Understanding Your Employees Means Knowing How They Spend Their Time

Date: March 24, 2017

Tracking your employees’ time and emails might seem like a waste of your time. But if used effectively, these strategies could improve performance. The Wall Street Journal reports that companies like Boston Consulting Group and Microsoft are tracking who their employees are talking to and why in order to get a better sense of how their time is spent during the day.


A research program by consulting firm BCG utilized email and chat tracking, along with sophisticated ID badges to track employees during the day. Without knowing the content of the conversations, the firm found that, “many employees were spending too much time with bosses or direct reports.”

The research also found that employees who engaged with their co-workers, on average, spent less time in meetings. Meetings have long been maligned in the workplace, as NFIB has reported on several times.

Think back on your last meeting. Did it contain any “red flags?” A meeting set up just to exchange information, no set agenda, a large audience, and no action items are easy ways to tell that you’re actually just wasting time.

When you’re planning out a meeting ahead of time, there are a few steps to follow to ensure that your meeting is actually benefiting everyone. Inc.com lists six easy steps to follow when planning a meeting to ensure discipline. One of the key tenets listed is, “if it’s not worth writing down, it’s not worth meeting over.” Such a telltale marker might seem like a no-brainer, but that’s not always the case. Having a meeting agenda is an easy way to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Another easy way to sidestep some of the perils of the unnecessary meeting is to hold a regular meeting every morning. Small Business Trends suggests that this meeting is not only a time for the team to gather together, but serve as a reminder of the company’s values.

The Wall Street Journal reports that companies tracking employees isn’t just about maximizing meeting time. It’s a result of people working differently. There is greater collaboration in the office, and many employees are also working from home.


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