Manage Projects Efficiently and Get Paid Faster

Manage Projects Efficiently and Get Paid Faster

Late payments can play havoc with a company’s cash flow. Such disruption can result in shortages meaning there’s a lack of funds to reinvestment in the company or even difficulties paying bills and staff. Regardless, studies have shown that around 64% of small companies have experienced not being paid on invoices for 60 days or longer.

There are various reasons for late payments from clients. One reason is the client lacking funds themselves, while another potential reason is a lack of organization. The company doing the work is also sometimes at fault, such as delayed delivery, quality issues, or administrative problems. 

One way to ensure that you’re paid for projects on time is to run the project as efficiently as possible.

Define the Project Before Starting

One way to help ensure you get paid on time is to define the project before starting. You need to define the scope of the task, which materials are needed, how long it will take, and who will be working on the project.

By defining the project fully, you can give an accurate quote and completion deadline, meaning the client is less likely to have anything to contest when paying. Defining the project will also help ensure you get paid fairly for your work and have everything you need to do the job. 

Track Your Team

Manpower is one of the most important ingredients of just about any project. Your staff’s experience and skills are necessary to get the job done and even the most advanced technology cannot replace most human tasks. However, as important as manpower is for getting a project finished, it is also one of the most expensive aspects. Manpower can also be one of the most difficult variables to manage.

However, solutions like PK4 Tech’s time tracking software can help to make it much easier for you to track and manage your team. For example, the technology can let you know where an employee is at a particular time, what they have been working on, and how long they have spent on certain tasks.

This ability to monitor employees in such a way is beneficial for numerous reasons, including:

  • Error Reduction: It can be very easy to make errors when timesheets are created. People are unlikely to remember all the details of their working week, especially if they have been busy. Time tracking software will help to eliminate errors by tracking your employees’ actions for you. 
  • Improved Billing: Time trackers make it easier to track the amount of time working for clients. The software also makes it easier for you to send reports to your clients to keep up with the work being done and monitor the progress of the project themselves. With everything documented, clients are less likely to have a reason to delay their payments.
  • Monitor Productivity: The average employee will spend around 51% of their working day on unproductive tasks. It’s not necessarily their fault; people just won’t always realize how much time certain tasks are taking. With time tracking software, you can monitor how long employees are spending on tasks, helping you identify where they could be spending their time better.
  • Easy Processing: Processing timesheets can be a time-consuming and menial task for managers, meaning more important tasks are pushed aside. However, time-tracking software makes it much simpler for managers to approve timesheets. Instead of using paper sheets, managers instead have all the details they need on the screen in front of them. The software makes it easy to accept or reject timesheets at the touch of a button, and let employees know why their timesheet was rejected.
  • Budget Monitoring: It can be easy to go over budget if you’re not monitoring your expenses, but time tracking software makes it easy for you. With the right software, you can get the information you need at a glance, helping you make important decisions. 

Time tracking can help you manage your project more efficiently in numerous ways. In addition to the benefits already mentioned, the software can also produce comprehensive reports that give you the information you need to make impactful decisions. Not only that, but time-tracking software can also integrate with other systems, helping you get more value from them. Overall, the software can help you identify the most productive ways to work, while reducing errors and streamlining your processes. Your clients are more likely to pay on time with an efficiently managed process.

5 Tips For Measuring Your Employees’ Time And Productivity Levels

5 Tips For Measuring Your Employees’ Time And Productivity Levels

We all want to be productive, but productivity isn’t something you can enforce on others. The productivity of your employees will depend on many factors that you won’t be able to control – like their health, motivation, unforeseen events, etc.

Some things you do have control over, though. You can help your employees stay productive by paying attention to their work environment and putting effective workflows and systems in place. And you can measure their output to see what needs improving.

Measuring time and productivity can get tricky since every employee has a unique personality and working style. It takes a skilled manager who’s objective and insightful to decide if a team member is effective, struggling, or overly thorough.

Here are a few individual productivity guidelines to get you inspired:

1. Track your employees’ time

If you’re not already tracking your employees’ time, you really should. Not necessarily to question their choices, but rather to understand how your employees respond to tasks and challenges.

A significant part of workplace management is tracking your employees’ work and break time, as well as diving deeper into how much time they logged for each project and task.

You can also look into how many breaks your employees are taking, paid time off or sick leave, as well as absenteeism or whether your employees get to work on time.

You can easily accomplish this with a Time Tracker, where you have the option to approve your employee’s time entries and have a bird’s eye view of how your team is performing.

2. Track tasks and set clear objectives

Evaluating your employees on the number of hours worked may seem straightforward, but it’s not the best indicator for productivity. You also need to check how well they’ve performed on the tasks you’ve assigned them.

Did they understand the goals? Did some of them fail to meet deadlines or do you have employees who regularly overdeliver? What tasks took most of their time and why? Keep task difficulty in mind when deciding if your employee was effective.

Time Tracker also has the option of creating tasks and projects where your employees can check in, so you can easily correlate the difficulty of a task with the time spent on it.

3. Evaluate client satisfaction

You may have superstar employees who seem to blaze through assignments faster than most of their coworkers. Before you congratulate them, it wouldn’t hurt to get a little suspicious of their performance. They may be fast, but are they really doing a stellar job?

What better way to find out than ask the end recipient of their work – your client? You can send a quick survey, email, or call your clients to make sure they’re satisfied. Ask them to rate your employee’s services, handling time, etc., and see how they respond.

Any negative feedback should be cause for alarm and a clear sign that your employees value quantity over quality. This brings us to our next point:

4. Place value on work quality

An employee’s ability to get things done depends largely on their ability to focus and take their time with the task at hand. Unfortunately, many workers confess to being burnt out and perpetually behind at work. Taking their time is often not an option.

As a leader, you need to ask yourself – is the company culture sending the right message? Do you push your workers to meet impossible quotas, and are they perhaps working at an unsustainable rhythm?

Or are some employees simply struggling because they’re not a good fit for the job? Managers should put their detective cap on and investigate all the possible reasons why the quality of a product or service may suffer and address them immediately.

It may be that your employees need to get better at time management, or that you should set better work priorities – or both. Whatever the reason, there’s always room for improvement.

5. Set a good example

Lastly, don’t just measure your employee’s time and productivity. Start with measuring your own. All the decisions you make throughout a workday as a manager can have ripple effects on your team’s work.

Can you improve your work environment? Are you good at delegating tasks you struggle with? What about self-care and taking time off? The more you investigate your own productivity dips, the more you’ll have an idea about what your team members are dealing with. 

So track and measure as many of these factors as you can, and do it frequently. Only then will you have a clear idea of how to improve, and how to appreciate the people who are a great asset to your company. 

Is Your Team Slacking? Fix These 7 Time Wasters

Is Your Team Slacking? Fix These 7 Time Wasters

We all know that staying 100% focused at work is virtually impossible. You might have the most motivated employees, and they’ll still need to disconnect from time to time. 

But what happens if disconnection becomes the norm in your company? If your productivity levels are plunging, you might want to check what your employees are doing with their time.

Your team may be slacking for various reasons. You may be a tolerant boss or manager, and you’ve let their relaxed behavior get…well, too relaxed. Or maybe your workers are stressed out and constantly working – just working on the wrong things. 

Address these 7 most common time wasters in the workplace and see your team’s productivity improve dramatically:

Excessive Time Off

Breaks are a human need, but when they don’t get monitored in the workplace, some employees can easily take advantage of the company’s lack of break policies. 

While bathroom breaks are okay, watercooler breaks that spark group gossip are not. Neither are lunch breaks that extend way over the allotted time. But, you know, what doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get managed.

While hanging a “No congregating at the water cooler” sign may sound like a good idea, you could choose an easier route and simply start tracking breaks.

A tool like our Time Tracker is great for monitoring breaks and also has an option for automatic breaks for those companies that enforce 15-minute coffee/tea breaks every few hours.

Workplace Interruptions

Interruptions come in many shapes and sizes. Phone or computer notifications, chatty coworkers, eventful open space offices, impromptu meetings – all these are the enemy of continuous focus in the workplace. 

Losing your train of thought is annoying enough – imagine experiencing this in a professional setting, over and over again.

To fix this, you could offer your employees access to a quiet conference room or office for bursts of productivity. Much like the library, this will become the perfect place for employees who are easily overwhelmed by noise and office commotion.

Endless Email Clutter

Email is one of those things that we check the first thing we wake up. We’re expected to reply within a few hours, and, if our jobs depend on it, even faster. But email is a huge time-waster in the workplace and isn’t always the best means for communication.

Improve your email communication by setting clear rules and processes in place. Also, when possible, allow your employees to stay “unreachable” when they’re working on important tasks.

Annoying Meetings

A whopping 15% of a company’s time is spent on meetings. Frequent meetings are not only a waste of a company’s time and resources – they’re also annoying. Why? Because they conjure up the entire team instead of sticking to the essential people. 

Meetings take too long and are often late to start. Participants can be unprepared, unfocused, and even daydreamers (you know who you are). Don’t even get me started on back-to-back meetings – avoid them at all costs if you don’t want to permanently fry your brain.

Unclear Responsibilities

Another important time sucker in the workplace is confusion. Your employees might be well-intentioned and willing to work, but their enthusiasm will instantly fade if they don’t have a competent manager or leader.

Easy fix – learn to prioritize. Define the most important tasks at the beginning of each workday, and delegate like a pro. Each worker should be assigned a project and task to work on and a timeframe to do it.

You can easily do this in the Time Tracker for Salesforce app and manage your team seamlessly.

Online Distractions

Whether it’s cat videos, Insta stories, full-blown hobbies like video games, or using company time to book your vacation, the internet offers an endless world of online distractions.

These distractions, along with excessive phone use, are perhaps the most universal time wasters, both at home and in the office.

While you can’t really police your team into being productive, you can recognize these distractions for what they are – a form of procrastination. You can fix this by engaging your employees and leveraging their interests and skills, so that they feel useful instead of demotivated. 

Too Many Tools

Technology is supposed to make us more productive, but with all the apps we have to choose from, the opposite is actually true.

Should you hop on Zoom, Skype, Whatsapp, or Google meets for a conference call? What about checking your multiple inboxes, Trello boards, Slack messages, and Google Docs? I can already sense your levels of overwhelming rising. 

SaaS services may be evolving, but many departments have different tools for managing their projects, which makes inter-department communication confusing and difficult. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of having centralized tools for your business.

Productivity may sometimes seem elusive in the workplace, but that’s because you can’t be productive in a perpetually distracting environment. Embrace time tracking, delegate clear tasks, create focus “bubbles,” reduce meetings, and you’ll see more efficient, happier employees.

Why Time Management Is Increasingly Important In The Workplace

Why Time Management Is Increasingly Important In The Workplace

Whether in our work or home life, we all have the same limited amount of hours in the day, and most of us report feeling overwhelmed and rushed. Time management in this era of hyperconnectivity is, essentially, stress management.

So why is time management so important? How can we condense our workdays into short bursts of productivity so that we can enjoy our personal lives stress-free?

Managers worldwide need to solve this conundrum because, according to numerous studies, employees struggle with procrastination, inefficiency, and office hours invading their personal time.

Why time management is more important than ever

Time is money, it’s true, but there are some things money just can’t buy. One of them is your employee’s happiness. We’ve gathered a few interesting facts to shed light on how employees really feel at work nowadays and how it could be impacting your business:

  • Most employees work on weekends. Full-time employees typically work 8.5 hours Monday to Friday and 5.4 more hours per day on the weekend to cope with the increased workloads.
  • Employees are connected to their work 24/7. Surveys show that 66% of workers check their emails 7 days a week and are expected to reply within a day.
  • Employees don’t have enough time to interact with their spouses or children. This explains the skyrocketing divorce rate, and working from home doesn’t shield family members from this. Instead, stress levels rise even more as there’s no clear separation between home and work.
  • Employees dread going to work. 80% of employees hate having to go to work on Monday. By Friday, this feeling of unease only slightly decreases, with 60% feeling the same way.
  • Employees procrastinate to cope with stress. Procrastination increases in lower-income employees and during shorter employment periods. Virtually all employees spend close to an hour on social media or their phones during work hours.
  • Employees aren’t passionate or motivated by what they do. If they had financial freedom, 97% of workers would choose to leave their employer and line of work.

So what does all this mean for your business? Frustration at work can be linked to two major reasons: working too much and not being able to keep up, and working on the wrong things, increasing feelings of futility and dissatisfaction.

This is where smart project management comes in, and it all begins with prioritizing, scheduling, and keeping an eye on how tasks get done.

How to use time management to banish employee overwhelm

Parkinson’s law states that work will expand to fit the time allocated to it. Give employees one important task per day, and it will occupy their entire workday. Give them 12 tasks, and while they won’t be able to complete them all, they’ll finish more than half of them.

Sounds productive, right? Not if you take the employees’ feelings of burnout and overwhelm into account.

Sometimes, the best time management technique is learning to say “no” to adding anything else to your workers’ To-Do list.

So how can you motivate your workers to achieve more in less time? Apply only a few of the suggested changes below, and you’ll be amazed at the difference in productivity and employee satisfaction:

Use the power of scheduling. Planning out the day in detail is the most powerful tool of time management. Delegate your most important tasks for the day and follow along on the progress as employees log their time and work. Time tracking is essential for measuring how effectively things get done, yet, less than 17% of people make use of it.

Using a product like our Time Tracker helps companies keep track of how their employees are spending their time and ensure they are fairly compensated.

Leverage the most productive window. Many workers report working most effortlessly between 9 and 12 AM. By delegating the most strenuous work in the morning, you will already set up your employees’ day for success.

Estimate tasks correctly. We all fall into the trap of underestimating how long a task will actually take, and managers are no exception. If you’ve done similar tasks in the past, you could have a look at the logged time and base your future estimations on reality.

Factor in breaks. Employees aren’t robots, and they need recovery time throughout the workday. Keeping breaks and meal times in mind will take some of the pressure off your workers and show them they are valued. Logging breaks, lunchtime, and even managing paid time off (PTO) are intuitive functions within our Time Tracker.

It’s safe to say that time management is a skill that we’re all struggling to master. When managing our employees’ time, we should have more than productivity in mind. 

Any good leader will first and foremost protect their employees’ emotional and physical wellbeing while challenging them with just the right amount of work. Do it right, and this approach will boost your company’s growth while also making it a coveted working environment.