Any time is a perfect time to talk about productivity.
If you answered yes, you’re one of the 39% of HR professionals in the UK that rank productivity as their fourth priority for 2019, just behind employee wellbeing, employee engagement and GDPR compliance.
However, looking at the numbers above, we all know that the top 2 priorities — employee wellbeing and employee engagement — are two concepts that are closely related to productivity.
This comes as no surprise.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK labour force recorded a decline in productivity for the third straight quarter.
While overall productivity is expected to increase by 0.2% in 2019, it’s lagging behind compared to other countries with advanced economies such as the United States, Japan, Germany and France.
Boosting productivity is going to be a perennial problem in the modern workplace.
Luckily, it’s not something that HR managers and leaders are helpless against, especially with the myriad of tools available today.
One key pillar to improving employee productivity is efficient, accurate and insightful time tracking.
This is why clocking in systems have gone over and beyond the function of recording employees’ work hours.
They tell you how many hours your employees worked as well as how well they worked.
The following are the key productivity benefits of a time clock software.
Identify and Plug Productivity Leaks
Have you heard of the Eisenhower Decision Matrix? If not, it looks like this:
Ideally, your employees should be spending the majority of their time doing tasks under the “Do” quadrant followed by the tasks under the “Decide” quadrant.
They should be spending minimal time on tasks under the “Delegate” quadrant and should be ignoring things under the “Delete” quadrant.
The operative term is ideally.
Many employees are wasting time doing tasks that are urgent but not important.
For instance, on average, employees spend 2.5 hours per day replying to internal emails and clearing out their inboxes.
This is just one example of potential productivity leaks in your organisation that you may be unaware is happening.
With clocking in systems, you can identify non-essential tasks that could be eating away a significant number of hours from your employees’ workday.
After identifying these productivity black holes, you can determine whether these are system-wide or employee-specific issues and take necessary actions to solve them.
Smash Bottlenecks in Your Workflows
When a project gets delayed, it doesn’t mean that the entire project plan is flawed.
There could be specific bottlenecks in your workflows that are derailing your project timelines.
For example, you may have an approval process that breeds micromanagement among project leaders, increasing the number of revisions needed.
This causes costly delays and also weakens employee morale.
Low employee morale equals low productivity.
Doubling as a project management tracker, a time clock software can help you accurately pinpoint bottlenecks in your workflows.
Since it allows you to track how much time is spent on each project step, you can compare the actual time spent on each task vis-a-vis the timelines your team created during the planning process.
This will reveal deviations from the project timelines to enable you to investigate where and why bottlenecks are occurring.
Improve Project Planning
Speaking of project management, a time clock software allows you to improve your project planning process by giving you access to historical data that you can use as a benchmark.
When planning projects or tasks, there are two common scenarios that result in productivity loss.
Either you underestimate or overestimate the amount of time needed to complete certain tasks.
Without the right and sufficient data, project managers and business owners often resort to gut feeling and baseless assumptions.
Clocking in systems can solve this problem by providing you with a baseline based on labour hours spent on similar projects or tasks done in the past.
You can use this data in several ways. Get the average number of hours worked on similar projects. Create best-case and worst-case scenarios.
Plan for hiring contingent workforce.
Overall, utilising a time clock software enables you to allocate resources accordingly and set realistic timelines to ensure a high level of productivity.
Alerts You if Employees are Reaching Their Burnout Threshold
The UK’s productivity crisis will not be solved if employees are working overtime day in and day out.
According to a survey commissioned by TotallyMoney.com, workers in the UK put in an average of 10.1 overtime hours per week or 469 hours per year.
Occasional overtime work during peak business seasons is perfectly fine, but it becomes a productivity problem if it happens on a regular basis.
The effects of employee burnout on workplace productivity is well documented, summarized in the infographic below:
Employees who are paid an hourly rate and are happy to earn extra may not mind putting in overtime work.
However, even these employees will experience a sharp decline in their productivity after working a certain number of hours.
The issue is further magnified with salaried workers who are not getting compensated for the extra hours they spend in the office.
Clocking in systems can serve as early warning mechanisms that alert managers and human resources if certain workers are reaching their burnout threshold.
Most of these systems provide real-time dashboards that enable the timely deployment of measures to prevent burnout.
As a result, employees avoid burnout while feeling more engaged and valued in the workplace.
A double win for productivity.
One Does Not Simply Know How Much Time Is Wasted Without Tracking It
There’s an old business adage: you cannot manage what you cannot measure.
In the same breath, you cannot improve your workplace productivity if you don’t know where time is wasted.
This is where time tracking apps can help you optimise your business’ productivity.
Clocking in is more than a daily mundane thing that your employees do as they start and end their workday.
Time tracking goes above and beyond payroll purposes.
Time tracking allows you to specifically identify where time is wasted.
It’s up to you to decide how it could be better allocated to reap the benefits discussed above.