How to Know If You’re Tracking Time Properly?
Time tracking software is currently one of the most popular tools in many workplaces and is applied in various industries. It is used to record work hours of employees but even individuals decide to implement the software in their work. In many organizations, time tracking is mandatory.
And while employees often tend to think that monitoring their work means spying on them, the objective of companies developing time tracking software is simply to help people become more efficient at work. Not only does it increase productivity but also helps to understand the way things work in an organization and appropriately plan the budget.
While time tracking brings many benefits, for some it is problematic and eventually leads to a failure in time tracking implementation. Most managers and employees blame the software for arising issues but in most cases, it’s how they understand the concept of time tracking.
How to know if you’re tracking time properly? It’s not only about the software the organization is using but also about all employees’ approach to time tracking. You can’t manage your time if you don’t know how to do it. After all, it takes two to tango.
Time Tracking Problems
There are many mistakes people do when it comes to time tracking. And when things don’t work as planned, the software is to blame, which indeed may be in some cases. But preventing these mistakes from happening is the first step to eliminating time tracking problems. Even if they seem small at the beginning, they can have negative consequences.
1. Improper implementation
If your employees haven’t been introduced to the concept of time tracking but threw into deep water, your business will certainly meet time tracking problems. Employees will get confused and people will start applying their own practices which in turn will lead to chaos.
To avoid that, your organization should establish clear procedures and practices:
- Make one person responsible for time tracking implementation
- Only let managers create projects and tasks
- Inform that time tracking is obligatory
- Create clear rules on how to track time
- Timesheets approval should be consistent
You can read more in our guide on how to successfully implement time tracking at your company
Even if you work solo, for example as a freelancer, you also should set clear objectives when it comes to implementing time tracking software. Do you need to use it to bill your clients accurately, increase your productivity, monitor your work hours or maybe all? It will help you adjust the software to your needs and better learn how to use it.
When it comes to working hours, filling timesheets is always a problem. And in time tracking it’s the problem, that one problem that keeps everybody up at night.
Filling timesheet is one big guesswork. People usually enter estimates not the exact hours spent at work. They allocate different hours to tasks and projects than were actually worked. Instead of working, people think how long they have been working for. That’s due to the fact that most of the tools available don’t allow users to focus on their work by asking them to fill when and how they worked.
But some do, for example, TimeCamp. The tool automatically tracks time and all activities so your team can focus on their work, not on the “guess” work.
3. Misleading reports
A survey conducted in 2013 by Replicon on 432 professionals showed that “96% reported that their employees make mistakes when reporting their working time.”
The guesswork is one problem of filling timesheets. The second one is misleading reports. Managers should be able to check how their employees spent their working hours. (Don’t confuse it with spying!) And not all tools offer the feature of detailed reports.
If employees cannot provide accurate reports of their activities, managers are not able to appropriately allocate resources. Wrong data in timesheets means wrong decisions for management. Wrong decisions, in turn, may cause losses in the budget. That’s why your organization should use the software which enables creating accurate reports.
4. Real-time tracking
It may happen that employees will work on two activities simultaneously. They will switch apps, use different tools, and visit several websites. And that information should also be included in timesheets and reports.
Note that this problem is closely related with points 2 and 3. Using time tracking software which tracks work in the real-time is the only way to make sure all the data is reliable. Otherwise, your organization will operate in imprecise estimates and forecasts.
5. Not tracking everything
Breaks, overwork, time after finishing tasks. It all should be included in reports. Some hours may be billable, some non-billable, and it’s also important as it affects the budget and all project. Additionally, not tracking all activities can lead to guesswork and misleading reports. And so, points 2-5 fully integrate.
Watch the video to see how TimeCamp works ⇓
Understand the System
Of course, there are more time tracking problems but these are the most common that contribute to the failure in the implementation of tools and apps. And if not taken care of, one problem may cause another. So it’s best to avoid them all by understanding that time tracking is more than just mere numbers.
Whether you work solo or with a team, you should think about time tracking as a feedback. With the use of the right tools, it can be a source of information about the state of your workforce and resources. Collect and interpret the data. You can use it to enhance efficiency, predict risks, and thoroughly address issues.
It’s also a good idea to use smart resource management and not to overwhelm your employees with too much work. It will make your time tracking system a means to get a clear overview of all work and processes.
To avoid time tracking problems find out what works best for your company, be consistent, and talk with your team about concerns. Because time tracking is more than just numbers. But don’t forget to fill your timesheet! Or invest in a timesheet filling time tracking software!