As more employees are now working from home, companies are seeking new ways to monitor their productivity and work hours. Thankfully – or so people thought – time tracking software came to the rescue. However, as with every power available to man, there are potentials for abuse.
The tool built to help workers become more productive and help employers to keep track of work hours has now become a topic for ethical debate.
Employee monitoring ethics and GPS tracking privacy issues are now causes for concern among employees and employers who are worried about keeping things clean. A recent article making waves on the Internet, titled “The Spy Who Fired Me,” makes a good case on the evils of time tracking. The author, Esther Kaplan, went ahead to point out how it has become a tool used by employers to oppress employees.
She tries to point out some cases, one of them being a woman working for a high-fashion retailer. This employee sells watches from 7am to 3:30pm to allow time for her evening classes.
However, when her availability period was punched into the time tracking software used by the company, the system failed to recognize her as a full-time employee. This meant she got no more than 25 hours per week in addition to inconsistent working hours.
Esther Kaplan also pointed out other issues such as a UPS worker who has to rush through his route to meet up with company expectations. These workers are scared to take adequate breaks because time trackers are monitoring them constantly. A lot of them go home exhausted with severe injuries.
However, her article only tells a part of a broader story. While it’s true that there are employers and companies that abuse time tracking software and unjustly make good employees suffer, there’s also such a thing as ethical time tracking.
Research on time tracking shows that the U.S economy loses as much as $7.4 billion per day from inadequate tracking of time and poor filling of timesheets. This goes to show that time tracking tools are necessary. However, the question is this:
“How can we ethically use these tools to the benefit of all parties involved?”
1] How Much Do You Know?
The 21st century has seen a rise in knowledge workers. It’s no more about your labor, it’s about the depth of your knowledge. This poses a challenge for employers when it comes to keeping track of how much an employee contributes to a company’s growth.
For example, a software developer who works on multiple projects and develops a tool that is being used in more than one of those projects. How do you monitor the value of his software and contribution? Adequate use of time tracking tools will help businesses account for the inputs of their employees.
2] What Is the Cost of Time?
According to research conducted by Mckinsey& Company, large technological projects run an average of 7% over time and 45% over the estimated budget.
This means that businesses find it difficult to give adequate estimations on what to expect from a project in terms of time and budget. This research shows that projects affected by inadequate estimations end up delivering only 56% of their projected value.
This is where time tracking software comes in. With proper time and project tracking, it’s easier to understand the true cost of a project.
Companies can learn from studying data collected over time from tracking similar past projects. This can be used to accurately predict the budget for future projects, including how long they’ll take to be completed. It reduces the risk of coming short on a project, losing money, or going over the estimated budget.
3] How Much Time and Resources Can You Save?
One of the significant benefits of time tracking is in resource management and allocation. As pointed out earlier, companies and employees lose billions of dollars each day from poor billing of operations and timesheets filling. So much time can be saved from automatically logging time and processing timesheets.
Manually performing these tasks can lead to errors and unnecessary waste of time that employees can use to perform other tasks. By automating these processes, workers can be more productive with their time instead of spending it on filling timesheets just to get paid.
4] It’s All About Ethical Tracking
It’s obvious that when used correctly, time tracking software can have tremendous benefits for both the company and its employees. Time tracking tools like Traqq focus on keeping employee tracking as ethical as possible.
The tool was designed to intentionally reduce the quality of video clips and screenshots collected from the on-screen activity of employees. This is to ensure that personal and sensitive details (such as passwords and private messages) are not visible to anyone reviewing the screenshots.
Besides, the user has full control over the video clips and screenshots and can delete any of them along with the recorded time. This ensures employees don’t give up their right to privacy. However, as an employer, you’ll still be able to get a good idea about your employees’ activities.
It also tracks time for work done both offline and online, and syncs all data when you have a good Internet connection.
By sending smart reminders and notification alerts, it reminds a worker to activate their timer whenever they forget to do so. This means employees can focus on tasks without worries of losing record of time spent on work.
You can even input each employee’s rate and payment details, then sit back and enjoy automated invoicing. The software also allows you to keep track of the activity level of everyone on the team. With this, you can know who needs help and what areas to improve for maximum team performance.
Time tracking tools are not in themselves good or bad. It all depends on how it is used and who is using it. By setting a good example and putting the well-being of your employees into consideration, these tools can boost productivity to amazing levels and save you and your workers a lot of money.