5 Reasons Not to Use Time Tracking Software

John Reeve | May 1st, 2023 |

Broken clock

Time tracking software, when implemented effectively, is an indispensable tool for project-driven teams who want to deliver more. However, when used poorly or without consensus, it will create more problems than it will solve. Here are 5 pitfalls to avoid when rolling out time tracking software at your company.

Time tracking software can be seen as intrusive

Some employees may feel that time tracking software is intrusive and distrustful, as it requires constant monitoring of their work. An overbearing or punitive implementation will create a culture of surveillance. And that will only lead to decreased morale and a lack of trust between you and your employees.

Solution: To avoid becoming Big Brother, be transparent and up front throughout the process. Establish expectations and set boundaries with your team by soliciting their feedback. Focus on reaching the overall goal as a team, whether that be improved productivity, better billing, or something else.

It can be time-consuming

Depending on the software’s design, the process of tracking time can be time-consuming, especially if it requires too much manual input. This will frustrate employees who feel that they are spending more time tracking their work than actually doing it.

Solution: It’s important to use time tracking software that is intuitive and easy-to-use for this reason. For example, insist on software that features timers that will do the time tracking for you. Increased buy-in from your team will lead to higher adoption rates and more accurate time tracking. Therefore, involve your team in the process of selecting which software to use.

It can create unrealistic expectations

Employers may use time tracking software to set productivity targets that are not achievable. This will distract the team’s focus away from creating good work and place it instead on logging enough hours. This will lead to employee’s becoming burnt out, stressed, and potentially misrepresenting how much time they worked.

Solution: The best approach to tracking time for beginners is to not set any goals at all. Instead, focus on capturing as much of the team’s time as possible. Then analyze the data and see what it reveals. Once you know exactly where your team’s time is going, you can begin to set clear and realistic goals.

It can foster a culture of overwork

If employees feel that they are expected to work more than they are able to, this will lead to a culture of overwork and burnout. While time tracking software is helpful in identifying inefficiencies and improving productivity, it should never come at the expense of employee’s health and wellbeing.

Solution: Focus on identifying inefficiencies and improving productivity, but do not take a one-size-fits-all approach with your team. Some people might work faster than others, while some may need more downtime between tasks. Create a collective culture where people are valued and rewarded for their ability to collaborate and contribute to the team, not the number of hours they put in.

It may not be ideal for all types of work

Certain types of work may not lend themselves well to time tracking. For example, work that involves frequent interruptions. Focusing too much on quantifying this work will lead to inaccurate tracking and a false sense of productivity.

Solution: Don’t try to account for every minute. Answering a phone call, replying to an email, hopping on a brief chat — these are all frequent interruptions that take up our time but don’t need to be tracked. Trying to track every minute of an eight hour work day will result in more than just inaccuracy and inefficacy. It will create a fertile ground for the negative outcomes mentioned above to sprout.

Should my team track our time?

As the creators of time tracking software, we always say “it depends.” That’s why we’ve come up with these 5 reasons why someone may choose not to use time tracking software. It’s important to note, however, that these concerns can often be addressed by choosing the right software for your team and implementing it in a way that is transparent and fair to everyone.


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Intervals Blog

A collection of useful tips, tales and opinions based on decades of collective experience designing and developing web sites and web-based applications.

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Intervals is online time, task and project management software built by and for web designers, developers and creatives.
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John Reeve
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John Reeve

John is a co-founder, web designer and developer at Pelago. His blog posts are inspired by everyday encounters with designers, developers, creatives and small businesses in general. John is an avid reader and road cyclist.
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Jennifer Payne
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Jennifer Payne

Jennifer is the Director of Quality and Efficiency at Pelago. Her blog posts are based largely on her experience working with teams to improve harmony and productivity. Jennifer is a cat person.
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Michael Payne
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Michael Payne

Michael is a co-founder and product architect at Pelago. His contributions stem from experiences managing the development process behind web sites and web-based applications such as Intervals. Michael drives a 1990 Volkswagen Carat with a rebuilt 2.4 liter engine from GoWesty.
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