It is well-known that time tracking is directly related to employee productivity. According to a Harvard Business Review, untracked work hours are costing the U.S. economy $7.4 billion per day.  

However, an employee’s productivity does not automatically increase merely because he clocked in properly for his workday. Research from the UK determined that out of a typical eight-hour workday, each employee is productive not even three hours during that time. How is that other time spent? The top three reasons are: browsing social media, reading the news, and conversing with fellow employees regarding non-work-related topics. While tracking the workers’ typical 40-hour work week is important, it does not guarantee that their quality of work is up to par.

What Makes Tracking Time So Difficult?

  • It Is Viewed As Micromanaging

Many employees view time tracking merely as a way for management to micromanage their work even more than they already are. It is often taken as a sign that they are not trusted to complete their assigned tasks independently.

  • It Can Be Tedious

At the end of a busy workday, many employees find trying to remember what task they worked on and for how long to be challenging and draining. It requires extra time to record everything accurately.

  • It Increases Pressure

Depending on the employees’ position or tasks, time tracking can put undue pressure on them and make them feel like every tiny action is being scrutinized by management or the rest of his team. The constant stress to keep on schedule and record everything can sometimes cause workers to feel rushed, lowering their quality of work.

How to Implement Time Tracking

With these thoughts being considered, time tracking may seem a little flawed because it does not reflect what is truly accomplished. However, this is not necessarily true.

Time tracking tools give management a broader view of productivity. What if an employee takes more time on a task than expected? Is it automatically considered an error on the part of the employee? No. There are several other reasons beyond employee error that could have caused this problem. Perhaps this task was not appropriately planned to begin with, maybe the employee did not have the resources needed to complete it, or perhaps the employee was stalled because they were waiting on approval from a supervisor.  

1) Explain how it affects them

Employees do not always understand why a new method of time tracking is being implemented in the workplace. Uninformed workers will only resist changes and become hesitant to follow them.

Be frank and transparent with your employees. Explain how time tracking benefits them individually as employees, not just the business as a whole. Make it personal based on their specific job position.

2) Make it easy and flexible

Because time tracking is difficult in general, be sure to choose a simple, yet intuitive project management software or system that allows employees to quickly and easily fill in their time sheets or create customizable reports. Make it as convenient as possible with some type of mobile app that enables employees to fill out time sheets in the field instead of having to wait until they are back at the office at the end of the day. Simplicity is key.

3) Automate the process

Sometimes clocking in and out constantly will only take away from the worker’s concentration and time available for the job at hand. There are many automatic tracking systems available that run in the background and automatically track and record an employee’s tasks throughout the day (e.g., time spent browsing social media, working on a document, or using certain desktop apps).  

4) Set clear guidelines

Tracking time is not successful unless it is done accurately. Set clear, written instructions and procedures for entering information. It is useful to get your employees’ input regarding issues or problems that arise during specific tasks or jobs to build the proper amount of time into each process.  

5) Do it yourself

It is always best if a leader leads by example. Be sure to track your own time during the workday. Transparency goes a long way with your employees. This will show that you truly value the time tracking process and that even business management can take the time to track their day.

6) Ask for feedback

Proactively ask your employees and management teams for feedback on your time tracking system. Business processes can change over time, and your time tracking software must be able to keep up with them. No one knows your business better than your employees. Prevention is always the best cure.

Finding the right time tracking solution to meet the needs of your business can be challenging. Each solution has different features and has a different pricing plan. Take the time to sit down with your team to determine which features or functionalities are absolutely necessary. Determine how much money your business has available to spare on a time tracking solution. Once you’ve figured out that information, start reaching out to different time tracking companies and find that one best fits your business.