Do you know how your employees are spending their time

Add in costs for compensation, federal, state and local taxes and other benefits

How do you track employee time?
Employee time tracking

and I’m fairly certain that employee costs are the single biggest expense for most companies. Every hour that your employees spend working has a certain cost attached. Do you know how your employees are spending their time? Are you able to track what unproductive tasks are sucking time away from your employees?

A good time tracking tool that is simple and easy to use by everyone in your company will help you answer this question. After all, time is a finite quantity and you would really want to know where that time is being spent. While the underlying reason for time tracking for most companies is easier payroll or faster billing, a good time tracking solution can actually give you a lot more insights into your business. As a manager, if you could get a clear view into the actual use of time by your employees, you could do a lot more analysis.

  • Are your employees spending a lot more time on unproductive meetings,
    Analyze employee time
    Time Tracking reports

    administrative tasks rather than on revenue generation tasks like sales or customer service?

  • Can you identify opportunities to improve processes such that you can reduce costs and increase customer satisfaction?
  • Compare actual time spent on a project vs the initial time estimates that you made. Are your projects actually profitable?
  • Can you make your estimates more accurate? Can you identify scope creep and modifications to project scope?
  • How about increasing employee satisfaction by removing unnecessary tasks and steps?
  • Can you move resources from under-worked teams to overworked teams?

When you begin to track employee time at a granular level and have a base of actual data to analyze, you’ll definitely find areas that you can improve your processes and cut costs. While at the same time, improving customer and employee satisfaction.

How to motivate employees to track their time

Most people don’t enjoy filling timesheets. Probably, ranks right next to a visit to a dentist for a root canal in terms of least enjoyable things to do. Getting employees to track time is actually the biggest challenge that managers face when implementing a time tracking system.

As the old adage says, “Time is money”, and not tracking it can be a cause for serious concern. Especially if your business bills customers on the basis of time spent by employees. So how do you get your employees to see tracking time as a productive activity rather than a thankless chore?

We’ve put together this short list of how to convince your employees to track their time properly.  These tips are based on conversations with customers and prospects, as well as of our own experiences with time tracking.

  • Explain why time tracking is important. One of the critical steps in motivating your team to tracking time properly is explaining to them why it’s important. You can’t just force your employees to track their time without any explanation. This can cause suspicion within your team and lead people to fudge their time sheet entries. A simple reason for your employees to fill out their time sheets is the huge benefit that it brings to them personally. It’s estimated that every single day, the US economy loses 50 million billable hours or $ 7.4 billion. According to Affinity Live, a professional services automation company, this loss is due to poor time tracking methods. The solution?  According to Affinity Live,  “Moving from weekly (or worse) timesheet updates to daily (or better) would recover $52,000 per professional, per year in billable time.

So the most important step in helping your employees completing their time sheets is helping them understand that the better they track their time, the more billable hours your company will have. That means more incoming revenues and better employee compensation – a direct benefit to employees. Even if you halve that $ 52,000 number to $ 26,000 per year, a 20 person company could add over half a million dollars to their top line, annually.

  • Make time tracking easy. Make it easy for your employees to track their time.
    Track time on the web, in a mobile app or within Salesforce.
    Track time on the web, in a mobile app or within Salesforce.

    Definitely, move away from manual, antiquated systems. Give your employees the flexibility to enter their time as easily as possible, If they are on the field a lot, give them a mobile time tracking app, so that they can enter their time where they work, without having to come back into the office to input their hours. Give them simple, easy-to-use interfaces. Tracking time shouldn’t take so much time that your employees need to track time for that. Ideally, no more than a few minutes per day, will ensure that your employees don’t see time tracking as thankless chore.

  • Send reminders. Even if people are convinced about the importance of time tracking, it’s human to forget about tracking time, especially when work stress is high. So make sure that the time tracking software that you use, can be configured to send out automated reminders to employees on a regular basis. Ensure that reminders can be sent out in multiple ways, notifications on mobile phones, emails, text messages. Ensure that the reminders are not sent out so often that employees see them as intrusive. But often enough that time tracking is done properly.
  • Share the results with your team. Once you begin tracking time in earnest, it’s good to share some reports with your team. During your regular meetings, share some time tracking reports. If possible, share some statistics about improved billing and payment cycles. Your team will learn more about their time allocations and what tasks they are more productive at. Make your whole process more transparent, and get your team to be more engaged.
  • Get management to set an example. If you want to get your team tracking time efficiently, you need to set an example. Make sure that your management team is tracking time too. This will be a great morale booster for the team and make them more proactive in tracking their own time.

Get your team to understand that recording hours is mutually beneficial and you’re much more likely to get them to tracking their time. Share the benefits and you’ll see them eager to use a time tracking system.

Setting up an iPad for public use.

Last week, I was speaking with one of our nonprofit customers who use the Kiosk version of V4S Mobile for tracking volunteers. One of the issues that she was wrestling with was how to keep the iPad secure, both physically and from an app usage perspective. So I researched some options for her. I figured that the information would be useful for other iPad app users, using iPads for public use in a Kiosk mode. So here goes:

Physical security.

There are plenty of devices available for managing the physical security of any iPad that you want to use in a public setting. Just look on Amazon.com and

Physical security for iPads
Physical security for iPads

there are plenty of options to suit any budget range and your specific physical needs. And these physical security devices are available for desk, wall, floor and rail mounting options. Whether you need a floor mount for your iPad, a wall mount for your Android tablet or a desk mount for your Windows Surface device, you have many options. With options for rotate, tilt and switch, these devices give your users the flexibility to use the iPad/Android device in a multitude of ways. Starting in price at around $ 50 going all the way up to $ 500, security devices span a large price range.

The next thing you need to think about is application security. How do you prevent users from switching apps on your iPad either accidentally or because they quickly want to check out their Facebook page?

How do I lock down my iPad for just one app?

There are two ways to lock down your iPad to a single app. Guided Access and Single App Mode. Guided is the quickest, fastest way to put an iPad in a Kiosk mode and is often thought of as parental control mode.  It allows you to temporarily lock and iPad or iPhone to a single app. To leave that app, someone will have to enter your PIN or provide your fingerprint.  The Single App Mode locks your iPad to a single app. This is a more advanced feature and this is what we suggest to our V4S Kiosk users.

Guided Access mode.

Guided Access is a quick and dirty method of locking your iPad to a single app. To do this first enable this feature by going to the Settings app and going to General > Accessibility > Guided Access. Slide the Guided Access slider to the On position.

Guided Access for iPads
Guided Access for iPads

Next, tap the “Passcode Settings” to set a PIN for guided access and choose whether or not you can exit Guided Access with a Touch ID, if your iPad has a Touch ID sensor. You can choose to use the same ID that you use to unlock the iPad or use a different one. Just make sure that you note down the ID in a safe place, in case you forget it.

Next, launch the app that you want to lock your iPad to. Quickly press the “Home” button three times. You have now entered the Guided Access mode. There are 3 main options to set up here: Hardware buttons, Touch and Motion.

Hardware Buttons

You can enable or disable specific hardware buttons including the Sleep/Wake buttons and the Volume buttons. If your app needs audio playback, then you should disable the volume buttons to prevent users from accidentally turning the

Hardware buttons for Guided Access for iPads
Hardware buttons for Guided Access for iPads

volume down. Similarly, you may want to disable the Sleep/Wake button to prevent the iPad from going to sleep (or powering off), if someone touches that button. The OFF state means that those buttons are disabled and will not respond when pressed, once you have started the Guided Access mode.

Touch

You can turn touch gestures (taps on the screen) on or off, depending on your specific situation. If your app needs to be interactive (as with V4S Kiosk), then keep Touch enabled. If you are playing a video in a loop and don’t want people to stop it, then disable Touch.

Motion

Use this option to prevent your iPad from changing orientation when the user rotates the device. To do this disable this option, slide the Motion option to off. If your app relies on a particular Portrait or Landscape mode, then rotate your iPad to the particular orientation, then switch Motion off. Now the display will remain fixed, even if the user rotates the device.

Starting Guided Access

Once you’ve set up all the Guided Access setting to the way that you want it, tap on the “Start” button on the top right of your screen. Your app is now running in the “Guided Access” or “Kiosk” mode! Try tapping on the Home button or the volume buttons. Depending on how you’ve set them up, you’ll see that they make no difference. You will see a small message on the screen letting you know that Guided Access is enabled.

Exiting Guided Access

Triple-click the Home button. Enter the passcode that you configured. You’ll be taken back to the Guided Access setup screen, where you can End or Resume Guided Access.

And that’s all there is to put your iPad into a “Kiosk” mode. Next week we’ll talk about how you can use the Single App Mode on your iPad.