It won’t be an exaggeration to say that every small business owner and a leader aspires to have a productive team. The quality of a firm’s performance and the volume of overall outputs largely depend on workforce behaviors. Therefore, to achieve success, one has to invest much effort in team development, including the promotion of individual and collective efficiency at the workplace.
There are plenty of effective methods aimed to foster productivity, and time tracking is one of them. In this article, you will learn how the adoption of a timesheet app, such as , can help you improve team efficiency and enable you to move from one business goal to another with more ease.
Let’s explore what you need to do to achieve that point by point.
1. Define What Productivity Is for You
Productivity may be defined as consistent performance over a period of time. It is not the same as the state of exhausting busyness and doesn’t imply that you should aim to accomplish more and more every single day. Simply put, productivity is the ability to complete tasks and produce steady results on a regular basis.
In economic terms, you can measure productivity the following way: Total Output ÷ Total Input. However, different persons may have very different output goals, and their perceptions of acceptable input often vary as well.
Some people will measure productivity by the number of tasks completed against the number of hours contributed. Others will evaluate how productive they are by the amount of time spent actively working. Some see the quality of performance results as a significant productivity factor. Others don’t pay attention to anything but quantity or the volume of efforts that directly produce income.
Therefore, your first goal here is to identify what productivity means for you and select a suitable method to measure it. has a great post about the varying ways one can use to quantify productivity — be sure to check it out to see which one might work best for you. Afterward, you will apply it to analyze your team’s behaviors, time tracking data and performance results to form a clearer picture of things that require improvement.
2. Analyze How Much Time Different Tasks Consume and Why
Work allocation inefficiencies and process bottlenecks kill productivity. They create time wasters and prevent you from utilizing resources in an optimal manner. Hence, to increase productivity in your team, you need to correctly identify the areas that cause time drain and promptly eliminate them. One of the ways to do so is by tracking the working hours of your employees with a quality timesheet app.
actiTIME, for example, lets users keep a record of their working hours and review the submitted data in easy-to-read charts and comprehensive reports. These features allow team leaders to evaluate their subordinates’ time use statistics and productivity trends.
Of course, just looking at time tracking charts won’t be enough. You’ll need to undertake more effort to analyze why different tasks consume as many hours as they do and then design the team’s work processes in a way that supports a better productivity flow.
3. Plan Projects and Tasks Carefully
Thoughtful planning fosters a better control of human resources, time and work. It is all about creating a balance between these three variables.
Without planning, you won’t have a full picture of activities that need to be carried out to attain formulated project goals. As a result, your initial project designs will be subject to continual changes, which will interfere with the established work processes and cause team distractions. In the end, this can make your employees much less productive than you expect.
To avoid such problems and manage resources more effectively, start each project with thorough planning. To your advantage, many great timesheet apps include project management functionality and can thus readily assist you in completing this job just well.
In actiTIME, you can create multiple projects and as many tasks as you wish. You can assign all these tasks to responsible team members in order for them to commence hour tracking. In addition, actiTIME has a valuable feature for performance monitoring — the Kanban board. With its assistance, you will always stay in the know of the current task statuses and easily see whether some team members’ progress is delayed.
4. Set Deadlines
Procrastination is a real struggle for the majority of people. We tend to be lazy and postpone things that require effort when we don’t have immediate and urgent goals. Nevertheless, a perfect remedy against procrastination does exist, and it’s called a deadline.
Setting reasonable time limits for tasks will motivate your team members to use their working hours more efficiently. Besides, completing a piece of work by a specific predetermined date can also be perceived as an achievement (provided that you recognize your team’s efforts and reward their contributions accordingly).
When establishing a deadline, you need to have an accurate time estimate for a task or a project as a whole. And that’s where a timesheet app is in handy — you can use time tracking data for previous projects and tasks to predict how much time a similar project or task is going to consume in the future. Moreover, many smart time trackers allow users to oversee how well they comply with initial estimates in real time. For example, you can configure actiTIME notifications to alert you and your team members whenever a certain time limit for a task is approached. Like so, you’ll be able to set realistic and comfortably motivating deadlines, while also staying in the know of your team’s current progress and preventing the risk of schedule overruns considerably.
5. Automate Repetitive Tasks
It’s productive to finish tasks successfully, consistently and without delays. But do you know what’s not productive? Constantly repeating the activities that could be done much faster and more accurately by a software tool.
Consider manual billing and payroll calculation. These are somewhat obsolete practices — they waste your time and are prone to human error. By delegating them to a timesheet app, you can help your team increase output in other areas of performance since by streamlining pre-accounting data collection, you’ll be able to save several hours a month and then use them up for solving some more essential matters.
Let’s take actiTIME as an example again. It offers plenty of options for automation:
- Billing and invoicing,
- Payroll calculation,
- PTO accrual,
- Automatic leave request approval, etc.
Even time tracking can be carried out automatically with this timesheet app. Just click on the Start button to run the timer either in the mobile app or the Chrome extension, and it will do all the time tracking job for you, while you may focus on your primary duties. With all these automations, you will make your team’s work processes more streamlined, save plenty of time and avoid costly human errors.
Other Ways to Enhance Productivity
It’s impossible to have a productive team when your employees are unmotivated and dissatisfied. Hence, time tracking won’t serve its productivity-boosting purposes well if you don’t undertake other measures to support your team members.
Here are some options to assume:
- Create a favorable and stress-free work environment — Good physical conditions and a pleasant social atmosphere at the workplace are important to make your team members feel comfortable and reduce unnecessary distractions from the work process.
- Promote collaboration — When working on complex tasks, one often needs support in order to complete them more efficiently and find the best solutions. Thus, it’s pivotal to provide your employees with an opportunity to collaborate with their colleagues and discuss work-related issues.
- Empower your employees — Micromanaging is detrimental to team productivity since it limits employees and prevents them from working in a way they prefer. For better outcomes, let your team members decide how to approach their tasks independently and stop controlling each and every activity they engage in throughout the day.
- Communicate with your workers openly — Open team communication is the door to greater team cohesion, mutual understanding and collaboration. Through conversation, you can inspire your team and promote their motivation to improve.
- Provide constructive feedback — Feedback helps to recognize achievements and correct inefficient employee behaviors promptly. When you tell workers what they do right or wrong, they have a much better understanding of things that require improvement.
- Offer incentives — People like benefits, and they tend to work harder to be rewarded. Therefore, a good incentive program won’t do any harm. Align productivity goals with the company’s reward package and see your workers trying their best to get the prize.
- Try out flexitime — The standard 9 to 5 schedule is not suitable for everybody since each person expeiences productivity peaks at different hours during the day. will allow your team members to arrange personal schedules in accordance with their natural energy rhythms and, thus, give you a chance to enhance productivity.