Tracking time as you work leads to accuracy and enhanced productivity. Having a higher degree of accuracy not only instils trust for your clients but also benefits the business. When you know how you spend your time, you can analyze it and make smarter business decisions as a result. In this interview we hear from Mike Kulakov, CEO of Everhour – one of the leading time tracking tools for teams. Everhour natively integrates with your project management app so you can track time on tasks right from its interface.
Please tell us a bit about yourself and how the idea of Everhour came about?
My name is Mike Kulakov. I’m CEO at Everhour. A small company located in Minsk, Belarus. My co-founders and I started a small outsourcing company back in 2010. The idea of the product was born there from our internal needs. We needed to report and invoice our clients based on actual hours spent. At first, we used existing tools, but soon realized that we could offer a better idea.
What makes Everhour stand out from other time tracking software?
One of features that has always put us in a favorable position is how we integrate with the most popular project management tools.
If you’re managing all your tasks in a specialized system, such as Asana, Trello, Basecamp, Jira, GitHub where there is no native time tracking functionality (or it’s limited), you’ll need to use a third-party service.
But the majority of existing time tracking tools make the process a bit overcomplicated. Let’s say you are using Asana or Trello and have registered an account in a new time tracking system. You’ll be asked to create all your projects anew and manually map them one-by-one to those that you already have. Not to mention that you’ll have to switch tabs to log time, manually adjust task titles to keep reports consistent, etc. All of this means more work, time and energy spent by you.
Everhour, on the contrary, offers real integration. You just sign up and start tracking time instantly. We sync your existing projects structure and inject the controls directly into the web interface of your favored environment – Asana, Trello, Basecamp, Jira, ClickUp and more – so that you and your employees don’t need to switch between your project management system and your time tracker. Saving you time and making data more accurate.
What are some of the key benefits to using time tracking software?
Tracking time helps you be honest with yourself about what you truly spend your day doing, value your work time and your home time – make that balance and feel accomplished. Once you know what you’re spending your time on you can learn to budget it more efficiently.
Just like your personal time, time tracking software can help you optimize your team’s performance. This is not about judging who has been slacking off a little – sometimes downtime is justified – this is about ensuring that the work is distributed correctly and it’s manageable for your employees within their current hours.
Time tracking software helps to avoid the situation of unmet deadlines by highlighting if someone needs help based on the estimated (reported) time, so you can provide it before it’s too late. Not as the “bad big brother” watching, but in order to meet the ultimate goal of getting work done right.
What industries do you feel should proactively start instilling more employee friendly work from home policies today? Any tips to share with businesses that are not accustomed to the concept of remote work?
It is hard for me to say what industries should be more friendly to the WFH trend. There are many good reasons why employees want to work from home. They don’t want to spend extra hours driving to and from the office, getting nervous in traffic jams, seeking for and paying for parking spots… Last but not least you can definitely eat healthier at home.
The most important thing I want to say in this regard since we ourselves have gone this transformation from **office only** to work remotely – if there is an opportunity to work from home – offer it. This simple step could make your employees so much happier. Not to mention that they will highly likely consider a job offer from someone else offering this flexibility. The last thing you should worry about is that your employees won’t be working effectively while staying at home. If you don’t trust a person, stop working together. Results matter, not the fact of workplace presence. Use time tracking software to record work done, build trust with clients, provide feedback and improve the productivity of your work-from-home and remote employees.
For businesses that are looking to introduce time tracking to their teams do you have any advice to prevent resistance among employees?
Focus on using time-tracking tech not to micromanage, but to help increase your employees’ productivity and lower their stress levels.
Take a top-down approach. As a boss, you’re supposed to be a leader, not a micromanager. One of the best ways to convince your employees that time tracking works and has genuine benefits is to actually use it yourself and show your employees that you do.
Use a solution that seamlessly works with the tools your team already uses, lessening the effort your employees need to put in to adapt it. Don’t get stuck in the past. Old software will look and feel dated, something built in-house will always be buggy.
Don’t keep the results of time tracking to yourself. Once you’ve tracked the time, make sure you report back to your employees with analysis – how effectively their time was used, financial results, and the project’s successes and failures. This type of feedback helps your team to grow and better understand the time-money relationship.
Consider best results bonuses, pizza parties for consistent use, something simple that won’t break the bank, and brings a little joy to your employees. Giving your team a visual, timed reward, could be just the trick they need.
Any other collaboration tools you would advise teams to use to boost productivity?
My favorites are: Asana and Google Calendar
During your journey in tech as an entrepreneur could you share some of the biggest leadership lessons you’ve learnt?
There are two things that I’ve learned very well.
Hire for talent. Many times we have hired a staff member who was “just ok”. We planned his training thinking he would be loyal for a long time. After a year, the person has raised his level and left for another job. This is very demotivating. I wish I had hired the superstar every time.
Fire fast. If you feel that an employee no longer meets your expectations, it is better to fire him. People rarely change, but postponing this decision can slowly bane the atmosphere and culture inside the team. If you made an error in the hiring process, admit it, confront the issue head-on and have difficult conversations. It takes courage to admit that but you’d better do it sooner than later.
There has been a massive change to the HR industry in the past decade with the advancements in technology and rise of artificial intelligence. Are there any trends or technologies that you personally find particularly interesting?
I think that the development of technology within the HR sector is of significant importance. Software can help with recruitment, applicant tracking, onboarding, reporting, payroll, among many other things. It enables managers to spend less time on manual tasks that could be automated and dedicate more time to their employees.
The VR trend sounds interesting. This is a cost-efficient and effective way to meet and train virtually. It’s cost efficient and ensures better safety for industries that would normally be high risk to train.