Tracking Project Hours vs. Tracking Productivity: Do You Have to Choose?

When it comes to having a profitable business, the two things that everyone wants to keep track of are project hours and employee productivity. Continuous innovations across the world have transformed the way businesses operate and manage their workforce today. Companies now have numerous ways to drill down into employee data and take actions that result in growth and success.

Tracking project hours means capturing the details related to employee work habits, such as working hours, login/logout times, projects/tasks they are working on, etc. In comparison, tracking productivity means knowing about employees’ efficiency to understand how well they approach a problem and spend their time while working on multiple tasks.

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Tracking Project Hours vs. Tracking Productivity

We spoke to a few business leaders to get their take on tracking project hours vs. tracking productivity. Sam Underwood, VP of Strategy and Operations at Futurety, shared why he tracks both: “We track both hours and productivity, with different purposes for each. We track hours because many of our clients require it. Our contracts are often scoped as a quantity of hours, and we’re accountable to our clients to use those hours wisely and intelligently to achieve their goals.”

Underwood further adds, “We track productivity to ensure our team is using our clients’ resources responsibly. Productivity is more amorphous because there’s no hard number for a great idea or an innovative new process to achieve results. Rather, we ensure each team member is within a range of hourly output, and then add some subjective, perception-based scoring to decide if we need to help them be more productive.”

In the past, organizations needed to have different solutions to track hours and productivity individually. In contrast, the easy availability of modern tracking solutions has made it possible to track numerous things at once with complete accuracy. A good time tracking solution like Replicon can do wonders as time tracking isn’t just about punching in and out hours anymore. A time intelligent solution can provide insightful analysis to increase productivity and efficiency and maximize employee talent.

When Gobi Dasu, founder and CEO at LD Talent, was asked if tracking hours or productivity is more important than the other, he said: “Productivity is usually more important because that’s what the output is to the organization. But sometimes, time can matter like if it is a manual task that needs to be done on repeat many times (i.e., virtual assistant rather than software type of work).”

Let’s look at how a time tracking solution can track productivity and project hours, so you don’t have to choose one over the other.

Tracking Project Hours and Productivity Together

Use Data and Insights

Project time tracking gives you insights into data points like task duration, billable and non-billable hours, total working and idle hours, etc., through which you can easily measure productivity. It also helps your employees organize and manage their projects and tasks in such a way that they can target the priority items first and then move to the following tasks without any delay.

Leaders can also evaluate their employees’ performance in a more quantifiable manner by gauging the project’s progress. Additionally, by allowing your employees to focus on what’s important, leaders can maximize the ROI from a project, increase employee productivity, and save time that can be utilized in other projects.

Identify and Remove Bottlenecks

Time tracking can help you identify the time your employees spend on work that isn’t fruitful and can be avoided. Some typical examples of such assignments are meetings, social networking, emails, etc. While some of these activities may be essential, leaders must take necessary measures to keep these at a minimum and ensure project time is not impacted.

To this purpose, businesses can use data insights to identify bottlenecks, decrease or re-evaluate their processes that result in inefficiency across the workplace, and further help the team to improve productivity and efficiency by de-prioritizing such tasks.

A simple example of this was shared by Jonathan Bariller, Director Operations at Novade Europe: “In the early stages of a construction project, it can be hard to measure productivity as tasks are either done or not. An example is pouring concrete for building construction — using person-hours, together with volume poured, provides the project team with more valuable data and helps leaders manage overtime and signals potential budget concerns.”

Remove Distractions and Increase Accountability

Time tracking will enable your organization to allocate resources appropriately across various projects and teams. It will also increase accountability and focus as the deadlines for different tasks and projects will be set and visible to everyone, making employees less inclined to delay and waste time on unproductive activities. You can also identify the tasks/activities that distract your employee from being highly productive.

With a time tracking solution at your disposal, employees will also be cautious of limiting the duration of non-work-related tasks. As the employees remain focused on completing actual work, their productivity and output will automatically increase. Furthermore, details about employee time will be available on a real-time basis on the project dashboard, so there will be no need for micro-management.

Prevent Burnout with Project and Productivity Tracking

Unmonitored employee burnout can do massive amounts of damage to a business. Burnouts can lead to increased absences, decreased morale, and mistakes in the deliverables. For this reason, it is essential to keep a check on performance burnout.

Time tracking software helps you monitor how effectively your employees use their hours and quickly notice uneven task distributions or overburdened resources that may cause pressure. You can also find out if your resources have been working overtime or undertime. By knowing the weekly/monthly hours logged by the employees, leaders can also determine employees working capacity and allocate tasks uniformly.

With correct time and productivity tracking, you can help reduce stress among your employees, avoid burnouts, and enable them to approach a problem with the right mindset.

Uncover the Complete Potential of Project Time Tracking

Choosing a time tracking solution, such as Replicon, is an intelligent choice and the simplest way to track both hours and productivity. With the correct software in place, it will only take you a few minutes to know where and how your employees utilize their time throughout the day. When used effectively, automated time tracking can help make your employee more efficient and productive.

In addition to tracking and improving productivity, automated time tracking can help you:

  • Customize your project timesheet to capture every granular project information as per your business needs, even when you are mobile.
  • Easily submit time-off bookings on the timesheet to indicate out-of-office time and manage your remote workforce better with real-time GPS tracking and geofencing capabilities.
  • Upload digital receipts and attachments instantly to reduce lost information, eliminate timesheet submission and approval delays, and see increased accuracy.
  • Create multi-level project/task hierarchies, define project milestones, and set up relevant information in seconds.
  • Use historical project and resource information to estimate costs better.
  • Track budgets to actuals in real time to manage performance to optimize costs.
  • Normalize time spent by resources, account for all resource time and costs on projects, and differentiate between CapEx and OpEx costs with accurate, timely information.
  • Seamlessly integrate with your existing ecosystem to enable project time tracking, costing, and billing.
  • Get real-time visibility into business metrics like costing, chargebacks, utilization, estimates vs. actuals, etc., and make proactive decisions.

Watch our webinar to learn more about what you can do with Replicon Time Intelligence, a smart project time tracking solution, and how we can help you enhance employee productivity, project billing, planning, and more.

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Surbhi Bharati
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Surbhi Bharati
Surbhi is Content Marketing Manager at Replicon. She is a learner with a curiosity for new technologies. Replicon provides award-winning products that make it easy to manage your workforce. With complete solution sets for client billing, project costing, and time and attendance management, Replicon enables the capture, administration, and optimization of your most underutilized and important asset: time.
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