Taking a break every now and then during your workday is actually a good thing. It allows you to collect your thoughts, recharge your mental batteries, and clear out the cobwebs that might be stifling your efficiency and productivity. A short pause is a healthy thing, and it has been shown to raise productivity by giving an employee the chance to do the previously mentioned activities. However, if we spend too much time staring into space with our feet up or mindlessly surfing the Internet as a "break" from our day, we end up not being able to complete the jobs we were tasked with at the beginning of the day.
Why Tracking Time is Important
If we all start to keep track of time that we spend doing certain things, regardless of what the activities are, we would likely be very surprised at how much time we actually do waste during our day. This is a cause for concern to many employers and business owners because unproductive downtime results in inefficient business practices; payment of unearned wages to employees, who weren't actually engaged in work-related tasks most of the time; decreased ability to maximize profits due to diminished productivity; and other effects that create loss in one way or another.
What can you gain by Tracking Your Employees Time
Utilising time-tracking software is an excellent way for employers to monitor the time their employees spend productively engaging in various tasks, work-related or not. These types of applications can provide an employer with the following information and insights:
- How much time did employees spend on specific tasks?
- Were the employees working on the right issues or did they appear to be banging their heads against the proverbial wall?
- What issues and situations presented employees with stumbling blocks while attempting to complete their tasks in a timely manner?
- Which employees are the most productive?
- How much time did employees spend on client-specific projects or tasks?
- How many hours of "actual work" did the employee put in, versus the number of "clocked" hours?
- What portion of the employee's day was spent on personal or unstructured activities?
How To Make Your Employees More Productive
More productive employees contribute more strongly to the overall achievements, success, and profitability of a company. This is an undeniable fact. So, how can you make your employees more productive? Below, we've listed a 8-step time tracking blueprint to provide guidance on where and how employees are spending their time, what areas need improvement, what goals or standards are expected to be met, and whether or not an employee's productivity improves over time when time-tracking tools are implemented.
- Optimum Work load: Identify each employee's periodic workload (daily, weekly, monthly). Consult with the employee to determine a realistic time frame for performance of all tasks assigned to him/her.
- Value: Assign a monetary value to each task based on the actual value of the work performed or the value to the company, for those particular activities.
- Implement a time-tracking system: Select a method of monitoring and of tracking performance against the employee's task list, and have the employee keep track of time spent on each of his/her assigned jobs, using an integrated workflow management solution.
- Compare & Review: Compare the value of the time the employee spends on occupationally related functions against the time and value of those tasks as determined in steps 1 and 2. This will help you pinpoint the more productive and, therefore, the more valuable among your staff.
- Manage Expectations: Develop your expectations for employee achievement, which could be a certain number of units produced per measure of time or a specific amount of time spent focusing on work-related activities. Ensure that your expectations are realistic and attainable.
- Create Goals: Design a productivity plan and set goals that are to be attained in increments; this will allow underachieving employees to reach the performance levels you desire. Have your employees commit themselves to the plan.
- Incentivise: Reward your employees for achieving certain goals by offering incentives, or set up good-natured competitions to motivate them to strive for success.
- Continuous Improvement: When your employees reach a performance and productivity level you want, don't stop there. Keep tracking their time and have periodic performance reviews that are measured against the initial time-management data or the previous monitoring period's data.
The baseline for measuring employee productivity should be determined by how much the employee accomplished, not by how "busy" they were during their day. There are lots of reasons why time tracking is critical for success of most businesses. Using an effective time-tracking tool to monitor accomplishments and other metrics will help you determine where you should direct your focus with regard to examining deficiencies in productivity and developing solutions to optimise the overall productivity of your team as a whole and each member individually.
Do you have a time tracking solution currently implemented within your business? How do you track employee productivity? Tell us in the comments below!