Questions to Ask
Looking for employee tracking apps can be daunting. There is an abundance of options, and the differences between them can be slight and hard to find. They also might not fit what your business is looking for. It’s important to take a moment pre-search to evaluate what your company needs and ask yourself essential questions to focus your search and determine its unique needs.
How much do I need to monitor my employees?
It’s a pressing ethical question that eliminates products from your shortlist depending on where you land on the subject. Employee time tracking is all about increasing productivity and organization, regardless of the depth of employee monitoring. But, at some level, all time tracking apps could be perceived as employee monitoring that hinders morale.
Employee monitoring can increase employee activity by at least 10% in some cases. Personal and unproductive time is reduced, and productive time can be more productive. Projects take less time and therefore cost less.
But it can also come at the expense of trust, which some studies say is one of the most pivotal keys to unlock strong employee productivity, in some cases to the tune of a 50% increase, with 40% less burnout. Even just having software with the abilities to take screenshots or log keystrokes can impede employee trust, whether or not they’re actually used.
It comes down to how much you trust your employees, if you care about high turnover rates and where you draw the line on employee privacy. It can be an uncomfortable question that needs to be asked when trying to determine what solution might be best for your organization.
What can I afford?
Online time tracking software can contribute to running up operations expenses, especially for larger companies. Most solutions come with either a base rate, a per-user rate or both. Many offer tiered pricing with enhanced functionality and expanded offerings such as cloud storage in higher price brackets. Naturally, the more premium and exclusive features you want, the higher the price you’ll pay.
There are absolutely passable free options for simple time logging, timesheets and project management. But more sophisticated features, particularly in activity logging, are mostly excluded from these packages.
Managers have to decide what features they want to prioritize, how much they are willing to spend and where to find the middle ground. It’s possible you’ll end up paying more than you want to or have to concede some functionality in your search.
How flexible does it need to be?
Some businesses only have two tiers of worker: laborer and supervisor. Others have executives, administrators, managers, assistants, general workers and more. The more complicated your business is, the more likely it will be that you need a versatile software that can handle different kinds of employees, projects and billing rates.
If your company is in contract work, projects will vary greatly, and your online time tracking software needs to have the ability to wrangle those differences. In complicated organizations versatility – and very likely automation to handle the workload – is essential in employee tracking apps.
Conversely, simple organizations might not need as complicated offerings.
What kind of project management do I need?
Some industries don’t require comprehensive project management. If your workers are clocking in and doing the exact same thing every day, you won’t need to know exactly what they’re working on.
However, if you’re in contract work with different teams scattered in different locations, you might need to have software that can solicit a wide variety of projects. You might need real-time displays of activities with specific tasks, or you might just need to know which workers are in which locations.
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