As business owners, we’re often focused on business metrics that have a dollar sign before them. Sales. Ka-ching. Net revenue. Ka-ching. Overhead costs. Ka-ching. We have all the systems and processes in place to track these areas, but when it comes to monitoring and understanding how our team is spending their time at work, business owners are falling behind.
According to “growth hacking expert” Rafi Chowdhury, “Most of us think we don’t waste time while at the workplace. In general, we hear people saying the same phrase: ‘I was too busy.’ But we never actually count the number of hours we spend on particular tasks. Once we realize the amount of time we’re spending is less than we thought, we find a bigger scope for improving our productivity to achieve our goals in a faster and better way.”
If you’ve been thinking about implementing automated time tracking for your business, but are still on the fence about it, here are the top 5 reasons that you should act sooner rather than later.
1. Prevent Time Theft
Like it or not, time theft can be a real and serious problem in the workplace. Because time is money in business, time stolen is money out the door. In fact, according to the American Payroll Association, up to 7% of a company’s profits can be lost due to stolen time.
Just how prevalent is time theft? It’s more common than you think. Nearly 50% of employees have admitted to stealing time from their employers.
Maybe time theft is happening in your company, and maybe it’s not – or, you’re not aware of it. Wherever your company stands on the matter, implementing automated time tracking software is a sure way to stay informed about how your employees punch their time on your clock.
For instance, one of the most common ways employers can lose time to less-than-honest employees is through a trick called buddy punching (when fellow employees punch in for each other, often if one is running late). Advanced time tracking and attendance software features such as biometrics integration, IP address lockdown, device authorization, and geofencing are powerful deterrents against buddy punching.
2. Minimize Wasted Time
As equally serious as employees stealing time is employees wasting time.
Consider this headline that appeared on Forbes:
It cites a survey from Salary.com that reveals “64 percent of employees visit non-work related websites every day at work. Of that group, 39 percent spend one hour or less per week, 29 percent spend 2 hours per week, 21 percent waste five hours per week, and only 3 percent said they waste 10 hours or more doing unrelated activities.”
Here’s the reality: the temptation to do non-work-related things in the office is stronger if your employees feel no accountability. Recognizing that no employee wants to be micromanaged, you can build accountability and ownership into how your employees spend their time while on the clock by implementing automated time tracking software that runs in the background. This allows you to monitor employee activities without being physically intrusive and helps employees track productivity on their projects.
3. Increase Productivity and Efficiency
The same survey revealed that 47% of small business owners believe that their employees’ level of productivity is reflective of the quality of their leadership, while 46% believe that it’s an indication of their employees’ work ethic.
When asked how they would improve productivity, those who were surveyed gave the following answers:
- 43% would hold employees accountable for their actions and decisions
- 31% would follow up with employees to monitor their progress
- 20% would trust employees to do the jobs they were hired to do
- 6% would be more accessible to employees when they are stuck
This is not to say that automated time tracking software is a magic cure that will solve all your productivity problems, but it ticks all the boxes above:
- Hold employees accountable. Knowing that their activities at work are being monitored increases ownership among employees.
- Follow up with employees. Consistent follow-ups can actually be perceived as micromanagement. With a time tracking software, you can monitor a project’s progress without constantly bothering your employees for updates.
- Trust your employees. Some would argue that implementing a time tracking system is a sign of distrust. However, it’s the total opposite. Workplace trust done properly is not one-way – it’s mutual. Employers should be able to trust their employees to do their job and employees should be able to trust their managers are after productivity, not a violation of workplace rights.
- Be more accessible. Since time tracking tools allow you to access work progress in real-time using user-friendly dashboards, as an employer you can immediately see where bottlenecks occur in your team’s workflow. Armed with this information, you can proactively offer help and coaching to get them unstuck.
Productivity is always going to be a hot topic among small businesses. Using automated time tracking software is another tool that you can add to your productivity arsenal.
4. Plan Projects Accurately
Inaccurate project planning can result in either one of two outcomes — underestimation or overestimation. One is not really better than the other.
Most of the time, inaccurate project planning happens because small business owners and project managers don’t have enough data to use as benchmarks. A time tracking software changes this, as it allows you to collect, organize, and analyze project data automatically.
This impacts several important areas of project planning, and your business in general:
- Workforce management. Many business owners scale their workforce too early, hiring more employees than they need. With accurate and extensive time tracking, you’re able to know whether the current size of your team could handle your business’ day-to-day operations.
- Cost management. Scaling your team prematurely means incurring unnecessary labor costs and other related expenses. Automated time tracking solves for this dilemma. Increasing productivity can also reduce operational costs by identifying non-essential tasks that are cutting into your company’s profits.
- Pricing strategy and revenue management. Accurately knowing how much time is required to finish a project or an aspect of your operations allows you to price your products or services accordingly.
One of the hurdles preventing small business owners from implementing automated time tracking in their workplace is not knowing how to measure ROI. So, aside from its measurable impact on productivity, expect time tracking to positively affect your bottom line as well.
5. Improve Your Workplace Culture
Automated time tracking fosters accountability, creates mutual trust, and improves productivity. All these contribute to the creation of better workplace culture where people value their time, know which tasks to prioritize and take proactive steps to make sure they maximize every second at work.
Every Second Counts: Making the Most of Your Most Valuable Resource
While monetary and financial metrics are important, time is your small business’ most precious asset and your most valuable resource. You can regain lost profits, but you can never recoup lost time.
The first step to using your time more efficiently and more profitably is to know how your team is spending it. As the old management adage goes, “You cannot manage what you cannot measure.” This alone creates a strong business case for the use of automated time tracking for your company.
Dean Mathews is the founder and CEO of OnTheClock, an online employee time tracking app that helps over 8,000 companies all around the world track time.
Dean has over 20 years of experience designing and developing business apps. He views software development as a form of art. If the artist creates a masterpiece, many people’s lives are touched and changed for the better.
When he is not perfecting time tracking, Dean enjoys expanding his faith, spending time with family, friends and finding ways to make the world just a little better. You can find Dean on LinkedIn.