To decide whether or not to install a time tracker one needs to answer the following questions:
- Are you sure that all the employees spend their working time productively?
- Is it possible to work more effectively than now?
- Compare possible losses with the cost of a time tracker.
After considering the answers a manager will be able to make the informed decision.
How does a time tracker work?
The program counts work time of employees (both in office and remote), logs time clock, early leave, interruptions, distractions, keeps a record of absenteeism and tardiness, identifies office slackers and, conversely, workaholics. Functions provided by different time trackers vary considerably. Some developers prefer to go the path of espionage and add tracking via webcam, screenshots, key logging, mouse clicks, and scrolling. Others prefer a more loyal approach without interfering in the private lives of employees. Such time trackers count the time spent on various resources. Applications and websites are then divided into productive and unproductive categories. Depending on a department, the time tracker calculates the percentage of productive time for each employee, as well as for departments, units and the entire organization. Some developers include email alerts on violations of labor discipline into the functionality of their system.
Modes of operation
Most time trackers have two modes of operation: Stealth mode is used to see how employees use work time, not knowing that they are under the supervision. Open mode means that employees are told about the time tracker and are explained what performance indicators are measured and how the statistics is used in calculating their wages.
Are there disadvantages in using a time tracker?
If your goal is to prevent data leakage, the time tracker will not help you. Some of the time trackers systems will demotivate your staff by logging their every step, asking to fill out reports, making videos and screenshots will make employees unhappy, to put it mildly. After all, nobody likes total control. However, such motivation issues can be avoided by choosing a loyal monitoring system which does not invade in the privacy of employees.
The construction company “Dominante” implemented the time tracker openly. “- The company didn’t need a spy system, which would capture screenshots and keystrokes,” – says an employee of the company’s IT Department. “I have had experience with similar time trackers and saw how they adversely affect performance. Screenshots slow down employees’ computers and, finding out about surveillance, employees lose motivation and incentive to work. The functionality of the program used by us perfectly aligned with requirements of our management: exercising the loyal monitoring (without surveillance, interception of correspondence, webcam and screenshots). The time tracker showed the productivity of each employee separately, as well as of divisions and units”. “- The company management wanted to have the tool for a sober assessment of the effectiveness of employees,” said Ivan Trofimov. “- Gain a possibility to fairly decide whom to encourage and whom not. We explained these motives to employees: time tracking is needed so that each of them could show their maximum and then gain maximum from the management”. Statistics collected by the system is needed to make difficult personnel decisions, (for example, of disagreement between the employee and the line head) to quickly see all the necessary data and make informed conclusions.
Time trackers are used by companies that seek to improve the efficiency of its staff; by business leaders who see the problems and try to solve them quickly; by managers who want to find reserves of productivity. Examples of such companies include consulting firms, design and construction companies, advertising firms, banks, industrial companies with a large staff.