Employees spend 30-35% of their work time dealing with personal issues, social media, or taking tea breaks. These studies appear in the media, with similar figures articulated by business coaches and professional publications. With mass transition to remote work the anxiety of entrepreneurs and business owners in this regard has only increased.
Is it necessary to control employees with the help of specialized programs? When are time trackers necessary and when are they clearly unhealthy? What types of time trackers can be? Let’s find out.
WHAT IS TIME TRACKER?
Time tracker is a program that helps you track all the activities of a person during his working hours. Open websites and applications, mouse activity, periods of absence, etc. You install the program on employees' computers and receive reports on how they use their work time.
WHAT TYPES OF SYSTEMS CAN BE USED FOR TIME TRACKING?
Systems that allow you to remotely control the working time of employees are divided into three types:
1) UEBA (User and Entity Behavior Analytics);
2) DLP (Data Leak Prevention);
3) Actual time tracking systems.
The main task of UEBA and DLP is to secure the company and prevent hacker attacks. These systems track atypical user behavior and report deviations. Since they track all the activities of employees on computers, productivity control is also included in their functionality. Advanced DLP systems see when employees are late, play computer games or attend dating sites. Moreover, systems can determine which of the employees are on the verge of burnout, and who is looking for new work on specialized sites.
While UEBA and DLP also allow you to control the behavior of employees, we will focus on the third type – systems designed specifically for time tracking.
There are a wide variety of such programs available on the market. Just a few examples: Clockify, Kickidler, ActivTrak, Teramind, Time Doctor, Bitcop, CrocoTime, Teamon.live.
WHAT BENEFITS TIME TRACKERS CAN BRING TO YOUR BUSINESS?
FOR EMPLOYEES/REMOTE WORKERS:
You can get more work done in less time, better organize your workflow and, as a result, have more money or free time. Time trackers help you to stay focused and disciplined. You will also find out what tasks you spend more time on and be able to better plan your workflow without “rush work.”
You will learn and improve the productivity of your employees.
The time tracker program will allow you to see weak spots in your workflow. Thanks to the program reports, you will find out the reason for the slow work and take the necessary actions to fix it.
You can save the company’s money.
The company should not pay for the hours when the employee is engaged in personal affairs, creating the illusion of work. With the help of a time tracker, you will find out who really works in good conscience, and who is worth having a conversation with.
You can calculate employees' payments more easily.
The time tracker will do all the calculations (how many hours per month the employee really worked and how many rested), compile them into a report and create a working time calendar. This will allow you to determine the sum of the payment quickly and easily.
You can monitor the status of assigned tasks.
You can control tasks that should be completed in a certain amount of time. Or the employee himself can set tasks, with you always knowing what exactly he was working on.
WHEN TIME TRACKERS ARE SUPERFLUOUS?
For a small business with limited resources.
For small companies, the use of trackers can be overkill. They do not need such a large-scale accounting. Installing a time-tracker system takes time and effort: you need to choose it, understand the interface, and train employees. It is like booking a whole train for transporting 20 people.
When performance needs to be measured differently.
There are business models where you will be better off measuring the result, not time. Some companies prefer not to keep track of working hours but to tie employers' motivation with the plan delivery or certain metrics achievement.
For creative professionals and managers.
The use of time trackers outlives its meaning as the position grows. Executive positions often extend beyond the working day with goals and results that can’t be measured by the number of hours spent on emails.
For positions suggesting more freedom and unconventional solutions (for example, logisticians, architects, or content creators) such systems can be harmful. Being constantly under pressure of time control can significantly reduce the quality of their work.
5 COOL TIME TRACKERS FOR EVERY TASTE
In the top of time tracking solutions, Clockify has earned a special place for a combination of the simplest interface and extensive time tracking capabilities. Throw integration to all major applications (from JIRA to Google Calendar) into the mix and you’ll get a solid time tracking solution suitable both for freelancers’ invoicing and detailed work schedules within in-house businesses.
With this app, you can track exactly how much time you spend on a certain task. You print the name of the task, turn on the timer and turn it off when the job is finished. Also, you can view a list of completed tasks, build a task chart, and keep track of what you spend your time on. The application works fine within Apple, Android, and Windows operating systems.
A powerful application that allows you not only to keep task tracking, but to possess a full set of productivity analytics, reflecting the picture of the day in terms of programs and applications being used throughout working time.
This application gives you the ability to control not just work but your entire life by starting and stopping the timer of various mundane tasks. At the end of the day, you will be able to see the full report and make informed judgments on your productivity. The application has a very neat and attractive design, but it is only available for Apple devices.
5) MY MINUTES
A free application dedicated to setting and achieving goals. Just imagine: you were planning to work for half an hour, but got distracted by an email and spent an hour responding to a friend? The app will give you a nudge if you stay too long on the wrong task and pat you on the shoulder when you reach your goal in time. Available for Apple and Android devices.
IN A NUTSHELL
So, should you use time trackers? The answer is yes! Even if you are a small startup, it's important to have a clear understanding of everyone's work processes. Especially, if the team is remote. Time tracker can help you eliminate a lot of controversial points and improve the team spirit.
If you are a big company, where it is simply impossible to keep track of everyone in person, the tracker program will do that for you. Install it, view the reports, and make your moves.