How using time tracking software benefits the bottom line (and why your company should consider it):
I remember having to fill out my very first time sheet in the early days of my career. Back then, if companies even bothered to track salaried employees, timesheets were usually manual or printed versions of what they are now. In today’s multi-tasking, fast-paced, too-much-to-do-and-not-enough-time-to-do-it reality, employees and their managers must employ time-management strategies in order to make the most out of their most valuable resource.
The New Way of Time Tracking:
When the phrase ‘time tracking’ comes to mind, many think of simply an online timesheet, where employees enter in their hours for the week, attribute them to a specific project, client or category, and send it to their manager at the end of a work week. However, this old way of time tracking doesn’t clearly show a detailed snapshot of the employee’s day, their process or even whether the hours recorded were actually spent on a given activity.
New time tracking software has the capability to help employees to better capture their time spent on various projects, while giving managers greater visibility into the employee’s work day. In addition, companies who hire freelance workers or have remote employees working from different locations can keep costs down while ensuring accountability. Some of this software includes screen capture technology, which can take a snapshot of an employee’s computer screen at specified intervals, and even screen idle time, to pop-up with any inactivity.
Hubstaff’s Timesheet Software:
As a marketing agency owner, I am constantly shifting my time from project to project, and from client to client. Being able to track my time effectively can help me in so many ways, so I decided to try out the Hubstaff time tracking software to see if it would improve my time management skills and provide some insight into my business processes. I love that the company doesn’t require a credit card to sign up for the free trial (which is always a deterrent for me).
The process was simple to set up. I entered my email address, organization and other basic information, and downloaded the Hubstaff desktop application, which is used for my project time tracking and recording. Once I was logged into the system, I added in a few project names (clients or miscellaneous projects I’m currently working on), so that I could begin tracking time to them. I could add an unlimited number of projects, with multiple levels, which is a nice feature as I add new clients and projects. Here, you can also add multiple users, whether they are employees of your company or remote / freelance workers. Each user is tied to a specific email address.
Some of Hubstaff’s individual setting options for organizations and employees include:
- Manual time add feature, which allows the employee to manually edit or delete time
- Screenshot functions, including the ability to delete screenshots, set the frequency of screenshots taken in a 10-minute period, and screenshot blurring for security/privacy
- Idle timeout, which controls whether or not the application prompts the user to resume upon inactivity of 5 to 20 minutes
Once I confirmed these basic settings for my company, I was ready to begin tracking my time online. The Hubstaff desktop app is very simple to use, and allowed me to shift between projects with the click of a mouse. Within the Timesheets section of the Hubstaff system, I could view my time entries at a glance and see the time spent on my projects. I also appreciated being able to manually add time to a project, especially for tasks such as external meetings or travel time that I wanted to attribute to a specific project.
At the end of the work day, Hubstaff sent me an email summarizing the daily team work for that day, along with any screenshots and manual time entered for the day. I can see how Hubstaff would be valuable to agencies and companies with multiple employees working on a project.
I like that this time tracking software isn’t overly complicated, making it easy for anyone to learn to use. The fact that Hubstaff also integrates with other software programs such as Freshbooks and Basecamp would also make it easy to collaborate as well as automate invoicing and billing for agencies and development firms.
Hubstaff offers time tracking plans based on the size of the company, which is great for small businesses that have fewer employees and typically can’t afford expensive time-tracking software. I also love that they encourage spreading the word about their software, and reward users with discounts of up to 100 percent off of their bill for referrals (you can’t beat free).
Some Benefits of Time Tracking Software to Businesses:
While I am just starting to see the advantages to using Hubstaff’s time tracking app for my own marketing business, I can think of many ways that other companies could benefit from using this time tracking application. Here are a few benefits:
- Allows for flexible monitoring for different employees: Employers can decide what level of visibility they want for each employee or contract worker, from screen captures to manual functions and custom reports, for greater accountability.
- Helps companies adjust resources: Organizations can see the overall picture of time spent on a project, which can help them re-prioritize or streamline processes, or pull additional resources to a project that needs more attention.
- Keeps client or project hours in check: Companies who track billable hours (such as law firms, ad agencies and web development firms) can easily see the time spent on a project, ensuring accurate billing. For those companies that hire contract writers, designers, developers or other freelance talent, time tracking can help keep hours to a specified amount while painting a picture of the overall project timeline. Companies can also use this as a selling point for clients that may feel like they are being overcharged for work.
- Minimizes distractions: Time tracking software helps to keep the employee or remote worker accountable for their every minute, ensuring that distractions in the office won’t guide them away from the project (and giving them a way to track it if they do).
- Improves overall company time management: When employees and their managers pay more attention to time spent on daily tasks, the company can use this data to streamline processes and improve efficiency at the individual level but also throughout the organization.
With new technologies such as online time tracking software from Hubstaff, companies can keep project and operational costs down, while managing employees’ time easily and cost-effectively. And as for individual workers, time management software can help them stay on task and remain confident that they can accomplish more with the few precious hours they are given each day.
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