As an agency owner or a manager of a creative team, you have likely already heard that time tracking can give your business a significant boost. Yet, some teams are wary of time tracking as it may feel obtrusive. At the end of the day, however, if you pick the right time tracking software for your team’s needs and foster a culture of time tracking, it’s a very useful tool. In this blog post, we’ll go through different benefits your agency may notice once you start tracking time.
Benefits of agency time tracking
Asking your employees to track their time gives you excellent visibility into how your teams spend their time. You’ll know who’s overworked and who has too few tasks. You’ll also know which projects are in danger of being delayed or going over budget. These insights allow you to:
Prevent money leaks
If you don’t rely on timesheets to bill your clients, chances are that you’re charging them too little. Many employees will forget to record that they spent an extra hour or two working on a given project. Unfortunately, these unbilled hours tend to stack up if you’re looking at a monthly or yearly perspective. As an agency, you can’t afford to have similar money leaks. Precise timesheets enable you to see what everyone has been up to. No client work will go unnoticed.
Achieve better resource utilization
Agency life may get hectic, and most employees are no strangers to putting in some extra hours. Still, agencies shouldn’t ignore their employees’ workload, as the consequences of overutilization can be very serious. At the same time, employees who simply don’t have enough tasks to fill their days are also unhappy. As a team leader, you should try to maintain a balanced resource utilization. Thanks to timesheets, you can easily spot who has too much on their plate and who is underutilized.
Invoice your clients efficiently
Many agencies bill their clients in a time & materials model. If that’s the case for you, you simply have no excuse for not tracking your team members’ time. When you have accurate timesheets, it’s very simple to issue an invoice based on them. Your finance department will definitely appreciate having access to comprehensive data on project work.
Resource forecasting means predicting how many resources you will need and when. Historical data collected from your team’s timesheets will help you tremendously here. Look at how much time your teams tracked in different months or weeks, and you’re likely to spot patterns (e.g. more hours logged when working on winter holiday campaigns). This year, instead of rushing to recruit new employees or employing freelancers at a higher cost, you’ll know to secure more human resources in advance.
Keep track of contractors’, freelancers’ and part-time employees’ work
Agencies often work with contractors or freelancers. Ask them to track time along with your team, and you’ll see how much time they spend on your project and how much you should pay them. If you’re using Teamdeck, you can also ask these people to log their daily availability. You’ll know exactly how much time they can spend on your project and when.
Create better estimates for future projects
Granted, estimates are rarely *really* accurate, but time tracking will help you to refine your agency’s estimation process. First, analyze your past projects looking at the estimates and actuals (planned hours and tracked time). Try to identify patterns: it may, for instance, turn out that your team is often underestimating the design phase of the project. Having this insight, you can draft the next estimates with more confidence.
Increase your teams’ productivity
In the previous paragraphs, we mentioned patterns that are often visible in timesheets. Looking at your team’s time entries, you may also spot some improvement areas regarding their productivity. For example, you may be surprised at how many hours your employees spend sitting in meetings. Chances are that you’ll get instant ideas for optimizing your company’s internal processes or refining project management techniques. It’s even more helpful when your teams track time, tagging both unbillable and billable hours. This way, you’ll see at a glance which activities are costing you the most.
Optimize your pricing
Speaking of billable hours, they’re also very important when it comes to assessing the profitability of your projects. It may be the case that your team works very hard on a project, manages to deliver it on time, and yet your agency is barely making any profit. If that’s the case, you should definitely look for opportunities to optimize your pricing or negotiate your contract terms. For example, if you treat implementing client-requested changes as unbillable time and yet it makes a bulk of your team’s timesheets, perhaps you should charge for it after all. Time tracking provides you with tools to explain and justify these decisions to your clients.
Improve employee satisfaction
You want your agency team to be happy and engaged at work. That goes without saying. Tracking their time, you’re confident you’ll have their workload in check. Has someone recently started logging some serious overtime? You’ll see this in the timesheet and will be able to react. Your team will appreciate working at a company where their efforts are noticed. They’re also likely to see that tracking time has a positive effect on their personal productivity.
How to pick the right time tracking tool?
There are many time tracking apps on the market, each with slightly different capabilities and use cases. In one of our recent articles, we listed tips on how to pick the best employee time tracking software for your company. In short, you’ll have to take figure out what you want to achieve with a tracking app and how your team will use it. Then, pick the tool that best fits your needs.
In Teamdeck, a convenient time tracker is part of a complete resource management software that can help you with resource scheduling or leave management as well. If you want to take a closer look at our app, sign up for a free trial or schedule a consultation with Joanna, our customer success expert.