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9 No-Brainer Ways to Track Employee Time

9 No-Brainer Ways to Track Employee Time

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition:

What’s your favorite tool for tracking employee/contractor time and why? (If it is your own tool, please make that clear in your answer.)

1. eBillity

David Ehrenberg

    We use eBillity (www.ebillity.com) as an app (it can also be used as “standalone” software). We love it because of its great features and ease of use. It syncs seamlessly with QuickBooks (www.quickbooks.intuit.com), both QB Premier and QB Enterprise. You can restrict which rates/customers your invited vendors can see. Their great reports can be exported to Excel or as a PDF, and the weekly time entry tool shows you the entire week entered.

    David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

    2. FreshBooks

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    Aaron Schwartz

      FreshBooks (www.freshbooks.com) makes it very simple to track contractor hours. The company is about 10 years old, and it’s worked out all the kinks to create a simple user interface. Two features make it a must-have. First, contractors can bill directly from FreshBooks, which gives me comfort that there wasn’t an error during manual entry. Second, the product is available across most platforms, which facilitates tracking.

      Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

      3. iDoneThis

      Nicolas Gremion

        iDoneThis (idonethis.com) helps our team plan projects, see exactly who’s doing what and record our progress as a team. This way, we can all monitor what’s going on, rather than just “the boss” knowing, which helps efficiency and teamwork.

        Nicolas Gremion, Foboko.com

        4. Trust

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        Derek Flanzraich

          We have a totally flexible schedule and no vacation policy at Greatist because we completely trust each other to get our work done. We work extraordinarily hard, but we also recognize the balance of going to the gym and taking breaks. We know that getting enough sleep makes us better at our work!

          Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

          5. JIRA

          Robert Strazzarino

            We are a computer software company, and I’m only recommending this to other small- to medium-sized software companies. We manage all of our software tasks in JIRA (www.atlassian.com/software/jira/overview), and the “Tempo” plugin enables time reporting for all of our software development tasks. I have a 10-user pack, so all of my contractors use the system for both their task lists and time tracking. It’s hosted, inexpensive and customizable.

            Robert Strazzarino, College Scheduler LLC

            6. Productivity

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            patrick curtis

              I like to measure productivity, not time. I don’t want to force my contractors to give me screen captures, however, I do expect regular updates. If they aren’t working at the pace I expect, I will communicate that up front, instead of getting upset.

              Patrick Curtis, WallStreetOasis.com

              7. ClientSpot

              Andrew Angus

                ClientSpot (www.myclientspot.com) has been a great tool for solving this problem. It does everything we need for a very reasonable price. The key for us was tracking time on projects and doing it cost-effectively, and this did it!

                Andrew Angus, Switch Video

                8. oDesk

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                Benji Rabhan

                  oDesk is an oldie, but a goody (www.odesk.com). We use this for our entire team, or times when we have to hire out for special projects. It’s known for a reason, and well worth the investment.

                  Benji Rabhan, MorrisCore

                  9. TimeFox

                  Zach Cutler

                    My favorite tool for tracking employee/contractor time is TimeFox (www.functionfox.com/products.aspx): a high-quality project management software that uses actions and deadlines as a way to overview and track your employees’ assignments and due dates.

                    Zach Cutler, Cutler Group

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                    1 13 Characteristics of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs 2 5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All 3 10 Simple Habits Every Effective Manager Needs to Learn 4 10 Ways To Help Your Employees Have A Healthy Work-Life Balance 5 Top 10 Workplace Safety Tips Every Employee Should Know

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                    Last Updated on March 29, 2021

                    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

                    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

                    When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

                    What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

                    The Dream Type Of Manager

                    My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

                    I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

                    My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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                    “Okay…”

                    That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

                    I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

                    The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

                    The Bully

                    My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

                    However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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                    The Invisible Boss

                    This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

                    It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

                    The Micro Manager

                    The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

                    Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

                    The Over Promoted Boss

                    The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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                    You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

                    The Credit Stealer

                    The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

                    Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

                    3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

                    Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

                    1. Keep evidence

                    Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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                    Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

                    Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

                    2. Hold regular meetings

                    Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

                    3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

                    Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

                    However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

                    Good luck!

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