Tom is a customer project manager at DeskTime, where he works to help companies raise their productivity and their employees' effectiveness. We recently spoke with Tom to learn about the importance of time-tracking software and how it makes employees more productive.
Why is DeskTime better than other activity tracking tools?
DeskTime is better because it's the only time tracking tool which has much more functions than other tools, and the main one is productivity measurement. DeskTime is the only one which can show how productive and effective company employees are.
What are some of the biggest employee time-wasting activities that companies may not be aware of?
Usually, employees miscalculate two important metrics. The first is how much time they spend on breaks (smoking, chatting with colleagues, etc.), and the second is the amount of time spent on entertainment. Everyone thinks, "I'll go for a smoke or just chat with colleagues," but that all adds up to several hours each week which could be spent working. The same goes for private time usage on the computer. People just plan to check their Facebook status for a few minutes, but then time flies and they spend 15 minutes. At the end of the day, it's over an hour has been spent unproductively.
Give us some examples of inefficient workplace practices that reduce productivity but can be easily eliminated or mitigated by management.
Many employers don't see that their employees come in five minutes late and go home ten minutes earlier. Each week, they lose an average of 1.5 hours, which is almost one full working day per month which employees could spend on work-related tasks.
Is it possible to monitor employees' activity too much? If so, what's your advice on striking a balance between employee privacy and monitoring productivity?
Of course. No one likes it when someone is watching over their shoulder all the time. We recommend allowing employees themselves to discover their unproductive or inefficient habits so they can work more effectively and productively. For management, we suggest setting goals for employees - for example, how many productive hours they have to work a day/week/month or what should be the effectiveness percentage. We don't recommend requiring employees work at 100% effectiveness, because as our studies show, each employee needs breaks to be effective at their work. Therefore, the average effectiveness by the end of the day should be between 85% and 90% to stay focused and productive.
What are some ways that companies can discourage or prevent employees from visiting outside websites to conduct personal business during work hours?
Well, we are all human and all have our personal lives, and sometimes we have to tend to personal matters during the work day. But the most important thing is not to do it too much. Of course, some employees cheat and are unfair to their employers if they do a lot of private things at work. If this happens, employers can have a discussion about how to behave at work and why the employee is not working. And it's usually good to discover that an employee is not working as hard as he or she should; then the employer and employee can sit down and see if something is wrong (for example, the employee doesn't like the required tasks). If the employee has potential, he or she can make it right and become more productive.
If someone were to say to you, "As a project manager, I just look at the team members with the lowest activity rates when I want to find out who isn't pulling their weight," how might you respond?
Well, the lowest activity rates or lowest effectiveness aren't necessarily a sign that an employee has not been working. Maybe the employee has been working hard away from the computer trying to help other colleagues, which is why the effectiveness is low.
What is employee empowerment, and how should a company go about fostering it?
All employees have their empowerment of privacy, and the company should respect that. The company can check how effective their employees are, and of course, it is important to know whether all the employees have been working on company projects.
Given the rising trends of flexible work hours and remote workers, how important will activity monitoring tools be for companies in the future?
Time tracking and employee monitoring tools will get more and more important as the trend of employees working remotely grows in the future. And it's very good that both sides (companies and employees) can find a common language and agree to work remotely; and at the same time, employers will know all the time how many hours and on what tasks employees have been working. And time tracking or monitoring tools also help employers pay fair wages. When employees are working on hourly rates, the employer can easily pay for the hours that the employee worked productively or on work-related tasks.
In the end, the company can see where their money goes and employees can see where their time goes, and they can get a fair salary for the hours that they actually worked. Companies will see their employees working more efficiently and earning money for the company, and employees will get paid for every minute they have worked.
How do you help your employees become more engaged? Contact hubEngage to find out.