Why Your Team Needs Time Tracking Software

Bric Time Tracking SoftwareOver the past year, we at Bric have dedicated a lot of mental space to the importance of time tracking software. Despite this, we still haven’t written an article explicitly on the subject. So, here we go.

In France, students learn the art of the essay at a young age. It’s not the 5 paragraph essay we learn here in the United States. You know the one where you have an introduction and conclusion that say almost exactly the same thing. The one that makes three points in three paragraphs. Yeah, that’s not good craft, in case you never realized that. That’s just a tool to make grading easier for the underpaid teachers of America.

But in France, they’re onto something, and we’re going to try to mimic it here. After forming the essay, laying it out, offering points and counter-points, French students do something completely different. Literally. In their conclusion, they throw in a whole new idea. Just like “boom.” There’s some food for thought.

As we said, we’ve been thinking about and writing on time tracking a lot recently. See more articles on the subject here. And we’re going to talk about an idea we’ve dropped at the end of some of articles (so French) more in depth. It’s our belief that time tracking software can improve office life. Time tracking software is what we live and breathe here at Bric. And, if you work in a creative agency, we want the same for you.

Before we dive into the benefits of time tracking software, let’s play a highlight reel of our time tracking queries from the past year.

Time Tracking Needs a New Purpose

One of our first articles on time tracking. In this piece we tried to blow up the old framework for looking at time tracking. You know, the one that’s all about payroll and invoicing. The one that forces everyone to track their time in an Excel document so management can pay them and bill the client. The one everyone hates. That one.

We presented a new framework because time tracking can do so much more for your business, like:

  • Boost the strategic planning process. By time tracking, you have an opportunity to keep track of data. Data from past projects helps you plan for the future.
  • Optimize employees’ time. Accurate time tracking means accurate project planning. Less over and underestimating how much time employees should budget on projects.
  • Help create more accurate budgets, financially speaking. This project was this big and costs this much. This new project is about the same size, so it will probably cost about the same.

We concluded that getting your employees to fill out timesheets is all about how you frame it. If it’s payroll-centered, nobody’s interested in time tracking. If it’s data-centered (perhaps through time tracking software) employees get excited about it. Data-centered data helps the whole team.

Time Tracking Best Practices

The number one best practice is, of course, using a data centered model for time tracking. Number one is contingent on number two, however. Number two is creating a culture of time tracking in your creative agency.

If your employees don’t see the importance of data-centered time tracking, then any effort to use data from timesheets in null and void. You have to have people excited about entering data to collect data. In another post we talked about creative time tracking ideas. A browse over these may inspire you. The true key to exciting your creative employees about time tracking is to make sure they know all the benefits of data-centered timesheets. Like the ones we mentioned above.

Some other best practices include:

  • Separating invoicing and time tracking
  • Collecting budget estimate from timesheets
  • Avoiding double entry, paper and excel spreadsheets (aka using time tracking software).

The more you know.

Capacity Planning for Teams

Capacity planning is basically the how much work each employee can take multiplied by the whole team and divided by how much time there is to finish a project. In simpler terms:  capacity planning is figuring out how much your team can handle before you assign work. This is based on several factors.

Bad time tracking practices mean you run the risk of over and under estimating the work your employees have to squeeze in before a deadline. And at creative agencies, it’s all about pleasing the team. Unhappy employees at a restaurant can fake a smile and take food orders. Unhappy employees at a creative agency can’t produce quality creative work.

A capacity planning system helps you answer important questions like:

  • Do your people have time for new projects?
  • How accurate are you project plans?
  • Is your budget for individual projects as accurate as possible?

The goal of capacity planning is to simplify the task of administering schedules and budgets while optimizing employee time. Want to know the best way to measure the information necessary for capacity planning?

Time tracking software. Here we go.

What is daily office life like at a creative agency that uses time tracking software?

Creative work and project planning don’t naturally fit together. This is a bit of a stereotype, since some of the most creative people have a list, calendar, and scheduling app addiction. For the sake of argument, we’ll roll with it.

Creativity is the flow of ideas. Think: spring winds, lying in the grass, Kerouac-esque pen and notebook sprees. Since collaboration is the buzzword of the work world, it seems like the two should go hand in hand. But collaborative creativity doesn’t mean an office building full of coworking spaces.

People actually work best in their own offices. They like to have their ideas flow in their own space before they go to share it with other people. But in their offices, when they’re thinking about daisies or whatever else inspires them, they need a way to simultaneously stay on task (track time) and be alone.

Time tracking software is the invisible force that allows individual creatives to create and stay on task.

This is 2017. This is the future of work, and the now of work. Think about this illustration:

A slightly cracked door opens up to a naturally lit office. A woman sits at her desk, on her computer. Maybe she has a pen and paper next to her. That’s it.

Ok, well maybe the illustration isn’t the cool part. It’s what implied. When creative agency employees use softwares and apps for communication and time tracking, they simplify their daily schedules.

This woman sitting at her desk is working on a project in InDesign while a time tracking software tracks her time and collects data. She is physically alone but communicating with her team via Trello, BaseCamp, or Slack. All she has to focus on is her work. She doesn’t have to worry about logging her time, or future project planning, or scheduling her day. More than half the work is already done by the time tracking software.

Left to your own devices, would you plug you hours into Excel? Didn’t think so.

Time Tracking Softwares Make Office Life Easy

“Fast-paced, get it done yesterday” is a term we are all familiar with. It’s a phrase to describe the work world of the 21st century. There are hundred of web articles dedicated to offering advice on how to waste less time. Like this and this. But this issue is framed in two ways.

  1. There is too much to do in too little time. So much is expected of me, I can’t take it anymore.
  2. What can I can do (or what tools can I use) to get the most out of my day and get the most work done?

Why do these two go hand in hand? Well, people want to work hard and finished their assigned tasks, but they also need to rest. That’s why there are standard work weeks. Creatives especially rely on downtime to recharge their minds for an intellectually strenuous job.

It seems like you can’t have your cake (have personal time in your work day) and eat it too (finish your work), but that’s where time tracking software steps in. Unlike punching a clock when you come into work at 9am and punching out when you leave at 5pm, time tracking software follows you anywhere you have internet. If you need to work in hour-long spurts on projects, it allows that. If you need to switch up your tasks every two hours for a mental break, it allows that too.

Time tracking software presents you with a list of your different projects, and lets you choose when you want to accomplish the hours assigned to them. You can see how many hours you need to accomplish a project, you can see deadlines, you can see how far along you are on your tasks. From there, you decide when you’ll get your work done based on your schedule.

Bric gets you back to the work you love.

On Bric’s dashboard, employees can see how many hours they have left in a week to complete their projects. They can see all of their projects in a row, and click on them to start logging the time they spend on those individual projects. At $7 per employee per month, Bric is one of the highest ranked time tracking softwares available.

We designed Bric specifically for creative agencies, for those who need flexibility in the their work day, visualization of their projects, and a mindless way to track time.

Get Bric and get happy.