The first step of time tracking is getting your team onboard — but sometimes it’s easier said than done.
Watch our Q&A session with award-winning digital agency Social Revolt, where they lay out how to overcome common time tracking barriers and motivate your team to make the most of the practice.
As part of Social Revolt’s strategy for motivating their team to track time, VP of Operations & Customer success Lacey Garner developed an internal memo to help team members better understand how time tracking helps both individuals and the agency thrive. Take a look below for some key factors she included.
Keep client hours under control
Freelancers, entrepreneurs, designers and of course marketing agencies are all known to operate under the billable hours model. As a marketing agency, we charge our clients by billable hours and we monitor this by time tracking.
Examples of billable time
- Performing actual work towards completing the project
- Project planning/project management
- Reading and responding to client emails
- Updating/maintaining project management software
- Developing timelines
- Attending meetings. Those can be
- With the client
- With a vendor in relation to the project
- Internal to brainstorm for the client project
Examples of non-billable time
- Developing proposals for new work
- Pitching new work for clients
- Training courses that don’t relate directly to a current project/client
- Social and team-building events
- Networking events
Achieve better resource utilization
Sometimes all of your current clients decide to expand their SOWs at the same time, sometimes outstanding contracts all happen to close at the same time, a project deadline changes so now you have half the amount of time you thought, or maybe you landed a whale that wants to start immediately. These are all great problems to have, and we are no strangers to rolling up our sleeves and getting things taken care of — but that isn’t sustainable.
At the same time, employees who don’t have enough tasks to fill their day can be just as unhappy. This underutilization for one team member can also breed resentment for those team members who are being overutilized. Time tracking allows management to monitor these concerns and allow tasks to be redistributed.
Forecast new hires
As mentioned above, you never know what is going to happen. Contracts expand all the time and new clients sign on. With a healthy pipeline of new clients, it is important to be able to forecast how much time that new contract will take and if your current staff has the bandwidth — or if you need to start the hiring process.
Create better contracts for future clients
With new emerging technologies, it can be difficult to forecast how long a new service offering will actually take. Maybe we got it right, or maybe we didn’t, but that is why it is so crucial to time track specific services for clients to inform future contracts.
Identify clients that are being over/under served
Just like it is important to identify staff being over/underutilized, it is just as important to identify if clients are getting over/under served. Time tracking allows us to quickly identify those clients that might not be getting the attention they deserve. On the flipside, it does the same for those that are getting more than they paid for. It’s a balancing act where too much or too little isn’t a good thing.
Develop better processes/workflows
My personal favorite benefit of time tracking is how it helps me identify process pain points. Without fail at the beginning of every month all of our account leads would start the monthly reporting song and dance: “It takes so long, it’s such a pain, the client doesn’t even read the reports after all that time to create it.”
One day I decided to dive into the data. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe my staff, I too ran monthly reports and was well aware of how painful they were, but I needed the data to prove it. Once I finished my analysis of the time tracking data, it was clear there was a HUGE problem with our reporting process.
In the end, I was able to build a new process, purchase new software that decreased the time we spent on reporting by 60% and saved the company thousands of dollars. I never would have been able to do that without the data. However, most importantly, I have a much happier staff.