78% of employees want mobile time-tracking apps

Despite the obsession with agility, efficiency, and productivity, critical work processes haven’t kept pace with the evolution of technology.

The report, “Mobile Keeps Business Moving Forward”, reveals a mobile-savvy workforce struggling with outdated workplace processes and eager for methods that take advantage of their mobile preferences. The survey found that although the vast majority (78%) of employees want to use mobile time-tracking apps, only 11% currently do so. Instead, organisations rely on old-fashioned methods including Excel spreadsheets (28%) and pen and paper (36%). Failing to meet the needs of modern organisations hinders productivity and costs businesses time and money.

Changepoint, a leading provider of project and portfolio management, enterprise architecture, and professional services management applications, conducted the survey to understand how mobile technology has shaped today’s workforce. The study found inaccurate data collected via outdated tracking methods and technologies threatens to stymie the growth of businesses that refuse to change.

The value of investing in mobile is clear: On average, companies see ROI of 35% when investing in enterprise mobile apps (Adobe). These companies cite increased productivity and communication as top benefits. With nearly all survey respondents (95%) reporting using their mobile phones for work-related tasks during the day, it’s clear that aligning core processes to today’s mobile workforce better positions businesses to compete in the fast-paced economy.

Time tracking data specifically has long been the cornerstone companies use to make informed staffing resource decisions, control costs, and meet contractual labour obligations. While organisations understand the importance of accurate data, the majority of managers (77%) aren’t confident in the accuracy of the timesheets they approve. Meanwhile, nearly half (49%) of project managers aren’t sure they’re tracking their time right either. The likely culprit—inconvenient processes resulting in irregular, infrequent data entry and submission. Because of the time it takes, one quarter (25%) of project managers also believe time tracking negatively impacts productivity.

“We use our smartphone to check the weather, confirm flight info, read the news, call an Uber, or order a cup of coffee,” said Eric Bergman, VP of product management for Changepoint. “Mobile is second nature in our everyday lives, but some of the most agile, tech-forward businesses still use spreadsheets and paper to collect business-critical data despite its impact on staffing and project decisions.”

Other key findings include:

  • Today’s workforce is device-driven and mobile-obsessed. Whether checking email or reviewing the day’s calendar, the workday is driven by mobile. Ninety-five percent of respondents use their mobile device for work-related tasks, 67% use their device during their commute, and the 39% who use it “all the time” can’t keep track of how often they turn to their mobile device. More than one-third (35%) of the workforce brings three to four devices to work each day.
  • An epidemic of multitasking. Individuals, contributors, and managers need simpler ways to manage work, especially given how often they’re juggling multiple projects. At any time, virtually all (97%) team members are allocated to more than one project, with almost half (49%) working on four or more projects, and 18% juggling seven or more. Senior managers are spread even more thin. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of managers manage four or more projects and more than a quarter (26%) oversee seven or more at a time.
  • For organisations to adopt time tracking, it must be more intuitive. Survey respondents reported that 83% of their organisations track time. Of the 17% who do not currently track time, the majority (81%) would do so if tracking and submitting was easier. In fact, among this group, 63% of respondents would use a time-tracking app integrated with their PPM tool. There’s a clear need for applications that work how employees do—mobile and cross-platform.

“Technology frees employees from their desks. They’re working anytime, anywhere, from any device,” said Bergman. “Applications like email and messaging have evolved to meet the needs of today’s hyper-connected, mobile workforce. Time-tracking should be simple, easy, and offer the same flexibility.”