How to Motivate Employees to Track Time and Why Should You


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Never leave ‘till tomorrow which you can do today is a great piece of wisdom by Benjamin Franklin.

Easier said than done, especially if we remember that there were no smartphones and social media back in his time.

The stats say that the average US employee spends approximately five hours a week on their mobile phones on non-work activities. This screen-time comes with a high price – $15.5 billion in lost productivity.

The thing is that most people aren’t even aware of how much they’re slacking off at work.

Time tracking is the right solution to this widespread problem.

But, most employees aren’t exactly big on this practice, as they think it gives off a certain “1984” vibe.

Luckily, there are ways to encourage your employees to track their time voluntarily and without objections.

1. Communicate the Importance

Ordering your employees to start tracking every minute of their workday without any explanation is counterproductive. Not to mention that some of them might even decide to cheat with time logs.

Instead of being bossy, use a reasonable approach.

By communicating the benefits of using a time card calculator and explaining that tracking time is good not only for the management but for the employees too, you practically answer their unspoken question “What’s in it for me?”

For example, sales reps can benefit from accurate timesheets because that way your company will reduce the chances of under-billing. This will result in bigger profits, fatter paychecks, and more generous individual bonuses.

Subsequently, companies that offer more competitive salaries and better perks attract top talent, which means great co-workers and a stimulating work environment.

2. Make It Clear That You Won’t Spy on Them

Nobody likes being constantly observed and scrutinized.

Such a controlling system creates fear, stress, and distrust among your employees.

That’s why it’s crucial to reassure them that time tracking isn’t about putting them under the microscope.

When they understand that the whole point is to identify non-profitable projects and improve your work process, they’ll be less opposed to the idea.

Let them know that you have no intention of using some shady, privacy-invading tools, as well as that nothing terrible will happen if they don’t hit the 40-hour weekly quota.

Give people a choice and let them decide how they want to track time – either with the help of a timer or by entering their hours at the end of the day.

3. Help Them With the Set-Up Process

There’s nothing more frustrating than when you can’t figure out how a tool works.

So, another method of encouraging your employees to track time is making the whole process as easy and straightforward as possible.

However, many people aren’t exactly tech wizards, and they might find even the most intuitive software confusing.

A staff meeting in which you’ll give a short presentation about how to set up the time tracking tool and allow people to ask you questions is the best way to address this issue and eliminate potential obstacles.

Since convenience and mobility play an important role today, enable your employees to log their times on different devices, browsers, and apps, and even when they don’t have internet access. This is particularly important if you’re managing a remote workforce.

To make the onboarding process more effective and efficient, use helpful time tracking tutorials which will allow your employees to progress at their own pace.

4. Share the Reports

This is an important but very sensitive step.

Namely, sharing the reports will illustrate how somebody’s work directly affects the company’s results. This tactic will give your employees’ a confidence boost and show them that every single thing they do counts.

But, bear in mind that shaming an employee who’s unproductive or seemingly disengaged in front of their co-workers might lead to trust issues.

Instead of that, tell the employee in question that you noticed some issues and ask them if they need any help with their work or time tracking.

5. Ask for Feedback

Once your employees adopt this system and start tracking time, you should regularly check on them and ask whether they managed to adapt.

This will allow you to make adjustments, improve the process, and additionally simplify it.

If a majority of your employees says that the tool you picked is too clunky or complicated, you can opt for a different one.

By asking them to have their say on this important matter, you’ll show that you value their opinion.

Also, everybody should participate in analyzing the collected data because that way they can spot some common time-wasters, come up with a way to do things differently, and improve their productivity and efficiency.

The trick is to present time tracking as something that will help your employees make the most of their time at work and boost their productivity, and not as a method of controlling them.

Nenad Milanovic
Serial entrepreneur based in San Francisco. Founder and CEO of time tracking and time management tool Clockify.


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