Time Entry Systems – How To Get the Right Time Tracker
In a time of startup culture when new businesses keep opening around you and the competition is at an all-time high, doing the bare minimum is no longer enough. You need to find a way to get more work done in a limited time and improve the overall value of that work, and that begins by keeping a thorough account of where your time is going.
Time entry systems maximize operational efficiency by tracking the time every employee in every department spends on every project, client, or activity. This process has long been digitalized and administrative tasks automated as more and more firms are finally understanding its importance and striving to find a suitable time tracker. While getting a time entry system is extremely important, getting the right one is equally, if not more, essential.
The Need for a Time Entry System
Time entry systems upgrade your workflow in a multitude of ways that include:
- Identifying gaps in your productivity by observing which tasks take longer than they should and optimizing them;
- Providing an omniscient view of employees to track performance, budgets, deadlines, progress, and other such factors;
- Boosting the productivity of employees as they can see how they spent their time and improve accordingly;
- Improving human resource management by identifying individual strengths and weaknesses, reallocating duties in an equitable fashion accordingly and having enhanced visibility of who is free and able to take on additional work;
- Saving costs that would otherwise be wasted on the maintenance of manual records;
- Identifying the hours wasted on non-billable activities such as intra-department meetings, administrative affairs, etc.;
- Upgrading capacity planning because the available trends and analytics help refine future recruitments, deadlines, budgets, and staff assignments;
- Ensuring happier employees by providing them with an enhanced ownership over their own time, as they can view their schedule in advance;
- Carrying out financial tracking by adding expenses such as hotel and mileage, and hourly rates to time entries to carry out automatic calculations of budget and profit;
- Raising client satisfaction by providing them with a thorough account of where exactly all their money is going, and leaving no room for conflict;
- Increasing revenue by maximizing the productivity and efficiency of your organization;
- Providing your business with the competitive edge it needs.
Why are Outlook-compatible Time Entry Systems Ideal?
Since time is what we are optimizing when using time entry systems, who has the time to learn new software from scratch? Most businesses already base their digital infrastructure on Microsoft Outlook, be it for sending emails or booking appointments in their Calendar. If you have the option to obtain a time tracker that supplements this pre-existing system, what better alternative is there?
Outlook-compatible time entry systems allow you to add projects, activities, organizations, clients, and customers to the appointments you were already going to make in your Outlook Calendar, thereby converting it into a time entry. You have the option to manually edit time entries and also to submit them for approval if you wish.
As it allows you to create projects, parse them into tasks and associate them with the right clients, you save an enormous amount of time and money that would be wasted if you were to use different software.
What Makes a Time Tracker Stand Out?
With so many time trackers out there, each one promising its own set of advantages, it is vital for you to choose a system that is ideal for your business. No matter why you get a time entry system, the right time tracker for you is one that has most, if not all, of the following features, each of which come with their unique benefits.
A User-friendly Interface
Since everyone is already busy with giving their best at work, no one wants to put learning additional software on their to-do list. The best time entry system for you would be one that is simple to learn and use, requiring minimal time and effort. That way, your employees are more likely to quickly adopt time entries into their daily routine.
Filters for Data
The major plus point for time entry systems is the employers’ ability to review the available data, in multiple forms, with multiple filters, at any time and place. The ideal time tracker easily summarizes where your team is spending time in graphs, as well as tables, offering a view into the productivity of the workspace.
Information about a particular employee’s performance, as well as a team’s pace report, should all be a click away, and a diverse set of options available. The time tracker should filter time management data based on project, client, task, department, employee, and many other variables, depending on what you need.
For example, you may wish to observe a particular employee’s time spent on a particular task, and then compare it with the time another employee spent on a different project. An ideal time tracker should enable you to pull these numbers seamlessly so you can conduct a performance analysis of your employees, before making significant decisions about staffing and budgeting in the future.
Provision of a Communication Channel
If the time entry system you choose is simply a catalogue of time entries, tracking time will feel like a chore for employees. The alternative to that is finding a system where time entries can be personalized by adding notes.
Moreover, opting for a time entry system with Outlook compatibility takes that up a notch. Since your calendar and time entry system is premised on the same platform, you can easily get an overview of your time, including how it is planned, making communication smoother and more efficient within the workflow.
A specialized time entry system will allow employers the ability to customize the permissions allotted to each employee. While some users would have the privilege to generate reports regarding their own time only, the managerial staff could do it for anyone in the office.
You can also easily determine who should be able to report time on which projects, making the overview much better for employees, since you’ll only see the projects that you’re working on.
Since a time tracker is a storehouse for information, a lot of which is confidential, it is pertinent that this information is secure. The right time entry system for your company would be one that prevents access to data by personalized usernames and passwords.
This goes in tandem with role-based permissions, as different kinds of profiles would have access to different kinds of information. Moreover, all the data is stored on the Cloud and there is no risk of losses, something quite common in manual time entry systems.
Personalized to Each Employee
Whilst providing a way of reporting time via your Outlook calendar, the best time entry system would also allow a fair degree of personalization to each employee, so they start taking ownership of their time. Besides the individualized user credentials and the ability to add notes, something as simple as saving past data can be crucial in having your workers feel independent.
For example, if a user were to work on a particular project frequently, they could mark those details as ‘favorite’ and then just click on ‘favorite’ each time they want to enter the same information for an appointment, rather than filling in all over again. Similarly, the right time tracker would have unique information on a dashboard, providing details on how they’ve spent their time, rather than it being a generic webpage for everyone.
Broad Accessibility and Compatibility
With more and more employees being able to work from home and other locations than the office, the best time tracker would be compatible with multiple operating systems, as well as smartphones. Not only are employees spread across the globe now but some may also not be always in the office and should be able to input their time the minute the project starts.
This accentuates the accuracy of the data collected, as they may forget the exact timings of something if they were to fill the time entries manually once they go home from a remote site or the following day. An ideal time tracker would let employees report their time no matter where they are.
If the time tracker is available in different languages, that scores more points on the accessibility column.
Flexible Format of Data
Instead of using multiple different software systems and manually inputting datasets in each of them, the right time entry system would store time entries in a format that can easily be exported to other platforms like Excel, CRM, ERP and Accounting software. All the departments of your organization can smoothly use the same dataset, be it Human Resources for labor management, or Accounting for payroll and billing.
It is no question anymore if you should invest in a time entry system immediately, but it is also vital for you to get the right one. Now that you know what features to look out for in an ideal time tracker, you will not regret the purchase you make while setting your business on the path to achieving organizational success and workflow efficiency.
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