Getting your team to actually track their time

Time tracking in teams has invaluable outcomes for your business. From better productivity to tighter project timelines to increased profits over time, team time tracking is proven to help you grow. 

But how do you actually get your team to start time tracking

For some it might feel like micromanaging or policing their work. Some workers might feel like it is just one more admin task to remember throughout the week. 

Whatever their initial objections, this guide will show you the overall benefits of time tracking in a team, the different types of time tracking you could implement, and tips for how to get your team on board. 

Benefits of time tracking for businesses

Using time tracking in your business could be the productivity key that you are missing. We might be biased about how great it is, so let’s go through a few of the key benefits of getting your team to start time tracking

1. Tracks employee hours automatically

Who doesn’t want less paperwork! One of the biggest benefits of time tracking for businesses is that you cut down on admin for employee hours. Using a time tracking app like MinuteDock means that it is automatically tracking in the background so they don’t even have to start and stop the timer throughout the day. 

2. Creates accurate time sheets for billing

Gone are the days when you and your team waste time on timesheet admin. Using a team time tracking software like MinuteDock means that timesheets and billable hours invoices will be MORE accurate with LESS paperwork. 

3. Lets you monitor projects in real-time

When you are managing projects, time is money. With an hourly time tracker you can set an overall budget and the cost per hour. That way when you or your employees are time tracking, you can see how much of the budget has been used in real time and whether you need to adjust the plan. 

4. Expedites reporting

Using time tracking software makes reporting a breeze. Not only does the data self-populate and expedite reporting, it gives you valuable insights that you can use for project management, productivity reviews and future work opportunities. 

5. Lets people work naturally

Using time tracking in your team allows people to work without being micromanaged. You don’t have to constantly check whether project tasks are completed because the software automatically tracks tasks and generates reports for you! Using an automatic app also means that employees don’t need to remember to start and stop timers or manually fill in timesheets at the end of each week. 

Types of time tracking in businesses

Now that we’ve gone through the WHY of time tracking for teams, let’s go through the HOW. No amount of tips to implement time tracking will work if you don’t choose the system that works best for you and your business model. Before choosing a model, you’ll need to consider: 

  • What you are tracking for (e.g. billables, productivity, project management)
  • How often you want employees to check in 
  • Who is going to use the data and how 
  • Whether you want it to be automatic or manual 

1. Daily time tracking

Daily time tracking is important for individual time management. Having an overview of how long an employee spent on a task will help them to plan their days more efficiently and ask for more resources if needed. 

2. Weekly timesheets

Weekly timesheets are useful if you are using time tracking for teams to pay your staff or contractors accurately. Choosing a software that converts billable hours into invoices and timesheets will drastically cut down on payroll admin time. 

3. Track time quickly with a timer

The easiest way to start time tracking is to use a system that has a timer. This is best if the app is loaded directly onto employee computers and shows them how long they have been working on a particular task. An actual ticking timer is also a great way to stay accountable and focused on one task at a time!

4. Automatic time tracking

The best thing about team time tracking software is that it automates a lot of admin. It automatically keeps track of billable hours if you work with clients, and can populate your team’s timesheets accurately. This works best with software that includes a desktop app (the less your employees have to do to use it the better!). 

5. Tracking time on tasks

It’s not just about how many hours you work, but what you are doing during those hours. To get the most out of team tracking apps, you should track according to specific tasks or projects. This will give you data on project timelines, how productive people are, and where to reallocate resources if need be. 

Tips for getting your team to start time tracking 

Tracking your time can give you real insight into your business, help you to set realistic project goals and keep your team on track. But how do you get your team to  actually put in the effort to accurately track their hours in a way that creates the value you want?

1. Make sure everyone knows what insights the business is after

You need to explain exactly what you want to get out of tracking time. Asking your team to track time with no explanation as to why is likely to be met with a fair amount of anxiety and pushback from staff, even if they’re already used to recording their hours for payroll.

  • Do you want better visibility over clients who are letting projects drag on? 
  • Do you want it purely for payroll? 
  • Do you want to find out which of your services is the most lucrative? 
  • Do you just want clarity about where you need to focus as a team? 

Talking to your team about why you want to track time will not only help them understand why they need to do it, but will encourage them to track their time in a way that best meets your needs and gives you the data you’re actually looking for.

2. Pick the best time tracking software

It all comes down to what you’re tracking the time for, and what type of business you’re running. Different time tracking products may be a good fit for some industries, but not others.

To gain insight on where your team is spending time on clients & projects, MinuteDock is a great fit! But, if you want to schedule & track staff on shifts for payroll, then your team might be more suited to something like Tanda.

Picking something that actually suits your staff’s workflow will make a huge difference – they might even like it! Try and look for a time tracking product that is suited to your particular industry, rather than something claiming to be one-size-fits-all.

3. Keep your word

If you tell staff that your main intention is to track time for reporting purposes, then aim to regularly share those reports with the team so that they see the fruits of their labor. Sharing the insights you gain from reporting on the team’s data is the best way for everyone to see if you’re actually making a change and meeting targets.

If you told staff you wouldn’t use time tracking to monitor individuals’ day to day efforts, then don’t use your time tracking for that. Being open and honest will earn your staff’s trust and respect, and you’ll find that they’ll be more honest when tracking their time. This means the data you collect will be more accurate.

4. Remember that a new process won’t happen overnight

You’re probably going to have to keep on top of your team for a while, until they adjust to including time tracking as part of their workflow. Picking a product that isn’t too intrusive when they’re working will help your case for tracking time immensely.

Finding the best time tracking software for your company

Team time management software should work alongside your business, not interrupt it. When you are considering the best time tracker for your team, there are a few key features to consider. 

Is time tracking easy?

If you want to get your team to start tracking, it needs to be simple. Can they start tracking at the click of a button? Can they adjust their hours and link it up to whatever project they are working on? Is it user friendly? Before you commit to any time tracker, you should take advantage of any free trials and see if you find it simple to use yourself. 

Can I approve and edit timesheets?

For team timesheets or client work, it is important for managers to be able to edit timesheets if necessary. This is especially important if you are billing clients directly through the software. 

Can I share time logs with my clients?

Some clients will need more reassurance than others. With time tracking software, you can give clients access to check in on projects without taking up your teams’ time! Time tracking apps like MinuteDock let you create a private dashboard for clients. 

Does tracked time automatically feed into profitability reports?

One of the benefits of automatically tracking time against different projects is the powerful reporting. Your chosen software should create reports according to project, team member, or task type. 

Is time tracking linked with billing?

To reduce paperwork and payroll admin, finding a time tracking software that links with billing is your best option. 

With MinuteDock, you can also configure exactly how your employees are charged out to your clients. You can apply custom billable rates to your team’s projects and tasks too. Easy!  

Take home message

The most important time tracking tip for employees? You need to make it simple. The best time tracking software should be easy to use without getting in the way of actually doing the work! That's why we created MinuteDock: a smarter way to accurately track the amount of time you and your team spend on tasks.

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