Almost every type of organization should encourage their employees to log time. There are a number of important reasons why you should log time (see below), but first, it’s important to squash the common excuses people use for not logging time.
Many companies will say that they don’t need to log time because they don’t bill by the hour. Whether or not your organization bills clients by the hour is actually not a reason to avoid logging time. Keep reading to find out why.
It’s not a secret that most people consider logging time a hassle. Some employees are even insulted when they are asked to log their time. Fortunately, there are lots of great time tracking tools that make this easy. Time tracking is an easy habit to develop, and it really only takes a few seconds to create a time log.
1. Know where your time is spent
Do you really know where your employees are spending their time? For example, if you have a team of software engineers, then how much of their time is being spent on research, meetings, coding, and QA? You may find that it makes sense to hire a(nother) QA person if it turns out that your engineers are spending too much time doing it themselves. Or, you may find that your employees are spending 40% of their time in meetings. Is that too much? You get the idea.
2. Understand why your projects are over budget
There are many possible reasons why projects go over budget. So let’s suppose that one of your projects goes over budget. Now what? If your team hasn’t logged time, then it’s going to be very difficult (and imprecise) to determine why the project went over budget. Good time tracking habits can help you determine exactly where in the process things broke down. Especially if your time tracking tool has the ability for users to log time against a specific work role and team.
3. Helps you stay on track
When employees are required to log their time then it can help them stay focused. Knowing that a timer is running can also create a sense of urgency. We all know that employees are subject to diversions, such as Facebook, Twitter, BuzzFeed, etc. But if a timer is running then it may prevent them from deviating from the task at hand.
4. Understand historical utilization
Understanding employee utilization is one of the best ways to optimize a business. For example, do you know if each one of your employees is 100% utilized? And, do you know if your company has capacity to take on more work? If so, how much? Answering these questions requires the use of a resource planning tool. But time tracking is needed if you want to fully analyze this data in a historical context. If someone was allocated (i.e., estimated) to work 12 hours on a project, but they logged 14 hours against that project, then you can have a better sense of their efficiency. Of course, you can also use this information to show how accurate you are at estimating how long a task with take.
5. Gain valuable insights
Logging time can reveal unexpected insights into your business. For example, let’s suppose that you primarily offer two types of services to your clients, Service A and Service B. Let’s further suppose that you offer them of the same price. If your employees keep track of all time spent for each of those services, then you may find that 67% of your time is spent on Service A, whereas, only 33% is spent on Service B. This insight suggests that you may only want to offer Service B moving forward since it generates the same amount of money, but takes half as much time as Service A. If you’re not logging time, then these insights are difficult, if not impossible, to obtain.
There are lots of useful time tracking tools to choose from, such as: Harvest, TSheets, Toggl, Timely, TimeCamp, etc. Or, you may find that a fully integrated solution like Ravetree is more appropriate for your team. Either way, we highly recommend that your organization embrace time tracking. You’ll be glad you did!