Time tracking has the obvious benefit of enabling you to save time, but that’s just one of its plentiful functions. Giving your team the means to manage their time can also assist in:
- streamlining projects
- giving employees increased independence
- improving communication with clients.
Aside from these major benefits narrowing down to considerable time saving, what are the other advantages of time tracking?
Time tracking helps team members get a clearer idea of their productivity. Having this information empowers employees to set goals for self-improvement and observe the results of any changes they adopt.
Having the tools to develop their own approach improves motivation and overall productivity, according to 2020 psychological research.
Besides boosting motivation, time tracking also helps you spot drops in productivity that could indicate a loss of enthusiasm. This gives you an early warning to identify and tackle the problems before they cause confusion.
Being unable to switch off from work may host a bunch of issues affecting employees’ health and work performance. According to studies, feeling overworked can decrease an employee’s productivity by 68% .
More importantly, medical research on the impact of overworking shows that it can lead to depressive episodes, sleeping and eating disorders and many other physical and mental health issues.
Many teams have switched to remote working for the first time over the last year, making this issue more prevalent due to the lack of separation between home and work life.
Setting a sustainable pace is an important project management skill. Time tracking reminds employees to take their breaks and not spend too much time at work.
On top of making it easier for team members to follow a healthy routine, it also increases team leaders’ awareness of employees overworking to manage their workload.
Time tracking apps like TMetric let you set time and money budgets for projects and tasks. This means you can accurately track progress and task completion and be notified when something isn’t on track.
As a result, you can assign additional employees and resources to a task before it holds up the rest of a project.
Optimizing Future Projects
Tracking the time taken for each task allows you to make better time estimates for future work. A time tracking app that keeps a full record of task progress from previous projects means you can prioritize tasks to avoid repeating the same bottlenecks.
This enables you to plan the time and resources you need for similar projects in the future, helping them run smoothly with fewer delays. TMetric recently added the option that allows you to set time estimates for individual tasks, letting you:
- plan out your next project's pace
- distribute workload
- keep focus on as much detail as needed.
While some people view time tracking as a micromanagement tool when you use it the right way it’s actually the opposite.
Giving employees the means to track their own work means they have more flexibility to tackle tasks in a routine that benefits their productivity. Flexibility is also highly valued by employees. According to research by PowWowNow , 81% of workers are more interesting in a job that offers flexible hours.
Time tracking reduces the need to micromanage employees by creating more self-accountability. Using a time tracking app to provide team members with immediate feedback on their daily progress enables them to identify and address productivity issues themselves.
Furthermore, this gives employees increased autonomy and trust as they can work towards goals and deadlines independently. This increase in autonomy can boost employee engagement, and by extension, productivity.
While it is important to give employees the freedom to manage their schedule, you can provide a little help in the form of schedule reminders. For example, sending automated reminders of upcoming meetings and deadlines via text keeps team members on schedule without dictating their workflow.
Time tracking lets you bill for your time accurately without fear of under- or over-charging clients. Besides billing your time more accurately, this information also aids your communication with clients.
Even when charging a fixed price, time tracking lets you calculate a project's profitability considering everyone's time and salary. This means you can set a fixed price that works for everyone, and if it needs to change, it’s easy to explain to your client why.
Research into construction project delays has shown that there is a correlation between ineffective client communication and delayed projects.
This is because it enables you to quantify project progress in reports and meetings in a way that everyone can understand. As a result, clients will be more comfortable understanding what they are paying for and the reason for any delays, setbacks, or additional costs.
Furthermore, your improved ability to predict and plan future projects means you can give clients more accurate estimates upfront, creating less potential friction later down the line. Managing client expectations is a vital component of successful client communication.
Manage Project Scopes
A project's scope often changes significantly as clients alter their ideas or add more features and tasks. These changes to the original plan can clash with the budget and timeline you agreed with a client.
As a result, time tracking of previous work is vital to rescheduling the project and allocating additional resources with minimal disruption to other work.
Research on the impact of project scope creep shows that the ability to reallocate resources effectively is critical to successfully managing increases in project scope. This information also helps when explaining timeline and budget changes to clients.
Control Contractor Expenses
Many businesses prefer the clarity of a fixed project price when working with contractors.
However, this isn’t always the right choice. When outsourcing a continuous workflow, such as customer service , for example, it can make more sense to pay an hourly rate.
Without accurate tracking, this can delay outsourced projects due to the need for constant communication.
If you’re paying contractors or freelancers by the hour, tracking their time makes it easier to stay within budget. While many contractors will have their own time tracked already, recording this yourself for regular review ensures you aren’t exceeding your monthly budget for outsourced work.
Bottom Line: Digital Time Tracker Is a Multipurpose Tool
Time tracking has a wide range of uses for businesses in many industries.
Used correctly, it provides many benefits to your employees. It enables and motivates them to take charge of their approach to productivity and managing their routine. They benefit outside of work, too, as time tracking can be a tool to tackle overworking and burnout.
Employers also benefit from an improved ability to manage and predict projects that lets them make better use of their teams and communicate more clearly with clients. These factors make time tracking a vital planning and management tool for every team.
About the Author
Alexa Lemzy is a content manager at TextMagic . She focuses on customer support solutions, small business growth, and internal communication.