Guide to Measuring Employee Time and Produtivity

Guide to Measuring Employee Time and Produtivity

Measuring your employee’s time and productivity can help you with team management in so many ways. For example, it can help you identify individuals who are not performing, while it will also help you spot flaws in processes. Armed with this information, you can then address issues accordingly, helping to ensure your business is running as smoothly as possible.

This leads to the question of how to measure employee time and productivity so you can get the information you need to make impactful decisions. To help, we’ve created this brief guide for you. 

Define KPIs

Before you even get started, you need to determine which KPIs you want to measure. Developing KPIs is one of the most essential steps because you can’t measure your performance unless you know how well you are supposed to be performing.

Of course, you shouldn’t choose just any metrics. It’s important that you choose to measure metrics that give you a reasonably fair and accurate picture. For example, measuring monthly output can be misleading because some staff will have additional duties in the company. Otherwise, you may end up making detrimental rather than beneficial decisions.

Remember also that you can evolve your KPIs over time as you learn which metrics are most useful to you. It’s also good team management to tell your employees which KPIs you are using and let them know how they are performing. Once your team understands what is expected of them, it becomes easier for them to meet those expectations.

Set Milestones

Missing a milestone will make it loud and clear that something isn’t going according to plan and that something needs to be changed. However, you will need to set milestones in the first place otherwise, it becomes much harder to judge how well you are progressing. 

If you missed project deadlines, it’s important to break down the process and understand why it was missed. Take it on face value and you might end up doing more harm than good. This means looking at each step of the process to see where the hold up was. 

When setting milestones, it’s essential to be reasonable and realistic. If your milestones are not challenging enough, then your staff might become demotivated, and your profit margins can shrink. Making project deadlines too challenging is another motivation killer and your staff are unlikely to work well, harming efficiency and productivity. 

When setting up milestones, you can also set goals for your team to aim for individually and as a collective. Goals will help give your team something to aim for and meeting goals will help keep morale high. It can also be a good idea to reward your employees occasionally for meeting goals, and even showing appreciation can help keep employees enthused. 

Use Time Tracking ToolsTime Audit Reports in PK4 TimeTracker

Time tracking tools can give you a wealth of information about the performance of your employees and your business overall. Such tools can break down an employee’s working day into separate tasks, giving you insights that can be a powerful team management aid. 

Some of those insights include the following:

  • How much time is spent on particular tasks
  • How productive an employee is compared to their colleagues
  • Your employees’ attendance records
  • Identifying which tasks are time-consuming and unproductive

Using time tracking tools will also help act as an effective deterrent should any of your employees be tempted to cheat or not make enough of an effort. This will help prevent unpleasant situations as well as helping to keep productivity high. 

However, it’s a good idea to educate your employees on the importance of time tracking, otherwise they might object to being monitored so closely. 

In addition to letting you track time, time tracking tools will also often come with other useful features that will help you manage your business effectively. For example, the time tracking and project management platform by PK4Tech offers powerful tools that help you manage your milestones and give you a comprehensive view of your operations. 

Such tools are fed with masses of useful information that will help you with team management, and you will have hard, accurate data rather than incomplete information and estimates. 

Hold Meetings

Hold regular meetings and get regular updates from employees. Getting together as a group will help the team communicate effectively and help the manager to guide their team in the right direction. Meetings are the ideal occasion to raise issues with your team, making for good team management that will help you come to a solution together. 

Remember that meetings work both ways and it’s essential that your employees get to give their feedback as well. If there is anything wrong with the project, your employees will know about it first, so listening can help you fix issues before they become a problem. 

Summary

This brief guide has covered some of the basics of measuring employee performance and productivity. It’s important to define your KPIs before you get started and let everybody know what is expected of them in terms of productivity. 

You should also set project deadlines to help you track progress, and regular meetings will help ensure you get essential feedback and you get full updates on how well everything is going. And last but by no means least, use time tracking software to help you gather and use data to help you make the right decisions. Remember, the information at your disposal can make the difference between success and failure, so it makes sense to put that data to work.

 Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

The Economic Impact of Time Tracking

The Economic Impact of Time Tracking

Recently, a customer told us that with just 20 employees, their payroll team saved 45-60 minutes every payroll cycle because our PK4 TimeTracker makes the data easy to access, boosting productivity and giving staff more time to focus on other tasks. 

Time trackers can also have a financial impact in other ways, such as identifying revenue lost due to employees not spending their time productively. Sometimes this will be down to the employee being unaware they were time wasting. At others, it can be caused by employees deliberately misleading their employers.

Examples include practices like time theft and buddy punching, which are very costly to businesses overall. And the statistics speak for themselves regarding the economic impact it has.

And you don’t have to take our word for it:

Some specific examples of how time tracking software can have an economic impact include the following:

An Effective Deterrent

Employees are unlikely to try to steal time if they think they’ll be caught, thus reducing the amount of time stolen. It will also help encourage them to arrive and leave at reasonable times, helping the rest of the team remain productive.

While the deterrent is effective enough to deter most people, it’s not always the case. However, for those that do try, time tracking software gives you the tools and information you need to raise discrepancies, potentially identifying attempted time theft.

Increased Employee AccountabilityTime Tracker dashboard on the Time Tracker web app

It’s not uncommon for individuals to not make as much effort as the rest of the team. Time tracking software will help you identify those who could be doing more to contribute. It will also help encourage people to do more if they know they’re being monitored.

It can also be good team management to make employees directly aware of the reports and give them access to them where needed. In some cases, the employee will be surprised or embarrassed by the report and take it on themselves to be accountable.

Enhanced Project Management

Project Management screens in the PK4 TimeTrackerProjects that run smoothly and are delivered on time can provide a significant positive financial impact. Tools like the PK4 TimeTracker Project Management Add-on give project managers more tools that help ensure the project is on target to finish on specification and on time.

Such tools include visual aids like Gantt charts and Kanban boards make it easy to see the workflow and help you identify areas for improvement, ensure you meet project deadlines and boost profit margins.

Gain Insights into the Working Process

In many cases, the working process might be holding the team back from achieving their best. Time tracking software can give you information such as how much time is being spent on particular tasks, helping you identify which tasks could be delegated or automated.

This also helps highlight the benefits of communicating with your employees about time tracking software. Some people might resent being monitored, but education and strong team management can encourage people to embrace the technology instead.

Gain Cost Transparency

Time tracking tools can provide valuable data that gives you greater visibility into costs. Such tools can help you identify high-cost/low-productivity areas and focus on reducing those costs. Cost transparency also makes it easier for you to bill clients.

For example, time tracking software may reveal your team is spending a lot of time on a low-value client. You can then address the issue to help ensure time is spent more productively, helping improve your profit margins.

Improved Planning and BudgetingProject Profitability Report

Time tracking gives you access to detailed reports that let you see key issues at a glance. With more in-depth knowledge and understanding of your costs, you can set better goals for the future. With effective planning and accurate estimates, your future projects are more likely to succeed.

For example, you can gather more accurate project deadlines thanks to data on workflows and how long it takes to complete certain tasks.

With improved planning tools, you may even be able to complete projects faster than usual.

Gain Customer Trust

With time tracking tools, you can send professional reports to your clients with an accurate and transparent breakdown of fees. This will help gain your client’s trust, encouraging them to do more business with you in the future.

Although gaining customers’ trust might not immediately impact your profit margins, its value should never be underestimated. Once you gain your customers’ trust, you are more likely to get quality referrals and gain long-term clients who help keep your business healthy in the long term.

Summary

Time tracking can have a financial impact in numerous ways, and above are some of the most commonly encountered. Not only can time tracking impact your company’s economy directly by identifying theft and other losses, but it can also help give you a boost thanks to providing a better, more accurate estimates to your clients.

And the software won’t just help on the individual level but could help give economies a boost on a national level and even globally. The software is also easy to use and incorporate into your working day and gives you access to a host of other team management tools that will help you achieve your goals.

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

10 Tips for Project Management Success

10 Tips for Project Management Success

Project management can be a lot of work, with numerous moving parts that all need to work together harmoniously. A project manager’s job is to ensure every project component works as intended to help ensure a successful outcome.
Managing projects is easier said than done, however, and one error could cause the whole project to be a disaster. But if you follow our top 10 tips for project management success.

Managing projects is easier said than done, however, and one error could cause the whole project to be a disaster. But if you follow our top 10 tips for project management success. 

1. Define Your Objective

One of the most important steps in project management is to define your goals before you begin. After all, if you don’t know what you are trying to achieve, how will you achieve it?

When you define your goals, it becomes easier to identify and plan the various stages along the way. It also helps you ensure you have all the tools and personnel you need for a successful job the client will be delighted with.

2. Manage your Time Effectively

Many of the most successful people on the planet share a common trait – effective time management. No amount of money can help overcome time constraints, so it’s essential that you make the most of every minute for high productivity levels.

Using tools like the PK4 TimeTracker will help you monitor how you spend your time and help to identify areas where you are not working efficiently. With the right information, you can optimize your working day and spend your time on the most.

3. Lead by Example

As a project manager, your team are looking to you for guidance. While a project manager should have the knowledge and experience to tell people what to do, it’s best if team management SHOWS his team what to do.

By showing people what to do, you lead by example and show them that solutions are available that the rest of the team can use. Leading by example also helps give your team confidence that you know how to lead a project.

4. Take Time Out

Project deadlines mean lots of work to meet targets. While it can be easy for a project manager to work every waking moment on a project, doing so is more likely to do more harm than good.

Make sure to take personal time out to rest and regenerate your batteries physically and mentally. Look after yourself, and you will feel alert and ready for the day ahead, helping boost your productivity.

5. Avoid Perfectionism

Those of us who put pride in our work might be prone to perfectionism, which is likely to do more harm than good. Perfectionism can slow things down as you make changes that, in many cases, don’t need to be made.

While it is necessary to ensure that standards are met, you should not strive for perfection beyond those requirements. Otherwise, you might end up with frustrated team members, and you may have difficulty meeting project deadlines.

6. Avoid Multitasking

It is thought by many that multitasking will help you get more done and boost productivity, but the opposite is true. According to studies, multitasking makes you less efficient, meaning you get less done.

Instead, it is typically advisable to focus on one task at a time and not move on to another task until your previous one is done. You will also work more efficiently if you plan your day ahead, prioritizing the most important tasks.

7. Always Ask for Feedback

Teams are typically made up of people who have different skills and experiences. Your team members are also on the front line, meaning they know what is going well and what is not.

Good team management involves getting regular feedback from your team to help ensure the project is on course. You should also try to tap into your team’s knowledge and experience for the best results, and a good team manager will always be willing to learn.

8. Use Appropriate ToolsPK4 TimeTracker Project Management Screens

Project managers have a huge range of tools that help them get the job done. Such tools can help plan and execute projects, with features that help you see progress at a glance.

Project management tools are often software-based and can be used by the whole team. The right platforms can help ensure everything is running according to plan and the individual team members know what they’re responsible for.

9. Always Communicate

Communication is essential for any project, and any project manager should be looking to communicate continuously. Not only does this mean letting people know what their roles are, but also keeping your team up to date with changes and keeping everybody informed of progress.

Make sure to hold regular meetings where everybody involved will get a chance to contribute. You should also consider using communication tools to ensure your team is made aware of important developments as soon as they happen.

10. Use Your Team’s Skills

Good team management also involves tapping into your team’s skills. Remember that every one of your time members is likely to have different experiences and outlooks than you, while some will have specific skills that can be put to use.

Remember also that effective delegation is important for successful projects. Assigning tasks to the right people will help ensure the overall team benefits from the skills of individuals.

Summary

Above is just a small sample of tips that can help your project be a success. It’s essential that you make it clear what must be done before you get started. Communicate with your team, and make sure you use your time effectively. Also, make sure you use the right tools and don’t forget to tap into your team’s talents.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

 

How to Increase Productivity with a Time Audit

How to Increase Productivity with a Time Audit

Not completing your tasks in your working day can be very frustrating. It might mean you have to spend more of your spare time catching up, or maybe some tasks will become neglected. Regardless, many of us have felt as though we could get more done or that we have more time. The solution might be easier than you think.

One way to help give your productivity a boost is to run a time audit. This article looks at what a time audit is and how to

What is a Time Audit?

Simply put, a time audit involves examining what you work on throughout the day. Doing so will help you identify how you can improve your time management. Many people will use their time inefficiently in two main ways:

  • Procrastination

We’ve all done it. We get at our desk, about ready to crack on and get stuff done, but we first choose to have a quick look on social media. We start off intending to spend just a few minutes catching up, but before we know it, an hour has passed, and we’ve still got nothing done.

In some cases, we are not even aware of how much time we are spending on social media and other distractions. However, a time audit will help let you know how much time you are wasting and the results can be quite surprising. Seeing such results can also help compel you to improve your productivity.

  • Unproductive Tasks

Some of our tasks can be time-consuming and not particularly productive. For example, you might spend a lot of time checking your emails each morning, taking time away from more valuable jobs.

A time audit will help you identify which unproductive tasks you are spending too much time on, helping you reorganize your day. For example, you could try delegating some tasks to somebody else and consider using automation tools to do your menial tasks for you.

How to run a Time Audit?

Before you run a time audit, you will first need to get prepared. One of the first things you should do is to define your goals and place your tasks into categories. Armed with this information, it will become easier for you to analyze the report and identify where time management improvements can be made.

Free White Round Analog Wall Clock at 10 10 Stock Photo

A time audit is not difficult to run, provided you have the right tools. These tools include:

  • Time Tracking Apps

Using a time-tracking app is probably the easiest and most effective way to run a time audit. Various platforms are available, including the PK4 TimeTracker. The platform offers powerful reports and analysis that help you run an audit that will help you get the answers you need.

Such a platform will automatically monitor what you are working for and record the data for use later. Having the information available digitally will let you run reports that help break down your working day into intuitive graphs, charts, and other information.

  • Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets may not be as high-tech as time-tracking tools, but they can still be very effective when used right. Of course, you will need a timer to record how much time you are spending on certain tasks, and you will need to enter the information into the spreadsheet.

If you are good with spreadsheets, you will also be able to create your own graphs and other reports. These reports will then help you organize your day to boost your productivity.

  • Pen and Paper

Pen and paper are the crudest methods available, but they can still be effective. You will obviously need to write everything down clearly, while you will also need to time yourself manually. It will help if you draw a table first so you have an appropriate place to write down your observations.

Analyzing Your Audit

Time Audit Reports in PK4 TimeTrackerTime audits are a powerful tool because they help you take accountability for how you work. In acknowledging where you could be doing better, you can then ‘own’ it, which is an essential step before tackling the situation.

It will help if you are as objective as possible when analyzing your audit. Taking an objective approach involved using making decisions based on facts rather than feelings. Trying to take a subjective approach could lead to you starting to make excuses, making it harder for you to accept accountability.

Acting on Your Audit

A time audit is of no use to you if you don’t act on it, so make sure you use the information to put a plan in place. Such a plan will typically involve ways of ensuring your time is spent on productive tasks. As mentioned previously, you could try delegating your tasks or maybe consider adopting automation where appropriate. If necessary, you could also consider having your access to social media blocked to prevent you from spending so much time on Facebook and other platforms.

Summary

A time audit can be easy to run, especially if you have the right tools for the job. Remember that it’s best to be objective and be hard on yourself if necessary. Doing so will help you accept accountability and set about reorganizing your day to increase your productivity.

With your day optimized to make you more productive, you will get much more done in your working day. You will spend less of your personal time trying to catch up, while the more important tasks will get the attention they deserve.

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

Using The Pomodoro Technique To Be More Productive

Using The Pomodoro Technique To Be More Productive

We all have a limited amount of time in the day, making it essential to make the most of the time we have. Busy people have searched for time management methods help them maximize their productivity, and one solution developed is the Pomodoro technique.

The Pomodoro technique was developed by Italian author and entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo.

Francesco developed the technique with help from a tomato timer, and the Italian word for tomato is pomodoro, which is how the method got its name.

The method is simple:

  • You set the timer to 25 minutes and get to work.
  • Once the 25 minutes (known as a pomodoro) is up, you have a 5-minute break.
  • You then repeat the process again.
  • After four pomodoros, you take a longer break of between 15-20 minutes.

As simple as this time management technique is, it can be very effective.

Urgency

When working for long spells at a time, it’s easy to think you have plenty of time, thus reducing your urgency. This lack of urgency means you’re prone to browsing the web or getting involved with other distractions, affecting how much work you get done.

However, when using the Pomodoro time management technique, you will be breaking your work down into short sprints rather than a few long sessions. With just 25 minutes on the clock, you’re more eager to get as much done as you can, thus creating urgency. Approaching your work with more urgency will help you get more done in the limited time you have available.

Regular Breaks

When working for long periods without a break, the mind will inevitably become tired. You can become slow, have difficulty focusing, and you might even become irritable. When this happens, your productivity is bound to take a hit no matter how hard you might try.

When using the Pomodoro method, you will be taking breaks regularly. Every 25 minutes, in fact. While the break will only be five minutes long, that’s all it takes for the mind to refresh itself to some degree. When the five minutes are up, and you get back to work again, you will be feeling much fresher and more productive.

Motivation

Spending hours on tasks can cause us to lose enthusiasm for our work. When we don’t feel like working, our productivity is bound to drop, meaning we get less work done.

Taking regular breaks will help to separate the working day into short sprints. Working in short sprints with breaks will help to keep you feeling fresh and enthused about the task at hand.

Gamifies Working

The Pomodoro time management technique helps to gamify working, making the working day easier and even a little fun. Each time you turn the timer on, you are in a race against the clock to get as much as you can before the time is up.

When trying to win the game, you will be focused intently on your task, boosting your productivity.

Dealing With Distractions

Distractions are inevitable. Whether you’re working from home or at the office, somebody or something will eventually break your flow. The good news is that Cirillo also developed the following system that helps you deal with distractions effectively. Distractions are inevitable. Whether you’re working from home or at the office, somebody or something will eventually break your flow. The good news is that Cirillo also developed the following system that helps you deal with distractions effectively.

  • Inform: If somebody is distracting you from your work, politely inform them that you need to focus on your task.
  • Negotiate: Arrange a time when you have some time spare.
  • Schedule: Make sure to schedule when you will meet with the person.
  • Call Back: Once your pomodoro is complete, get back to the person who was disturbing you.

How to Use the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro method is easy to use, but it still takes a little organization. Here’s what you need to do.

  • Buy a Timer: You will need some way to time each Pomodoro. Most timers will do, and the easier it is to use, the better. You can also try using time tracking software like the easy to use PK4 TimeTracker.
  • Plan Your Day: Write down all the tasks you need to get completed. It’s best to rank them in accordance and assign a Pomodoro to each one.
  • Allow for Overflow Pomodoros: Some tasks will take longer than 25 minutes, and it’s not always practical to split them into more than one. This makes it a good idea to allow for overflow pomodoros, so you have allocated enough time for the day.

While the Pomodoro method initially stipulates sprints of 25 minutes, you can experiment to find what works best for you. Try shortening or lengthening the time of each pomodoro, while you can also try experimenting with the length of breaks. The overall objective is the get as much work done as you can, so do whatever works best for you.

Summary

One of the best things about the pomodoro technique is that it’s so easy to use. All it takes is to find a suitable timer, a little preparation, and you’re ready to go. When using the method, you should find you increase your focus when you are working, helping to boost your overall productivity.
Remember that it’s also fine to experiment to find what works best for you. You can even try using different types of timers, from the original tomato timer after which the technique is named to digital time-tracking tools.
Regardless, using time management techniques for better productivity can help transform your working day for the better. 

Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash