TIME TRACKING IN DISTRIBUTED TEAMS – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
“To be or not to be” is no longer a relevant question. If Hamlet were a modern employer, he would be worried about other problems, and one of the most important would be “to hire or not to hire a distributed team.” Competition in the modern market sets new rates and throws out new challenges. The trend for remote collaboration has gained momentum, and we can confidently predict an increase in its popularity in the near future.
It is obvious that employees’ productivity is not determined by whether they work in the office or remotely. A large, friendly team, sitting in an office, set in a beautiful huge building with transcendental rent, can bring you a minimum of profit. At the same time, a team scattered around the world, working from cafés or beaches, can please you with full dedication, which immediately transforms into financial gain. Of course, this is not an indisputable truth, and everything can be the other way around since productivity is not determined by geography. The most pressing issues that you must solve are finding ways to organize the work of a distributed team.
The Warden for the Freelancers
Just over a hundred years ago, engineer Frederick Taylor stood behind factory workers with a stopwatch to measure how much time they spend on routine operations. It soon became clear that they could be “optimized.” To increase productivity, he was the first one to use a system of scientific organization of labor. That idea morphed into modern mass production.
All company owners want their employees to work for the good of the Motherland and the company. But we perceive human nature as a magical thing that makes us not to do stuff until the last moment. Of course, there are 5-10% of us who work fine, whether someone is monitoring us or not. But with the majority of enterprises that use distributed teams, tracking the progress is a must.
Could the workers of that time imagine that their great-grandchildren would measure their productivity not by the orders of the capitalist, but on their own initiative? Modern knowledge workers must plan their activities, and Taylor’s stopwatch is replaced by special time-tracking programs—time trackers.
For Management’s Sake…
Distributed employees turn into a dream team if you provide them with up-to-date technical support. If your time-tracking tool can “communicate” with the rest of your tools, it eliminates “guessing” on both sides: the employee doesn’t have to remember which projects and tasks were complete, and the manager doesn’t have to guess how much is it to the finish line. Meanwhile, higher management will be able to see the big picture, for example, track down periods of falling productivity and quickly find a solution to this problem.
The only way for your distributed team to produce great results is if they have appropriate software for managing groups and sets of tasks and deadlines. Many well-known companies, including mega-monsters like Amazon and Apple, allow their employees to work in mobile mode. This provides a balance of time we spend on privacy and work. All productivity records confirm that, in the end, the company’s profit is determined by how much each employee laid out, not by how much time he/she spent in the office.
For work to be truly combined with a mobile lifestyle, a person must have a real idea of their productivity. Fortunately, the opportunities offered by modern technologies not only cover communication from virtually anywhere in the world but also allow you to track how busy your day was. Thus, time-tracking software solves more issues than just a “deadline countdown” and employee supervision. At a time when timesheets are outdated, it’s not so easy to decide on a quality app that can replace the timesheet. Here is a partial list of a modern time-tracker functions:
- Create reports;
- Fully control the workflow;
- Remind of holidays and vacations;
- Easily integrated with other important resources;
- Have a convenient interface;
- Help automatically account the salaries.
The Time-tracking App for Remote Teams
PPM Express | Time tracks all the time your remote team spends on different projects and clients without interrupting them. It “communicates” directly with all the project and portfolio management software you’ve got—be it JIRA, VSTS, Project Online, or whatever you’ve got and translates it all into an entirely accurate report. Remote workers can structure their work and share progress with minimal effort, and managers can balance team resources and bill clients accurately.
Creates an Accurate Record for All Business Time
Whether you are legally required to document all remote employee hours, want entirely accurate remote employee timesheets for billing, or want a complete picture of how your business spends all its time, automatic time tracking has your back. It completely removes the dependence on manual input, so business time is never misreported or forgotten by busy employees. You can see the time you spend down to the app used, the project completed or “in progress” to ensure all work is accounted for. Even commonly overlooked activities like internal team communication, meetings, and email are accounted for.
Provides Team-wide Transparency
PPM Express | Time helps everyone on your team provide the information on their progress no matter where they are. PPM Express | Time provides essential transparency for managers. The PMs and PMOs can see what the team is “up to” from one place, alongside the capacity to facilitate the distribution of “human resources.” When they need help with some new task, they can easily see who has room to help out. By tracking activity and hours worked across each remote employee, you can ensure everyone is keeping to your priorities and has a healthy workload. It’s especially useful for preventing burnout and merely understanding how you can better support your remote workers.
PPM Express | Time supports remote worker self-management. Despite the attraction of flexibility, all remote workers need to establish a structure to work effectively. PPM Express | Time helps them master their own productive performance by revealing exactly how they use their time. Remote workers can understand how different long tasks take, where they get distracted, and where their process can be improved. It also provides the means to schedule their week effectively—calls, meetings, and video conferences auto-import helps them structure work against their capacity.
Centralizes Remote Project Management
Quick custom reporting and real-time task aggregation let remote teams instantly review progress from one place without wasting effort digging for information. Distant worker hours are represented accurately and without any “guesstimations.” With a comprehensive view of all team members activities and an overview of each task durations, you can make more accurate estimates for future work.
PPM Express | Time allows owners to lead from a position of trust. Remote employee time tracking can’t work without mutual trust and respect. Unlike some time-tracking apps, PPM Express | Time promotes employee agency over intimidation. It aggregates the data straight from the portfolio-tracking systems, as well as all the office apps like Office 365, providing everyone with a secure space for managing and improving their own performance. Everyone using the app has the right to review their timesheets, activity, and project tasks traced straight from the project management tool to ensure they are correct and fully representative before sharing them with management. Remote employees feel comfortable using the tool, and managers protect an honest and open working culture.