Get a Time Tracking Log in Outlook for Your Project Timesheet
If your company has been struggling to meet deadlines on projects, maintain estimated budgets, and accomplish goals in general, it is vital for you to start taking ownership of your time. Once you do that, you will be able to optimize and improve your workflow in no time.
Project timesheets are a key feature of keeping track of your time, providing you with real-time insights into the workflow of your organization and helping manage both current projects and plan future ones more efficiently and correctly.
Why Should You Maintain a Project Timesheet?
A project timesheet tells you who is spending what amount of time on which project or client, and when, as well as their progress. The availability of all that data is crucial for upgrading the workflow, ultimately contributing to organizational success and improved revenues in several ways that include the following.
Tracks the Progress on Projects
As you now know the amount of time being spent on each project, the time dedicated can be compared to the output produced – an important indicator of cost-effectiveness at a department or the entire organization. This data can be crucial in determining which projects require the most time, thereby needing to be prioritized, which ones take longer than required, and which need to be optimized or lent a helping hand. Problems can be identified before it is too late.
Tracking staff behavior and knowing how productive your team has been is crucial in providing the best possible service to your clients in the future, thereby, improving the profits your firm will bring in.
A time tracking log can help you determine your employee engagement rate, and the strengths and weaknesses of each employee, hence, helping you make better managerial decisions and staff assignments to maximize efficiency. Once you know who is better at which task, assigning it to them again in the future will speed up timely delivery and raise profitability.
Other vital staff information provided by project timesheets includes who is currently free to be assigned to another project, which team logs in fewer hours and has the capacity to be assigned additional work, who is being overworked, who your most efficient employees are, and which employee needs a helping hand. Timesheet tracking logs can play an instrumental role in generating the right kind of data and reports, helping you in employee performance appraisals and audits.
Some timesheet solutions may also function as simple flextime solutions by setting a target on the number of hours that should be logged in by different employees, depending upon their designation. For example, a part-time employee should perhaps only log in up to 20 hours a week, and no more.
Enhances Employee Satisfaction
Now that it is possible to know how much time each employee is spending on each task, ensuring an equitable distribution of workload is made possible with a time tracking log. Not being overworked and having enhanced ownership over their own time translates to improved employee morale and satisfaction.
Employees now have increased access to their personalized time reports, helping them identify where they are lagging, where they are overburdened, how much time they have spent on different things, and measure their productivity – which means that they are more aware of their work schedule in advance.
Knowing their peak work hours and understanding that their time log can be viewed by employers allows them to improve, focus right, and get the job done on time, translating into greater productivity and employee satisfaction.
A Time Tracking Log Provides You With a Competitive Edge
Once you start tracking how your time and money are being spent and optimized, the resultant improvement in your company’s productivity is bound to make waves.
When you support your client’s billing with a thoroughly maintained project timesheet, they know where their money is going. As this leaves no room for conflict, it would mean sustained client relationships and more business on the basis of positive word-of-mouth alone. As the business processes are streamlined and staff motivated to do better at their jobs, customer service will only improve.
The Switch to Digital Project Timesheets
Although most business owners and managers would like to track time in their organization, given the numerous benefits listed above, it is only relatively recently that they took the digital route. Before that, paper records were used to maintain a time tracking log – a time-consuming, costly, and ineffective practice.
Keeping paper logs involves long hours of manual labor, replete with calculation and other such errors whose rechecking would consume even more time. Made worse if the employees are working from home or remotely, this entire practice is unnecessarily expensive, both in terms of time and money, which is why there has been a shift towards digital project timesheets.
Since the timesheets are recorded and maintained daily using software, the accuracy of time tracking is maximized as the employees no longer need to remember how much time they spent on something a week or two back. In addition to improved convenience and speed, it also prevents a lot of errors as manual paperwork is often riddled with incorrect data.
Using Time Tracking Software with Outlook Integration
Most companies, be they small businesses or large enterprises, already use Microsoft Outlook to manage meetings, create appointments, send emails, and maintain calendars, as well as for housing a significant amount of crucial information on clients. All employees use it regularly and are well-versed in Outlook features.
A project timesheet, in the form of a simple Outlook plugin, can make life easier by building upon this existing infrastructure that everyone is familiar with. Outlook appointments already store the data required for a time tracking log. All you need to do is repurpose it by adding organizations, projects, and activities when starting an appointment and as you save it, the time entry is automatically logged in onto a project timesheet.
The time entries can be reviewed by managers and employers, thereby minimizing the risk of inaccurate data being recorded. Complete reliability of data is crucial for organizational success as this data may be used by management and departments like Accounting and Human Resources in tasks such as staff management, client billing, and payroll. Hence, using an Outlook-supported time tracking solution helps avoid issues such as over-billing or underbilling, potential errors in reporting activities, or time entries.
Moreover, since everyone is already accustomed to Outlook and its calendar function, no additional training is required when making the transition to an Outlook time tracking log. Not only does this save time and money but it also does not discourage employees from adapting to a big change in how things work around the office.
Using Outlook for a time-keeping purpose does not change the way it works for other purposes. All it does is simplify the process of creating a time tracking log which is why it is crucial you procure a timesheeting solution with Outlook integration as soon as possible.
Features to Look Out For
Noting the importance of maintaining a time tracking log, there are numerous solutions out there that can assist you in tracking your time efficiently. While looking for a suitable time tracking solution, it is crucial you keep some features in mind that will enhance the efficiency of the software and the project timesheet it creates.
Widespread Accessibility and Compatibility
If you run a company that has employees all over the world, you would want your timesheeting software to be available in multiple languages. In addition to that, as different employees use different kinds of devices, it is recommended that the solution be compatible with different kinds of operating systems. It is a further plus if the solution can run seamlessly on a smartphone as well.
Besides being compatible with devices, you would also want your software to smoothly integrate within the digital ecosystem. This means that the project timesheet should be easily exportable to other third-party software such as Excel, ERP, CRM, and Accounting software applications, so that the same data may be used for other purposes, without wasting any time inputting the data all over again.
Ease and Simplicity of Use
Since some employees are not always to keen on adapting to new changes, a smooth transition can be attained by opting for a solution that has a user-friendly interface. Making use of Outlook-integrated software is already one step in the right direction.
Generation of Easy-to-read Reports
Whatever solution you end up using, it should be able to provide the employers with comprehensive data to analyze before creating plans for future timelines, assignments, and recruitment needs. This data can be presented to the management in various useful forms, such as graphs and tables, different variables such as conducting a performance analysis of a particular employee or comparing the time dedicated by two different employees working on two different projects.
All this data provides valuable insights to the employers regarding the productivity of their workspace, which assists them in making better managerial decisions.
Provision of Reminders to Employees
Besides being a storehouse of data, your timesheet software should also have the capability to issue timely reminders for time entries based on a pre-decided schedule. Not only does that get the job done but it also does not affect your relations with your employees as you no longer need to interrupt them during their workflow to remind them to fill out their time tracking log. Your timekeeping solution should help you with that.
Obtaining a time reporting solution is something you need to immediately implement to ensure the success of your business. There are numerous advantages to doing so and getting one that is compatible with Outlook has its additional set of benefits. Once you keep track of where your time is going, you can optimize it and make your business more competitive than ever before.
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