Online timekeeping can revolutionize the way you do business. It helps you weigh where your employees’ time is going, how efficiently you’re running your business, and which habits could best increase efficiency. You might be surprised to see, for example, that giving employees more time off and more breaks actually increases productivity.
But convincing your employees to use timekeeping software is no small feat. No one wants to feel like they’re being watched. Micromanagement does not work. Moreover, no employee can reasonably spend every moment they’re at the office working. Breaks boost morale and productivity, but time tracking software might make your staff feel like even the slightest break puts their job in jeopardy.
Here’s how to get them excited about — not just resigned to — online timekeeping.
Make Time Tracking Easy
If your staff is doing meaningful work — and they should be — then you know that they have a lot to do. The last thing you want is to add to an already very long to-do list to their plate. Make time tracking as easy as possible. A few simple button clicks, rather than endless navigating between windows or tedious logging of every second, should be all they have to do. Timepot offers simplified time tracking for the real world, so you can see where the time goes and your staff can get back to their jobs.
Incentivize Time Tracking
Let’s face it: asking your employees to track their time is asking them to give up more time on a task that subjects them to judgment and critique. They may worry that they’ll lose even more time, or that even breaks will become verboten.
Give them an incentive to track their time. In addition to being fair — allowing breaks, not micromanaging — and ensuring employees actually have sufficient time in their days to track their time, you need new incentives. Try offering a bonus to the employee who makes the most judicious use of their time, who finds a new way to perform an old task, who is able to get the most done in the least amount of time, or who most diligently logs their tasks.
The key is to connect time management to efficiency, so don’t reward employees for not taking breaks or working longer days. In so doing, you’re actually rewarding lower efficiency and more work — and possibly the greater expense that tends to accompany both.
Make Time Tracking Work for Your Employees
What benefit does time tracking offer your staff? If it’s just another time waster, they have little incentive to do it. Find ways to use time tracking to improve your employees’ lives. Are meetings consistently too long? Do you waste time on performance reviews or meetings with your staff? Let your employees know that you’ll be using time tracking to manage how the business as a whole — and how you personally — manage time. They may be surprised when you begin changing the way you do things.
Make it a Collaborative Effort
Don’t impose time tracking on your employees from above. Instead, tell them that you’re doing this so you can all work together more efficiently. Then give them useful feedback. Loop them into meetings about how your business uses time, and actively solicit solutions for reducing wasted time. Remember also that efficiency means breaks and time off. Consider giving your staff more of both and weighing how it affects their time management. This collaborative approach reduces the sense that you’re monitoring your staff’s every move.
Micromanagement doesn’t work. It does, however, make your employees’ lives more difficult. People thrive when they can control how they spend their own time. Rather than using time tracking to micromanage your employees, use it as a reason to give them more freedom.
Offer Freedom in Exchange for Time Tracking
The most effective organizations focus on results, not the nitty gritty details of how staff spend their time. The purpose of time tracking software is to assess which strategies are most efficient, more accurately estimate deadlines, and weigh why some employees seem to always get things done, but others are always behind schedule.
Time tracking helps you observe what’s behind this cycle. It can also be a tool for giving your employees more freedom. Let them choose their hours, or how they delegate time to various projects. Scale back on unproductive meetings, brainstorming sessions, and phone calls. Tell your employees you care only about results, then wait and see what happens. The time tracking data will very likely show an increase in downtime and productivity. This paradox is because employees who have more control over their time use it more wisely, even when they take more frequent breaks.
End the Cycle of Chaos
One of the most useful benefits of time tracking is its ability to rein in chaos at an organization. Missed deadlines are usually the product of inadequate time estimates, not staff laziness. It’s also possible that you overestimate the time a project will take, emboldening procrastination and ensuring the work isn’t completed early.
Reassure your staff that time tracking software can end the cycle of chaos. It helps them more accurately estimate how long each task will take, enabling your organization to give reasonable deadline estimates. With this comes a reduction in stress and chaos that makes for a better working environment for everyone.