One of my most popular articles from last year was, Billionaires Master the Rule of 168: Life's Great Equalizer. Laura Vanderkam, in her popular and eye-opening book,168 Hours, goes on to talk about how we all falsely perceive a shortage of time. Her research from studying the time logs of people in various professions using the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) revealed that most people overestimate the number of hours they spend working, and underestimate the amount of time they have left for other things.
People who reported 60 hours of work spent an average of only 35-37 hours actually working, when they logged and measured their time, confirming what the research shows: longer hours spent at work does not mean higher productivity.
Our Growing Distortion of Time Is Hurting Business Profitability
This growing problem of the "distortion of time" gets worse when examining your team's productivity. Inaccurate time estimates from an entire team, whether in small or a large company, tend to snowball and affect profitability, skill management, revenues, growth, talent management, and overall quality of work. Together, these distortions will ultimately make or break your business. Managers are forced to look for more accurate methods to both report their own time and that of their entire team (especially when facing an increasingly mobile workforce). The growing urgency of the productivity conversation is understandable.
Devishobha Chandramouli collaborated with me on this article and took the time to research and review the following eight tools that are great for tracking employee productivity, as well as security and compliance.
Originally built for developers as part of Visual Studio, Time Doctor was designed to conveniently log time on various tasks remotely; allowing managers the convenience of monitoring their mobile development teams from any physical location. Reports from this tool monitors time spent working on specific activities by every team member, monitors time spent on the development of different apps and websites. It's distraction-blocking feature gently nudges the user away from unplanned activities. The tool also integrates with several other team collaboration tools and tracks the location of the employee with its GPS tracker.
Toggl's mission is to "drive a stake in the heart of timesheets." People love it for its simplicity. There is an easy to use timer to track time spent on about 100 websites and applications, and presents visual reports on what's taking your time, along with the progress update on each task. The advanced features also has reports on the profitability of the company based on more efficient planning of internal resources. As one Toggler from Offerpop says, "Define priorities, assign focus."
Staff.com is powered by Artificial Intelligence with the objective of offering actionable employee insights. It is designed to capture time spent on various tasks automatically. For example, it captures break-time vs. time spent on the computer, and sends screenshots of the employee's computer to the manager at specified intervals, and even tracks keyboard and mouse activity levels for each employee.
The objective of Hours is "frictionless time tracking." It looks to remove friction by keeping a running list of timers that you can switch between with one tap. It is a great tool to manage multiple tasks of multiple team members. The tool allows team members to define their own tasks and start tracking hours. The visual timeline of the tasks is a great way to bridge gaps with stakeholders.
Positioned as a team behavioral analysis tool, ActivTrak uses machine learning (AI) focused on picking up the most productive workflows and replicates them across the organization. Apart from time log and screenshot reporting, ActivTrak helps the organization achieve security and compliance goals by blocking malicious activity and image redaction to protect sensitive material.
Veratio is an employee behavioral analysis tool that is equipped with security features to minimize insider threats to data and intellectual property. Apart from collaboration and time-tracking features, Veratio detects shifts in behavior and intelligently captures suspicious activity (like chatting with competition).
If audit and IT compliance are near the top of your list, then Teramind should be on your short list. It makes user behavior analysis super-easy by allowing you to set up rules to track behavior. Insider threats can be managed at their origin, and the system makes setting up alerts simple for when specific suspicious activity takes place (i.e. confidential information gets sent through the employee's' personal email). The tool also provides video playback of all employee activity.
For any business that relies on a mobile workforce for growth, Spoors is worth taking a look. With its flexible forms, dynamic and intelligent work allocation along with complete offline functionality makes it the right tool for owners seeking rapid returns on their investment in a mobile workforce. The tool measures time spent with clients (you can set the minimum time to be spent at a client location) which allows for quality interactions and establishes long lasting relationships. The geo-tagging / territory management feature helps track the field coverage for functions like dispatch and delivery, collections and service management.
You Can't Manage What You Don't Track
Clearly, this is NOT a comprehensive list of all the time tracking software available to you. Instead, this article is intended to get you thinking about what's out there and how you can begin to track and measure the productivity of your own time and that of your team. After all, the only difference between you and the billionaire version of you is what you choose to do with the 168 hours you are given each week.