Why time tracking is bad?

  • Kat Ciesielska
  • November 22, 2022
  • 5 min read

Why time tracking is bad? Is it because the time-tracking process makes employees feel like you don’t trust them? Or maybe time-tracking data are completely useless? Does it boost employee productivity or just ruin morale?

In this article, I’ll answer your possible doubts and fears.

And get rid of your negative feelings, I hope. You’re visiting the time-tracking software blog after all, right? I’ll give you some pros of tracking time for sure.

In the end, you will be the one who decides why time tracking is bad. Or… that’s not bad, actually.

Why time tracking is bad?

Here’s a list of the possible reasons why tracking time may feel bad. Every project manager who thinks about time-tracking implementation should read it and make some time to think about it.

It’s good for small businesses that have never tried time-tracking before, but also for other businesses that have tried to start tracking already.

Here are some statements about tracking time:

1. Time tracking can destroy your startup

Time tracking is bad for your startup because it distracts you from working on what’s important: building and selling your product.

Time tracking may be good for managers who have to keep tabs on employees’ work habits, but it’s not the right tool for managing the growth of a startup. Time tracking can end up hurting your business in several ways:

a) It creates a culture of mistrust between employees and managers. If an employee has to constantly provide documentation proving that they’ve been working all day (or else they’ll get docked pay), then it becomes easy for them to feel like their boss doesn’t trust them. They’re actually doing their jobs well enough without being monitored so closely—and that creates tension in the office environment. This distrust can also lead people away from wanting to work at all if they believe there are always eyes watching over their shoulders.

b) It encourages non-essential tasks over essential ones (like working on customer development). If someone feels pressured by having to log all of his or her time spent on any given task into some kind of spreadsheet or program, then he or she might start shying away from activities that don’t have an obvious ROI attached. Like talking to customers directly about how he or she can help solve problems with their current workflow processes.

TimeCamp answers: time tracking is actually a tool perfect for employees. Thanks to their right time-tracking software, they will gain the freedom they have never had before. Also in startups. So, let’s jump to the exact points.

a) Time tracking doesn’t generate a culture of mistrust. It generates a culture of transparency in the workplace. If you only pick the right time-tracking software, employees won’t have to describe their work hours personally. They can just focus on working and guess what… no one will ever be able to ignore their efforts! Automated time-tracking tools – like TimeCamp – help employees show how much time each of the tasks takes in reality. No more “it’s impossible that this little thing took you so much time!”. Young business owners and people owning startups will just benefit from it. They will learn how to estimate time better when it comes to this exact business.

b) Time tracking doesn’t encourage non-essential tasks over essential ones. If you only implement time-tracking properly, that’s not going to happen. Ever. Actually, time-tracking apps prevent such a thing. An employee time tracking system is not responsible for setting up KPIs. If someone at your company decided that only obvious ROI tasks are more important than talking to the customers… it’s the fault of bad management. Not time tracking software.

2. Time tracking is a distraction

Apparently, many people spend far too much time tracking their work. They claim that it isn’t because they’re bad at it or anything; it’s just that there are so many other things to do! And trying to keep track of everything can be an enormous burden on your time and mental energy.

Time tracking can also be a distraction from the tasks at hand, as some say.

TimeCamp answers: time tracking idea isn’t to distract anyone from their work. If you track time properly, it won’t happen. Really. The reason you feel distracted may be that you simply use the wrong software.

All time tracking efforts can be ruined if your company’s time tracking system is not right. Writing down all work hours manually on a paper timesheet or into the system is simply annoying. And yes, it can be a giant distraction.

But. Oh yeah, we have a solid but.

If you use automatic time-tracking software, the problem is solved. Time management gets easier, employees just spend their time on their tasks, and the software tracks their time automatically.

Simple as that.

Do we have an automatic tracker? Sure we do.

Get to know where your time goes with TimeCamp!

Track time in projects and tasks, create reports, and bill your clients in just one tool.

3. Time tracking is a bad motivator

Pushing people to track their working hours is a bad motivator. People need freedom in their tasks and projects in order to feel motivated. They don’t like to be watched and controlled; they want to be trusted. When they are forced to track work hours, they feel like children or worse.
TimeCamp answers: Taking freedom kills employee morale. No one will doubt it. But do we really understand freedom well? If most of the companies working hours start at 9 am and finish at 5 pm, employees spend this time in offices or in front of their computers at home, right?

Where is freedom here?

Thanks to the time tracking system, you can go for flexible working hours and allow your employees to work whenever they want. As long as they don’t need to be at the meetings or talk to customers, of course.

Automated time tracking will also let managers stop asking all the time about projects’ statuses. They will be able to check it in the program, so they save their own time and the time of the whole team. No employee feels questioned as well.

4. Time tracking is bad in providing value to customers

Time tracking is bad because it doesn’t provide value to customers. Your customers do not care how much time you worked on a project, what your hourly rate is and how many hours you put in. They’re interested in the final result—and if they are not getting the desired outcome from working with you, then your time tracking system is of no interest to them either.

TimeCamps answers: this one is simply not wise to say. Of course, customers care about the time spent on their projects. There are many companies, starting from software houses, that charge their customers per hour often.
Thanks to time-tracking data, you have solid proof for your clients. Showing them the billable hours of your employees is enough.


So, why time tracking is bad? Wrong question! The right one is: when time tracking is bad? And the answer is simple. When employees track their time manually with Excel spreadsheets, using the wrong systems or KPIs set up by project managers is not sensible.

If you go with a good time tracking system like TimeCamp (obviously ;)), you won’t meet any problems. Only solutions.

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