Time Tracking: Why Your Staff Should Do it Too
September 21, 2018
If you think getting your salaried staff to adopt time tracking is pointless, think again…
Time tracking of salaried staff offers many benefits for you and your business – think improved productivity and an improved bottom line.
But the successful implementation of a time-tracking policy depends on the buy-in from your salaried staff, who may view time tracking in a negative light.
They may see it as an unnecessary hassle that only adds to their workload and even begin to see you as a micro-manager. Micro-managing, of course, can cause a breakdown of trust between you and your staff, only contributing toward an uncomfortable work environment.
The good news is that time tracking also offers ample benefits for your employees. The key is to make sure that you communicate and sell your employees on these benefits so that they realize that tracking their time is in their best interests and not some scheme you’ve concocted to keep tabs on them.
In this post, we share the benefits of time tracking for your staff and you – just in case you still aren’t convinced.
Benefits of Time Tracking for Salaried Staff
1. Your Staff Can Justify Flexible Work Hours
It’s not uncommon to hear about employees who feel overworked and undervalued – we’re not saying this is the case with your business, but it’s something to be aware of.
These are staff who put in extra hours of work but are still held accountable for coming in late to the office or not putting in the required 8 hours of work each day.
They may feel like you don’t notice all the extra work and that you only nitpick on the small things. They likely yearn for more flexible work hours and recognition for the extra hours worked.
By tracking their time, staff can hold their you and management accountable by providing evidence in the form of time sheets showing how much time they’re putting in and exactly where all that time is going – this includes both regular and after hours work.
Having this on hand helps them justify flexible work hours and helps you make an informed decision about adopting a more lenient policy when it comes to how much time they should spend at work.
If you’re on the fence about flexible work hours, consider these statistics:
- 67% of employees wish they had more flexible working hours
- 58% believe they would be more motivated to work if they could work away from the office
- 53% also think that they would be more productive if they worked away from the office
The verdict is out: People want flexibility. And, as this article by Inc highlights, flexible work hours offers many benefits for your business.
2. Time Tracking Informs Performance Reviews
It’s not uncommon for staff to ask for an increase, especially when they feel that they’ve performed well. But without hard data, it can be difficult for them to justify such a raise.
Besides meeting KPIs and certain targets, detailed time logs of time spent on projects and client work will provide such data, and put staff in a better position to get better reviews and even a raise. Of course, it will also help you make informed decisions during performance reviews.
3. It Empowers Employees to Become Advocates of Efficiency
Once an employee sees how much time they spend on different tasks, clients, and projects, they’re better equipped to identify time wasters and efficiencies to make better use of their time.
For example, they may find that certain tedious tasks can be delegated to a junior or even automated. They may also discover that they can eliminate specific tasks altogether.
4. It Protects Employees
Finally, in the worse case scenario and unlikely event that there’s a dispute between you and your employees, time tracking offers protection:
- Time tracking provides evidence of how much time staff spend on different projects, so there are no arguments
- It protects employees when clients dispute billable hours on an invoice
- There’s no arguing about who did what and when
- For non-exempts employees who are entitled to overtime pay, time tracking ensures they have a detailed record of how much overtime pay is due
Benefits of Time Tracking for You
1. Time Tracking Helps Identify Inefficiencies (When Staff Can’t)
While time tracking helps staff become more efficient, it also gives you data that you can analyze for efficiencies and time wasters when your team can’t or don’t want to.
For example, staff may decide to continue spending an unnecessary amount of time on a task because they think it’s important, when, in actual fact, it isn’t as it runs contrary to your business goals.
2. It Informs High-Level Decisions
By analyzing time sheets of all staff across all projects and clients and comparing this against revenue, you’ll quickly identify:
- The projects that are a waste of time from a business perspective and those you should continue to pursue. For example, you may want to “can” projects that generate the least revenue but require the most effort and time, and focus on projects that require less energy but put more money into your pocket
- Who your best clients are. Certain clients may place larger demands on your time for the same money you would earn with less demanding clients. Again, you’ll want to focus on the better clients and slowly weed out those who are a time-suck. It may even be wise to analyze how you’re getting and onboarding these clients in the first place
3. Time Tracking Improves Productivity
There is a lot of evidence, stories, and experiments online that point to how time tracking improves focus and productivity. For example, the software development firm, Atomic Object, details how they use time tracking to improve focus and better manager priorities.
And, in a recent time tracking experiment where I tracked every minute of my working days for a week, I improved planning, focus, and productivity.
Being more productive means that your employees will be getting more work done in less time which will help you grow your revenue faster than you normally would.
Admittedly, employees may at first feel uncomfortable tracking their time, but as I showed in my time tracking experiment, this discomfort soon disappears.
4. It Helps Determines If You Can Take on More Work
If you know how much time – on average – a specific project takes your staff to complete you can quickly determine if you have the resources and time to take on more work, given your current workload.
5. It Helps You Price Projects Accurately
As you collect time tracking data, you’ll see how long projects take. This data will help you strategically price similar future projects and ensure you’re not undercharging.
Of course, we do recommend taking a value-based pricing approach but getting this time data will help you make an informed decision about the level of effort involved.
6. It Protects You
In the off-chance that you’re in a dispute with your employees, time tracking also provides a valuable record and can offer protection.
Perhaps, more importantly, it helps you prevent these scenarios, particularly when it comes to paying overtime for non-exempt employees: An accurate record tells you exactly how much overtime pay is due.
Time tracking is beneficial for you, your business and your salaried staff. Sure, your salaried staff may be more reluctant to track their time due to the added hassle and feelings of micromanagement. But, if you sell them on these benefits, they’ll be more inclined to warm to such a policy.
Are you thinking about implementing a time-tracking policy in your own business?
Then, let FreshBooks help. The cloud accounting software platform for small service-based businesses also offers time tracking features so your employees can track their time against projects and clients.
With FreshBooks, you will know how your staff is spending their time, quickly identify inefficiencies, improve decision making, boost your teams’ productivity and ultimately your bottom line.