3 mistakes companies make when using time tracker app


Many productivity-oriented companies make these three fatal errors which lead to situations when you collect information that is hard to use and understand at best, and is a total waste of the employees’ time at worst. Probably, you can find at least one of these problems in your business.

The foolishness of reality

Every Friday afternoon, employees of thousands of companies participate in the largest fiction writing event in the world. It is the weekly timesheet. This remark is intended to be an example of a serious data capture problem.

The timesheet can be used to capture usable information for the company’s way of planning, which would result in more efficient scheduling. However, in many contexts, timesheets become either a memory (or lack thereof) test or a test that you can do basic math to ensure a group of random numbers adds up to forty.

The question is: is it worth doing at all if we aren’t going to do it well? We’ve debated previously the need of this information, so how do we preclude the fiction from occurring?

Are you making data tools for collecting data taxes?

A widespread mistake made by many managers is bad communication of the purpose of collecting time tracking data. Any information that you want to collect from every employee should be explained within the company. The data collection should be largely supported by the administration and clear to every employee so that data fabrication is minimized.

The employee’s side is also significant from an organizational change outlook. When administration office doesn’t have to fill in timesheets, employees see timesheets as a control technique rather than a data collection instrument. This again leads to inaccurate and fabricated data, precluding a review of actual performance.

I worked with a company where a project data in timesheets was used for client billing. The link between a timesheet and a paycheck was plain to everyone and timesheets were very accurate as a result. In this situation, timesheets provided very valuable information.

Contrast this with another time tracker practice. I was directed to fill in a weekly timesheet in a company where I was an employee. The goal of filling in timesheets was never communicated, it just had to be done. Being genteel in my record, I logged that I had 44 work hours that week. On Monday morning, my honesty was broken down by my project manager who educated me that CFO wanted everybody to log 40 hours, no more nor no less. I asked “Wouldn’t it be more productive for CFO and for us to put 40 hours next to each employee in a list rather than make everyone fill up a timesheet?” but never had an answer. For this company’s employees timesheets were a needless chore and data quality suffered.

Do you have the information you really need?

If your time tracker takes 30 minutes of each employee every week and you have two hundred employees at a rate of $100 per hour, time tracking costs you $10k per week.

The $10,000 question is therefore, do you capture the information you need to support the winning business conversations that required time tracker? In many cases, companies capture strong thorough information or capture that data that was identified by the original office that first implemented a time tracker. Project-oriented companies may need data granularity to the level of a project or even a single task. Operational business may need team, administrative, or support ticket level information. Different needs may predicate different conversations that need another stages of detail on the timesheet. One size does not have to fit all.

Asking the wrong questions of employees leads to wrong kind of data being collected instead of valuable information. For example, if you have 200+ tasks on your timesheet, probably most time will be listed on the tasks that are easy to remember rather than the real tasks that were worked on. This  extremely impacts the quality of collected information.

You will achieve much more in capturing this info if pay attention to the following:

  • A goal of time tracking in your organization should be clearly stated
  • The information is collected with required level of detail
  • The data is available to do analysis for counting room needs
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