How Time Tracking Helps Organizations Boost Employee Productivity?
The most significant transition that modern organizations have witnessed in current times is the surge of remote work scenarios. Some of the largest organizations around the globe, such as GitLab, Zapier, TCS, Twitter, etc., have embraced remote/hybrid work models, and it is just the beginning of the new normal in the future of work. Technological advancements in video conferencing, collaborative applications, connectivity, productivity tools, and cloud computing have made the transition smooth. Yet, the challenge still remains for organizations to effectively monitor employees virtually and create a mechanism for sustainable employee productivity. This is where time tracking applications come into the picture. Time tracking software tools help organizations to gain control over employee work time, and their successful implementation increases employee productivity levels.
This article explains how efficient time tracking complements employee productivity and how modern time tracking systems work to boost employee performance during remote work or even while working in the traditional office.
What is Time Tracking, and Why is it Required?
Time tracking is the monitoring of employee worktime and work activities using software applications installed on workstations. The time tracking software tools can track employee clock-ins and clock-outs, productivity and efficiency levels, idle/unproductive time, desktop and browsing activity, screen time, attendance, project progress, and many more. They also provide analytics and insights into employee worktime trends, patterns, and overall performance.
Productivity of employees is not a standalone phenomenon. Multiple factors impact employee productivity. It includes factors that employees don’t have control upon such as work culture, rules, and regulations. The behavior of upper management, team leader’s decisions, the rationality of work, availability of resources, etc. to factors that employees can control such as individual behavior, attitude, dedication, time management, workflow management, efficiency, skills, etc.
In a utopian work environment, there would be no distractions, and employees would achieve peak productivity easily. Sadly, we are not living in a utopian world. The current work environments can test anyone’s physical and mental limits.
With multiple activities running in an organization and employees having multiple tasks at hand. The last thing any organization can afford is to let disruptions and inadequate monitoring waste the employees’ productive time. Especially when organizations pay external associates who charge per hour, tracking productivity is a rational thing to do. Therefore, prudent organizations invest in productivity tools such as tracking software to maintain worker productivity.
Time Tracking is Actually Productivity Tracking
Today, time tracking is no longer merely monitoring and counting employee work hours. It has evolved to become a ubiquitous function in modern organizations that manages, optimizes, and promotes employee productivity and efficiency quotient.
Let us see how time tracking works in favor of productivity:
Promotes Accountability in Work
Hawthrone’s effect suggests that employees tend to be more productive when they are being observed. By real-time monitoring of employee work hours, time tracking promotes a sense of accountability in work. It prevents employees from indulging in unproductive activities such as cyberloafing (employees misusing the internet and work time for personal surfing).
When employees know that their screen activity, breaks, idle time, etc., are being monitored, it keeps them conscious, and they tend to utilize time productively. Honest and dedicated employees feel secure that their hard work is being documented, and it will support their fair appraisal.
Keeps Employees Focused
Today’s organizations cannot agree more with the popular quote by writer and journalist Adam Hochschild, ‘Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is Short.’ Today’s employees are surrounded by a plethora of disruptive tools and distractions such as social media, game apps, instant messaging apps, video-streaming sites, etc.
Succumbing to the temptation of these addictive disruptors can not only decrease employee productivity but also disrupt their personal life, health equilibrium, sleep order, and behavioural equations. Time tracking tools consider and categorize these apps as unproductive, and therefore, employees refrain from using them while at work.
Monitors and Increases Performance:
Productivity is of intrinsic value to organizations, and therefore consistently productive employees are the organization’s biggest assets. In today’s highly competitive business environments, organizations cannot afford employee productivity gaps due to distractions, disengagement, poor monitoring, or other productivity barriers.
Cognitive capabilities are critical to performing productively at work. Time tracking aids attention and concentration in work and stimulates cognitive performance. Time tracking applications eliminate productivity barriers, limit interruptions, and foster a productive work environment.
Leads to Efficient Time Management
The time tracking concept is similar to the pickle jar analogy of time management. Just as in the pickle jar metaphor, the efficient way to fill rock, pebbles, and sand in the jar is to put the rocks first, then pebbles, and in the end, you put sand.
Similarly, while managing time, you need to do important tasks first, then the less important ones, and in the end. You can do the ordinary tasks. The jar represents ‘time.’ Time tracking software comes with inbuilt modules that can categorize work as productive (rock), neutral (pebbles), or unproductive (sand). This helps employees decide work priorities and utilize more time in productive activities.
Helps Achieve KPI benchmarks
Peter Drucker once said, what gets measured, gets improved. When employees work in the office or remotely, time tracking measures and keeps the key performance indicators at optimal levels. Time tracking tools monitor KPIs such as productive hours, efficiency percentage, average hours worked (weekly, monthly), unproductive hours, neutral hours, etc.
Time tracking software also provides insights into productivity patterns (rise and fall in productivity), peak productivity hours, low productivity hours, etc. This helps organizations in creating better schedules and project allocations.
Identifies Productivity Bottlenecks
Time tracking applications can identify productivity drains, such as low-value activities that drain employee work hours but don’t bring monetary outcomes. For example, if tasks such as internal emails, approvals, overrun meetings, department coordination, or unnecessary documentation are consuming more employee hours, then organizations can optimize/eliminate certain processes to save time.
Establishes Work-Life Balance
Working from home is complicated. How can one remain productive when one’s brain diverted towards household chores, kids’ tantrums, neighbour’s doorbell, the noise of TV running in the adjoining room, etc. The dilemma is acute.
However, remote employees are working for longer hours to compensate for productivity loss due to distractions and diversions. Working long hours disturbs the work-life balance. While time trackers cannot eradicate all distractions as mentioned above. They make sure that at least the screen time of employees is highly productive.
Time tracking tools have helped organizations in keeping employee productivity at the required levels without sacrificing employee trust. Modern time tracking tools are efficient in maintaining the balance between organizational goals and employee autonomy.
Tracking supports employee-oriented worktime flexibility and at the same time assists in meeting employer goals. It provides work time control (WTC) to both employers and employees. In modern organizations that have hybrid workforce practices, time tracking software tools are essential to meet work time regulations and productivity requirements.
“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” -Stephen R. Covey
Author Bio: James Mordy is a content writer for GoodFirms (a leading Software research company). A voracious reader, an avid researcher, a logophile, and a tech geek, he loves to write about the latest technologies shaping the world. He often articulates the very nuances of the tech world in his blogs. In his free time, he loves to watch movies and analyze global stock markets.