As the demand for reliable business intelligence rises, business owners are looking for more efficient ways to generate good data. And there’s one type of data that’s vital for accurately calculating many important metrics: employee time logs.
But traditional time tracking won’t suffice anymore. No longer does a simple timesheet, either on paper or digital, give you all the details you need to prevent time theft, increase billable utilization and, ultimately, improve profitability.
Especially with the permanent increase in remote work, there’s a growing movement to track everything employees are doing as simply as possible.
Let’s look at five time-tracking trends that experts forecast will continue through 2023.
69% of employees admit that they don’t track their time accurately.
Mobile apps for tracking time are not new technology, per se, but they’ve become more common. Using a time tracker on a mobile device allows companies to gather data about employees who work hybrid schedules or have field responsibilities.
Another trending element of time tracking is the implementation of geofencing, or using GPS to trigger a virtual boundary. This was once only popular as a real-time marketing technology — think enabling auto-check-ins on Facebook when you arrive at a restaurant. Now, some software applications offer the option of setting up employer notifications and automated employee clock-in and clock-out reminders based on a predefined map area.
It’s no surprise that the combination of mobile time tracking and geofencing has taken off, as they have the potential to reduce employee error and save employers thousands.
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More than 75% of employees spend three hours a day just manually entering data.
- Zapier, 2021
There’s another popular time-tracking option taking over many industries: artificial intelligence technologies. Many time-tracking software platforms now have AI-powered automation, which works similarly to a screen time app on your phone. It tracks the time employees spend on various apps and tasks without interrupting their workdays.
Time trackers with automated features make it possible for your leadership team to gather aggregate data about customized buckets of time without dedicating manual work to reporting. You can often choose to display advanced time entry details and analyze both individual and team time use.
Some AI-based apps also include an employee self-service portal for easy timesheet updates, time-off requests, shift changes and more.
Only 21% of global workers surveyed identified as being actively engaged at work, and the employees who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged cost the world $7.8 trillion in lost productivity. That's equal to 11% of global GDP.
- Gallup's State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report
In an attempt to discover where lost time is going, many businesses are finding ways to watch what their employees are doing all day.
During the pandemic, concerns about employee productivity skyrocketed the general interest in employee monitoring. Those with remote teams were especially in need of convenient tools for keeping an eye on their teams’ online time. The result? Eight out of 10 of the largest private employers in the US track individual productivity, and even some small businesses now score their employees on the productivity metrics that matter most to them.
Time-tracking goals have expanded to include ways to make better use of a team, and like remote work, the component of employee monitoring is here to stay.
Senior managers report wasting 16 days a year searching for printed documents.
- TechJury, 2020
Employers have always cared about how employees spend their time, but now they want a more granular view — and it’s easier to acquire than ever. With time-tracking tools often integrated as standard features in project management platforms, it’s possible for project managers to connect tasks with time. Instead of seeing a to-do list in one place and the day’s time logged in another, they can see how the time variable is impacting current and future projects via tasks.
When used to their fullest capacity, time trackers that log time per task are unmatched efficiency tools. Tracking time at the task level makes repetitive tasks that take up lots of time stand out, thus giving leadership invaluable proof of which processes are redundant and good candidates for automation. In professional services in particular, decisions to replace redundant tasks often free up time to build stronger client relationships.
Task management platforms with built-in time tracking and helpful scheduling and task assignment tools are one of many types of business software expected to continue growing in popularity among businesses of all sizes.
73% of organizations are very satisfied with the returns from automating their business tools and processes.
- The Economist
Reporting has come a long way, and business owners who have the means to consistently generate good data tend to make smart decisions. It’s clear from the increased availability of advanced features in reporting software and data visualization tools that the average business owner now understands this connection.
Time-tracking data is no longer isolated from other types of business reports. Thanks to automated reporting and integrations, it’s often woven into project progress dashboards, client invoices and profitability analyses. Smart time-tracking tools now have the capability to gather more precise information.
As business intelligence tools become more widespread, leaders can personally determine which time-based moves have a positive impact on the business metrics they care about most — without hiring third-party consultants or business analysts.
Your business is unique, and you may not find it necessary to follow trends in most cases. However, keeping up with the latest time-tracking methods and tools is nothing but beneficial if you understand their power and applications.
Modernizing how you keep track of your employees’ time could:
Because of its flexibility and end-to-end features that integrate with time tracking, Accelo is the client work management solution that will help your business roll with global and industry changes.
Catch up with what’s new in time tracking and other professional services tech trends by switching to Accelo. Start your free trial or schedule a demo today.