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No Time to Put in the Time? The Real Reason Employees Hate Time Tracking

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For most organizations, choosing to implement time tracking is a no-brainer. Accurately tracking work hours leads to smarter business decisions, better management, and improved productivity and profitability. Moreover, time tracking is mandatory for a few reasons, such as compliance with labor laws, protecting company interests, and ensuring employees are getting paid correctly.

And yet, there is no getting around the fact that employees do not like filling up timesheets. There are several reasons why this is the case, but one of the most common is the fact that tracking time takes up a lot of time. Filling up timesheets is not only boring to most employees, but it usually forces them to spend an inordinate amount of time doing it manually.

There are legitimate reasons for your employees to dislike time tracking. Understanding these reasons and coming up with innovative solutions that overcome the problems will be key to encouraging time tracking in your company.


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Time Tracking Takes Too Much Time

Let’s start with the biggest and most common complaint about time tracking. Many employees feel time tracking takes up a lot of their time and, unfortunately, they are not wrong.

This is particularly true if your employee time tracking system is antiquated and inefficient. Many organizations still rely on paper-based tracking or Excel spreadsheets and these methods are terribly unproductive and often annoying. Even digital systems that rely on employees having to recall times before entering become tedious quickly.

It has been reported that the U.S. economy loses 59 million hours every day in productivity because of work activities that go unrecorded.


If your business requires time tracking against tasks and projects, the issues multiply quickly. In such cases, the employees are forced to interrupt their work to note downtimes or fill up a sheet. Studies show that even just after 20 minutes of interruptions during work, people report higher levels of frustration, stress, pressure, and effort.

Moreover, the issues do not end at just filling out timesheets. The time data has to be then processed to drive payroll, billing, and costing. This adds yet another layer of complexity to an already complicated process. With spreadsheets and paper forms, managers and supervisors have to sit down and manually check all entries before signing off their approval.

Those in charge of billing or payroll will have to wait for these approved timesheets to arrive before they can start their calculations. In many organizations, supervisors, HR, and even billing managers have to chase these forms and entries just to get them out on time. Any delays or errors in the time data ends up delaying billing and payroll, or worse, the incorrect amount is billed or paid out. That can lead to a lot of frustration for everyone involved, not to mention the hours wasted in all the steps.

All of these can be solved if you invest in a cloud-based platform that can automate time data collection in a fast and efficient way. Here are some of the advantages of doing so:

  • These systems can drive accuracy through intelligent approvals and dynamic validations.
  • You can enable real-time notifications to remind employees and supervisors to enter and approve time data in seconds.
  • With a click or two, the verified accurate time data can then be pushed to billing and payroll departments through integrations with their respective systems.
  • It minimizes the time needed to fill up timesheets which considerably reduces employee pushback against time tracking.

Time Tracking Affects Morale

With time tracking, employees are often concerned about feeling micromanaged. They might feel that having to log their hours is an intrusion into their work and feel judged for it. Recording time is not a natural activity for employees, especially for those in creative fields. Having to record every minute does hinder the creative process and may even make the employee resent it.

The primary reason behind these concerns is a simple fact. No one works hour after hour straight for the entire working day, and your employees may feel that they will be punished or penalized for that. Employees can feel concerned that their company does not trust them to do the job they were hired to do. In the case of creative professionals, they may even feel that their creativity is being timed and tracked. There is a worry that the time data will be leveraged for pushing unrealistic expectations or demanding a faster working pace. It is only logical for employees to be anxious and stressed.

The only and the best solution to this problem is to be transparent about employee time tracking and communicate that to your employees.

  • Clearly educate your employees on the importance and benefits of time tracking to the organization.
  • Explain that the goal is to be transparent and improve organizational metrics rather than micromanage employees.
  • Be clear on how your organization will track time and what data you will be collecting.
  • State outright how you are planning to use that information.

Other Concerns Around Employee Time Tracking

In addition to the above, there are other reasons why your employees might be hesitant to adopt time tracking in your organization.

  • Employees may feel demotivated if they feel their skills and expertise are being ignored in favor of the time they spend on tasks.
  • Time is not a perfect metric to measure productivity. Your employees will resent it if their time data is used to determine their performance levels.
  • If employees are required to fill in timesheets at the end of the week or month, there are more likely to be errors. After all, it is not easy to recall time spent on tasks days or weeks after the fact.
  • Often employees may end up ignoring timesheets when presented with urgent or high-priority tasks. This leads to incorrect records, which becomes a worry down the line for the employees as well as their managers.
  • In organizations that allot a set number of hours for tasks, employees may feel stressed and pressured to fill up those allocated work hours, instead of doing the best work they can.


You must make it a priority to educate your employees on the benefits time tracking brings not only to your organization but also to their work. It is essential that you open a clear line of communication between the leadership and employees to assuage their worries and concerns. This makes employees feel valued, and they are more likely to track their hours as needed.

Solving Time Tracking Concerns

Removing the complexity around time tracking can go a long way in encouraging adoption among employees. Choose an intuitive cloud-based time tracking system that empowers employees to fill in time quickly with minimal confusion. Let the system do the heavy lifting and transform the time data into usable information for driving billing and payroll processes. By automating these processes, employees become free to focus on their actual work rather than the timesheets. Moreover, it helps improve transparency around employee time tracking.

Adopting an automated time tracking system will also contribute to the overall digitalization efforts that the organization might be undertaking. As the popularity of remote and hybrid working increases, companies must also step up to digitalize their processes to support the needs of their workforce. A cloud-based system to capture time can be one of the first steps that the firm can take towards that goal. To learn more about a digital time tracking system can help, check out our ebook.


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Arpan Patra


Arpan Patra


Arpan Patra has been writing about technology for over a decade. Now, as a Senior Marketing Communications Specialist at Deltek | Replicon, he focuses on how technologies like AI/ML-powered professional services automation solutions can empower organizations to optimize and grow their business. When he’s not busy typing noisily, he enjoys sitting down with a book and a warm cup of coffee.


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