What criteria to choose the best time management tool ?

What is time management ?

The area that concerns us here is the management of working time.
Even if it may seem clear and simple in the mind of the one who initiates the subject, it should be emphasized that in Time Management, we can put several things in it because working time is also time to manage projects, record overtime or bill customers...

On the Software Publishers side, these are the same terms "time management" that are highlighted before dealing with the organization of tasks, planning, activity monitoring or management of working time for HR monitoring.
Through this article, we will indicate some advice and points of vigilance in order to direct you towards the best tool which corresponds to your need.

Time tracking, what case am I in ?

As much as the choice of the working time management tool can prove to be difficult, but there is one thing that you have perfect control of, it is your final objective.
Indeed, before going to this or that other tool, it is advisable to list your needs, which are strongly related to your activity.
There are basic questions that should be asked before getting started...

I-) Management of employees' working time (HR component) ?

1) Does this concern leave and absence management, and rightly so ?

In this case, it is recommended to use dedicated software Leave Management , which will take into account the specific cases of your collective agreement.
Indeed, it is not uncommon to see requests in Time Management, for purely needs of leave and absence management.

2) Accounting for overtime ?

Some users consider that leave management software implicitly manages overtime...
It is important to specify it in your specifications, because not all leave software offers this functionality.

Regarding the Management of overtime , it should be noted that not all companies have the same mode of operation.
In some cases, a simple day recovery process may be fine.
If you find yourself in this situation, it is on the side of leave management software that you will have to look, because most of this software offers an option of type Recovery Day.

On the other hand, if it is a question of really managing overtime, this cannot be overlooked, because overtime is regulated by labor law, and employees are very keen on it !
That said, some companies may be content with the "occasional reporting" of overtime. In other words, the employee declares overtime when the opportunity to do it arises.
Some Leave tracking software offers an option to report overtime.

However, you must take care to guarantee any increases based on the declared hourly volume, in particular if this is provided for in your collective agreement.
Failing to master the overtime increase rules, you can associate your Chartered Accountant with the HR tool implementation project, and he will be able to inform you about the prerogatives of your collective agreement.
It is only on this condition that you will be able to choose the overtime software with adequate functionality.

There are companies in which the management of overtime is an integral part of working time...ie each week worked can potentially generate overtime.
In this case, it is recommended to adopt software specializing in the management of overtime.

3) In the context of working time management: is there a need to trace the time worked ?

This question leads to the identification of two company profiles :
Companies that operate with a badge reader system to record the arrival and departure times of employees
Companies using timesheets and activities for reporting time spent.

In the first case, software specializing in the badge reader system should be used.
This case is particularly frequent in companies in the industrial sector, although some medium-sized enterprises may also be interested in installing a badge reader.
As much in the industrial sector, it is often a physical badge to present at the entrance to the site, it should be noted that some time management tools offer virtual badges via a Mobile or Tablet support.
This may have the advantage of making it easier for employees to indicate the time of arrival and departure, especially if they are not working on PCs (computers) assigned.

The disadvantage in this kind of device is the lack of validation by the Manager, but also the lack of reporting time spent by activity.
In conclusion, everything depends on your sector of activity, on your ability to equip employees or not with mobile terminals...Or even on your needs in terms of time and activity analysis.

In 80% of cases, the method used remains filling in the timesheet on Friday evening, through time management software.

4) Annualization of working time ?

Annualization makes it possible to organize working time over a 12-month period, during which the employee will have weeks of high activity or low activity.
Then, the weeks offset each other to guarantee a weekly working time of 35 hours on average over the entire period.
The aim is to organize working time according to periods of more or less sustained activity.
The annualization of working time is a device framed by labor law, it must be subject to negotiation and a company agreement.
In terms of HR tool, the use of timesheets may be sufficient especially for small businesses, even if some publishers offer dedicated tools Annualization working time .

II-) Time tracking by project or activity ?

Working time management is an essential component for steering your activities.
In this area, there are several approaches and we will try to establish a comparison according to the contexts of activity.
If your need concerns time tracking by project, a project monitoring tool (Time and activity management) should be favored.
Indeed, this kind of tools make it possible to combine working time and activity monitoring.

In most cases, the project monitoring process consists of defining project portfolios each containing a list of tasks, which are similar to business or services.
At the same time, employees are required to fill in time sheets, in order to declare time by project.

This kind of action can also be accomplished by ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) type tools.
These are oriented Resource Planning and Commercial Management.
In line with activity monitoring tools, we can also cite HRIS (Human Resources Information Systems).
In this context, it is advisable to distinguish on the one hand, the HRIS oriented administrative management, monitoring of the personnel (annual interview, HR indicators, payroll management), even if more and more, one finds on the market the HRIS integrating a time management module.

Among the needs that can be covered by project monitoring tools, there is the monitoring of project progress indicators because these tools have the ability to produce reports on time spent by activity or by employee profile.

Methodology for choosing the best time management tool

It turns out that time management is a simple and complex subject at the same time, because each company does not expect the same thing.
For your comfort and to ensure the choice of the best tool related to your need, it is important to develop a specification containing a list of expected Excel file models or formats.
This charge sheet can then be submitted to software publishers during the study phase.
As for file formats, these can be excel files that you already use or excel models of the time tracking type, to be created for the needs of the study.

In terms of monitoring working hours, these files can be of the type :
Excel Template of Timesheets that the Employee is required to complete (you can rely on a template image found on the internet)
It should also be specified if your organizational process involves planning tasks upstream? if so, you will need to provide a planning template.
Finally, it will be necessary to establish the type of monthly summary to be extracted on the Manager side. This export model depends on the purpose of the time tracking process : is it for monitoring legal working hours ? is it for the time counter per project ? etc...