Pros and cons of using a time tracker

Pros and cons of time and attendance software.

Time trackers and time and attendance software traditionally have active supporters and fierce opponents. Among CEOs, HR-specialists and IT professionals there are arguments both in favor of time trackers and against them.

In this article we have collected the most common arguments used to negate the necessity of time tracker and time and attendance applications, as well as evidence in favor of such software solutions.

Top managers of companies where employees do not need Internet access to work, primarily state:

The first argument: “Why waste money and time on installation of a time tracker, if it is sufficient simply to limit the Internet access?”

Fact: Experience our customers showed that restricting employees from freely visiting websites does not give the desired result: selective restrictions (for example, banning social networks) drives employees to use all sorts of proxies, anonymizers, etc. so system administrators get tired of blocking it after a week or two. By restricting the Internet access completely, in addition to upsurge of indignation, the management would have to deal with a “guerrilla war” — employees using their personal devices, strongly protesting against the decision of the management.

The second argument: “Things are going great! Why change anything?”

Fact: Indeed, it is good to know when “everything is great” in someone’s business. But you can always do better! Only by not resting on your laurels your company can be ahead of the competition.

HR-experts are the adhesive force of the team. They literally live the problems of the company and employees, and worry about motivation not less than top managers. A frequent argument from HR:

The third argument: “A time tracker would demotivate employees and we would have to hire a new staff as everyone would leave!”

Fact: If you keep your employees in the dark, the negative consequences are inevitable. However, if you correctly introduce the time tracker to the staff, explain how it will help in their everyday work and what are the goals and benefits of the software you can minimize the risks and pass the initial stage of implementation quite smoothly.

In any decision regarding installation of the time tracker, an important role is played by IT professionals. They usually are interested in the technical aspects, performance, usability of the system, and the possibility of “bypassing” the monitoring.

The fourth argument: “You can disable a time tracker! Or set up a software which will “work” for an employee to cheat the software.”

Fact: If a time tracker agent is disabled, a statistics for an employee would not be collected (which is easy to notice by a system administrator). Moreover, to disable a time tracker agent of CrocoTime an employee would need to know the password, and there are alerts about broken agents. Naturally, if the monitoring agent of a specific employee “fails” with surprising regularity, suspicion arises. With regards to cheating the time tracker there are two counter-arguments: colleagues and a supervisor would not take kindly to such an employee, secondly, with regards to time tracking, remember of the necessity to control the results of employee’s work.

The fifth argument: “Time and attendance in our company is already under control by an access control system and/or DLP system.”

Fact: Counter-arguments here are simple: access control systems do not provide detailed information on the activities of employees: they could come to the office on time, but begin to work after lunch. Since the task of the time tracker is to evaluate employee’s productivity the access control systems do not help. A DLP system protects the company against theft of sensitive or confidential data, helps to prevent industrial espionage. That also does not solve tasks of efficiency, cost optimization, etc in a way that the time tracker does. Thus, large companies use several kinds of such software because they do not want to allow “gaps” in any of the mentioned areas.

The sixth argument: “The company has a clearly established plan for each and every employee. We see the result, why should we use a time tracker?”

Fact: It is undoubtedly very important to control results. But how to set a correct plan and determine what you want to achieve from employees? How to understand if employee’s workload is optimal and if he can work more productively? On the other hand, the risk of overloading an employee is too great, leading to his “burnout”. A time tracker provides statistics of productive and available working time of an employee. With this information at hand, finding reserves of time to meet the new challenges is not difficult.

The seventh fact: Conclusion

The experiment carried out in the United States in the twentieth century (Hawthorne studies) showed that time tracking and monitoring stimulates employees to show themselves to the best advantage. All because employees see the attention of the management to their work.

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