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Time Tracking – Does it really improve efficiency?

On15/ 11 /17

Time tracking is growing in popularity in the UK across companies large and small. With market competition constantly increasing, employers are looking for new ways to streamline processes and increase their output.

But what effect does time tracking have on employees and does it really work for everyone?

We set out to determine whether the software really does improve efficiency and what it means for the workplace as a whole.

The Pros

It reduces idle time

Time tracking helps to reduce idle time – any time when employees are distracted and wasting company time e.g. surfing the Internet etc. Figures show that most employees are guilty of this to one extent or another - this can waste hundreds of company hours each week.

It provides invaluable data

Time tracking software provides a huge amount of data, which can be analysed to improve productivity. Staff members and their managers can go through reports to identify the actions that result in the biggest gains. 

Equally, it is easy to see where you’ve under-quoted on projects and profitable and unprofitable clients can quickly be identified. This can help with future estimates, which can have a huge impact on the business.

It can help to structure your day

Time tracking advocates will say that it helps to structure their workflow. At the beginning of the day they can create time windows for each job that needs to be tackled and gradually work through them.

Whilst this can also be done on paper, having a timer running helps to keep the user on track with their daily tasks.

The Cons

It creates extra admin

In an ideal world, everyone would always remember to track their time, however this isn’t always the case. Employees are likely to have different working styles and workflows. 

What this means in practice is that time tracking can become yet another admin job. We forget to log our time and then spend extra minutes at the end of the day racking our brains to remember what we’ve done.

What’s more, time tracking always requires some set-up and review time, from creating new projects to chasing people to submit their time sheets.

It can create extra pressure

Time tracking can put extra pressure on employees, particularly if a project is restricted by a tight budget.

Working styles and personalities differ enormously – we all know people who thrive on having a deadline and others who find the reverse. Consequently, some employees may be able to cope with the pressure of time tracking better than others.

It can reduce work quality

There’s an argument that time tracking can reduce work quality and stifle creativity.
This can be a particular worry in creative industries, however rushed jobs can be a problem in any in any line of work.

The worry is that it can place too much emphasis on getting a project out, taking the focus away from the actual output. What’s more, if time sheets are constantly scrutinised, this can cause feelings of resentment amongst employees.

There’s no one-size fits all approach

When it comes to time tracking, there is no one size fits all approach. Ultimately organisations need to be open to testing the software, whilst giving their staff the opportunity to provide comprehensive feedback. 

Clearly, time tracking can be an invaluable tool for busy MDs and managers, however it may not work for every company in every industry. What’s more, where it is used, measures need to be taken to ensure that workers are not only efficient but also happy and producing their best work. 

For more employer advice and tips, you can read our wide selection of blogs. Alternatively why not browse our client area to find out more about how we successfully match candidates to the right roles.
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