Employees on a 9-to-5 work schedule dedicate approximately 480 minutes in the workplace. But according to a recent annual study on email usage by Adobe, the average worker spends 143 minutes or about 30% of his work time going through personal email. That’s a lot of minutes wasted on non-productive tasks.
A separate research on work-life balance revealed that the workers average two hours and 48 minutes productive work while 26% of actual work is done outside normal working hours. On top of that, time theft by employees is costing enterprises a whopping $11 billion annually.
Time is gold, or so the old saying goes. Based on the lost revenues due to unproductive employee time, that saying is proving to be quite true. To address these issues, companies are expected to increase spending on employee time tracking software.
A 2019 study conducted by Apps Run The World reported that the attendance and time tracking software industry, a subset of the Workforce Management Application market, is set to grow from $1.4 billion in 2017 to $1.7 billion by 2022, a compound annual growth rate of 3.2%.
Investing in a time tracking solution is only the start. The following strategies will help you fully maximize your time tracking tools and get the most out of your investment.
1. Pick the Right Time Tracking Software
The best time tracking software is one that perfectly matches your basic business needs and other specific requirements. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to time management as every enterprise has its own set of time tracking rules and policies that are aligned with its goals.
When choosing a time tracking solution, it is imperative that you assess first your business needs, existing workflows, and priorities. Keep in mind what features you know your business will be needing from the get-go.
Do you need a simple time tracker or one that comes with task management capabilities and integrates with your current HR software? Will the software integrate with your existing biometric time and attendance systems? There are some of the questions you need to answer in selecting the right choice.
Ease of use and scalability are equally important. You want a time tracking solution that your employees can easily get their heads around and actually use. Understand that business requirements change as your enterprise grows. A time management software that can scale up or down depending on your needs will come in very handy.
An attendance time tracking software for small business will not always work for a corporate-level organization. A time tracking solution designed for the retail industry might not carry features a law office needs. Thus, it is important that you consult time tracking solutions vendors like TimeTrack to find the perfect fit.
To complement your search for a time tracking system, you can also take a look at the ranking of the best productivity tools to boost employee efficiency and productivity as well.
2. Track Non-Billable Work
One of the most effective time management techniques workforce and productivity management professionals advise business organizations to do is to track non-billable work. Tracking billable time using the best employee time tracking app is an extremely reliable way of determining the amount of time spent on work down to the last second, which is essential in processing payments, specifically for client work.
But why should you track non-billable hours? That’s because there are activities that are not reimbursed by the clients but are necessary for the completion of a project. Non-billable activities may include business meetings, boardroom pitches, product research, proposal writing, and employee development or training. Every organization must know and understand where non-billable hours are spent and how.
Tracking non-billable work enables companies to discover costly inefficiencies and minimize the time workers spend on non-essential tasks. It also helps businesses allot more time on high-value activities such as employee training or interacting with potential clients. Also, it helps your management team to create efficient workflows and processes that are faster and more efficient.
By determining how your non-billable time is spent on each project, your organization’s management can quickly recognize projects that are generating more income and spot clients who are adversely impacting profitability.
3. Gamify Your Priorities
One of the reasons why employees procrastinate and, therefore, waste time is that either their tasks are so simple they can afford to spend time on something else or their priorities are not communicated to them well enough. When there is a lack of urgency, people tend to take things slow. This is bad as it leads to significant time wastage, which is costing your business money.
The good news is that most time tracking solutions are part of project management or task management suites. That means you have access to a number of task management features such as to-do lists, kanban boards, and internal and communication tools. These functionalities will help you and your workers identify and target pressing priorities and list urgent tasks that require their attention.
To really stress the importance of having these priorities accomplished, you can tell your managers to list and assign critical tasks to their most qualified employees and set a timeframe for each task. For instance, you can give an employee two hours to complete one particular task. One week if it’s extensive and complicated.
To make things more interesting and engaging, you can integrate gamification elements to further empower employees to focus on their assignments and accomplish them within the given timeframe. These include recognizing or rewarding workers for finishing their tasks on time or earlier. Incentives can include cash prizes, extra leave credits, or a new coffee machine.
Gamification has proven to increase employee engagement. Engaged employees are more productive and motivated.
According to 2017 research on employee engagement by Gallup, engaged employees are 44% more productive than those who are less satisfied with work. They tend to work faster too. And when they work at a highly impressive pace, your company reduces time wastage.
Standardize Your Time Tracking Policies
If you want your employees to utilize their time well, it is best that you create and implement a definite set of company-wide standards on time tracking. Bear in mind that rules are everything. Thus, it is essential that your organization has its official rules and policies on time tracking that will serve as a guide for employees.
Time tracking policies can include simple things like logging in and logging out of the time tracking application at specific times of the day to complicated stuff such as categorizing time spent on particular projects. You can also set time-based KPIs (key performance indicators) so your workers will know how you track and evaluate their performance. Special projects are rated differently. It is important that projects are categorized based on rules to determine if they are to be priced on an hourly or daily basis.
Once every stakeholder has agreed on the rules, it is important that these are placed on an official document. Access should not be restricted so employees can review them from time to time. Also, this will make the onboarding process smooth and easy for the new hires.