How to explain time tracking to your employees

Julia Gifford 17.07.2013

To managers it’s obvious – time is money. So, it’s important to make the most of the work hours, and that’s probably the reason why you use time tracking to keep up with your employees.

And you’re not alone.

A new study found that 80% of major companies in the USA monitor their employees’ use of email, Internet or phone. The most common reasons for employee monitoring is productivity and attendance tracking, as well as to prevent misuse of the company’s property.

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Employee monitoring is so common today, yet office workers still see time tracking as their enemy. But the truth is: it’s not time tracking per se the enemy, is the miscommunication between employees and the management.

Time tracking, if used correctly and for the right reasons, can be beneficial for both the management and employees. The problem? How to explain the software to the team so that it doesn’t come off like a Big Brother spying tool.

Not into reading? Watch this video!

We gathered some points you can use to explain the use of DeskTime to your team:

1: Productivity feedback

To see where your time is going is the first and foremost reason for using DeskTime. Each employee has access to their profile where they can see where their time goes during the day. That way, anyone can make more informed decisions about their daily habits. For example, if you see that you’re spending the majority time dealing with emails, you might consider rethinking your email management system.

2: Saving time

time tracking save time

By using DeskTime, you’re saving employees time. How? People don’t need to fill out timesheets manually anymore. Besides, employees are just really bad at filling out timesheets. A study found that at the end of the week most employees can’t remember what they’ve done over the course of a week, so their timesheets are basically guesses and thus – pointless.

DeskTime is not only much more accurate but also works automatically, so no one needs to spend a Friday evening trying to remember what they did during the week.

3: Hard work is noticed

Everyone has that colleague who shows up at work, then spends the day chatting or youtubing. That’s not only unfair to the hard-working employees but seeing someone openly slacking can also be extremely demotivating for the team.

DeskTime is built in a way that it highlights the extreme cases, so such issues can be addressed before it gets worse. Not only DeskTime helps you spot problematic employees, but it also highlights most productive employees so everyone can be sure their hard work won’t go unnoticed.

4: Evening the playing field

By using time tracking, everyone is accountable, and everyone’s work is transparent. That said, if you feel like a team member isn’t pulling their weight, you can see why. Maybe it’s because all they do is watch cat videos. Or perhaps they spend their time answering emails when they should be making sales calls.

Time tracking helps to notice if the time is spent on the right things. Set priorities for the team, then make sure everyone does what he or she is supposed to do.

How to use DeskTime right


As a manager, you should keep some things in mind. Respect your employees. No one likes a boss breathing down their neck. Don’t become the Big Brother yourself. Work in a team with your employees, don’t play be against them by bringing the time tracking stats up at every situation. 

That said, here are some points good managers make sure their employees know:

Breaks are encouraged

As a manager, you should value your employees’ time, and that means – allow personal time at work, too. Studies have shown people should be taking regular breaks to stimulate mental activity, so if anyone feels the need to take a break at any point, he or she should do it.

Introduce your employees to DeskTime’s private time feature they can turn on at any time. Then, the sites visited won’t be listed, and won’t contribute to the employee’s productivity analysis.

Only extreme cases are noticed

The system is meant for increasing personal productivity. Thus, using DeskTime does not mean becoming a slave to the clock. Using a time tracking software means that things like regularly arriving late, or spending half the day surfing Youtube, will be highlighted. In the end, noticing such inefficient practices will help the company as a whole.

Managers are human, too

Nothing’s black and white, and so there’s always a personal approach that’s considered when looking at statistics. As a manager, don’t judge too quickly. Understand the need to take an individual look at any situation before passing judgment. Talk to your employees, let them know they are underperforming and find out the reasons why – and only then try to fix the situation or take bigger measures.

Final words

If you don’t trust your employees, DeskTime won’t help you. Look: time tracking can work wonders if everyone’s works as a team and strives for the best results. Meanwhile, seeing it as a spying tool or using every situation to point the finger at someone, just isn’t efficient. Sure, check the data every once in awhile, but showing your employees that you’re actively controlling them is a great way to alienate yourself in the office.

Read this complete guide to employee monitoring to find out more about using it in the workplace.

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