Why do teachers need time tracking?
All professionals within education are doing very important work, and are often under-appreciated and written off because their workdays seem shorter. Many people aren’t aware of the preparations and planning that go into teaching. Tracking time is a business practice that is proving its value in all industries, and education isn’t an exception either. This is especially true for teachers who get paid by the hour.
Structuring your days and keeping track of all activities that go into teaching is a crucial part of knowing what you’re doing and when. Secondly, keeping on top of the work of your students and planning get easier as you organize your own time and plan efficiently.
On the other hand, education institutions can also draw the benefits of time tracking. They’ll be able to track their progress through monitoring key performance indicators (also known as KPIs), which are the result of collected data. These indicators showcase the current state of any organization and can help principals and other higher-ups make informed decisions. For example, having a clear insight into your profit and loss account can help you budget better and focus on improving productivity.
Introducing positive time tracking practices to your team’s workflow will also make sure no one is overwhelmed with work since it will bring the necessary transparency. This way you’ll bring your team closer together and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Employee time tracking
Every school’s success heavily depends on the collaboration and methods its teachers and other staff use. You need to understand how your organization is currently working to be able to improve its performance in the future. Here is what you can discover about your school if you track employee time:
- Are the teachers utilizing their work time efficiently?
- Are they being effective?
- Are there any distractors that reduce productivity and what are they?
- How are sick leaves and overtime affecting your school?
- Which employees are the best and are there some of them who need assistance or additional training?
Task time tracking
Whether you decide to track each activity as a separate task, or create tasks for larger teaching fields and then smaller subtasks within them, tracking time per task is a great way to discover the state of your school. It can also help you discover the ways you can improve your staff’s performance.
This can be done through fixing the organizational oversights as well as task delegation if it needs to be addressed. Finally, you will be able to identify the tasks that could be outsourced to improve the overall progress of your institution.
Private schools as well as private tutors and lecturers face another step in making their businesses more profitable, and it concerns their students and fees. As you know, you can’t calculate the profit you’ll make without accounting for your future collaborations with your students.
To put it plainly, these organizations and individuals are highly dependent on their collaboration and relationship with their students. Here are some concrete reasons for tracking student time through a time tracker:
- Allocating costs to your students and their classes
- Identifying top and low performing students by knowing how long it takes them to go through the same lessons
- Understanding when the time has come to renegotiate or terminate a contract
- Adjusting your fees according to the time, expertise, and resources you use
Project time tracking
Defining projects in the education field differs from other industries. As we have mentioned, you can make every activity a task, or create wider, all-encompassing projects and differentiate tasks within them. either way, you’ll be able to calculate your profit margin and track your efficiency.
Additionally, you will be able to understand the structure of the time you or your employees spend on administrative and preparation tasks vs the time they use for teaching.
Tracking time – the basic course
Track through a simple system
If you are looking for a time tracking software solution, chances are that you have noticed how many options you have. These options range from the simplest clock-in/clock-out automatic timers to extremely sophisticated systems. Even though each platform will offer a method of measuring and increasing productivity, there are some key differences between them.
A basic system can be too scarce when it comes to features and simply not be enough to track time efficiently. On the other hand, some truly complex programs offer many potential tracking metrics and options. The downside of these solutions is the fact that they can take a lot of time to set up initially and use daily.
Hence, finding a solution that will both be simple to use and give you enough information to track efficiently and bring in more profit.
What not to track
Time tracking offers many ways to log hours in the education field. Some systems offer one or multiple automatic timers, others rely on timesheets, and some are more restrictive and track computer apps, websites, mouse and keyboard activity, or opt to take screenshots of employee desktops randomly or at set intervals.
While some classrooms have digital equipment, many more don’t use technology regularly. This prevents the last approach completely. On the other hand, even if you can track computer activity, that doesn’t mean you should do it. This practice implies you don’t trust your staff and want to micromanage team members. This approach is also more demanding for the employer, as they have to go through a great number of screenshots. Finally, the screenshot method goes against the GDPR in some countries.
On the other hand, a timesheet-based platform shows that you trust your teachers and other education staff. If you are afraid that some individuals will abuse the system, all you need to do is compare their progress with the other staff members. The differences in results will tell you who has been untruthful in their timesheet filling.
As you know, jobs in education are comprised of a limited number of activities, even though there is a far greater number of topics. When it comes to checking the timesheets or finding a specific piece of information, it is much easier to go through a finite list you can filter through by task type. In the same vein, it is a lot easier to log your time in a couple of clicks within predefined categories than to create each task from scratch.
In other words, it is important to choose a time tracking platform with the option of creating different easily accessible recurring tasks. This way you can categorize teaching, preparation, meetings, PTA, etc, and navigate the program easily.
If you are looking to get the most out of your time tracking platform in the field of education, you should also track billable rates and the differences between them. the two most important factors when it comes to this are the planned (expected) billable rate and the realistic billable rate. Once you’ve defined these two values, you’ll be able to see whether they are matching, and what the difference between them is.
The expected billable rate is the metric the success of any organization depends on. You should always strive toward matching or surpassing it. In other words, the realistic billable rate should be as close as possible to the planned results. The realistic billable rate can only be calculated after the invoicing process, i.e. charging your students. You can calculate it by dividing the total profit coming from a project by spent billable hours per employee.
Time tracking software should be able to track your rates either by automatically accounting for employee default billable rates or by allowing the staff to enter their billable rates manually. The final option is using an integrated billable hours chart.
Hourly rates based on general expenses and employee hourly rates based on salaries and direct expenses are the elements of cost rates. Time tracking platforms give you the ability to automatically include the defined cost rates and allocate costs per student or project. As all the calculations are done automatically, you’ll have more time to work on solving other issues within your school.
Reviewing time reports
Reviewing timesheets is the key to using your time tracking system to its maximum potential. The process can be automated if you need it to be but should be done regularly nonetheless. The reviews should validate the hours your staff logged, their breaks, overtime, different types of leaves, and other activities.
You can use a readymade timesheet template or create your own depending on your school’s needs. However, each full-time equivalent timesheet should contain the following:
- Activities per student/class
- Task details
- The total of spent hours
- Billable vs non-billable hours
- Expected and realistic hourly billing rates
Conclusions and predictions
Time tracking supplies you with a great amount of useful data it collects over time. Similar to reviewing the time reports, turning this data into comprehensible reports is an integral part of efficient time tracking. In other words, creating and delivering detailed reports is a crucial feature of any serious education time tracking software.
Time Analytics delivers many different report views. You can get more information on your employees, students, tasks, and projects. This way you’ll have the structure of work hours under control, as well as expenses, and other important metrics necessary for a successful educational institution.
The reports allow you to track changes in real-time, as well as historically, this way you will be able to see whether you’re meeting your goals and how they compare to the earlier trends.
Time tracking and billing
Time tracking software reports contain all activities done by your staff. In other words, it will be easy to create itemized bills and invoices that account for all expenses and hourly fees, which will explain the total bill.
Tracking and educational institution’s costs
How to track costs per student and project
A time tracking program can also track student and project costs. This process requires information about work hour prices, direct and indirect costs. Then the program can allocate the costs per student or project (of course, this is meant for schools and other educational institutions. Tutors should calculate their costs depending on the student). The total cost rate equals the sum of overhead and pay rates. With Time Analytics, you can account for the pay rate automatically.
The pay rate is calculated by dividing the total gross salary by the number of work hours per month. While this value is important for calculating costs, it is also important to account for overhead costs. You can do so by dividing total overhead costs (utilities, supplies, etc) by the number of work hours and the number of employees. then you should add this value to the pay rate, and your predictions will be much more accurate.
What are the basic KPIs for the education field?
Average billable rate on the institution level
You need this KPI to know whether you are making a profit or not. It is done by comparing the average and planned (expected) billable rates. The average rate represents the average amount of money your school makes by teaching your students.
Hourly rate on the employee level
This metric represents the money you get by the hour when a specific teacher or staff member is doing their job. Having transparency in this metric means understanding who are the top performers in your school.
Billable rate on the project level
This indicator shows the profitability (or lack thereof) of your projects. Hence, it is one of the most important metrics, as it can help you adjust your fees in the forthcoming school years, semesters, terms, etc.
You can calculate the project billable rate by dividing the total income coming from a project by the total number of hours it took to complete.
Billable rate on the client level
This KPI shows whether your tutoring ventures are profitable or not. It is calculated by dividing the total income coming from a student by the total hours you’ve spent tutoring them.
Billing rate utilization
This metric indicates whether you’re achieving the profit you’ve planned or not. It’s calculated by dividing the total realistic billable rate by the expected rate. As you can conclude, billing rate utilization shows if you’re making the progress you’ve been planning for.
Cost per student or project
Cost per student/project shows the total expenses a school or a tutor has allocated to a specific student or project. Understanding this indicator will allow you to budget more accurately in the forthcoming billing cycle.
You may be wondering – what is the connection between time tracking and cost per student or project. The fact of the matter is, you cannot determine the resources needed for a student or the profit coming from them.
This KPI is calculated as the ratio between billable and non-billable hours within the total hours invested. It indicates the number of time employees spend doing billable work (teaching, extracurricular activities) and other tasks (planning, meetings, calls) in education. As you may imagine, the goal is to reduce the number of non-billable hours to increase profitability and productivity.
Understanding the time, resources, knowledge, and preparation needed to complete a type of task can help you find organizational solutions to increase the efficiency of your staff.
Overtime has become necessary in many industries. Timesheets can help you identify the causes for this occurrence. If the need for overtime comes from a complicated workflow, understaffing, or other realistic causes, you may have to hire substitutes, include different productivity tools, or make other changes.
However, if overtime comes from unproductive behaviors, you will have to talk to the individual employee and identify the ways they will have to change their behavior to eliminate the interferences.
Time tracking is a practice with a bad reputation. The reason for this is the fact that employees often feel like their work isn’t appreciated, or like their every move is being monitored to discover mistakes. Understandably, this can cause unnecessary stress and hostility in an already highly stressful field of work.
Hence, if you are looking for a time tracking program for your school or other educational institution, you must never use it to punish your staff or micromanage it if there are no real problems. There are numerous benefits to time tracking, but you will have to invest some effort and allow for some leeway to get the best results.
Time Analytics allows you to receive powerful reports that can help you restructure parts of your institution, find the sources of negative practices – whether it’s your workflow, staff, terms, or students, and eliminate the practices themselves.
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