COVID-19 dealt a harsh blow to businesses around the world and across every industry. Yelp data reveals that 97,966 businesses have permanently closed down since the start of the pandemic, and hundreds of thousands more have lost out on major proportions of their ongoing revenue when they were forced to close their premises at different points this year.
Change after change has rocked companies of all sizes, from the abrupt adoption of remote work to the termination of millions of workers and hasty implementation of digital transformation. These trends have put extra scrutiny on how team members are spending their time, as their contributions have become more trackable and their whereabouts more anonymous.
Meanwhile, many businesses have been forced to pivot their models to encompass contact-free interactions and/or digital products and services, while others are still deciding where their future lies.
With three vaccines now in production, the light of recovery is visible at the end of the tunnel for companies that are able to align themselves quickly for growth. It’s more important than ever for businesses to determine their plans and gather data for accurate predictions about future trends in their industry and market.
Useful business data can come from a range of sources, from marketing tools to financial statements. Companies tend to have so much data that they rarely set out to find more, but that often leads them to overlook tools that can deliver valuable insights into business strategy. Time-tracking data is one such often-overlooked data source which can yet prove influential for driving business growth.
As we enter the post-pandemic era, here are a few key areas of value that you can unearth in your company’s time tracking data.
1. Time tracking data enables better business strategizing
Growth-oriented companies need to move quickly to spot risks and opportunities arising in the next few tumultuous months, in order to mitigate the former and seize the latter. Time tracking tools offer the information you need about your company’s capacity, enabling you to make better decisions about future projects and budget allocations.
Steff Green at WorkflowMax notes that with project-segmented hourly logs, “You have access to a huge data resource about your staff, jobs, suppliers and profits, and you can use this data to focus your strategic direction and measure the progress of your goals.”
With the help of time tracking data, you can regain control over where to invest your resources for maximum profitability.
2. Time tracking supports a positive atmosphere
Friction between managers and other employees can quickly create a poisonous atmosphere in your business which undermines productivity and drives experienced employees to move elsewhere.
When managers and HR staff have to chase employees for time sheets and progress reports, resentment mounts on both sides. Self-service and autonomous time tracking tools that sync with managers and HR departments remove a significant cause of frustration.
Employees feel more trusted, motivating them to work more efficiently, and managers feel reassured that employees are keeping to schedule.
3. Time tracking supports efficient project management
Time tracking data can reveal which tasks are taking longer than you expected and handicapping your productivity. Advanced time tracking tools enable you to drill down to investigate bottlenecks in your workflows, finding better ways to break projects down into individual tasks and order them for greater efficiency.
“Once scheduling and reporting features are added to time tracking software, it becomes a really powerful tool for project management.” says Neil Patel in his drill-down into the top apps for team time tracking. Incorporating this level of reporting “into your project management workflow can be a huge time-saver,” he adds, “and it gives decision-makers excellent insight into productivity.”
Keeping a close eye on time tracking tools also alerts you to tasks that are taking longer than expected, so that you can make changes before projects take you by surprise by exceeding deadlines or coming in over budget.
4. Time tracking can boost employee engagement
Time tracking tools enable you to give employees more flexibility to schedule their shifts around their own lifestyles, because you’ll feel confident that they’ll deliver on time. This flexibility is crucial for a happy, engaged workforce with greater overall wellbeing, and engaged employees are well known to be more productive and feel greater responsibility for business success.
When markets are down, companies in the top quartile for employee engagement see profits at an average of 23% higher than those in the bottom quartile.
Time trackers also help remove conflicts between employees and the company over compensation, overtime and benefits, by automating calculations and increasing transparency into the process.
5. Time tracking helps you work to your strengths
Advanced time tracking platforms include powerful data visualizations that reveal unexpected insights about work patterns and productivity across the organization. Managers can use them to better understand the capabilities and efficiency of both individual employees, and teams as a whole.
“When time tracking becomes a part of your business, you can start identifying themes in how work is getting done,” comments Dana Kajtezovic, COO at Vertical Measures. “By building this time tracking data, you can see how efficient (or inefficient) your workflows are, allowing you to work with your team on increasing their productivity,” she argues.
You may discover that specific workers are most efficient at certain tasks, or that particular individuals work better together as a team. Understanding employee strengths and weaknesses helps you assign responsibilities to employees and teams who are best suited to meet them. You’ll also be able to direct training programs to the right employees to shore up your workforce and close skills gaps.
Tracking time positions your business for growth in 2021
Adopting advanced time tracking tools and building upon time tracking data helps position businesses optimally to take advantage of opportunities for business growth and expansion in the year ahead.
Improving employee engagement, project management, corporate culture and overall strategy can help companies respond quickly to emerging risks and opportunities and prepare for ongoing growth in 2021 and beyond.