The work from home movement continues to grow as more companies and workers move into a home office environment. And while virtual work setups provide many advantages to an organization and its staff, there are also some caveats to the setup— one being the challenge of managing employees when they aren’t physically there.
Experts expect 22% of the American workforce to work remotely by 2025. And as that number grows, companies are trying to think of strategies to provide structure alongside flexibility. It might sound like a paradox, but it is very possible. One proven system for work accountability in a flexible work environment is to use a time tracking tool to measure work input.
There is an ongoing debate about the value that time tracking tools bring to an organization. And while these systems don’t always work for all types of companies and staff, there are still a lot of instances where the benefits outweigh the cost.
Benefits of Time Tracking for Work From Home Teams
Many tools have now allowed for easier time tracking. We no longer have those bulky Bundy clocks and time cards. Instead, there are now systems that are available online to keep track of hours to help companies with how to track employees working from home.
So why is time tracking important and why should companies with remote work arrangements consider it? Here are five benefits that time tracking brings to both the organization and its staff.
1. Keep control of contracted hours
Time tracking doesn’t just benefit companies. They also benefit staff. More so in the case of freelancers and contractors who get paid on an hourly basis. With time trackers, contractual staff can create detailed reports of work done and the results of their output through a time tracking tool. This system provides more clarity on what they’re charging companies for and provides more detail so as to avoid any raised questions in billing.
Regular staff can benefit from time tracking too as it allows for tracking over time and builds a better case for pay increases in situations where workload increases. A tool like this becomes even more relevant when an employee works from home where managers don’t really physically see the work they do.
2. Know where your time is actually going
As the world continues to shift to virtual work setups, one of the most immediate pain points is tracking and maintaining work productivity. Work from home setups can make people productive when they know where their time is going. But when we don’t track hours and tasks and then jumble up our work life with home life, we can lose productivity.
Take for instance someone with a psychology career who jumps into writing, Zoom calls with clients and also has to mix that with homeschooling the kids and cooking lunch and dinner. Time tracking tools give professionals a better sense of where time is actually going and how to manage their tasks better so they’re getting important work done.
3. Manage your team better
Running a virtual team is new territory for remote managers. The lack of face-to-face interaction can feel pretty foreign. But for any project or team manager that wants to make the shift to the digital revolution but also wondering how to know if remote employees are working and what they’re working on, time trackers can be helpful.
With time trackers, managers can check work progress, make employee assessments, create shift schedules, and many more. More often than not, time tracking software will also have an admin or manager dashboard that provides analytics and usage statistics that will summarize the team’s progress for a certain period too, which helps provide a great bird’s eye view of team productivity.
4. More accountability and transparency
When deploying employee monitoring work from home, the goal should never be micromanagement, but accountability and transparency. And time-keeping tools make this possible. With more accountability and transparency comes greater team trust, and trust remains relevant- even more relevant even- in a virtual team setup.
Without accountability, teams tend to be low-trust and when that happens, there is lesser collaboration. But with an improved sense of accountability, remote teams collaborate more and get things done. Time tracking aids in that process.
5. Improved self-management
With the shift to virtual setups, there has been heightened importance of workers’ abilities to manage themselves. Because there are no physical offices, managers need to enable teams more to manage their own time and tasks, and time tracking helps that process when implemented well.
Currently, workers spend only about 27% of their day on skill-based tasks. One of the goals of time-tracking is also to let employees and staff see what they spend their time on and adjust accordingly. By doing so, they will have more agency over their own output and take more initiative and proactive steps to improve individual, group, and even company-wide results.
Time Tracking Tools and an Empowering Culture Go Hand in Hand
There’s no question that employee time tracking saves money, but more than that, it can also be empowering when mixed with the right culture. To avoid any stigma that time-tracking is a way to spy on staff and their work, make sure to also let staff know what’s in it for them when they use the tool. When that happens, time tracking will be a key element to company growth.