Once upon a time, we measure productivity by the rate of output per unit input. For example, Person A, who can weave 20 baskets per hour, is generally more productive than Person B, who can only do 15. But as the economy progresses, it is now becoming increasingly difficult to measure productivity, especially with knowledge-based workers whose outputs are not of the tangible kind.
We are in the new labor revolution, where a diverse workforce is dominating the market. A diverse workforce is different in many aspects, which could be the nature of their outputs or their working environment. Examples are knowledge-based workers, such as programmers, web developers and project managers, wherein it is hard to quantify their outputs. Freelancers opt to work at home, or on a per-project basis, refusing the norm of being employed in a single company. Here, we see how complicated it is to measure productivity with mere numbers alone.
Now that the emphasis on quality versus quantity has been established by measuring modern workforce productivity, the challenge is up for businesses to apply it to their own. The technology’s answer to productivity needs is automation; but it cannot fully cover all tasks that require intellectual abilities like logic, reasoning and decision-making. What businesses need is to set-up a working environment that is conducive for productivity and efficiency, wherein quality is prioritized over quantity.
Productivity Challenges in the Modern Workplace
Establishing an atmosphere of productivity in the workplace must lay its foundation on two things: motivation and open communication. An employee, regardless if he is a knowledge-based or output-based type, generally needs to be motivated and acknowledged for his skills and hard work. But on the business end, investing on motivational methods such as incentive programs must also be met with an ROI in terms of increase in the quality of outputs and quantity of revenues. Thus, productivity in the workplace must be mutually beneficial to both parties.
So, what are the common hindrances for productivity that employees meet in the modern workplace? Check this list:
Poor leadership and management skills
According to a Gartner Project Management Survey, projects fail not because of the lack of technical skills, but in the absence of organizational capabilities like leadership and management skills. Managers who are fickle-minded, micromanaging and power-tripping make bad leaders incapable of connecting with their employees. Poor management skills affect how leaders relay their expectations and the company’s objectives to the employees, thus raising confusion and misaligned task execution. The lack of motivation from leaders can result to employees’ low morale, which can affect their productivity.
A Harvard Business Review research study about the direct influence of leader behavior down to the lowest in hierarchy found that there is a strong link between good leaders within an organization. Effectiveness in leadership is often caught from a previous leader, and can continue to influence up to the lowest organizational level. There are no genes involved here, only pure science and behavior.
Disengaged employees may have an impact financially to the business. This is why businesses invest in leadership training programs, incentive schemes and strong communication lines in order to strengthen leader-employee relationship.
Unappreciated and unmotivated employees
When employees are engaged, that is, there is willingness and eagerness on their part to substantially contribute to the success of a company, the chances for the business to thrive is greater. Engagement results from motivation and appreciation of their value and impact to the organization’s endeavors. It is also a symbol of partnership, wherein businesses recognize, and reward, their employees because of their loyalty and contribution. There is mutual growth when this kind of working environment is sustained for a long-term.
A business success is not solely driven by profits anymore, but by the engagement and loyalty of its employees and clients as well. Productivity also found a deeper meaning in terms of this kind of criteria because of its impact to the organization as a whole.
Outdated performance evaluation systems
Regular performance evaluations can either make or break an employee. But in the modern workplace, where systems are easily outdated, it is challenging to be consistent and accurate in performing assessment programs. It should motivate change rather than increase doubt and remove confidence from your employees.
This brings us back to the initial argument established over quality versus quantity issues, which boils down to ineffective ways of measuring productivity for knowledge-based workers. Time tracking can help in quantifying the quality of output that knowledge-based workers return by the basis of essential activities spent per hour or on a given day. It also recognizes productivity levels from the task workflow, which can also be made visible by time tracking tools.
A business can only effectively evaluate its employees’ productivity when it has full knowledge and deeper understanding of its own shortcomings in leading, driving and motivating them. In addition, this kind of understanding must also extend in knowing how its employees work and get motivated. It’s a cycle wherein one element influences both ways, which needs a centralized solution in order to address.
Advantages of Time Tracking
The modern workforce is capitalizing on their time by rendering services that are of high-quality, and is contributing positively to the business. Time tracking is an excellent motivational tool that promotes awareness on how much time one spends doing essential and non-essential activities, particularly in the workplace. It opens doors for improvement in terms of productivity and efficiency that translates to direction, purpose, satisfaction and even revenues.
Smart and informed decisions
Consistently doing time tracking enables an employee to analyze his work patterns, and find ways to improve his abilities for his own satisfaction, and to contribute positively to the organization he belongs.
Know your strengths and understand your motivational factors
Time tracking exposes you to know more about yourself in terms of work ethics, strengths and weaknesses. It can also inform you of your strong points, which you can highlight when offering your services. It also helps your negotiating skills when it comes to rates or promotions. It helps you to understand what drives you to be your best, which is an important skill during a company crisis, that will push you to strive despite of the challenges.
Time tracking lets you become transparent with your skills and task management abilities. It lets you become proactive when it comes to giving your services, which can gain your clients or employer’s trust and confidence in the integrity and value of your work. This helps build meaningful relationships that not only benefits your profile and profits but also your clients’ business.
With so many activities that populate our schedules, time tracking for employees can help in managing and budgeting time wisely by prioritizing those tasks that contributes to the business versus those “little” but non-essential activities that may rob you of more time without realizing it.
Benefits of Time Tracking Software
What technology lacks in automating most intellectual processes, it compensates in giving deeper insights about data inputs through analytics and reporting capabilities. A time tracking software is part of a robust project management system that integrates workforce and resource management to come up with a multi-faceted solution that understands productivity levels in a modern workplace. Managers now have a tool partner which can help in rendering effective solutions out of informed decisions. Many are starting to recognize the importance of time tracking for effective time and task management.
Here are some of the benefits of time tracking software for businesses:
- Greater visibility of processes, workflows and employee activities for better analysis of productivity levels.
- Captures data from employee time sheets and converts them into useful information that can be used to effectively create schedules, deadlines and motivational programs.
- Automates time and attendance tracking, and integrates it into the existing HR system to centralize data.
- Improves payroll management by interfacing with your attendance software, which is also able to recognize and process different employee rates.
- Transparency for employees that can increase their confidence in the management system. Using a time tracking software also eases them from the tedious and time-consuming work of manual time sheet entry and submission.
- Paperless processes that also minimizes errors and inaccuracy of data.
- Seamless mobile integration that allows you to continue your timesheet entries and other software-rated activities in your mobile devices.
- Intuitive and user-friendly platform that is easy to set-up and use.
- Keeps you on track with your progress by setting a time budget, which automatically updates when you input your activities by the hour. You can now see in parallel which tasks are accomplished and how much time is left of your estimated time frame.
- Automates billing and invoicing for freelancers.
- Discourages time theft, which not only harms a business but also compromises trust and credibility.
The best time tracking software not only gives you a technological advantage but also cost efficiency when it comes to investing on powerful tools that increases profits and maximizes the value of your workforce.
No time to interview a handful of time tracking tool providers for your business? Check out time tracking software reviews from CrowdReviews.com to gain insights from actual client feedbacks and ratings; and know what is the best time tracking software that will fit your requirements.
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