Remote working has been around for a few years now, but not everyone received this new trend with open arms. Employers raised concerns of mistrust, wondering if remote teams actually spend time working.
But once they started to track time, they could see the proof of work. Time tracking software not only logged employees’ worked hours but also provided data that was valuable in strategic decision-making.
The time tracking software market continues to grow and is expected to reach a CAGR of 20.40 percent in the forecast period of 2021 to 2028.
So, how can time tracking boost remote team productivity and increase company performance? It all depends on how you implement it. That’s what we’ll cover in this article. We will also share the benefits of time tracking for remote teams.
5 Actionable Ways to Implement Time Tracking for Remote Teams
It’s paramount that employees don’t perceive time tracking as a form of restraint. One perk of working from home is the flexibility it offers, and when you take that away, team morale will drop. You want team support on your side if you want to see a boost in productivity.
Following are some effective ways to track time for your remote team, without sacrificing the employees’ trust.
Explain Your Intentions
Time tracking presents a great opportunity for the company to stay on top of things. But it’s an area you need to approach with care. It’s not just about introducing a time tracking software and letting it run.
You need to be smarter about the implementation process and gain team buy-in right from the start. Explain why you’re implementing time tracking, its importance to the company, and how it works.
Don’t forget to mention what’s in it for them. Employees will embrace new technology better knowing it will have a positive impact on their personal and professional lives.
Explain What Tracking Time Doesn’t Mean
Some employees will feel like time tracking could compromise their privacy and professional dignity. You must come clean about how the information collected about them will be used.
Explain to your employees that time tracking is there to provide a useful benchmark and won’t be used as a single source for evaluating their work. You need to stress that it won’t act as a digital form of micromanagement.
Assure your employees that you are not spying on them. Instead, you wish to uncover potential shortcuts in the work process and create a better working environment.
Remember to clearly outline the expectations, rules, and requirements of time tracking.
Configure the Time Tracking Process to Be Easy
Everyone on the team must know how to use the software, so they can log their hours more accurately. Otherwise, time tracking will just become another burden.
To make the process effortless:
- Choose a clock-in clock-out app that doesn’t demand a long and complicated learning curve. The initial setup should be straightforward and using it even simpler. All they need to do is turn on the timer and the app automatically records all the data.
- Clearly outline the procedure for logging work hours and make it obligatory to track all work-related activities. One study by AffinityLive cited in the Harvard Business Review revealed that the American economy is losing 59 million hours every day, in productivity. That’s largely because workers don’t track all their activities.
- Take it for a test ride. Let the teams test the time tracking software for at least a month to get a feel of how it works. Set a start and end date, and schedule a retrospective with your team for subsequent feedback.
Once employees learn to use the time tracking system, they can do so more confidently. In turn, reporting, billing, and payroll become a breeze.
Ask for Feedback and Make Adjustments
During the pre-adoption phase, some issues, concerns, and mistakes may come up. After running the pilot program, gather feedback from your remote team to determine potential flaws in your implementation technique.
This allows you to work together towards improving the process. Team inclusion will go a long way in boosting motivation and engagement.
Lead By Example
Employees will be motivated to track their work hours if you lead by example. So, start tracking your own time and share your results with them. A reliable time tracking app should offer detailed reports that you can easily share with your employees.
Go through the information, and interpret the data together. This will encourage them to start monitoring their work time.
How to Choose a Time Tracking Software
First and foremost, consider the features you’d want in a time tracker. This will vary, depending on factors like the type of business and the number of employees. The best employee monitoring software should offer:
- Productivity tracking. The ability to see employees’ activity levels, what apps and websites they use, and optional screenshots to provide proof of work.
- Multiple ways to track time. Besides starting and stopping the timer, it should have the ability to add time entries manually.
- Automated timesheets and reports. You’re tracking time not just to increase the productivity of your remote teams, but also that of your entire business. Timesheets and time reports provide real-time data for analysis and to share with clients or superiors. Advanced programs allow you to filter reports and have them generated on a regular basis.
- Invoicing. Choose a time tracker that automates invoicing. Some tools allow you to schedule reports to be sent out at specific dates and times each week or month.
Apart from the features, here are other things to consider:
The program you want should offer a free demo, tutorials, guides, and helpful tips. This makes the onboarding process seamless. You’ll also want to check out their customer support, chat and phone support, and FAQs page.
Find out what other people say about the time tracker. Customers use platforms like Capterra and G2 to submit reviews about a product. If they have mobile apps, read the reviews on Google Play Store and Apple Store.
Another crucial factor is the cost of the time-tracking solution. Will you choose a paid or free time tracking app? Does it offer a free plan and a free trial? How much does it cost to upgrade? Is the payment process straightforward? Do they offer custom pricing if you have a large team?
All things considered, it’s a good idea to go for a tool that fits your budget.
Benefits of Tracking Time for Your Remote Team
We mentioned earlier that you should clarify how employees will benefit from time tracking. Here are some of the main benefits of accurate timekeeping:
- Automate data collection and increase accuracy. When data is processed automatically, you are guaranteed accurate calculations, which is crucial for billing and payroll processing. Errors will be avoided, and accountants will spend less time processing data.
- Increased trust between employers and employees. Employers will always know which projects are being worked on. This visibility means employees won’t have to report back as often.
- Measure and find ways to improve productivity. Time tracking gives you an overview of how time is spent, so you can learn from your work habits. This helps you plan timelines that are manageable and realistic.
- Better project planning and estimation. Measuring time spent on projects enables you to create better project estimates in the future. The time tracking data serves as a reference point when distributing work and setting deadlines.
- Better understanding of time usage. Having an accurate record of logged work hours paints a clearer picture of how company time is spent. Are there too many time-wasting activities? Do employees clock in and out in time? Which project delivery dates have been missed?
Besides helping managers track productivity and get a better idea of the efficacy of remote workers, tracking time has another important role. That’s to ensure employees enjoy better work-life balance.
A recent study from Nature Human Behavior found that remote employees spent 10 percent longer logged each week. That’s equivalent to four additional hours weekly for someone who works 40 hours every week. This worrying trend can lead to burnout, exhaustion, and increased turnover.
Time tracking highlights cases of overworking, so you can address them and promote the well-being of employees.
Time tracking is essential to boost effective business operations and support an efficient work process, especially when managing a remote team. However, this technique can only work if there’s transparency and proper implementation.
If you want to see positive results and an increase in performance and productivity, it’s imperative to gain employees’ trust first.