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Common Time Tracking Problems and How to Deal with Them

While some employers swear by time tracking, others just simply couldn’t make it work. But, time tracker isn’t a boogeyman, and in order to make it work, you have to be aware of potential problems it might cause and how you can deal with them at the root.

Wrong Implementation

“Okay team, starting from today, you’re all tracking time with this neat software we installed on your computers” – I’m sure you don’t believe that’s the right way to announce software implementation. Well, not if you want to keep your employees.

Company time tracking software can be pretty snoopy, as it tracks what employees are doing on their computers in real-time, so it’s understandable that they feel a bit reserved about their work being tracked. Therefore, it’s all about what you aim to achieve with tracking and how you plan on using collected data.

The big announcement should be done in a staff meeting, where all of your employees have the opportunity to ask any questions they might have about time tracking. And trust me, they’ll have them. The second step is to write a policy about time tracking software implementation. Explain why you’re implementing time tracking, what data you’ll collect and how will the data be used. It should end with a consent form, which is obligatory by law in many countries.

Manually Tracking Time

One of your main reasons for time tracking implementation is better time management. But, if you’re spending more time to track time, you’re not very time efficient, are you?

Your employees might be working on multiple tasks at once, which means they’d have to juggle between actually working and starting and stopping their timers. But time loss is even bigger. Once interrupted, it takes an employee an average of 25 minutes to get back to the task, research shows.

Another problem with manual tracking is that employees can make mistakes, accidentally or intentionally. In both cases, you have false information, and your whole tracking process loses sense.

Not Tracking Everything

This really means everything – breaks, overtime, both billable and non-billable time. To make the best use of easy time tracking software, you want to know where your time goes. Office space is full of distractions, and time can easily get out of hands when not tracked. Who would have known that a simple Twitter check-in can take up around 15 minutes every time? Or that replying to business emails makes up as much as 25% of your employee’s workday? These stats show you where your business requires optimization.

On the other hand, corporate time tracking is in many countries obligatory by law in some way. For example, in the US, employers are required to keep track of employees’ overtime hours, although the limit of those hours isn’t defined by Federal law, and it differs from state to state. In the EU, employers are also required to track employees’ working hours, in order to keep them in compliance with a maximum number of hours per shift, defined by the Working Time Directive. The method of tracking isn’t predefined in either case, but time management tracker is probably the best impartial way to do it.

Using Tracked Time as the Only Productivity Metric

The number of hours worked isn’t the sole determinant of employee’s productivity. Just because someone worked for straight 8 hours doesn’t mean they’ve done a good job. They could have been working that long while achieving nothing. You must take into consideration all the aspects of the work process, not just time input.

Be wary of reducing people to numbers. Sure, gathered data is crucial for creating performance reports, but it’s yet another tool for it, and not the only basis. Don’t forget to look at the bigger picture. Sure, you might catch your developer Jack spending over 15 minutes on Facebook yesterday, but did you also notice he finished a 2-day job in no more than 5 hours? On the other hand, all those hours your designer George spent on Photoshop yesterday didn’t lead to him meeting the deadline, meaning he was probably idle for a big part of it. Luckily, most time tracking business software, such as Workpuls, also show computer activity level, so you know how active they are throughout their workday.

Not Asking for Feedback

Since you’re tracking your employee’s time, their perspective on the process can be invaluable. While you’ve discussed some points before the implementation, you should check up with them how they feel once you’ve been tracking time for a while. Ask for their opinion on what should be changed or improved, and the overall satisfaction of the time tracking process. This way you’re showing them you care about them and the work they do for your company.

Not Giving Them Access to Data

If you’re aiming to use data gathered by real time tracking software to further optimize your company’s workflow, then why wouldn’t you let your employees make use of it too? You might be doing performance reports on a weekly or monthly basis, but you should consider allowing them to access their own performance data at all times. This way, they’ll have an insight into their performance peaks during the workday, and they can organize their workload accordingly. Workpuls has such employee login feature which gives every individual access to their own performance data and payroll timesheets at all times.

Final Thoughts

Of course, these aren’t the only problems you might encounter when implementing time tracking, but these are the most common ones. In order to avoid or deal with time tracking problems, it’s important to always maintain open and transparent communication with your team.