A 2021 study concluded that employees worked an average of 5.6 hours per day remotely during that year. This could be due to lax productivity schedules. It could also exclude certain activities that would normally qualify as work in an office, such as research.
Regardless, businesses sometimes struggle to measure the number of hours their employees work. Understanding how to track hours for work goes a long way toward accurate billing and maximum employee productivity.
We’ve put together a brief guide on time tracking to help you get started. Let’s dive in.
1. Keep Things Simple
The simpler you keep your system, the easier your company can adapt. This is especially true if you introduce something far different than your current method.
Standardize your time-tracking system when you introduce it. This provides equal access to all of your employees and helps them better understand it.
Standardized systems are easier for employees to learn. This will help you get things up and running as soon as possible.
2. Educate Your Employees
Once you choose a time-tracking procedure, educate your employees appropriately. Let them know what you expect of them, and be patient as they learn. There may be a bit of a learning curve depending on your system’s complexity.
It’s not uncommon for it to take weeks for everything to run smoothly. Be open to feedback from your employees, as well. This will help you train future workers more effectively and address your team’s concerns.
3. Establish Which Activities to Track
This is the bread and butter of effective time tracking. Are your employees clocking in and out for the day, or are you tracking client billing tasks?
For example, you might consider both billable and non-billable hours in your timekeeping records. The better you define your goals, the more accurate your data will be. This will also prevent conflicts from arising since workers will know exactly what you’re tracking.
4. Don’t Micromanage
Let your employees use the time tracking system on their own and avoid micromanaging. Scrutinizing your workers can detract from employee efficiency and cause undue stress.
A common scenario could involve a manager constantly hounding an employee about their time-tracking info. Teach management to be lenient about certain situations, such as emergencies.
Nobody wants confrontation about not clocking out if they receive an emergency phone call, for instance. Aim to use positive reinforcement instead of punishment.
Punishing mistakes will keep your workers on edge and cause them to make more mistakes in the future. Instead, implement conduct training and give warnings.
5. Learn From Your Data
Don’t let your data sit untouched. Learn from it and determine the problem areas your employees have.
This provides valuable insight into changes you can make. You might discover that your team is most productive at certain points during the day.
You could also find that you aren’t meeting productivity goals even though your employees are properly tracking their hours. Regardless of what you learn, make the appropriate changes as soon as possible.
This will keep your team happy and help them accomplish more with their time. It could also make your scheduling more flexible.
6. Maintain Access Security
Your time-tracking system needs a hierarchy for data access. To clarify, employees shouldn’t have access to other workers’ information.
This prevents “buddy punching,” a process where an employee records time for an absent worker. Managers should have access to additional data on schedules and payroll info.
If you use an electronic system, teach your workers the best practices for password management. They should never share passwords with other people, and they should never make passwords that are easy to guess.
It’s also essential for them to store their passwords in safe locations if they record them. Writing login info on a sticky note they keep at their desk won’t cut it.
7. Don’t Overstep Your Boundaries
Your team should never feel like you’re invading their privacy, and you don’t have to track every second of their day.
This is an issue that sometimes arises when companies implement GPS tracking. They often use this technology to ensure drivers are following the correct routes.
Put simply, your time tracking system should only record work-related activities. Where they go for lunch or what websites they browse while on their break is irrelevant.
8. Pen and Paper Is Still Useful
It’s not necessary to abandon manual time tracking. This can be a great method in a pinch, such as if your electronic systems are down. However, this method should be supplemental to other forms of time tracking.
Manual records sometimes lead to mistakes. Improper addition could result in inaccurate totals. This leads to compensating employees more than you should.
Electronic systems are ideal, as you can incorporate various forms of automation. This minimizes the chance of human error.
9. Use Specialized Software
Specialized software is highly effective for employee time tracking. It comes with many attributes to improve data analysis, such as comprehensive analytics.
When searching for software to use, look at the provider’s past reputation. They should have a large amount of positive feedback from previous clients.
The provider should also offer ongoing support for their software. This will optimize the application’s functionality and security.
Are they easy to get in touch with? The last thing you want is to deal with issues on your own.
Consider their pricing structure before you make your decision. Not all software providers are created equal, and some charge clients more than necessary. As long as you do your due diligence, you’ll find the best solution for your company.
Always Accurately Track Hours for Work
When you track hours for work appropriately, you can avoid complications you may have otherwise encountered. This helps your employees understand what’s expected of them. It also leads to happier clients.
TimeTrakGO offers a simple, web-based employee time-tracking tool. Users can control overtime, work with simple timesheets, and effortlessly schedule employees.
Real-time reporting provides access to labor data you can quickly export to Microsoft Excel. Start your 14-day free trial and see what the hype is about.