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40+ Critical Time Tracking Statistics: 2020 Market Share Analysis & Data

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From a business standpoint, managing time and tracking how workers spend their time allows you to maximize resources, improve employee performance, and monitor where your hours are going. Smart decisions come from real-world data, not guesswork, and there is no better way to do this than by diving into crucial time tracking statistics. When complemented by time tracking software, businesses are just about set up to address the issues springing from the misuse of time in the workplace.

We help you start in this direction with this compilation of the most critical time tracking statistics of 2019. With these data, you should be able to understand why you should make it a habit to monitor how your employees use their work hours, as well as how you can leverage software solutions to optimize the process. Furthermore, this should give you an idea of the different challenges you might encounter as you implement new tech for time tracking.

key time tracking statistics

General Time Tracking Statistics

Time tracking is a tried and tested way to manage work hours effectively. When done regularly and accurately, this method can help you boost productivity and, eventually, improve employee engagement and performance.

However, not all employees log their daily activities, and not all companies use time tracking as part of their routine. This means that many employers are kept in the dark when it comes to the whereabouts of their subordinates during work.

The silver lining here is that there are managers and C-level executives who seem to be realizing how time tracking can help them keep up with competitors. Moreover, with the prevalence of remote work and the use of mobile phones for official purposes, we can expect that the time tracking software industry will grow in the coming years.

  • An average person would typically roll out 13 methods to manage their time. These methods often include time tracking. [1]
  • Daily time tracking can decrease productivity leaks by 80%. [2]
  • 66% of employees who track time are hourly employees, while 16% are salaried. [3]
  • 18% of employees reported that their managers track their time for them. [3]
  • People who track their time use daily are 66% accurate, while those who track weekly are 47% accurate. Meanwhile, those who prepare their timesheets less than once per week are only 35% accurate. [2]
  • The global mobile time tracking market size will grow at a CAGR of almost 8% until 2021. [4]

What Takes Up Your Employees’ Productive Time?

Employees have a long list of tasks that they need to do on a daily basis. From answering emails and taking calls to wrap up tasks and attending meetings, there is no doubt that the modern workplace can be hectic. Below, you’ll see that employees often spread out their time in order to accomplish these responsibilities.

  • Employed individuals spend a total of 10 minutes per day for telephone calls, emails, and regular mail during work hours. [5]
  • On a monthly basis, Americans spend 53 hours and 24 minutes for face-to-face meetings, 16 hours and 51 minutes for audio conferencing, and 16 hours and 29 minutes for video conferencing. [6]
  • Some employees spend approximately 3.1 hours checking work email every day. This includes the time they review their inbox after office hours. [7]
  • Employees spend 14.3 hours per week online for work. However, only 10.1 hours per week are used for official purposes. [8]

Where Do the Lost Hours Go?

Just because your employees report for work daily doesn’t mean they are maximizing their productive hours. There are plenty of distractions at work, and not all employees are engaged enough to perform their tasks for 8 hours straight. Moreover, mundane tasks often get in the way of employees who want to attend to more attention-demanding responsibilities.

With that said, you might also want to focus on fostering an efficient work environment through the use of time tracking tools. You can do this by analyzing what unnecessary activities are taking up too much time, monitor if there are employees that are overworking, and address other problems in your daily workflows.

  • Employees are only productive for 2 hours and 23 minutes per day. The remainder of their workday is used to check social media (44 minutes), browse news sites (1 hour, 5 minutes), discuss work with officemates (40 minutes), coffee breaks (17 minutes), instant messaging (14 minutes), snack breaks (8 minutes), making food in the office (7 minutes), making calls (18 minutes), and searching for new jobs (26 minutes). [9]
  • Statistics show that only 20% of the average work hours are used for “crucial” and “important” things. The rest of the workday is spent on mundane tasks. [1]
  • Employees experience an interruption every 8 minutes per hour, with approximately 5 minutes per interruption. This totals to about 4 hours of the workday. [1]
  • 80% of workplace interruptions typically have “little value” or “no value.” This equates to 3 hours of wasted time on a daily basis. [1]
  • Employees use up 1 to 3 hours per day surfing the web for personal reasons while at work. [10]
  • Employees toggle between windows roughly 373 times per day during tasks, which can have a negative impact on productivity. [11]
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How Do Employees Spend Their Work Hours?

Daily activities of average employees and the time spent for each in minutes

How Do Employees Spend Their Work Hours?
Perform Work Tasks: 143

Perform Work Tasks

How Do Employees Spend Their Work Hours?
Browse News Sites: 65

Browse News Sites

How Do Employees Spend Their Work Hours?
Check Social Media: 44

Check Social Media

How Do Employees Spend Their Work Hours?
Socialize with Coworkers: 40

Socialize with Coworkers

How Do Employees Spend Their Work Hours?
Search for New Jobs: 26

Search for New Jobs

How Do Employees Spend Their Work Hours?
Make Calls: 18

Make Calls

How Do Employees Spend Their Work Hours?
Take a Coffee Break: 17

Take a Coffee Break

How Do Employees Spend Their Work Hours?
Instant Messaging: 14

Instant Messaging

How Do Employees Spend Their Work Hours?
Take a Snack Break: 8

Take a Snack Break

How Do Employees Spend Their Work Hours?
Make Food in the Office: 7

Make Food in the Office

Source: Vouchercloud

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The Cost of Not Tracking Time

Time is money. If employees are unproductive during work hours, you can bet that it will cost you.

However, many companies are not using time tracking for their operations. They monitor billable hours according to what employees report on a weekly or monthly basis, but they don’t quantify poor time use. Because of this, they don’t know what activities they are paying their employees on a daily basis. Moreover, they have no means to determine if they are losing money due to unproductivity.

  • Time tracking data revealed that the US economy loses 50 million hours in productivity per day because of unrecorded work activities. This equates to $7.4 billion per workday. [2]
  • Unrecorded emailing activities alone can leak $50,000 per professional annually. [2]

Time Theft and Buddy Punching

Time theft and buddy punching are common practices in companies that still use paper timesheets and Bundy clocks. The former simply refers to the practice of rounding up weekly hours while the latter means an employee clocks in on behalf of another employee. While many often do this to make up for a few minutes, this can have a huge impact on your bottom line.

By investing in more sophisticated time tracking tools, you can eliminate the risk of compensating dishonestly logged hours.

  • Time theft affects 75% of businesses. [12]
  • Time theft can cost employers an average of $11 billion per year. [13]
  • Time theft can take as much as 7% from your gross annual payroll. [12]
  • Accountants report that 92% of their clients are having trouble with time theft. [13]
  • Buddy punching can cost employers roughly $373 million every year. [13]
  • 75% of US companies lose money because of buddy punching. [14]
  • 1 in 2 employees admits that they practice buddy punching and time theft. [13]

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Violations

Buddy punching and time theft aside, there are other factors that can put your business at risk of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations. These include having employees who work off the clock, log in and out earlier or later than scheduled, as well as unrecorded tardiness.

If you want to save yourself from hefty fines and lengthy legal proceedings, having solid time tracking protocols will do you well. Many software solutions will allow you to automate the monitoring of productive hours. This way, you can record the actual times that your employees start and end work as well as discourage employees from working after-hours.

  • 28% of employees in America admit they work off the clock. [13]
  • 33% of employees clock in and out earlier or later than scheduled. [14]
  • 29% of employees show up late at least once a month, while 16% admit to being tardy at least once a week. [15]
  • The total cost of minimum wage and overtime violations that the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has recovered in the last 5 years is over $1.3 billion. [16]
  • More than 70% of the fines that the WHD collects is because of an FLSA violation. [17]

time tracking

Time Tracking Technology Data

Advancements in technology have allowed businesses to improve various aspects of their operations. Time tracking is no exception. The tools you can use to monitor productive hours have evolved from spreadsheets to sophisticated systems that automate time tracking and integrate with your other platforms.

What’s more, there is an extensive selection of time tracking tools that you can choose from depending on your business size or budget.

Automated Time Tracking

Automation is a key driver in the evolution of work. So it only makes sense that modern time tracking can also be automated. By capturing work hours in real-time, you can check what your employees are spending their time on. This way, you can pinpoint the factors that have a negative impact on productivity and address them before they affect your bottom line.

  • Digital productivity tools and the automation of back-office processes can improve profitability by 30%. [18]
  • Companies can eliminate daily lost productivity and recapture a total of $666,400.00 in yearly wages by automating time tracking. [19]

Time Tracking for Payroll Management

Let’s face it. Preparing payroll papers is complicated, and it becomes twice as difficult if you don’t have accurate data on billable hours. By using time tracking tools, you can eliminate the need for manual reporting and reduce the time spent on correcting faulty timesheets.

Just be sure, however, that you are not simply choosing time tracking software with the most features. Try to consider solutions that can integrate with your existing payroll systems, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues. Furthermore, look for systems that offer functionalities for analytics, employee self-service, and the tracking of multiple worker classifications to make payroll management much more seamless.

You can also check out our in-depth article on what is time tracking software to learn more about the features you should look for in this type of system.

  • 48% of companies believe that the most important reason for investing in time tracking is to improve the accuracy of payroll reports. [20]
  • Companies that utilize software with timekeeping and payroll features were 44% less likely to commit errors. [21]
  • Automated time tracking can reduce the time it takes to calculate time cards from 7 minutes/card/pay period to 1 minute/card/pay period. [19]
  • Companies that use an integrated timekeeping and payroll solution can achieve revenue targets by 7%. [21]
  • The most important secondary time tracking features for small businesses are scheduling (32%), employee self-service (20%), and analytics (14%). Some also cited absence management (13%), points tracking (9%), and GPS (7%). [20]
  • 81% of payroll professionals believe that seamless integration with time and labor management is needed to improve work quality. It only comes second to on-demand reporting and analytics (87%) and ranks above the ability to track multiple worker classifications (76%). [22]

GPS Tracking

Time tracking is highly effective for discouraging employees from using office resources and billable hours for personal purposes. However, this might only be true for desk jobs. Time tracking for remote workers is a different story.

In the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of remote workers worldwide. These not only applied to logistics companies but also to businesses that need employees to go outside the office to perform their jobs. This is why many admins have started to utilize GPS tracking solutions alongside their time monitoring tools.

These allow managers to ensure that employees are where they are supposed to be. Moreover, it can ensure their safety while improving accountability.

  • As of 2018, 39.2% of companies have remote workers, while 30% have a mix of local and remote employees. [23]
  • Employees like using GPS because it simplifies travel time monitoring (76%), improves accountability (75%), ensures they get paid accurately (75%), ensures their safety (64%), makes them more efficient (63%), and builds trust with their employer (61%). [24]
  • GPS can increase productive hours by 15%, especially for companies that manage fleets. [18]
  • 1/3 of modern employees are tracked via GPS for work purposes. [24]
  • 7 out of 10 employees don’t have a problem with their employer knowing their location. [24]

time tracking stats

Most Popular Time Tracking Software

  1. Time Doctor. A comprehensive time tracking tool that ensures distraction-free work time using screenshot recording, app monitoring, website tracking, and GPS tracking tools. View this Time Doctor review to learn more.
  2. Wrike. A robust project management system with a time-tracking feature that supports both automatic tracking and manual entry. Check out its complete feature set in our Wrike review.
  3. ProjectManager. A cloud-based solution for project management that provides tools for time tracking, timesheet creation, and productivity reporting. Learn more about it in our in-depth ProjectManager review.
  4. Clarizen. A collaborative work management system with time tracking tools to ensure employee accountability and productivity. For more information about its features, check out our Clarizen review.
  5. Zoho Projects. A project planning software and collaboration tool with time tracking and time logging capabilities for better productivity tracking. See what else it has to offer in this Zoho Projects review.

Data on Time Tracking Challenges

Time tracking is pretty straightforward, but there are challenges that come with rolling out new ways to do it. Many businesses are accustomed to using traditional methods such as punch cards, spreadsheets, or even pen and paper. So, it might be harder for these companies to start utilizing new tech for monitoring productive hours.

Challenges to Tech Adoption

There are plenty of benefits to using time tracking software, but it seems only a small fraction of companies are taking advantage of it.

Experts would often chalk this up to the lack of support from C-level executives as well as the different priorities of companies. After all, some businesses don’t deem time tracking tools as urgent as other operational software like marketing, sales, and ERP platforms.

However, if you want to maximize your productive hours and cultivate an efficient workplace, investing in time tracking is crucial. It not only allows you to monitor the billable hours of your employees but also lets you get in-depth insights regarding the day-to-day activities of your staff. This way, it is easy to see what aspects of your workflow needs improvement.

  • Over 1/3 of time tracking systems are outdated. For instance, in the US, 38% still use paper timesheets and punchcards. This is higher in Canada, where 58% still use these systems. [13]
  • Only 25% of companies use time tracking applications to monitor productivity and billable hours. Some use spreadsheets (25%), touch screen kiosks (14%), punch cards (10%), biometrics (7%), POS systems (7%), and text/email (3%). [3]
  • 38% of employees say they still track time using manual processes. [3]
  • 29% of payroll professionals say that the system they are using is more than 10 years old. [25]

Problems with New Time Tracking Tech

As we discussed earlier, the use of GPS is growing in popularity among companies because it simplifies the monitoring of remote workers. However, adopting this technology for your operations may come as a challenge. This is because there are still employees who believe that this technology invades their privacy.

One possible reason for this is because there are employers who abuse GPS tracking to monitor their staff’s whereabouts 24/7. With that said, we strongly recommend that you set limits as to how you will use this for your productivity management efforts. This way, you can ensure employee engagement without the risk of making your employees feel like you’re placing them under a microscope.

  • 6% of employees would quit their job instead of letting employers track them via GPS. [24]
  • 1 in 10 employees experiences 24/7 tracking via GPS. This is illegal in all 50 states of America. [24]
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Time Tracking Implementation Across Companies

As of 2017, companies have been using the following methods for time tracking:

Time Tracking Implementation Across Companies
Time Tracking Applications: 25

Time Tracking Applications

Time Tracking Implementation Across Companies
Spreadsheets: 25


Time Tracking Implementation Across Companies
Touch Screen Kiosks: 14

Touch Screen Kiosks

Time Tracking Implementation Across Companies
Punch Cards: 10

Punch Cards

Time Tracking Implementation Across Companies
Biometrics: 7


Time Tracking Implementation Across Companies
POS Systems: 7

POS Systems

Time Tracking Implementation Across Companies
Text/Email: 3



Source: TSheets Time Tracking Survey

Designed by

What Do These Time Tracking Facts Mean for Your Business?

The data we’ve culled can only mean one thing: the key to productivity in the modern age is time tracking.

The fast-paced nature of current office environments poses plenty of challenges to companies that want to cultivate an efficient workforce. Employees are often more distracted, spending their time on activities other than work. Moreover, fewer and fewer staff members are engaged in their work.

By implementing time tracking, you can monitor how employees are spending their hours, understand what changes you can make to simplify their load and ensure that they are on the right track in each project they undertake. Consequently, this will allow you to help your employees build healthier work habits that can move your business forward.

Another benefit of time tracking is that it allows you to remain compliant with ever-changing labor laws. It can deter employees from rounding up weekly hours and practicing buddy punching—two of the most common reasons why companies are flagged for FLSA violations.

However, many still haven’t invested in tools that will help them make this happen. So, if you haven’t already used time tracking for your business, now might be the time to start. But of course, investing in one is not enough to ensure its effectiveness, be sure to also research time tracking strategies to reinforce your tools.

To sum up our list of critical time tracking statistics, we hope that you were able to understand the benefits of using this method for your operations and how you can leverage it to your advantage.

In case you are looking for productivity solutions that go beyond time tracking, you might want to take a look at this list of project management tools. These allow you to monitor the hours you spend on particular tasks, but more often than not, they also offer functionalities that can tackle other aspects of your operations.



  1. ^Time Management Facts and Figures
  3. ^Workplace Time Tracking Habits Revealed
  4. ^Global Mobile Tracking Software Market 2017-2021
  5. ^Time Tracking Statistics
  6. ^Meetings in America
  7. ^We Still Love Email, But We’re Spreading the Love with Other Channels
  8. ^Surveying the Digital Future
  9. ^How Many Productive Hours in a Work Day? Just 2 Hours, 23 Minutes…
  10. ^Surfing the Web at Work
  11. ^Technologies in the Workplace
  12. ^43% of Employees Commit Time Theft
  13. ^The Ultimate List of Time and Attendance Statistics
  14. ^6 problematic employee situations and easy solutions
  15. ^The Real Reasons Employees Are Late for Work
  16. ^Wage and Hour Division Data
  17. ^FLSA wage and hour lawsuits are up 417%
  19. ^What’s The Return On Investment?
  20. ^Paychex Small Business Snapshot
  21. ^3 Key Benefits of Integrated Timekeeping and Payroll
  22. ^Payroll’s Digital Transformation: The Need for Speed
  23. ^State of Productivity and Management Report 2018
  24. ^What Employees Think of GPS Tracking in the Workplace
  25. ^Payroll’s Digital Transformation: Keeping Up or Being Left Behind?


Jenny Chang

By Jenny Chang

Senior writer at FinancesOnline who writes about a wide range of SaaS and B2B products, including trends and issues on e-commerce, accounting and customer service software. She’s also covered a wide range of topics in business, science, and technology for websites in the U.S., Australia and Singapore, keeping tabs on edge tech like 3D printed health monitoring tattoos and SpaceX’s exploration plans.

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