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Time tracking has been a part of the daily work day for as long as most of us remember. From the early days of coal miner’s having their attendance checked off when they arrived at work for the day and again at night onto grabbing a time card and having it punched or stamped by a clock mechanism. Today, almost every business has some form of time tracking to help keep track of where their employees are and for how long.
Unfortunately some companies still rely on employees keeping track of their own hours and turning in timesheets. The problem with this is plain human imperfection. Time sheets get lost; people get busy and forget to write down their time, either arriving or leaving and a variety of other reasons. All of which can make it difficult to know exactly what is going on in the way of production.
Benefits of time tracking
Besides knowing how much pay each employee is to receive, time tracking has a number of other benefits. A small sampling of the benefits includes, but is not limited to:
- Billable Hours – Having everyone keep track of the time they spend on individual projects makes it easier to show customers where the figures come from when you produce a bill.
- Help with Estimates – By knowing how long similar projects have taken in the past, you are better able to estimate the time involved, and therefore the labor cost, of current projects.
- Show Where Cuts Can be Made – Often it is clear that time is not being used constructively. By having everyone keep track of time, it is easier to see those hidden time stealers that sneak into everybody’s day.
- Setting Accurate Completion Dates – Customers want to know how long a project will take. By knowing how long similar projects have taken, you can give a more accurate completion date than simply guesstimating.
- Showing You Need More Help – If you have to bring more people into a project, you will have proof that they were necessary.
How to Track Time
There are various ways to get your employees to track time effectively. You can still make them responsible for their own time tracking by teaching personal methods such as writing down starting and ending times throughout the day. This, however, can fail for the reason stated earlier.
You might institute an Excel spreadsheet that can have employees sign into Google Docs and fill it in when they have the time throughout the day. This could work if everyone remembers the password, URL and to actually sign in.
Then there are a multitude of apps and computer software that you can use to help keep track of everyone. This is often a viable solution as most employees now have the use of phones throughout the day.
Finally, there are online time tracking sites, like Clockspot that can not only make time tracking easier, but can help make tasks like payroll easier, further freeing up time.
Whatever method of tracking time fits into your lifestyle, it can lead to saving money, greater production and the ability to feel more confident in your interactions with customers. In the end, you’ll wonder how you ever got anything done without it!