With more and more employees working remotely, employee time tracking is becoming vital for many businesses. Good time tracking practices can reduce labour costs, increase productivity, and lesson the need for expensive HR departments. On top of this, studies show that it increases worker engagement for staff too.
But how do you implement good employee time tracking in the modern world where the workforce is so fractious? That’s the million-dollar question and one that we aim to answer in our employee time tracking tips and hints guide. Let’s get started.
What are the Advantages of Good Employee Time Tracking?
There are many advantages to using good employee time tracking processes, these include:
Reduces The Need for Micromanagement of Employees
Managers in any company have a number of responsibilities to deal with on a daily basis. These can include
- Overseeing staff tasks
- Communicating data to senior management
- Managing their own share of the projects of the business
With so many things to manage it’s no surprise that things often become complex quickly. An easy way to reduce some of this burden is to employ an effective time tracking process. Employee time tracking eliminates the need for micromanaging employees allowing managers to look after more pressing matters. This can also reduce confrontation and feelings of animosity between managers and staff members. Senior staff constantly checking on or hovering over employees can grate and irritate the staff.
No Need for Bulky Time Sheets When Using Software
One of the worst things you find working as a manager or employee in any company is trying to keep track of all the paperwork regarding your role. Timesheets are an archaic and cumbersome burden and quickly become difficult to monitor and manage. Losing even one timesheet can cost a company heavily and may lead to incorrect payment to employees. Having a good time tracking software system ensures that paperwork doesn’t pile up or go missing.
Helps With Creating Schedules
In order for a company to run well, they need to schedule staff to work when they are most effective and needed. Being unable to take on or handle projects can cost the company a great deal of money. A good employee time tracking system will allow managers to schedule workers and their actions effectively to deal with the demands of all projects.
Makes Calculating Payroll Easy
Calculating payroll for employees can become a painful and time-consuming task, which is fraught with errors. Time and resources wasted calculating how much to pay each employee costs money – money that could be better used elsewhere in the business. One of the big advantages of using a good employee time tracking system is the ease at which it can link into the payroll system. This can reduce the need for lengthy HR processes.
In addition to this, it can also help both employees and employers spot errors with pay. This can allow problems to be spotted and dealt with before they become costly and time consuming.
For a company to be successful, all the employees need to pull their weight and always give their best. If any employee is not taking the job seriously then they may feel there is no need to follow rules and may look to claim that they have been working longer than they have. Time tracking employees allows you to spot those who are shirking responsibilities and not completing their full shift pattern.
Errors in timekeeping and documentation while rare, do happen. A good employee timekeeping solution automates much of the process of timekeeping, taking it out of the hands of employees. This can lead to less errors that can be costly to remedy.
Accurate Billing of Clients
Billing clients when you charge by the hour can become a complicated task. This becomes especially difficult if you use multiple staff members on one client’s project. Time tracking software can allow you to track how many hours each member of staff works allowing for accurate billing.
Are There any Disadvantages of Tracking Employee Time?
While there are far fewer disadvantages to tracking employee time, there are still a few things to bear in mind:
Decreased Employee Morale
Tracking employees’ time comes with the risk that they will feel they are being spied on. This is one of the most common fears that employees have when a time tracking system is implemented by a business.
Potential For Over-Micromanaging
The point of tracking employee time is to spend less time on managing employees. But some managers can over-manage the time of their employees. This can lead to nit-picking or observing every detail of the work process unnecessarily leading to wasted management time.
Complex Employee Time Tracking Systems Can be Expensive
The cost of an employee time tracking system can be quite high, especially if it includes other management software. Complex systems that allow automatic time tracking, payroll, or provide activity metrics and in-depth information can be extremely expensive.
Tracking Isn’t Always Easy
Not everything can be tracked and measured. Brainstorming is an example of something that’s hard to analyse or record. Sometimes it takes hours of toiling to reach a breakthrough and resolve an issue in. From a time tracking perspective, any task that is difficult to track may look like wasted time.
Employee Time Tracking FAQs
What Is an Employee Time Tracker?
In short, employee time tracking software is a computer program that helps a business accurately measure their employees’ time on tasks and projects. In its purest form, an employee hours tracker does what it says on the tin – it tracks hours, often with a focus on projects as a whole and the tasks that comprise them.
How Does Time Tracking Software Work?
There are two ways to track employee time using time tracker software. First is manual tracking – you instruct your employees to open the employee hours tracker software every time they begin working on a new task. The second way is automatic time tracking. With this feature, your employees don’t have to do anything. The system ‘reads’ the information it needs from the PC to begin tracking time. This can be as simple as the employee logging into a PC or as complicated as opening specific files relevant to a client.
This is the foundation of any good hours tracking software, but many systems have additional features, such as payroll-based and billable hours, included in the software.
What Types of Time Tracking Solutions Are Out There?
Naturally, not all time tracking systems are the same and although there aren’t any strict classifications for the software, we can roughly group them by what their main focus is:
- Task and project tracking software focusing on project workflow and task time analysis.
- Billing and invoicing apps, which feature the ability to create invoices, run payroll, and bill clients
- Basic employee timesheet app which are generally focused on attendance tracking.
How Much Do Time Tracking Solutions Cost?
The price of time tracking software varies between software. This is often based on the features they provide. The vast majority of employee time tracking apps are paid for on a monthly basis per employee. This basically means that the size of your team will determine the price of the software. This monthly fee per employee can vary wildly and may be anywhere between £5 and £50.
Can You Use Free Time Tracking Software?
You can find freemium versions of many time tracking apps. These versions often come with serious limitations that impact on functionality. Most will be missing client-based features as well as payroll functions.
What Does the Law Say About Employee Time Tracking?
There’s a bit of a grey area when it comes to the law and employee time tracking in the UK. Although the Government has set out regulations that require all employers to keep ‘adequate’ records of time and attendance, it’s not clear what exactly, ‘accurate’ means. The UK ruling does not explicitly require employees to record information of rest breaks start/end times. Rather, they are only legally required to keep ‘accurate records’ of any hours worked, especially overtime.
Solutions and Recommendations
All in all, employee time tracking is an essential part of business and implementing a software solution is a must for any workplace. I would recommend any medium to large business look at a comprehensive system that include things like payroll and client billing to reduce the need for HR teams. For smaller businesses you may get away with a simple time tracker with limited features. Either way, making sure you have the right solution for your needs is vital to the running of your business.
Our employee time tracking tips and hints guide has drawn to a close, but that doesn’t mean that your research should too. Now that you’re familiar with some of the basic facts about employee time tracking and the software that facilitate it, it might be more obvious why these systems are in demand and why it’s well worth considering for your company too.
- Clock in and out from browser
- Time tracking via Phone & Tablet app
- View & approve time records online
- Export timesheets to payroll
- View & approve staff vacation requests
- Overview of employee availability & absences