What Is Real-Time Time Tracking?

Real-time time tracking is a process in which self-employed individuals or company employees track and record their work hours in compliance with their company’s time-tracking policy. The process is similar to regular time tracking, with the only difference being the allowance of real-time insight into employees' work data.

Real-time tracking allows businesses to manage resources (both human and material) in the way that best suits the needs of a specific project. It also allows managers and team leaders further insight into employees’ productivity, work ethic, and day-to-day accomplishments related to business dealings.

How Does Real-Time Time Tracking Work?

Real-time time tracking is a feature of some time-tracking software. There are different ways to implement this feature, and based on that, there are two broad types of it.

The first one is a bit more intrusive but allows employers to get a more detailed insight into employees' work habits and performance. They do it through software that collects data by tracking the frequency of keystrokes, mouse movements, monitoring tabs, open programs, and more. All of that data is then put through an algorithm to get an evaluation of employees' work hours. 

Although some people consider this type of employee monitoring to be unethical, as it can be argued that it infringes on employees’ privacy and rights, it’s still technically legal and does provide more information about employees than any other type of tracking.

The second type of real-time time tracking relies on trust between employees and their employer or manager. The way real-time time tracking works within this type of system is akin to how a regular stopwatch works. Employees start the timer when they begin working on a task and stop it when they finish.

The Advantages of Real-Time Time Tracking Over Manual Time Tracking

Manual time tracking has been around for centuries. Since the early days of the industrial revolution, accurately tracking workers’ work hours and using that data for payroll purposes has been essential for many businesses. 

And although manual time tracking is the established type of time tracking, for the past couple of centuries, modern technologies and software have allowed for another option - real-time time tracking.

There are many advantages of real-time time tracking, including the following:

  • Improved accuracy when tracking work hours.
  • Faster input of data.
  • More accurate billing.
  • Less time spent on manually filling timesheets.

Manual time tracking allows employers to track the work hours and tasks of their employees on a daily basis (i.e., these are the daily tasks, and this is the time needed to complete them). 

Real-time time tracking allows for a certain degree of unpredictability in employees’ daily workload.  

The best example of this is customer service agencies or customer service teams within a company. With real-time time tracking, employers or managers can get real-time data about which customer service rep is idle (or not on a call). This allows managers to switch new calls to those idle employees immediately, leading to better management of workloads, work schedules, and overall team productivity.