February 4, 2023


Unlike many of my peers, I’m not categorically opposed to the idea of keeping timesheets.


I have never met a talented employee in a creative field who thought tracking their hours was a good use of their time.

So if you need to attract and retain the best creative talent, requiring timesheets will hurt you.

Tracking hours is a cost optimization tactic, which can be useful if your costs are out of control.

Just remember that you can only increase your profits so far by controlling costs.

Eventually, you’ll hit a ceiling if you don’t create more valuable results for your clients.

If your payroll is high and your employees are inefficient, you could track their time for 4 to 6 weeks and probably get all the information you would need to optimize your management tactics.

I don’t see why you’d need to monitor their every move always and forever.

Tracking employee time indicates that you haven’t embraced the concept of pricing based on value instead of cost.

This is fine if you are a cost-plus pricing organization, but if you’re trying to increase profits by pricing based on value, timesheets can be a red flag.

What gets measured gets improved.

What do you think is more important to improve:

Your employee utilization or your client satisfaction?

If you are tracking your employees’ time but NOT your clients’ satisfaction, I fear you’re focused on improving the wrong thing.

Tracking time is quantitative, not qualitative.

If the quality of your work matters to your clients, tracking your time will not improve it.

Just because tracking hours is relatively easy doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to track.

For example...

Tracking your employees’ weight would be easier than tracking their hours, but it’s even less likely to help you deliver more valuable results to your clients.

(Originally a thread on Twitter)