By Thursday Bram, GigaOM There have been a number of recent productivity apps to help individuals track where their time goes. For many people, it’s very easy to lose time to unproductive tasks. TimeDoctor offers to do the same thing for companies, including those with remote teams. By tracking the time that remote employees spend on different tasks, a manager can tell how well her team members are using their time, and can help them make better use of it.
Tracking and Record KeepingTimeDoctor focuses on tracking how employees spend their time. The software also includes monitoring and record keeping features. You can see at a glance what your team is working on, and can receive reports on what your team has accomplished in specific time periods. The program effectively acts as a task management tool, as well as tracking software. The monitoring tools incorporated into TimeDoctor are not entirely automatic. While the software can automatically monitor the use of certain websites, the developers are still working on adding application tracking. Employees will also need to report the specific projects that they’re working on. TimeDoctor randomly takes screen captures to ensure that team members’ reports match reality. The developers of TimeDoctor also provide time-management tips to help employees make better use of their time during working hours. You can access a free beta version of TimeDoctor through its website. Once it exits beta, the developers plan to charge 20 cents per work hour logged. The program is available for Mac, Windows and Linux.
The Question of MotivationI do have a concern about the problems that using a tool like TimeDoctor may create. Team members could easily see such tools as an invasion of privacy. It’s common for employees to feel that it’s okay to take short breaks from their work — in a way, Facebook breaks have become the new smoke breaks.
Managers need to bring in a tool like TimeDoctor with some sensitivity to this issue. Otherwise, it could lead to poor morale, team members attempting to circumvent the system, or less efficiency, because employees feel like they must be always on task. Since TimeDoctor requires interaction by the employee (turning on the software, entering project information, and so on), simply requiring employees to start using such a tool would be problematic at best.It is absolutely necessary to present software like TimeDoctor as something that will be helpful to employees. Such tools shouldn’t be used to punish underperforming employees, but should be ways to help employees identify their own work habits and make them more productive. How do you track your time, and your team’s time? Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub. req.):