As summer is coming to a close we have one more guest blogger for you with some great information on productivity. I hope you enjoy this blog from Dean Mathews of OnTheClock.
As a payroll manager, tracking workplace productivity is more than a default part of your job description.
As the main custodian of data regarding the number of hours employees spend working, there’s a wealth of insight you can provide to unlock potential productivity improvements in your organization.
However, this is only possible if your workplace is equipped with a good time tracking system.
You might be wondering, “Well, we do use timesheets?” While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this time tracking method, traditional timesheets are not as fool-proof as the sophisticated time tracking software available today.
In fact, research published in Harvard Business Review revealed that the majority of employees are inaccurately filling out their timesheets. This is costing the US economy $7.4 billion in lost productivity every day in the service sector alone.
Productivity is a shared interest between the company and its employees. As part of the payroll department, the following 5 benefits can be cited to rally your organization to use automated time tracking:
You might be staring at your screen right now confused.
Isn’t multitasking a productivity booster? So much so that it’s a skill a lot of businesses value.
Turns out that this is a big misconception.
Scientists have found that multitasking is a huge productivity downer, and can rob an employee up to 40% of his/her productive time. According to the research: “Psychologists who study what happens to cognition (mental processes) when people try to perform more than one task at a time have found that the mind and brain were not designed for heavy-duty multitasking. Psychologists tend to liken the job to choreography or air-traffic control, noting that in these operations, as in others, mental overload can result in catastrophe.”
With time tracking, employees must focus on the one task that is currently being tracked. This reduces what is called context switching and allows employees to focus their mental energy on the task at hand, producing better quality work.
It also allows project managers to see which employees engage in multitasking so the proper guidance and coaching can be provided to help them focus on one task at a time.
Reduces Time On Non-Essential Tasks
Email is an essential business communication tool, but it is also a productivity blackhole.
An average office worker receives approximately 200 emails per day and spends 2.5 hours clearing out their inbox. Out of these 200 emails, 144 are not related to them and they were just CC-ed or BCC-ed in the conversation.
Email is just one of the non-essential tasks that is taking time away from more important projects. This does not even take into account the time spent on non-work related tasks such as social media browsing. What’s worse, as a payroll manager you know money is going down the drain paying employees for time spent on tasks that cannot be billed to your clients or customers.
With a well-established time tracking software, an organization can identify these productivity leaks and implement measures to reduce or eliminate them. This improves employee morale by reducing stress. At the same time, it saves the company money.
Ensures Accurate Salary Computation
An unhappy employee is an unproductive employee. One of the major things that decreases morale for employees is not being accurately compensated.
This creates a cloud of distrust in the organization. Employees feel they are being cheated on and not getting the remuneration they deserve. This may result in a backlash in the form of low-quality work derailing important projects.
Of course, there are some unscrupulous businesses who intentionally shortchange their employees, but most payroll inaccuracies are a result of inaccurate time tracking.
Having a time tracking system in place eliminates inaccuracies in payroll because hours are easily and automatically tracked. There’s also a record, employees can refer to when payroll questions arise.
Identifies Overworked Employees
All work and no play makes employees unproductive.
Putting in extended, and sometimes exhaustive, hours at work for a long period of time is a proven productivity killer. It can snowball into other problems such as habitual absences or tardiness, low employee morale, high attrition rates, and client/customer dissatisfaction.
The sad news is many managers do not catch these signs early enough, primarily due to poor time tracking practices.
Employees who are paid by the hour might not mind putting in the extra hours because they are getting paid for their billable hours. However, working overtime can cause serious issues with salaried, flat-rate employees.
While employee wellness is not the main responsibility of a payroll manager, a practical time tracking system can offer useful data to identify those employees in jeopardy of burning themselves out.
Improves Project Planning Practices
Time tracking reveals discrepancies in time estimates between the projections during project planning and the actual hours spent during the project execution. The benefit this has on productivity is three-pronged.
First, it allows project managers to improve their forecasting for future similar projects.
Second, it prevents employee burnout as discussed above. There’s no need to put in extended hours to meet project deadlines if it’s not really necessary.
Lastly, it allows the organization to charge more appropriately via accurate accounting for the necessary man-hours to complete a project.
It’s Time to Be More Productive
Just a quick caveat. In order for any time tracking system to improve workplace productivity, making productivity a key priority should already be in the DNA of your organization’s culture. You should already know the core principles of good time management. Otherwise, you’re just going to waste time, tracking wasted time, right?
That said, time tracking has been proven time and again to increase productivity. Following the old business adage that you cannot manage and improve what you don’t track and measure, time tracking can open new heights of productivity that you never thought was possible. It also benefits your employees by minimizing multitasking and reducing time spent on non-essential tasks.
Indeed, it is time to put your workplace back on track.
Dean Mathews is the founder and CEO of OnTheClock, an online time clock app that helps over 8000 businesses all around the world track their employee time. Dean has over 20 years of experience designing and developing web-based business apps. He views software development as a form of art. If the artist creates a masterpiece, many peoples lives are touched and changed for the better. When he is not perfecting time tracking, Dean enjoys expanding his faith, spending time with family, friends and finding ways to make the world just a little better. You can find Dean on LinkedIn.