How to Implement Time Tracking

Time tracking. For many managers, it seems like so much of their day is dedicated towards reminding their team members to track their time, stay on task and keep track of what they are doing. In theory, time tracking is a great concept. It helps ensure productivity, boost performance and it lets managers see who is truly doing what during the day. Unfortunately, for many managers, time tracking I just that; a theory. It has been proven time and time again by leaders in all different fields and markets, that time tracking, no matter how important, is one of the most difficult tasks to implement in their office.

Most managers are faced with a great deal of resistance on the topic of time tracking. Employees feel like they’re being monitored too closely, they feel like it is a waste of time and that it is an extra item on their plate that they don’t have time for. Employee reservations about time tracking are understandable. However, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways for managers to get their employees on board and to get their team to see the benefit that time tracking can actually have.

Reframe the Concept

The first and most important task in implementing time tracking in any office environment is reframing the idea. Place a new lens on the idea of time tracking so that employees can start to see the real point of this tool. Instead of emphasizing the time aspect, place emphasis on productivity. Frame the idea as keeping track of the progress made towards a goal, instead of the to-the-minute recollections of how their day was spent.

Employees should not feel as though their manager doesn’t trust them or that they aren’t spending their time wisely, instead they need to understand why reporting their progress is so important. The entire concept should feel more like hitting small milestones towards a goal every day instead of being watched and scrutinized for how every minute of the day is spent. Employees should not feel as though someone is watching over their shoulder waiting to admonish them during the day, but instead view this as a way that they can be better at their jobs and the company as a whole can start to improve.

Once team members are more open to the concept, managers need to show them that they truly value their time and understand some of the concerns associated with time tracking. One of the easiest ways to do this is to provide employees with a time tracking tool that makes the entire process quick and efficient and that helps make it seem like less of a chore. This can help in framing time tracking as less of an extra task and more of a new way of moving all team members forward towards new, bigger and better goals for the organization.

Managers should also communicate why tracking is so important. It helps the team plan and it helps hold everyone accountable for what they are doing. There are some great outcomes that can come from time tracking and if managers begin by changing the perception of this strategy, they can start taking advantage of some of these key benefits.

Help Employees Understand the Perks

As a manager, there is no end to the different benefits that can come from time tracking. Leaders who want their team to get on board with the strategy, just need to communicate some of these benefits to their team members in an effort to help them understand the importance of this strategy. Above all things, this approach can help with planning and managing and improve a manager’s ability to run their office in a more organized and efficient manner. Some of these planning perks include the following benefits.

  • Time tracking can help the entire team plan ahead for upcoming tasks, eliminating issues with tight or impossible deadlines.
  • Everyone involved with time tracking will be able to say “no” to extra responsibilities they can’t take on, as they get a clearer picture of just how much work they truly have to do.
  • This approach can help managers delegate responsibilities and help them delegate responsibilities for others who may have too much on their plate.
  • Time tracking can help team members learn to focus on and complete one task at a time instead of being bogged down with too much multi-tasking.
  • This tool is great for helping managers learn when they need to hire new people to take on extra work loads.
  • Time tracking helps keep plans and schedules on task, preventing everyone from falling behind.

While some of these benefits may seem beneficial only to the manager, as a whole, these are all important benefits for the entire team and can all make an entire organization run more smoothly.

The Importance of Accountability

One of the reasons that time tracking was first developed was to provide managers with a tool to hold their employees more accountable for their time. No matter how time tracking is framed, accountability is still one of the main reasons to use the tool. For managers struggling to show time tracking in a more positive light, it is important to discuss the accountability component of time tracking, while showcasing the value that accountability can bring to everyone on the team.

With time, or progress, tracking, every person on a team is being held accountable for their responsibilities on a project or on their day-to-day tasks. This sense of accountability also makes it easier for managers to review the work of the entire team and individual members, and help them see which team members deserve extra accolades or encouragement for their productivity. It also helps entire organizations measure and ultimately improve their efficiency.

As a manager looking to keep control of the bottom line, time tracking is also one of the most powerful tools out there to get a factual, detailed look at how organizations are spending their time and money. There is no better source of data to depict just how effectively money towards employee salaries is being spent.

As a whole, employees shouldn’t be as worried about being accountable for their time, but instead feel relieved that everyone is being accountable for the work they do inside the office. While it can be met with some trepidation, time tracking can be instrumental to helping any organization improve, grow and make progress towards their goals. When all team members know that work is being divided equally and everyone is being held accountable for their responsibilities, it can bring a greater sense of trust and positivity to any work environment.

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Key Points

  • When implemented successfully, time tracking helps ensure productivity, boost performance and it lets managers see who is truly doing what during the day.
  • Unfortunately, it can be difficult to implement because some employees feel like they’re being monitored too closely and that it is an extra activity that they don’t have time for.
  • This resistance can be overcome if people understand why reporting their progress is so important.
  • For example, it can help the entire team plan ahead for upcoming tasks, eliminating issues with tight or impossible deadlines.
  • Everyone involved with time tracking will be able to say “no” to extra responsibilities they can’t take on, as they get a clearer picture of just how much work they truly have to do.
  • Time tracking can help team members learn to focus on and complete one task at a time instead of being bogged down with too much multi-tasking.
  • Time tracking helps keep plans and schedules on task, preventing everyone from falling behind.
  • When all team members know that work is being divided equally and everyone is being held accountable for their responsibilities, time tracking can bring a greater sense of trust and positivity to any work environment.

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