28 Surprising Time-Tracking Statistics

By Stephani Fitzsimmons
Director of Content and Communications
Feb 13 2023 read

Time tracking has become a hot topic with the increase in WFH. Pre-pandemic, remote employees were foreign to some companies and industries, and now many have remote workers across the country or even the globe. It’s predicted that by 2025, 36.2 million American workers will be remote — that’s a 417% increase from before the pandemic. 

With more employees offsite, concerns about time theft and employee productivity have fueled an uptick in businesses using time-tracking systems, forcing some to replace outdated paper timesheets with time-tracking software.

If you work in professional services, you’ve most likely already had to track time, bill by the hour or pay hourly contractors. Time tracking is essential for proper quoting and billing. Whether you have an effective time-tracking solution in place or you’re exploring options, it’s good to know some time management statistics. 

We’ve compiled a list of the most useful and eye-opening stats that we came across. Some might have you questioning your team’s productivity rates or your current time-tracking methods. 

How Employee Time Is Spent

The US economy loses 50 million hours in productivity per day because of unrecorded work activities. 

Market Research Future, 2020

Unrecorded emailing activities alone can leak $50,000 per professional annually. 

WorkPuls, 2020

18% of knowledge workers perform their core job functions for less than an hour a day. 
81% of employees do creative work for less than three hours a day. 
76% spend less than 3 hours a week on strategic work.

Zapier, 2021

Only about 20% of working hours are spent on high-priority critical tasks. 

Workpuls, 2020

More than 75% of employees spend three hours a day just manually entering data.
76% of employees spend 1–3 hours a day simply moving data from one place to another. 
73% of employees spend 1–3 hours just trying to find information or a particular document.

Zapier, 2021

Senior managers report wasting 16 days a year searching for printed documents.

TechJury, 2020

45% of workers spend an hour a day in meetings.

Zapier, 2021

Employees spend 2 hours a day refocusing on their tasks.

Clockify, 2021

83% of workers said they spend 1–3 hours a day covering for or making up work for a colleague.

Zapier, 2021

Distractions and Disengagement 

Only 21% of global workers surveyed identified as being actively engaged at work, and the employees who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged cost the world $7.8 trillion in lost productivity. That's equal to 11% of global GDP.

Gallup's State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report

A report shared in Inc Magazine showed the average full-time worker is productive for only 2 hours and 53 minutes a day. How is the rest of their work day spent?
Here are ten common daily activities done on the clock and what it’s costing in employees’ time:
  1. Reading news websites – 1 hour, 5 minutes
  2. Checking social media – 44 minutes
  3. Discussing non-work-related things with co-workers – 40 minutes
  4. Searching for new jobs – 26 minutes
  5. Taking smoke breaks – 23 minutes
  6. Making calls to partners or friends – 18 minutes
  7. Making hot drinks – 17 minutes
  8. Texting or instant messaging – 14 minutes
  9. Eating snacks – 8 minutes
  10. Making food in office – 7 minutes

Realities of Time Theft

69% of employees admit that they don’t track their time accurately.


43% of hourly workers have embellished their work hours. 

Workforce.com, 2021

Time theft affects 75% of businesses. 

Connecteam, 2020

Time theft can cost businesses up to 20% for every dollar they make. 

Altametrics, 2020

Time theft can take as much as 7% of your gross annual payroll. 

WorkPuls, 2020

Freelancers’ activity rates go down to 43% between 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM. 

Hubstaff, 2020

Value of Automated Time Tracking

Employers overpay an average of 200 billable hours a year because they do not have a time-tracking solution. 

WorkPuls, 2020

Automated time tracking can reduce the time spent calculating timesheets from seven minutes/sheet/pay period to one minute/sheet/pay period. 

Acumen Data Systems, 2020

50% of professionals who do not have automated systems say manual data input and data adjustments are the most time-consuming parts of the process. 


80% of companies using paper systems reported that they needed to correct 80% of the timesheets that they receive. 

WorkPuls, 2019

Companies can eliminate daily lost productivity and recapture a total of $666,400.00 in yearly wages by automating time tracking. 

Acumen Data Systems, 2020 

73% of organizations are very satisfied with the returns from automating their business tools and processes. 

The Economist

READ NEXT: Agency Timesheet Software: What To Look For

Best Time-Tracking Solutions

We couldn’t share all this information about the impact of inefficient time tracking without providing a solution. The easiest and most cost-effective way to accurately track time is to implement automated time-tracking software that works with your unique business model. This is important because not all time-tracking solutions are compatible with client work.

Track More Than Time — Track Tasks

Accelo is built for professional services businesses, so its built-in time tracking is designed for your unique business model. It goes beyond just tracking each employee’s time and tracks how much time they spend on each task and with each client. This helps you see what less critical or administrative tasks use up valuable time (especially of higher-paid employees) or what clients are less profitable but are costing your team hours of work (and most likely headaches).

Because Accelo is a complete client work management platform, everything regarding your client work and employees is connected. This means you can automatically apply billable hours to a client, set different hourly rates by employee and generate client invoices. There is even a portal for clients to view bills and manage payments themselves, creating more autonomy, less administrative work and greater efficiency.

Cut Hours Spent on Administrative Work

The stats around time tracking show that a good amount of your employees’ time might be wasted just entering data, moving data or finding data and files. Accelo helps by having everything housed in one place, all systems together, for everyone to access. With Sales (CRM), Projects, Retainers, Billing, Tickets and Reports all in one, your team has a single data source, eliminating the need to share across systems, spreadsheets and teams. Having information stored on the client level provides managers and employees easy access to communications or files, making it quicker to check status and get up to speed on accounts. 

Even if you have a current time-tracking system, it’s worth taking a look at Accelo to see what the platform offers when it comes to client work. Get a free trial or schedule a demo if you have questions or a unique use case. 

Resources for statistics:


About the Author


Stephani is Director of Content and Communications at Accelo where she oversees content ideation and development. She has worked in and around B2B technology for most of her career and loves helping businesses be more productive, connected and efficient through new technologies. A veteran writer and content creator, Stephani's work has appeared in InformationWeek, Security Magazine, TechRadar and The Fast Mode.

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