In order to make smart, informed business decisions, you have to be acutely aware of how you are spending your time.
Freelancers tend to have a more innate realization of this, since the impact of time spent versus value received is more obvious. After all, it’s imperative to a freelancer’s direct income that he or she properly bill clients for hours spent working or projects delivered.
However, this concept also applies to larger businesses—actually even more so. If being conscious of time is important for a single worker, think of that significance as you multiply the amount of people working.
Productivity and awareness are critical to a lean team, and the impacts can seem more apparent on a smaller scale. But with a bigger team, the seemingly minor effects of wasted hours can add up—creating a big hole in productivity and earning potential for a business.
That’s why being cognizant of how your employees are spending their time each day can have such a colossal impact on your bottom line.
This issue can definitely feel complicated. It can be overwhelming and unrealistic—not to mention unpleasant—to micromanage an entire staff. On top of that, depending on your industry, it’s likely that each person is responsible for accomplishing specific tasks within different departments. That can be hard to oversee.
The good news is that the solution is relatively simple: time tracking.
According to a study conducted by the Aberdeen Group, over 85% of “best in class” companies integrate their time and attendance system with their payroll system.
With time tracking, employees are responsible for logging their own hours and tasks, without the nagging sensation of a manager standing over their shoulder.
And time tracking doesn’t just have an impact on the business as a whole, but can create a trickle-down effect to the individual employee. By seeing the full scope of where their time is being spent each and every day, employees are able to identify the clients or tasks that may be more challenging or time-consuming.
They can also begin to develop or hone habits and skills to help increase productivity. And we all know that there is no better feeling than having a productive, efficient day!
The trick is to implement a time tracking system that is relatively simple, but still offers the level of intricacy you need for time tracking to be accurate (and detailed, when needed).
That’s why there are some important steps to take to help get your employees tracking their time.
If time tracking isn’t something your staff already participates in, then don’t expect them to accept the new practice with smiling faces and open arms. After all, if you employ salaried workers, as opposed to hourly, the concept may seem a bit foreign.
Some may complain (either outwardly or among themselves) that time tracking is tedious, takes too much time in and of itself, and feels a little “Big Brother” to them.
And, before this apprehension frustrates you and turns the whole situation into a point of contention, you should take the time to acknowledge and address all of your employees’ concerns when it comes to time tracking.
That brings us to one of the most important steps to integrating time tracking into your workplace…
In order to make time tracking an element of your employees’ productive routines (and not a dreaded additional task), it’s imperative that you thoroughly educate your staff on the importance of time tracking.In order to make time tracking an element of your employees’ productive routines (and not a dreaded additional task), it’s imperative that you thoroughly educate your staff on the importance of time tracking. Click To Tweet
After all, you can’t blame them for not being psyched about adding another responsibility to their plates unless you fully inform them of the benefits (both for them and for the company!) of regular time tracking.
Thoroughly explain the pros of time tracking to your employees:
– Increased productivity: Not only does being productive and efficient make you feel good, but it also actually makes you better at your job! This promotes engagement, pride, and the potential for advancement.
– Financial implications: When the business is doing well financially, it can (and should!) have a positive impact on all members of the team. Many companies are structured so that group or individual bonuses are contingent on quarterly or annual profits, so by being as productive as possible you are able to boost earning potential for everyone.
– Individual roles and responsibilities: By enforcing time tracking, you are actually empowering your employees to take control over their unique role in the business. By having a clear understanding of time, they are able to better determine when they are working past their capacity (plus they have the data to share with managers). On the flipside, they may recognize when it’s time to take on additional clients or projects, which again will help them as they continue to work their way up the company ladder.
In addition to sharing this with your employees, it’s on you (or the person tasked with spearheading the time tracking initiative) to make the process of applying time tracking as easy as possible.
And, in order to do this, the proper software must be identified.
Time Tracking Programs
Are you expecting your employees to fill out paper timesheets each day or week? Of course not! That kind of archaic system would greatly hinder your ability to access and assess the data, which is the whole point of the practice. Plus, we can bet you’d waste a lot of time trying to track down these sheets from employees.
Instead, enlist the proper technology for your team to make the process simple and accurate.
There are many programs that allow your team to track time. Some can be integrated into your existing intranet, but still require manual input. Others may track your employees’ time automatically on work-owned devices.
Though it’s not for us to say which software works best for your company’s needs, we encourage you to research available programs and possibly do a few trials to determine what might work best for your team.
Keep in mind that you only want to train employees on a program once, so be sure you feel confident before introducing new software to the greater team.
Here are the factors to consider when comparing time tracking technology:
A great way to get your employees to detest time tracking right off the bat is to make the process difficult. Introducing a program that is hard to learn or offers a poor user experience will most certainly make time tracking a dreaded chore. It’s important to prioritize ease-of-use when looking into time tracking.
A report by Replicon found that 96 percent make mistakes when it comes to time tracking, plus they face these additional challenges:
It’s critical to identify a program that offers features to make time tracking as accurate as possible. These could include the ability for automation, easy client/project/task organization, and foolproof editing.
It’s not enough to enter the data, but you have to also evaluate the data, right? This makes reporting a big factor to consider when assessing time tracking programs. You want to quickly and easily see where time is being spent—by individuals, but also by multiple people assigned to a particular client or project.
Timing offers all of this and more, which makes it the preferred method of time tracking for Mac users around the globe.
Granted, your employees may not all use Macs, and we have not yet released time tracking for groups (but we’re working on it!). However, we applaud anyone who appreciates the value of time tracking and recommend it across the board.
Once you realize its benefits in the workplace, we can bet that you’ll start integrating time tracking into your daily personal life as well.
Time tracking rocks, and soon your entire team will realize it!