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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

How can you help your team use a time tracking software?

Usually it only takes the mere mention of a time tracking program for most employees to cringe and start protesting. It may or may not be because of bad experiences in the past, but most people just don’t like big changes and are wary of something new, especially when it involves some kind of “control”. Usually, these fears and doubts are not correct and at the end, the outcome is positive; with time tracking software, this is the case.
At the beginning, in the distant past, software was far from perfect and to use it was very frustrating, complicated and not fun. One had to be tech-savvy to even know how to start the software. Over time however, the progress has moved forward, especially with the new cloud and mobile applications appearing every day. The user interface has improved significantly,are easy to use and many software can now be interconnected in order to fulfill your needs.

Let’s look at online time tracking. Do you need or want to use it in your company, but are not really sure how to introduce it to your team, explain them the benefits and get started with it? Here are our tips:

1.    Explain them the benefits

Talk with them openly about the reasons why one should track their time and what benefits and also disadvantages it has. The most important is, to explain to them that time tracking is not micromanagement or some form of employment control. It is not meant to be used to control how much time they work, but rather see how they spend their time. It is a more result-driven software, where teams, which focus on results rather than time at the workplace, will really benefit from this.

What are the benefits?

-    Obtain a comprehensive overview of how much time is spent on individual tasks. Use this information to better plan resources in the future
-    Obtain awareness of what your employees or colleagues are doing. You will easily see who is overworked and who you can pass the task to.

Tipp: When meeting with your team, just explain them the benefits and answer all their questions. Make sure to emphasize that this is to improve the efficiency and the work environment.

2.    Show them it’s simple
 
In today’s world, it is no longer necessary to manually write down the time spent or use old spreadsheets. It’s much better to invest some time in searching for high-quality apps and testing them to see which one is suitable for your company. The app should be simple, intuitive and of course within your budget. Today there are a number of different applications and to choose the best one can of course be very challenging. If your time is too expensive, ask one of your colleagues to do the research and choose the most suitable software for your business. Just make sure you do a thorough research as you don’t want to have to introduce this “control software” twice ;).

Once you’ve found one you like, test it thoroughly and after you (or your colleague) understand the app, show it to your team. Explain them the application and all the features and options it has. Of course, ask them for their opinion and answer any questions they might have. If you chose a good software, it shouldn’t be difficult to implement or use, neither for you nor your team.


3.    Teach the software and help your team

As said, choose a program that is user-friendly and intuitive. Most companies are placing more and more value on Cloud software with mobile versions, as the employees can track their time whenever and wherever they are, making it flexible and also a fun alternative to the typical, “boring” timesheets.

During the first week of the launch of the software, support your team by:

-    Sending daily reminders about using the time tracker and asking for feedback
-    Reminding them to help each other
-    Making an effort to not only use the stopwatch to keep track of attendance, but also to increase their productivity (maybe with some game or competition)
-    Sharing and discussing the results after some time

4.    Analyze the results

Once you have the results, sit down with your team and share the data. The statistics can show a lot about who does what and who has been using the software, as the data should also show an increase in productivity. Maybe at the beginning it will not, but you will see, over time the efficiency and productivity of the whole team should increase. Many software offer a team overview, so the team can see how everyone is doing, which will in turn motivate them to do better. Do remember that not everything is numbers though: in the end, the most motivating thing for anyone is praise and verbal feedback. So don’t just let the numbers show it, but use the numbers to support it :-)

5.    Make it a habit

To make a change more accepted, the important part is regularity. Once people use it as a habit without questioning the reason behind it, you have succeeded in your goal. But it’s not just that. You should also monitor the time tracking regularly and make sure people use it. The worst what can happen, is that you tell the employees or colleagues to use it, but you don’t check it regularly or analyze the data. The team will then soon also stop using it, because then they don’t see the point.

Our tip is to share timesheets and reports either weekly or every other week. This way they know that you are paying attention and it will also help them improve their work habits. If something positive happened, highlight it, as it will just reassure them that time tracking is a good thing. Show them the before and after and they will see, that time tracking brought a lot more advantages than disadvantages. It makes the work more fair and objective, plus it’s also good for the individual person as he can improve his own productivity. And in the end, it’s always better to do more in less time, right? :-)

So try it for yourself. You will see, with all the statistics and data you obtain from a time tracking software, which is easy, fun, and helpful, it is beneficial to not only the company, but also to the individual and the environment. It’s helped many companies and individuals so far, so why shouldn’t it help you? :-)

One last Tip: Try primaERP! It has both a complex and simplified time tracking version, plus the possibility to create bills. It’s free for 3 users, so you have nothing to lose :-)

2 comments:

Diego Castro said...

This is a garbage marketing post.

Software developers are not assembly line workers, and the obsolescent management practices that existed simply for the sake of justifying some middle manager's existence are old and tired. Are there situations where time tracking is helpful or required? Sure, such as contract work, but that's not what this article is talking about. Finding the right method for measuring capacity over a given time is critical for every team, but tracking time is nothing but an insidious excuse to try and itemize productivity and nothing more.

Here's how you can help your team the next time the subject of time tracking comes up -- don't do it. If someone thinks they're paying you for your time, tell them to split your salary and hire two other people at the lower rate and see if they've doubled their productivity. They'll quickly realize that it's not your time they are paying you for.

Andrea A said...

Hi, Diego. I couldn't agree more when you mention developers are not assembly line workers. That applies to several other jobs and activities that still can benefit from time tracking.

Nevertheless the article is not about time tracking itself but about the use of a time tracking software where time tracking is needed. IMHO pretty much every professional activity can benefit from time tracking, it is a matter of finding the most suitable method and figuring out how to deal with the gathered data in a constructive way.

The time measured via time tracking can have purposes other than for calculating wages or creating bills. They can be used for optimizing processes and promoting growth in productivity among other things.

Thanks a lot for your input! Please always bring your opinion no matter what it is.

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