Some of the main questions I get are:
- How do I know if my virtual assistants are doing the task right?
- How do I know how much time they take to complete tasks?
- How can I track everything really easily under one roof?
- How can I know if I am getting screwed by deceptive workers?
We’ve been using Google Docs and having team members report a DTR (daily time report) on a spreadsheet each day. (free)
Recently, my project manager, Melody turned our team on to a new program called Time Doctor.
Time Doctor allows managers to see exactly what their team is working on, all at the push of a button. Managers can easily see a work in progress dashboard which shows everyone in your team, if they are online and what they are working on right now. This is one of many great Time Doctor features.
Project Managers have a different log in than do virtual assistants to keep things separate.
There are multiple time management principles that are used in the software to increase productivity.
Tracking how much time each person is working – every minute of the work day is tracked. This is not the same as entering a time sheet, as time sheets can easily be faked and the person can enter whatever time and activity they want. It is by actually tracking the exact start and finish time for each activity.
Tracking what your team is working on at all times – are they on a break, and what exactly are they working on. Priority tracking – the software helps the person to manage their top priorities and sends them daily to their manager. It also tracks what percentage of their time is spent on priorities versus lower priority items.
Ways for you to verify the information is accurate – there are multiple ways to verify that the person is really spending time on the activities that they say they are working on. This includes screenshots, recording if the person is using web sites such as Facebook or other potentially time wasting activities.
Reports for managers that show what their team did each day – Managers are aware of exactly how each team member spends their day. With Time Doctor, you have a much better idea of exactly how long it takes to complete each task.
Removing multi-tasking and interruptions – Multi-tasking is proven to be a very ineffective way to work as every time you get distracted, it takes several minutes to get back into work. The software helps to increase the person’s focus on their highest priority tasks, and remove distractions during this process. Visibility of priorities between the team, and team leaders – This means that as a manager you are immediately aware of all of the priorities of your team. You also know if your team are working on these priorities or not.
The importance of tracking the exact use of time each day – This is surprisingly not a normal business practice. It is one of the most powerful things you can do to increase productivity. When you track the exact use of time for the entire day, productivity will automatically improve. This kind of scrutiny makes it very difficult to waste time.
This is a great accountability check with your staff, knowing “big brother” is watching.
By using the Time Doctor, one can easily see how better reporting and accountability will increase production and tasks should be getting completed ontime.
There is a free demo video on the Time Doctor site, which explains how it works in great detail. If you want to know if this might be a good solution for your virtual office structure, take a look at the Beta release of Time Doctor.
Warning: This is not for every business
If your virtual work force is in-front of their computers 70-100% of the time, then this will work great for you. Also, being “watched” or “accountable” at a deeper level will scare many Virtual Assistants away.
Let’s be honest here. I know some virtual workers work for OTHER people too, and HIDE it from their employers. Knowing they could be “found out” might mean they won’t work for you if you enforce this. You’ll have to evaluate if your virtual assistant is rocking it, and doing a great job, and they want to quit if you enforce this tool… is that something you are willing to risk? Again – it might be right for your company or it may not be.
Enforcing this upon new workers as policy should be easy, but if you are mid stream with a virtual assistant, who has become comfortable with your systems and reporting for several months, and then you all the sudden ask them to use this new reporting feature, it could cause some problems, or trust issues.
So make sure you smooth it out when you go into enforcement mode by telling your workers, you are using this program because time is money. And you want to keep track of time, tasks and talents with better accountability and reporting to make sure everyone is working at the top of their game. You would like to see your workers working at full capacity instead of “just getting by’.
Many people will be excited to know the cost of this program is FREE. It is in beta though, and they programmers expect you to help them if you encounter any bugs by reporting errors. After December 2010, the program will no longer be free. So, as of the time of this post, you’ve got a good 6 month run to play with this time saver and implement it into your business.
7 ways that Time Doctor that can recover wasted time in your company
Time Doctor accurately tracks every minute of the work day. View exactly how many hours each person has worked, and what they did. Employees will not waste time because they know their time and activities are always tracked.
You will know what the top priorities of your team are at all times, and you know if they are working on these priorities This is actually the most powerful productivity feature because you can make sure that everyone is focusing on priority tasks.
The software emails a report every week with a record of time spent on poor time use websites such as Facebook. Time Doctor prevents use of unproductive web sites during work hours. You can prevent use of unproductive web sites at work.
You can log in at any time and see exactly what everyone in your team is working on. You can immediately spot if the team are working on productive activities, and adjust their priorities if needed.
The software sends a daily report with a list of what everyone on your team did for the day and what they are planning on doing for the next day. This saves you time getting updates from your team, and makes sure you always know what is going on.
Managers will get an email once per week showing how much time your team spent on emails, internet chat, a list of web sites they visited and software they used. Identify if your tam is working on product activities, and it their use of email is productive.
Your company will receive simple but powerful daily time management tips to help train your employees to be more productive at work.
Go to the Time Doctor website and download and run this program on your workers machines.