- 9–5 what a way to track your time!
- Big brother is watching
- It’s too much effort!
- Lacking motivation
- Your software hasn’t kept up with the times
Introducing new software to your team can be tricky, and many companies fall victim to a number of easily-avoided pitfalls, here we’ll help you uncover what they are, and most importantly how you can avoid them.
Top 5 reasons why companies fail at time tracking
9–5–what a way to track your time!
Picture the situation; it’s 5.30 pm on a Friday, you’ve just grabbed a cup of coffee from the office kitchen and had a nice chat with Janet from Tech Support. You’ve got 30 minutes before you clock out, what’s the last thing you’re thinking about? That’s right! It is fill in a timesheet.
Here’s the thing, many companies ask employees to time track at the end of the working week, supposedly to give a fuller picture of that week’s productivity. However, it does have one huge downfall – reports are based on self-reporting and memory.
Unfortunately, human memories aren’t like those of computers, so this type of data is by-and-large inaccurate, meaning all that planning you were thinking of doing based on the results won’t exactly be correct.
The solution: Don’t rely on memory alone.
Integrate time tracking into your working processes from the very beginning and ensure accurate results by tracking as you work.
Not only will this provide you with better data, time tracking software, also allows you to monitor the overall workloads of your employees, so you can better distribute tasks and projects; making your company more efficient.
Big brother is watching
No one likes to feel monitored in their work; we enjoy feeling the trust that an employer places in us when they let us look after their ‘baby’ (aka project).
Like a nanny-cam, the issue of time tracking can feel intrusive, especially if an employer doesn’t make the goals and process clear from the get-go.
Besides, many tools offer, or even make by default, screenshots; some also monitor the entirety of activity on the computer–which sites or apps were accessed.
So, should company’s really be focusing on what an employee was looking at during their tea break? Is it relevant? Or even worse. The data from this time tracking is stored on someone else’s server. And what if that data contains screenshots of confidential information, software, etc.? This is the type of information that could put your company at risk.
Companies may state the argument that they need to know that an employee is working, but if that’s the case why not simply ask for a report? Or, perhaps even consider why you’re working with a person you have so little trust in at all.
Trust and responsibility are key areas are business and will factor heavily in how successful your time tracking efforts are.
The solution: Be honest and prepare your team.
For each company the approach to introducing new software will be different. But what you should never forget is that your team needs to know why their time is being tracked; otherwise, they will come to their own conclusions, which won’t necessarily be correct.
Aside from explaining the enormous benefits of time tracking – less work stress, better time management, transparency – you’ll also need to provide training on how to use the new software.
Gather your team together and give a tutorial, or if you’re feeling extra techy, you might even make a video showing them how you do it. Then after you’ve explained, give people time to ask questions, and make mistakes.
It’s too much effort!
Asana, Trello, Basecamp; chances are your company is probably employing one of these (or a similar analog) to manage your working processes.
Adding an entirely separate tool for time tracking may seem a little cumbersome, necessitating employees to copy and paste tasks and times from one place to another.
This takes time and effort, two valuable commodities in business.
Another issue is that many time trackers using a ‘start timer and go’ methodology. Not only does this not give you a very accurate view of exactly how time was spent per employee and per task. It can leave duplicates in your time tracking, wherein one or multiple people track for the same task, but you have no way to analyze who exactly did what.
Essentially, what you’ll have at the end of the day is a pile of data that has very little meaning to your time tracking strategy.
The solution: Chose time tracking software wisely.
Adding additional measures that employees themselves will have to incorporate into their working processes will not only mean time lost, it means they’ll be less likely to engage.
Go automated. Chose software that integrates with the current project management tools you use. Employees won’t have to switch back and forth between tabs to track time, saving you time and money.
What’s more, integrated software allows you to seamlessly work with your current systems, tracking the time of all employees on all tasks, without unnecessary duplicates. This gives you a more balanced, correct evaluation of what time was spent.
However, the main takeaway here is your employees are more likely to adapt software that requires minimal additional effort or training, and that’s what makes integrated solutions useful.
Should we time track just because the boss says so? Perhaps his or her ego necessitates that they know every little detail of their employees’ work each day?
But, this isn’t the case, is it? Micromanaging your team to the point of no return isn’t a great plan, but that’s not what time tracking is about.
Tracking time for bosses and employees has tons of positive effects that contribute to personal productivity and the financial results of the company.
The thing is, for time tracking to stick, employees need to feel it’s a valuable activity – vital to their success. And this is where many companies falter.
The solution: Take a top-down approach.
As a boss, you’re supposed to be a leader, not a micromanager. One of the best ways to convince your employees that time tracking works and has genuine benefits is to actually use it yourself and show your employees that you do.
Perhaps you might even go so far as revealing your own time tracking results – this is a great way to build trust and transparency. Plus, when your staff needs advice on troubleshooting, you’ll be well-equipped to field any questions.
Besides that, be prepared (going back to point 1) to deliver training and explain why the software is needed. Showing why it works, is the secret to implanting it and vital to the success of your employees.
Your software hasn’t kept up with the times
How many times have you updated your phone or computer this year? Our guess is it’s been a lot. These software improvements help make our lives easier – new functions, services, etc. – or protect us from bugs and other issues.
So, why wouldn’t you expect the same from your time tracking software? Nowadays, there is such a variety of SaaS products and applications that your employees are using in the free time and as work aids, that if your chosen software seems remotely outdated or difficult to use, they will be less likely to use it.
The solution: Don’t get stuck in the past.
Upgrading software isn’t cheap; we get it! So, it’s essential to make your investment worthwhile. Old software will look and feel dated, custom-built solutions may not match your budget.
But none of that means you can’t afford high-quality time tracking software. Integrated solutions like the one provided by Everhour allow you the flexibility of custom software while providing the reliability of a service provider.
Help ensure your success by discovering a solution that seamlessly works with the tools you already use, lessening the effort your employees need to put in to adapt it.
How to make time tracking a success
Now, that you know what challenges to look out for and their solutions, it’s time to boost your chances of success with some additional extras–and sometimes that means tough love.
Be transparent and help your team grow
Don’t keep the results of time tracking to yourself. Once you’ve tracked the time, make sure you report back to your employees with analysis – how effectively their time was used, financial results, and the project’s successes and failures. This type of feedback helps your team to grow and better understand the time-money relationship.
You have managers for a reason, make use of them. Once you’ve followed all the steps in the first section, and especially if your company is quite large, you’re not going to be able to manage all the time tracking processes by yourself.
Enlist the help of your managers and team leads and prepare an action list of onboarding employees to the time tracking process. This list may include team training sessions, Q&As, demos, etc., but having a manager at hand, can mean staff may feel more comfortable about asking questions and are likelier to get the answers they need.
The classic stick and carrot approach. Especially if time tracking is something new to your company, you may consider introducing incentives for successful usage of new time tracking software.
Consider best results bonuses, pizza parties for consistent use, something simple that won’t break the bank, and brings a little joy to your employees. Occasionally incorporeal benefits or those that take a long time to achieve just aren't enough. Giving your team a visual, timed reward, could be just the trick they need.
Go on “lock” down
Time to get out that stick and play the bad parent. To implement consistent use of time tracking software, you might consider a stricter approach. Help foster good time tracking habits in your company by locking-down time tracking and limiting the reporting period to 1-2 days.
Success steps–a quick summary
- Step 1. Choose your solution wisely.
- Step 2. Integrate with your current management tools.
- Step 3. Take a top-down approach.
- Step 4. Train, explain, and troubleshoot.
- Step 5. Keep your staff motivated and don’t give up.
We hope we’ve provided the answers to some of the most common time tracking pitfalls, but if you think there’s something we’ve missed reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help.