Regardless of your project size or the size of your team, it can be challenging to analyze the best ways to boost productivity for your team members.
An easy way to help tackle the challenge is to implement free time tracking software. This type of tool can help individuals and businesses alike remain organized and on task, allowing them to meet their business goals consistently — all primary foundations of improving productivity.
Let’s walk through how a time tracking solution helps increase productivity levels to set your team (and company) up for success.
Time tracking and productivity
As you begin to scope new and/or existing projects, tracking your team’s time spent on each task along with their productivity levels helps you understand how to plan for future projects more effectively.
Tracking time with software also allows visibility into where resources are being allocated and where you as a manager may need to intervene. By capturing project insights, you can pinpoint which tasks are taking up too much time and eating into your resources, allowing you to eliminate inefficiencies and streamline processes.
The data insights these platforms provide also allow you to set realistic goals for your team by understanding how long specific tasks take to complete. Collecting and analyzing this data is especially beneficial for teams working remotely, as it allows them to track their progress and compare it with their colleagues who may also be working on the same project but spread across the globe.
The benefits of using time tracking software to map out resources make complex tasks like goal alignment, project management, and budget tracking more achievable. And, when utilized correctly, time tracking provides employees with a clearer picture of their progress and accomplishments, making them more likely to stay motivated and engaged in their work.
Why is time tracking software important?
It’s important to know how effective your team’s efforts are, but it’s often challenging to fully analyze their use of time on your own — this is where time tracking software provides the most impactful benefit.
The right solution can provide helpful insights into how employees best utilize their time, enabling you to make smarter decisions and optimize each project.
The key to tracking employee time is to have a system that your employees are willing to integrate into their workflows. Therefore, when you evaluate the various time tracking software available, pick one that’s easy to use and implement.
Choosing the right time tracking software
When evaluating time tracking software’s features and functionalities, it’s important to ask yourself, does this time tracking tool provide:
- Ease of use?
- Remote access and automated reminders?
- Detailed, customizable reports that give my management team the data they need to make decisions?
Once you’ve identified the features that are most important to you and compared those features against your overall business goals, it’s time to evaluate the different options available. Here are some best practice examples we suggest taking into consideration when evaluating different time tracking tools:
- User Reviews: Look for user reviews to understand how the software works in practice and whether the tool fulfills the needs it promises.
- Price: How much does the software cost and are there any additional features or services that may be included or are those additional costs?
- Data Capabilities: Time tracking data provides insights into how much time is spent on each task or project, so it’s best to pick a solution that offers robust reporting features that will help you identify areas where improvements can be made.
- Ease of use: Some apps may be easier to use than others. Ask yourself - does this software integrate with my day-to-day apps? Do they have a mobile version?
Time tracking management software features
The primary feature of time tracking software is to help your team make better use of their time. That said, additional platform features can help you analyze the entirety of your operations at a more granular level. Additional features can include:
- Task distribution
- Tracking billable hours
- Workload visualization
- Cost estimation
- Customer billing capabilities
With these tools, you can achieve greater project visibility by getting a real-time view of resource allocation and team performance across multiple projects and teams. Time tracking software will help you collect and analyze insights to improve your overall efficiencies, like:
- Accessing reports from any device
- Prioritizing projects and tasks
- Improving team inefficiencies
- Identifying areas for cost reduction
- Tracking billable hours
- Combating scheduling conflicts
- Accurately scope project estimates
- Increasing your productivity levels
Using these insights will help you identify which tasks are taking up too much time and guide you on how to adjust accordingly, which, as a result, provides more accurate labor assessments, project completion timelines, and production costs.
Additionally, these insights help you identify any potential bottlenecks in the workflow and allow you to take corrective measures to ensure that projects are completed on time.
Improves team efficiencies
Time tracking software enables you to uncover team inefficiencies and resource allocation issues. By evaluating your team's daily activities, individually or collectively, you can plan appropriately. And, as a result of improved planning, you can deliver projects on time and ensure departments operate at maximum capacity.
In addition, with remote access and the ability to set custom calendar reminders, you can track efforts and progress more effectively, helping to evaluate project profitability with hourly rates, budget, and recalibrations.
Time tracking software can also help reduce costs by providing managers with detailed insights into resource allocation. Utilizing customizable software to end-user needs provides a better understanding of where resources are being used and where there are gaps.
This enables you to make smarter resource decisions and eliminates unnecessary tasks, therefore helping to reduce costs.
Track employee billable hours
In some instances, employees may need to track and report their billable hours so that their clients receive accurate invoices and get a clear view into how resources are being allocated on their project.
Time tracking software can simplify the accounting process allowing you to assign tasks a monetary value, making it easier to charge clients and obtain accurate analytics. Being able to assess how the staff is spending their time lets you budget projects more effectively while also creating invoices from billable time quickly and more accurately.
Also, for employers that use freelancers or independent contractors and have team members spread globally, time tracking software helps organizations track payroll and other expenses, keeping projects within budget and more profitable.
Boosts knowledge management
Time tracking applications provide insights into how your team is performing both individually and collectively across different divisions of an organization. Through these insights, you can better understand where teams excel and where they may be falling short, so you can build better cross-collaboration strategies moving forward.
Additionally, time tracking apps provide effective, real-time reporting metrics. Reporting is an essential part of any business, and it's important to have a system in place that can help you keep track of your team's progress. With the right reporting tools, you can easily manage scheduling, time off, approvals, invoicing, and expenses that infuse decision-makers with the knowledge needed to operate at maximum capacity.
Overcome scheduling conflicts
Schedules can become challenging to handle when dealing with multiple projects and demanding workloads. Improving productivity within an organization is a combination of workload management and schedule coordination.
Using time tracking systems saves time manually scheduling each shift, providing the back-end optics you need without tying up resources elsewhere. Employees also benefit from these tools because of their ability to provide visual calendars that show the status of current tasks, due dates and upcoming holidays or breaks, and more.
Provides more accurate project scope estimates
Having insight into how much time is spent on a project or task gives a more accurate idea of how much a similar project or task may take. This understanding helps make future project estimation processes easier, more efficient, and definite.
Also, project expenses and fees can be recorded accurately so that you have a clear picture of your finances at all times. Through billing analysis generated by digital tracking systems, you can provide your clients with realistic project scope estimates that allow you to adjust in real time as needed.
The most crucial part of time tracking is to help increase productivity. By providing detailed insights into how employees are spending their time, you can identify areas where they may be underutilizing resources or wasting time on tasks that could be automated.
Additionally, time tracking software also provides insight into how employees spend their time between projects. These insights help you identify areas where they may need additional training or support to ensure they’re maximizing their downtime.
Collecting data allows for more accurate analysis, which leads to smarter decision-making about resource allocation, process optimization, and project prioritization, resulting in improved productivity levels.
With Harvest’s platform, you can simplify time tracking, obtain insights, and generate accurate reports to ensure your team has what it needs to thrive on every project. Get started with your free trial of Harvest today.