Time Tracking vs. Employee Scheduling

Time tracking vs employee scheduling? Rota management vs monitoring working hours? Run a productive business by balancing staff workload. Simple guide here.
  • Author: Siva
  • Last updated: November 30, 2022
  • 5 Minutes
employee scheduling vs. time tracking and ways to manage both effectively for small businesses explained by Papershift

© / Adobe Stock

Time tracking vs employee scheduling? Rota management vs monitoring working hours? In the modern workplace, it can sometimes be difficult to tell the two apart. But doing so is vital as both are essential to how well a business is run.

In this article, we will look at both time tracking and employee scheduling, compare the features of both, and discuss which one is more important to your business.

Let the battle commence. 

What is time tracking?

Time tracking is essentially the use of a time tracker app or another software tool to accurately measure the amount of time invested in a certain task.

Time tracking is often used for accurate employee time entry and payroll, as well as client invoicing. Businesses and people who provide services to clients on a freelance or hourly basis often need to prove how much time was needed for each task in order to be paid the correct amount.

Companies may also need to track the amount of time their workers have dedicated to each project and client to assess how successful they were and how much they need to charge.

What are the main functions of time-tracking software?

There are a few different types of time measurement that trackers can perform for certain task categories, these include.

  • Individual task tracking: This is a simple method of time tracking where the user manually defines a start and end point for a certain task, which is then stored in the software.
  • Team tracking: This is used to measure the time it takes for a team to complete all of their delegated tasks within a project.
  • Whole-project tracking: This time-tracking function measures the time it takes to complete an entire project. 

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What are the essential features of time-tracking software?

Time tracking software has come a long way since it’s early inception and can now handle the following key features.

  1. Time tracking reports: Raw time tracking data can give businesses a nice overview of time spent on certain tasks. Time-tracking reports use the data to create actionable conclusions based on performance.
  2. Real-time synchronization across devices: Those who have managed demanding projects will know that the workday rarely goes as planned. Things change, deadlines sneak up, and staff work overtime. That’s why a key feature of time tracking software is that it offers the right up-to-the-minute information, everywhere you need it.

What is employee scheduling?

Employee scheduling is the process of assigning staff to tasks and shifts. A clear and concise shift schedule ensures all tasks are carried out and employees are aware of their responsibilities. It will also ensure that staff are following any legal and regulatory requirements of the business.

What is employee scheduling software?

Employee scheduling software is a system that automates the shift planning process. A good quality staff scheduling software like the one we provide at Papershift will provide a suite of scheduling solutions that allow businesses to schedule staff optimally, effectively preventing overstaffing and understaffing. 

Scheduling Guide

What are the key features of employee scheduling software?

Some of the key features that the best scheduling software systems have include the following.

  1. Auto scheduling: The software will automatically manage employee availability, regulation compliance, and budgets to ensure optimum work schedules.
  2. Mobile app: Scheduling software may come with a mobile apps, allowing users to access or create schedules while mobile. 
  3. Clocking in and out tracking: Employees can often clock in and out using scheduling software. 
  4. Automated alerts and notifications: Users of scheduling software can often set up alerts on their phone for things like shift reminders.
  5. Schedule templates: Managers can often quickly create schedules using schedule templates.
  6. Third-party integrations: The best employee scheduling tools can be integrated into other systems, such as payroll and HR software, or may allow other software to integrate into them.
  7. Adjust schedules with ease: Scheduling software makes changing schedules easy. Staff members can send real-time time-off requests, swap shifts, or pick up open shifts via their mobile app. 

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How are time tracking and employee scheduling different?

While both time tracking and scheduling may seem similar, there are a few key differences that need to be considered. Time tracking software is built to record how long staff work and what tasks they are doing on a day-to-day basis. Employee scheduling software, on the other hand, is more forward looking and is designed to allow companies to plan staffing, rotas, and task management in the future. 

Do I need both time tracking and employee scheduling?

That depends on the software you use and the needs of your business. Most businesses will need to track the working time of their employees for HR and payroll purposes, but scheduling may not be necessary if the shift patterns of staff are set or vary little from week to week.

Other businesses with varying shift patterns and a large number of staff may require a full suite of software to manage time tracking and scheduling. For these companies both types of software may be necessary.

It’s important to note that most good employee scheduling software packages (like the one we provide at Papershift) offer time tracking built-in or as an added module to their core functionality. Often this type of software offers a total time management and scheduling toolbox for companies to use.

Which is better, time tracking or employee scheduling?

That’s a difficult question to answer and will depend on the needs of the business (as mentioned above). Most companies will require both so they can track the work time of staff and plan shift patterns for the future.

In conclusion

The most important part of running a productive business is to fully understand the company and staff workload. Having a good scheduling software while tracking time worked by staff will make it far easier to keep pace with what your customers need.

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Combining both time tracking and employee scheduling software in one easy to use package, as we have with our scheduling app, businesses will have a clear idea of how much time they are spending on tasks as well as allowing them to judge how much work their staff is able to accomplish in any given time period. 

Written by Siva

I write & describe the value & benefits delivered by Paperhift's rota planning, staff time tracking, and employee payroll management software. Especially useful for Shift Planners, Rota Managers, Team Admins, and HR Teams :-)