Time tracking software can help you with getting valuable insights, benefit employees themselves, and thus benefit the entire organization.Time tracking software can help you with getting valuable insights, benefit employees themselves, and thus benefit the entire organization.

Relationships between managers and their employees have always been ambiguous. Ideally, they should be striving towards the same goals, yet their interests often get somewhat conflicted.

Managers are supposed to nurture trust and encourage their staff but still retain control and authority. Kind of like a parent of a teenager, they need to be informed as soon as something goes wrong, yet trying too hard to know and control everything often seems to trigger the opposite result.

By definition, managerial control is an act of supervising employees in order to achieve defined goals within an established timetable. In reality, however, control often gets negatively interpreted as “stalking”, searching for imperfections, penalties and sanctioning.

This is due to a justified presumption that all people are inherently devoted and committed to work, so most attempts to test this are seen as a lack of trust, pressuring, snitching and “bad cop”-ing.

There is a widespread view of time tracking as a not employee-friendly practice.

However, there are situations when time tracking software can help you not only with getting some desperately needed insights, but also—directly or indirectly—benefit employees themselves, and thus the entire organization. If you find some of the following statements true, chances are that your company might indeed need a tool like this. You don’t have an HR department.

1. You don’t have an HR department.

If you run a small to medium company, chances are that there is no systematic record of your employees’ performance and progress over time. Although this might be due to limited resources or the lack of a practical use for such a department, you should nevertheless remain informed about how each individual in your company is doing.

Moreover, your employees deserve to know when and where they could improve, and the optimal way to provide this information comes from their activity and productivity reports. Here the time tracking helps by acting as company’s HR manager that tracks, generates and compares reports about everyone’s performance—individually, in teams, or as a whole; which you can use later for feedback, rewards, and even payroll accounting.

2. The nature of your position requires too much time out of the office.

Before bosses became bosses they were usually somebody else’s employees; all employees love having some time without the pressure of their boss in the office.

Every now and then that is perfectly fine and normal, but some business owners are constantly on the road due to the nature of their role, which can cause their people to become a little less disciplined than they should be. Real-time tracking in such situations acts like the ghost of the superior that “isn’t really there, but might as well be.”

You don’t have the time or intention to sit somewhere and monitor whether someone is watching funny cat videos, but your employees still retain a certain dose of awareness that they aren’t completely devoid of boundaries.

3. Your company’s working hours are “chaotic”.

This is a common case in many IT companies and startups – people are allowed to come to work at almost any reasonable time, as long as their weekly hours and/or assignments are met.

Even for the best observers, it is impossible to keep track of how much time employees spend actually working if there are more than three of them, so most business owners simply rely on trust and peer control.

For those who don’t find this satisfying enough, time tracking provides precise information about clock-in, clock-out, active and idle time; and if your employees receive extra money for overtime work, this is the most precise tool to calculate the bonus.

4. You have remote employees.

Whether you have opened another office across the country, hired a freelancer, or simply allowed your employees to take their work home when they don’t feel like driving two hours to sit in a cubicle, it almost always comes with a dose of concern regarding the accountability of remote workers.

In such situations, having the opportunity to analyze the activity and productivity of different people in different circumstances and see how their performance differs can be quite interesting. You might identify the individuals who almost always outperform when working in the peace of their own

In such situations, having the opportunity to analyze the activity and productivity of different people in different circumstances and see how their performance differs can be quite interesting. You might identify the individuals who almost always outperform when working in the peace of their own

You might identify the individuals who almost always outperform when working in the peace of their own homes while discovering that others really do operate better and more efficiently behind their office desk. This can further lead to possible reorganization in order to reap the benefits of having happier and more productive workers, while at the same time actually reducing costs.

It is entirely up to your judgment and leadership style how much freedom and autonomy your employees have. There is no shame in relying on technology tools to help in performing this crucial more efficiently, but bear in mind that time tracking software is, after all, only a tool.

It won’t magically help just by having it installed; it is your responsibility to make use of the data it provides, by gaining much-needed insights about the pulse of your organization.

Teodora Orestijević (alias Gina Ora) is a content writer and a member of WorkPuls creative team. She is interested in topics related to employee engagement, productivity, and motivation, which she explores on company’s blog.