reports and of course, and free mobile apps for employees and managers. Data exports to payroll software are also included in the free version.
Homebase Time & Attendance
All Homebase pricing plans, including the free version, let you set up a timekeeping kiosk, such as a tablet, from which employees can clock in and out. Employees can also download the free app and manage their schedule and time sheets through a mobile phone. The time sheets can manage tip reporting, and you can export the data to your payroll software provider. Paid plans offer a GPS time clock, time sheet approvals, and early clock-in prevention.
Homebase Alerts & Notifications
Unlike employee timekeeping apps like 7shifts, you don’t have to upgrade to get team messaging tools, including team shout outs. If you prefer to send SMS text messages, that’s an option too. Advanced features like shift reminders, clock out messages, and read receipts are available with an affordable paid plan of Homebase.
Homebase Reports & Interfaces
Homebase can interface with payroll software and also with POS systems common to the restaurant industry. In fact, those options come with the free version, as do standard reports. Each paid tier adds additional reports like those with information on labor costs, actual versus scheduled hours, employee shift feedback and performance history, for example. Customized reports are available when you upgrade to the Enterprise plan.
Homebase Scheduling & Leave Management
All free plans offer drag and drop scheduling tools that let you view your shift schedule by day, week, month, employee, or job role. Plus, you can save your schedule as a reusable template. You can also view time off requests and employee availability as well as shift trades. Time off tracking requires a paid plan.
What Homebase is Missing
Homebase offers nearly every feature a small brick and mortar enterprise could want in its free time tracking app except that it only saves your time sheets for 90 days. Also, because it has more features than other providers, it requires more configuration and training. So plan a little time to get it set up. In addition, its interface isn’t as updated as When I Work.
What Users Think about Homebase
Overall, Homebase user reviews aren’t as high for its time and attendance software as they are for its scheduling tools. They hover just below a 4 out of 5-star range. What users like best is the payroll integration available in the free plan. Some complain about glitchiness.
How to Sign Up for Homebase
Since Homebase is completely free forever to businesses with one location, you can try it for free without even providing a credit card. If you only have on location and can get by with the free features, keep using it at no cost. Get your operation set up with Homebase for free.
Deputy: Best For Billing Clients for Time Worked
Deputy was built to support advanced scheduling with the understanding that it’s easier to track time if you plan your workers’ schedules in advance. Its app works on smartphones, Apple watches, desktops, and any internet connected devices. Like When I Work and Homebase, it offers a time and attendance app and time sheets. What makes Deputy stand out is that it adds time billing features to create invoices and allocate rates by employee (or job).
Deputy ranges in price from $2 to $4 per month per employee. You can purchase the employee timekeeping only for $2, but if you want both scheduling and attendance tracking, it’s double that price. This differs from timekeeping apps like WhenIWork and Homebase that include scheduling within the employee time tracking software even in their free forever versions.
Deputy Feature Pricing Options
|Premium (Includes both)|
With Deputy you’ll be able to keep track of employees, shifts, and clock-ins and outs. You can also manage HR compliance for scheduled breaks as well as set up custom pay rates so that you’re aware of what your workers are costing you per shift. It also provides dynamic report and accounting software integrations, streamlining customer billing for employees’ client work.
Time & Attendance
Deputy tracks time with a mobile app, even when the network is offline. Otherwise, all updates are made in real time so you’ll know exactly when workers clock in or out. In fact, you can use facial recognition if you need to eliminate buddy punching. You can also select a location stamp to ensure employees are punched in at the right location. And for those with foreign-born workers, it can support nine common languages from Spanish to Japanese.
Deputy Alerts & Notifications
When staff clock in at the job site, they’ll see messages on the news feed such as meeting reminders or a team member’s birthday. You can receive a read confirmation and even attach documents like your new attendance policy that you need them to review. Alerts and notifications are also provided through the mobile app.
Reports & Interfaces
Deputy provides numerous interfaces to payroll software, accounting software, and POS systems. In fact, it’s designed so that your workers don’t need to close out the POS screen in order to clock out for a break or at the end of their shift. However, custom reports are only available with the Premium and higher tier paid plans.
Deputy Scheduling & Leave Management
Deputy lets employees request leave through the mobile app. They can also track their leave balances. You, as their manager, will be able to see who’s available as you build your next work schedule. You can also build your employee work schedule with times for rest and meal breaks included. If you upgrade to the Premium plan, you can take advantage of auto-scheduling too.
What Deputy is Missing
Unlike Homebase and When I Work, there is no free plan for a small business. Its paid plans cost a bit more too. If you want reports or payroll integration, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan, whereas Homebase provides both options free.
What Users Think about Deputy
Overall, users rate Deputy about 4.5 out of 5 stars on third-party review sites. Users like its customer service as well as user friendly features such as allowing employees to claim open shifts. Some remark that they’d prefer more schedule view options.
How to Sign Up for Deputy
The easiest way to get started with Deputy’s time tracking app is to take advantage of the free trial. You can sign up by providing your email address or by using your Google or Facebook login. Start your free trial—there’s no credit card required.
Humanity: Best for Firms Wanting Robust Reports & Analytics
Humanity, like many of the employee time tracking apps described above, provides both scheduling along with time and attendance tools in a mobile app. What makes it stand out is the variety of customizable reports that can help you use analytics to fine tune your work schedules. Once you input worker pay rates, you’ll be able to manage labor costs in advance.
Humanity has a pricing structure similar to Deputy that runs from $2 to $4 per month per user for the plans a small business is most likely to use. The Starter plan provides basic scheduling, while the more expensive Classic plan is required if you want time-tracking, reporting, and payroll exports. The Enterprise option is for larger firms that want to interface with a human resource information system (HRIS) and other business software.
Humanity Pricing Plans
$2/month per user
$4/month per user
Mobile Employee Scheduling With Time Off Management
Time & Attendance
Geolocation clock In and Out
Reporting & Analytics
HR and API integrations
Humanity offers a great employee time tracking tool that’s baked into its scheduling software. It provides a mobile app that can manage time and attendance, has an online time clock, and manages employee leave and time off request. It also provides tools to help you schedule individuals, groups, and even manage employee appointments. All these features can be tracked from a centralized administrative dashboard.
Humanity Time & Attendance
The time clock option with Humanity tracks employee attendance by allowing managers to approve clock-ins and by offering GPS location-based time tracking. The time keeping data can then be moved directly to your payroll or HR software.
Alerts & Notifications
Workers can choose to receive notifications on their smartphones. However, there are fewer alert, notification, and messaging options with Humanity’s app than with other less expensive software like Homebase and When I Work.
Humanity Reports & Interfaces
Humanity provides both standard and custom reports within its detailed reports module. You can run dynamic reports using real-time data, filtered in any way needed. All data can be exported. In fact, managers can create custom reports to the exact specifications they want. Best of all, it interfaces with the most popular payroll providers directly from a drop-down menu.
Humanity Scheduling & Leave Management
Humanity is built as a scheduling tool that adds on the time clock and time tracking features. Its scheduling functions are top notch. It allows managers to schedule shifts and monitor employee shift acknowledgements. Workers can request time off for managers to approve. The app then tracks who’s available when you build your shift as well as what each worker is paid so that you’ll know exactly what your labor is costing you.
What Humanity is Missing
Humanity is lacking notifications and alerts to remind employees when they’ve failed to sign in. Also, while priced similar to Deputy, it’s more costly than When I Work and Homebase, both of which offer free plans for small business owners.
What Users Think about Humanity
In our research, we found that most Humanity users describe customer support as solid. They rate it highly, similar to Deputy. There were some suggestions to add features and make the software more user friendly.
How to Sign Up for Humanity
The best way to sign up with Humanity is to begin by using a free trial. It includes a demo of the software and the free trial lasts 30 days—double what most other employee time tracking apps and software companies provide. That gives you plenty of time to test it out before committing to a paid subscription. Sign up for your free 30-day trial of Humanity.
Ximble: Best for Managing Entry Level Workers’ Breaks
Ximble is best for small businesses with an hourly workforce as it helps to keep track of entry level workers on the job. It lets you schedule and monitor that employees take required paid and unpaid breaks. In addition to all the time and attendance tools a small business needs, it also includes a photo capture clock-in feature that helps ensure workers are really at the job site when they clock in.
Ximble offers three options: time tracking, scheduling, and both combined. For both time tracking and scheduling the core plan starts at $3 per month per user. That’s the plan that would most likely serve the needs of most small businesses. The Advanced plan costs $5 monthly per user plus a $15 monthly base fee, adding integrations and facial recognition. Ximble also offers an enterprise plan that’s priced by quote.
Ximble Pricing Tiers
|Integrations to HR, POS, Payroll & API|
|Custom Development and a Dedicated Account Manager|
Ximble’s time and attendance app helps avoid buddy punching with its facial recognition option. Otherwise Ximble includes shift reminders, team chat, time sheet review and approvals, and a virtual time clock. You can even track multiple positions and pay rates per employee such as if your server works as a shift lead one night a week at a higher hourly rate of pay.
Ximble Time & Attendance
Ximble offers a time clock and provides a time sheet that includes unpaid breaks. You can also make manual changes and edits to the time sheets—if for example, a worker fails to clock out on time. It also tracks worker activity and send shift reminders to employees when it’s time to clock in or out.
Alerts & Notifications
Using Ximble’s app, managers can contact employees via SMS or email. The employee scheduling mobile app provides shift reminders and notifications as well as a team chat option. You can even share work files directly through the app. That’s helpful when you want to share information on price changes or upcoming sales events.
Reports & Interfaces
Ximble offers rich, advanced reporting across all of its pricing tiers, including activity tracking and payroll reports. If you upgrade to the advanced plan, you’ll get HR, POS, and payroll integrations. These reports come in handy when you’re managing an hourly workforce and need to stay on top of labor law requirements like scheduled breaks and sick leave balances.
Ximble Scheduling & Leave Management
Ximble tracks shift trading and coverage, but the scheduling software doesn’t manage paid time off unless you upgrade to the Advanced plan. What it does offer is labor cost monitoring so that you can see what it will cost to staff your shifts. The Advanced plan also adds auto shift scheduling and lets you schedule workers across multiple locations.
What Ximble is Missing
Ximble doesn’t offer a free plan and its paid plans can get confusing. For example, to get mobile clock-in features, you have to upgrade and pay a $15 monthly fee. When you figure the cost of both scheduling and time keeping, combined (and free) in Homebase and When I Work, it turns out to be a bit more costly than any of the other employee time tracking apps for the same set of features.
What Users Think about Ximble
There aren’t as many online reviews for Ximble as there are for some of the other time tracking apps, but its users rate it highly. Many users love the thoughtful features such as automatic calculation of unpaid breaks and timesheets. Plus, they rave about the customer service. Some find that making manual changes to shifts or timecards is less than intuitive though.
How to Sign Up for Ximble
The best way to get started with Ximble is to sign up on its website. You can try Ximble for free with no credit card. But even if you officially sign up, you can cancel within the first 30-days and get a refund. You can also request a demo if you’d rather see Ximble in action before you subscribe. Sign up for your free trial of Ximble employee time tracking.
7shifts: Best for Restaurant & Foodservice Operations
7shifts was designed for businesses like restaurants and cafes that manage hourly workers and track time in shifts. It’s priced by location, similar to Homebase, and offers a free option for one location only. It provides employee schedules, a virtual time clock, tip management, and team communication options. Paid plans provide enhanced reporting and labor costing tools for your establishment.
7shifts is free for one location with up to 10 employees. Paid plans range in price from $17.99 to $69.99 per month per location (billed annually). It also offers free trials of its plans cleverly named Appetizer, Entre, and The Works. Each pricing tier adds additional features but all plans include features for time off requests, time clocks, and mobile apps. If you want 7shifts’s experts to set up your system, there’s an optional white glove service for $150.
7Shifts Pricing Plans
|Scheduling & Time Clock|
|POS Integration and Text Messages|
|Templates, Budgeting & Events Management|
|Overtime alerts, payroll export, reports and more|
The most compelling feature about 7shifts is that it’s designed for a specific industry—foodservice. That means it has shift scheduling, time off requests and reports—all available via mobile app to ensure busy restaurant managers stay in the loop. Paid plans add POS integration, sales forecasting, multi-location scheduling, SMS messaging, templates, labor costing tools, and event management.
7shifts Time & Attendance
All plans include a simple time clock and online time sheets via free mobile apps for iOS and Android. However, if you want overtime and break alerts, punch audit reporting or mobile shift reminders, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.
Alerts & Notifications
7shifts offers overtime and break alerts, mobile shift reminders and a shift feedback tool for managers. Managers also can use a log book to keep track of notes electronically. However, all these features require a paid plan.
7shifts Reports & Interfaces
7shifts gives you standard reports to help you manage your business. The Appetizer plan adds POS integration to multiple vendors such as TouchBistro, Lightspeed, and Square. However, if you want payroll integration with QuickBooks, you will have to upgrade to the pricier “The Works” plan. Otherwise, you can download your data to a spreadsheet and manually send it to your payroll provider.
Scheduling & Leave Management
Staff scheduling is included in all plans along with staff availability data and time-off requests. Paid plans offer additional features like schedule templates, weather forecasting, mobile shift reminders, and the ability to name your workstations and sections. If you opt for The Works plan, you can set up multiple admins, giving your night shift manager or office staff access to update and manage worker scheduling on your behalf.
What 7shifts is Missing
7shifts is great for restaurants but not as many features come free as they do with When I Work and Homebase. For example, the Comp plan is free only if you have 10 or fewer employees whereas with Homebase, it’s unlimited. In addition, you have to upgrade to a pricey tier to obtain payroll integration or activity audits, and it doesn’t provide any group scheduling options.
What Users Think about 7shifts
Generally, 7shifts’ users rate it highly. They appreciate the easy to use interface and the willingness of the company to help set up interfaces. Some complain that notifications don’t always work and that it’s difficult to account for paid/unpaid holidays.
Alternatives to Employee Time Tracking Apps
While looking for the best employee time tracking apps, you might realize your business also needs other software options like time and attendance software, time clocks, HR, or employee appointment scheduling software. Consider your industry, number and types of employees, compliance needs, and so forth.
Here are some solid alternatives to using the best time tracking apps:
Businesses that want complete HR software with a time tracking app
Companies needing affordable payroll software that interfaces with free time tracking apps
Firms that track employee time against projects and tasks
Service businesses like a nail salon that charge clients for employee time worked
Startups that may want to add on other business apps from the Zoho Suite
Businesses that need to monitor whether workers are at their workstation
Businesses using QuickBooks or Wagepoint for payroll
Firms that track time and expenses for client billing
Employee time tracking apps can save you an enormous amount of administrative work while accurately monitoring employee time worked for overtime compliance and payroll purposes. With data stored in the cloud and exportable to your HR or payroll software, you’ll reduce the risk of making common errors users tend to make with manual time card systems.
Out of the top six providers we received, we recommend When I Work for employee time tracking. In addition to monitoring employee clock ins and outs, it manages employee leave requests and approvals. Further, it provides employee scheduling, helps you find new employees through its job posting feature and allows you to communicate directly with your staff. Sign up to When I Work for free if you have 75 or fewer employees.