Employee time tracking is one of the longest standing and consistent traditions at Taylor Studios, Inc. All employees and managers keep weekly time sheets that track how each day is spent – breaking down their days and hours into time spent both on specific project line items and on overhead categories such as in-house training, meetings, and miscellaneous administrative tasks such as reading/answering email. Time goal spreadsheets for each project are updated weekly using these figures and posted throughout the company as up-to-date guides. Time spent on overhead items are analyzed at least yearly and provide management with important information that can be used to tweak staff productivity.
Employee time tracking does not seem to be a common practice for our clients. Here are 7 reasons why you may want to consider it:
- It Improves Efficiency
Tracking calories has the biggest impact on losing weight. Likewise, awareness of how much time a task takes can improve your productivity. Setting a goal first and measuring your progress against it can create an incentive for thinking about ways to be more efficient if you fall behind. It’s a great tool in diagnosing productivity issues.
- Improves Scheduling and Planning
If you don’t know how long a typical activity takes, it will be impossible to forecast and plan for projects. Project time goal data serves as an important source of historical information when pursuing and analyzing future projects.
- Increases Trust
Being on schedule and within budget will improve your credibility. I recently talked with a colleague who went to work for an employer in a similar industry. This colleague said that no one in his department could tell him how long it would take to complete a particular task, like design a graphic, build a kiosk, or write something. The department he inherited was known throughout the organization for being extremely late in completing their projects, and so was not seen as reliable or conscientious.
- It’s Professional
If you are expert at your craft, you should have some idea of how long tasks will take. Lord Kelvin said, “If you can measure that of which you speak and can express it by a number, you know something of your subject; but if you cannot measure it, your knowledge is meager and unsatisfactory.” You will be respected if you know how long your work takes.
- It Increases Accountability and Good Behaviors
I’ve heard stories of maintenance workers who go hide and sleep in their trucks or workers who stretch the work out so they are not expected to do more. Being able to set reasonable, quantifiable expectations for staff helps assure that these types of behaviors are few. It can also tell you who your best staff members are. It can be a measurable instead of a subjective review of their performance.
- It Improves Your Return on Investment (ROI)
Labor hours are often the biggest investment you make. Organizations may balk at spending $1,000 on materials, but won’t hesitate to have someone spend 40 hours on a task that doesn’t add to the bottom line. Why aren’t labor hours given the same scrutiny? Thinking in terms labor hours invested can help you determine the worth of a particular action or path.
- It Creates a Well-Run Organization
Making labor hours a visual in the workplace will inform the whole team of progress made and provide an important starting point for communication. If you want to go even further, you can implement 5S and LEAN practices. It also helps you figure out who is good at what. Then you can assign those team members to their strengths.
All in all, there are many benefits to time tracking. Labor hours are an important part of any business, so track them, analyze them, and apply the results for a more efficient and productive business.
“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it”. – Stephen R. Covey