By John Martin

Popular opinion in business circles is that measuring productivity and tracking the performance of your workforce will reap significant rewards; enabling effective project management, accurate client billing and management of costs. The problem is many employees simply do not want their time to be tracked, particularly in the modern landscape of intrusion into privacy and corporate data scandals. 

Flexible non-intrusive tracking of time can be a major benefit to a business, without making employees feel like big brother is watching, but do employees really gain that much from time tracking? When it is implemented correctly, the answer is yes; time tracking can deliver benefits to a company’s staff as well as the bottom line. 

Even the most committed of workers can lose focus when they are multi-tasking or operating under pressure. Automated time tracking solutions can alleviate the feeling of constantly being watched over and make the dreaded feeling of handing in your timesheet at the end of each shift a thing of the past. 

With proper use a good system can help workers consider better alternatives to their approach, understand which tasks are draining their time inefficiently and where necessary, make proactive requests to management for help to alleviate bottlenecks. It’s not just improvements in working conditions that time tracking can offer to employees, it also protects their legal rights while at work. 

In May 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered a new EU time tracking ruling. It states: all companies within the EU are obligated to track their employees’ working hours. As a result of the ruling employers have a duty to create an objective, reliable and accessible system for measuring daily working time. This concerns the entire span of daily working time, not just overtime.

Not all jobs are equal however, and there is not a one-size-fits all solution to time tracking for businesses. Depending on the company, type of work, billing cycles and types of client there are a multitude of options available. Let’s take a deeper look:

White-Collar Workers

Typically, white-collar workers are less likely to be paid solely for hours worked. Many white-collar roles are often in service-based sectors, where workers can be paid based on result, hours worked, project completion or overall performance. Monitoring time and attendance for white-collar workers is still important, but the issue of trust looms large over the more intrusive tools such as screen recording, wearable devices, and electronic monitoring.

Blue & Pink-Collar Workers

Where employees are paid solely for hours worked, measuring how long they are physically at work can still be a valid metric for accurately working out pay and other benefits, in addition to better scheduling and availability planning for employers. 

Effective time tracking for blue & pink-collar workers has significant benefits for employers and their staff, such as:

Employee benefits:

  1. Accurate recording of overtime & hours worked, to protect against wage theft & unscrupulous employers. 
  2. Improved working hours and a healthier work-life balance.
  3. Protection against working time and rest abuse.
  4. No more consecutive work shifts (minimum 12-hour break between working hours)

Employer benefits:

  1. Organised digital records make payroll and salaries more accurate, and collaboration between departments more streamlined.
  2. Increased transparency & trust between employers and their employees.
  3. Increased employee health & productivity.
  4. Better handle on true costs, time sinks, and inefficiencies.
  5. More accurate quotes and deadlines based on actual historic data.

Summary

Both employers and employees can benefit from time tracking, and as the workplace evolves it will be led by companies that adapt to change and implement the most effective strategies for their own specific circumstances. 

One of the biggest benefits of having a clear picture of time expenditure across all employees, is that it grants the opportunity to have serious and honest dialogue about performance, pay and goals. Utilising accurate information to improve relationships between workers and employers will no doubt pay dividends to both parties.

Organisations that want to foster a positive work environment, where staff can be sure they are being paid what is rightfully theirs will no doubt attract the best talent and build a loyal workforce.