Inspire creative teams to track time with these 4 tips

Creative agencies are known for their fun, non-conforming, and independent work ethic. It’s no surprise then that agency staff don’t like tracking their time. One of the most common excuses to not track time at agencies is that it’s “not part of their culture.” As an agency owner or proprietor, it’s up to you to balance creative freedom with processes that are essential to the growth of your business.

We know first-hand that time tracking can be boring, and convincing your team to get on board with the idea feels like an uphill battle. Here are 4 ways to inspire your teams to start tracking time today:

Communicate individual impact

Let people know why they need to track time. Yes, it impacts your business’ success, but people tend to care more about things that directly impact them. Help your teams understand how tracking time affects their jobs.

Tracking data ultimately feeds into their performance evaluations, salary reviews, and developing better job estimating practices. Giving leaders insight into their daily activities makes their jobs easier and better paid.

If teams are able to understand how individual impact ties into overall business success, they are more likely to partake in tracking time.

Make it easy

make it easy

Creatives don’t like filling out timesheets because most agencies employ manual and restrictive ways to record time that make it seem like a chore. Creative teams rarely work within a 9-to-5 schedule; they enjoy their freedom and flexibility to address work when and how they want. Extend the same freedom to tracking time. Ditch spreadsheets and make the switch to an automated management system.

For instance, Function Point offers a mobile application (on Apple or Android) that allows users to fill in their timesheets while on the go. Whether your staff are at home or on the bus, they can easily track their work hours and not be chained to a spreadsheet.

For folks who tend to jump between jobs every hour, FP’s task management system gives them the flexibility to track time directly on the job itself. And for those who have a tendency to forget tracking time (ahem, basically everyone on the team), find a solution that gives your team an option to use timers as they work!

Make it fun

Creatives appreciate creativity. Fun, positive reinforcement can be a great source of motivation to make people keen to fill their timesheets.

Find what works for you. We know agencies who’ve incentivized time-tracking with a simple rewards system: have $20 coffee cards for the first 5 staff members to have completed their timesheets for the week, or buy a meal for those leading the charge.

Gamification is another unique and fun way to get your team’s buy-in. Divide your staff into teams and assign points to time-tracking; at the end of the month, pick the winners and allow them to redeem their points for rewards.

Remind them…again!

Sometimes momentum isn’t enough to cause permanent change. Remind your team as often as you can to fill in their timesheets. Yes, we know your team’s probably ignoring your reminder emails by now. So, here’s a fun alternative to get your staff to track time while they work on tasks: put it on a big banner to remind them!

Pro tip: throw in a yummy incentive too.

Fun reminder

Putting reminders up on the office wall and setting up cues on Slack channels are other quick and effective ways to remind teams to track their work hours.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that time tracking may seem daunting to some and unnecessary to others, but if you’re looking to grow your agency, it needs to be done. If you can find a few simple yet fun ways to motivate your team, coupled with regular reminders, there’s a very good chance your team will make time tracking a standard practice.

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