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Jan09

Understanding Time Management as Structural Issue


Time management tools are increasingly becoming easier to integrate into organizations. While the paper day planners of the past made sharing information difficult, networked communications, the cloud and other features of today’s world make sharing information within an organization, or between individuals who need to collaborate as part of an ad-hoc organization, much easier.

This addresses a very common problem with businesses and other types of organizations. Oftentimes, time management isn’t so much a problem for each individual as it is for the structure on the whole. This arises from many different factors.

Different Systems

Calendars, email accounts, social media accounts and other information sharing platforms can be cobbled together into a sort of information sharing system. However, doing so cuts off necessary channels of communication. While two people on one system may be able to share, others may be on different systems and unable to do so.

By having employees use the same system, a company can address structural time management issues. Everyone can share information, information can be categorized in the way most beneficial to the organization and consistency can be maintained across the entire system. This standardization makes time management accessible to everyone within an organization, which is the first step.

Adopting the Systems

Some employees are likely to feel spied upon when they’re asked to track their hours to a great degree of granularity. They may also feel that putting status reports and other information related to a project somewhere that anyone involved can see it may single them out if they’re falling behind, going over budget, or having other issues.

The time management solution does not have to come off this way to employees, provided they learn how to use it correctly. A good time management system should have benefits for the organization, but it should also have benefits for the people within it. If it’s implemented well, it will do just that.

Making Employees Happier

When employees are putting in time on a project, interrupting them and getting them off course can be disastrous. With good time tracking, everyone involved in a project can see how much time has been put into any given task. If the person managing the project needs to shift someone around to a different task, they can check to see how many hours have been put into their current task. This can help the manager determine whether it would be better to let them finish up, if they’re near completion, or whether their current task can be abandoned for a while and picked up again later.

When a manager has this type of information, they can prevent a lot of conflict. Rather than having an employee get frustrated because they constantly start a task and then get pulled away from it before they can get it done, a manager can make sure that they do have time to get their work done without sidetracking them.

Making Clients Happier

Good time tracking software can be shared with anyone, and that means that clients can be kept up to date, as well. This can eliminate a lot of unnecessary and time-consuming conversations about delivery times and the progress on a project. When the client can just log in an get a summary of what work has been done and how much remains, they don’t have to call.

This is something that people are coming to expect. Even in mail and freight delivery, for instance, people are used to being able to see the progress of whatever they shipped as it heads toward their destination. This can actually reduce a lot of stress, since no one is left wondering where something is, how long it’s going to take and so forth. Time tracking can do the same for delivering projects, and that means a lot to some clients.

A Simple Solution to a Complex Problem

Time tracking issues within an organization can be very complex. There can be many different factors that play into it. For instance, an organization may have dated technology, inefficient time tracking procedures and a corporate culture where what’s available for documenting hours on a project is almost universally loathed. By instituting a simple solution, these complex problems can be solved.

The best time tracking solutions usually allow:

  • Sharing
  • Mobile access
  • Easy to read interfaces
  • Instant updates
  • Notations on items

These features can go a long way toward making organizations more efficient. They can ensure that the organization doesn’t have a hard time getting employees to use the software, as the interface is intuitive and easy to figure out. Sharing ensures that communications are open and effective. Instantly updating and being able to add notes and other information to items ensures that everyone is always in the loop.

Considering the Options

There are plenty of time tracking tools out there, but not all of them are created equally. Those that are designed specifically to help people make more money are the ones that have a place in the business world. This means that they need to be streamlined and that is most certainly not a feature of some of the options out there.

An easy to use interface should be the first concern. Making sure that employees really don’t have to do anything more complex than click a button to start tracking their time on a task is vital.

Once that’s been established, the sharing feature is key to success. Networking everyone together ensures that everyone is working from the same information and that can prevent a lot of common problems. It ensures that everyone knows whether something is getting done, or not, and how that affects the rest of the project.

Bringing a good time tracking solution on line within an organization usually starts paying off right away. Hours get billed accurately, time gets recorded accurately and there is little opportunity for missed communication about the status of a project. For employees, managers and everyone else in an organization, this is an incredibly beneficial resource in many different ways.

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Yast is a software company that builds easy-to-use, but powerful software. It's easy to make things complex; it’s incredibly hard to make things easy.

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Yast has to be the easiest to use time tracker, period. Keep up the great work! Glenn Murray - Divine Write

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