Mar 21

How effective are time tracking apps for remote workers?

The question of time tracking apps can be a tricky one when transitioning to remote teams. With the push back usually connected to increased micromanagement and spying. But time tracking is essential for remote teams to stay organised and pull in the right direction. They are not just monitoring tools for management either, but can be one of the most effective ways for individuals to measure their own productivity.

Finding the right time management app for your team can:

Increase productivity

A good automated time tracking app is one that allows workers to focus on the work without interrupting the workflow. When distracted or dealing with a hiccup, you can look back and see how much time you actually spent on less productive activities. It’s also a good way to decipher how much time each task can take and sort them by priority. The best outcome is to increase productivity without having to compromise on the enjoyable tasks and for the management to keep tabs on everybody’s activities and see the progression.

Proper planning of workload

Create your work planning and prepare all your tools that you might need for the day or week to complete your assignments. Try to find out where you possibly will encounter difficulties and communicate this to the rest of the team. This helps you to anticipate the actual workload and delegate a part of the work to another team member, a question of balancing it out. Keep in mind that it’s important to add those team meetings, client calls and project communication chats to the log as well as this often happens to go unreported.

Improve project management

As a project manager you have a clear overview of your team’s activities without being too intrusive. In no time you can: assess the time allocation of each task, calculate if the team will meet the deadline, see which processes will take more time and coach accordingly. When it comes to the financial part, this data can also help you to manage costs in real-time.

Help bill your clients accordingly

Rough estimates of task completions doesn’t cut when billing to clients. Especially if you happen to work, let’s say 10 minutes more than estimated on 10 tasks and you don’t log it in, the entire company actually loses 100 minutes (from minutes, to hours to days) of useful time that won’t be paid for. Granted, when you ask the client for more time and they agree to pay for it, the extra allotted time still needs to be justified. What better way to keep track of it all and bill based on the exact data input?

Tracking on advanced level: time boxing

Time boxing is a time management method used by the big entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Cal Newport and many others. Essentially it’s the practice of setting a fixed amount of time for each task you have to do and integrating those blocks of time into your schedule, before starting your working day. This eliminates the possibility of having unstructured free time that doesn’t always benefit your workflow. The best thing about time boxing is that it creates a useful limitation that can actually intensify your level of focus. Best way to end this piece is with Parkinson’s Law: “the amount of work expands to fill the time available for its completion”.

To help you size up some options for your remote team, take a look at DeskTime’s comprehensive list of the 16 best time tracking apps (where they rank No.1 of course).

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