Timesheets, the mere word can drive fear into an employee’s heart. But the reality is that tracking time offers powerful benefits that can help businesses increase transparency, drive new efficiencies, and ultimately, increase profits. The data hidden within time-sheets reveal operational insights that empower the entire organization — from executive to manager to employee.
Particularly for businesses that bill hourly, by retainer, or manage projects of any size, timesheets cast the business in a new light. They enable finance, HR, accounting, and operations to better understand performance and set the business up for success.
So, what specifically does time tracking do?
Increase Project Visibility
By tracking time, you’re able to surface key metrics about any employee, project, or the entire organization. Reporting and analyzing employee time highlights long-term trends and outliers, and gives management new visibility into performance at every level. New visibility leads to more effective management, increased accountability, and better communications with both employees and customers.
Set Realistic Benchmarks and Goals
Timesheets allows you to understand, on average, how long any task, project, or campaign should take. Projects, programs, and tasks can be benchmarked by client type, scope, level of effort, or any other category that cuts across all possible roles in your organization. With proper benchmarks in place — and the ability to track, manage, and plan employee time — businesses are able to assess which employees are the most efficient and ensure that the entire team is providing the right level of service to their clients.
Tracking time gives you a clear picture of organizational workload. It offers real-time data on employee availability, and makes it much easier to plan for current future work. Without tracking time, how do know if you have enough available employee resources to staff your current projects effectively? What about new business? How do you know whether you should hire full-time employees or part-time contractors? Businesses that track time are able to put together higher-performing teams and avoid last-minute scrambling for resources.
Without accurate time data, it’s difficult to know which employees are over or under utilized. For some managers, it becomes all too easy to staff projects or accounts based on a perception of availability, rather than real data. Timesheets foster and facilitate honest conversations between managers and their employees, as well as clients who are interested in learning more about exactly where their money is going. And for executives, high-level timesheet data — whether it’s month over month or year over year — allows them to analyze team performance and make more informed decisions about how to structure the business.