Make Timesheet Analysis Part of Your Time Management Tools – Why Your Business Needs Time Tracking
Building a business from the ground up is one of the most time-consuming yet highly rewarding feelings you will ever experience. There’s nothing better than working hard on a goal or target and seeing that hard work pay dividends as a result. In the business world, it doesn’t matter how big or how small your company is, or which products or services you sell, there is always room for improvement. Once you’re satisfied, the hard work stops, you get complacent, and you begin to make costly errors. Many businesses are now utilizing timesheet analysis as part of their time management tools, and in all honesty they’re wishing they’d started doing it sooner. You see, managing your time, and your employees’ time is very difficult, and ironically, it’s also very time-consuming. This is one reason why timesheet analysis and other similar time management tools are proving to be so effective. If you’re not sure whether time tracking is right for your company, hopefully after reading this you’ll be convinced that it is. Here’s a look at what time tracking software is, and why your business will benefit from time tracking.
What is time tracking software?
Put as simply as we can, time tracking software is a form of specially created computer software which has been created to enable business owners and employees to monitor and log hours worked, time spent on tasks, estimation of deadlines, time off, billable hours, and much more besides. Many industries now use timesheet reporting, especially those who pay employees by the hour, or who employ freelance workers. One of the best things about time tracking software is the fact that it can be used individually as a stand-alone, or you can integrate it with other software applications such as Outlook. By doing this, you can then integrate it with, say, the Outlook calendar to help get a better insight into your business, ongoing tasks, and your employees. Basically, just think of time tracking software as an updated version of the traditional paper timesheet that many workers had to stamp when starting and leaving work decades ago.
Why your business needs time tracking
Now that you have a better idea of what time tracking software is, we’ll now take a look at timesheet analysis and will look at why your business needs time tracking and time management tools to perform more efficiently:
Although you won’t need reminding, we’re going to do so anyway as we tell you that time is money. In the business world, time wasted is money wasted, and nobody wants that. If you’re sitting around going through paper invoice after paper invoice as well as paper timesheets, and manually trying to determine how many hours your employees worked last week, this is going to take a long time. Even with the neatest and tidiest filing system in the world, it is still going to take a long time. The time spent digging through sheets of paper could be time spent working on a project with an upcoming deadline hurtling toward you at breakneck speed. The same goes for employees as well by the way. If they are digging through sheet of paper after sheet of paper, and spending time on logistic work that can wait, workflows and productivity levels are going to drop. This is why it pays to make timesheet analysis part of your time management tools. With time tracking, you can find the data you need to find with a few clicks. Employees can streamline their progress, hours worked, and invoicing much faster, leaving them with more time to spend working on jobs and projects that make their place of employment money.
Get a clearer insight into employee productivity
First and foremost, time tracking software is NOT designed as a way for employers and business owners to spy on their employees. It is basically designed to give you a brief yet informative overview of how well the business is performing, and how well your employees are performing. With timesheet analysis, you can get a brief overview of how well your employees are performing. It allows you to see how far along they are with certain tasks and projects and it allows you to see how well they have performed. If for example, you can see that certain employees always seem to complete tasks and projects on time, or meet deadlines well in advance, this shows you how well they are performing, and it emphasizes their importance to you and your company. If, however, you can see certain employees struggling with deadlines and project completion rates, this shows that improvement is needed. Now, it’s important to note that this should NOT be used as a way of disciplining the employee as they may have a legitimate reason for struggling. What you can do however, is take them aside, sit down with them, and find out whether they are struggling, and if so, why. Here you can then come up with a solution that benefits both parties.
Assign help when needed
Sticking with the theme we just touched upon above with regard to employee productivity, if you can see that employees are struggling to hit deadlines on specific projects, you can assign help. Say for example, a similar project is due over the coming weeks, by looking at previous data via your timesheet reports, you will be able to determine that one employee alone will struggle to meet the deadline. Here you can pull employees off of less pressing tasks and re-assign them to the tougher jobs so that you have more than one employee working on a project that requires more than one person.
Another great thing about timesheet analysis is the fact that it allows you to prioritize tasks and better assign your employees to the roles they are most comfortable with. If for example, you ordinarily have two employees working on a task that actually only needs one person, you can pull one of them off that task and re-assign him or her to a more pressing job. If you can see that, for the last several months, you have assigned two employees to projects that actually only required one, the data on screen will not lie and you can pull one and place him/her onto the more pressing tasks. In fact, with time tracking software, you can get a clear insight into how far along you and your employees are with projects and can prioritize jobs as such. If for example, you have a deadline for a project approaching that is still quite a way from completion, you can pull people from less-pressing tasks and reassign them to projects with approaching deadlines. It’s all about manpower and time tracking lets you see who you need, and where.
More accurate forecasting and billing
In the world of business, not only do you need to know how much money you are making, but you need to let your clients know how much your products and/or services are going to cost. When giving a client a quite for a project, there’s no easier way to alienate them and ensure they never use you again, than coming up with a rough estimate that is way off, resulting in you having to charge them far more than the quote you gave them. Imagine somebody coming to your house to price up a bathroom and saying that they can do it for a certain price, giving you a quote for said price, and then handing you a bill at the end for more than double the initial quote they gave you. This would annoy you no end, and not only would you not use the company again, you’d also be tempted to leave a poor review and to tell other people to stay clear. With time tracking however, much of the guesswork is taken away. When providing clients with quotes, you can simply look at previous projects that fit a very similar criteria, and can look at what is needed, and how much you typically charge. It means that there are no hidden surprises at the end, which in turn means that you are more likely to gain a happy and hopefully regular customer that recommends you, leaves a good review, and uses your services again and again.
Tracking time shows you when you need to hire
By looking at time management tools and timesheet analysis in general, you get an idea of whether or not you need to upscale and start hiring new people. It allows you to see how hard your employees are working, how many hours they are spending on projects, and whether or not deadlines are met. If you are barely hitting deadlines, or are missing them, despite everybody working flat out, the time has come to take on more people, and time tracking software helps show you this on screen.
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