How do you currently track your architects time? Do you use an excel spreadsheet or do you have a timesheet management system? Here we will give you some tips on how best to track time in your architecture practice.
1. You must have a system. Whether you are using a basic spreadsheet template or handwriting your hours down. You absolutely have to track your time in some way. If you don’t track your time you may find that you are not profitable or efficient enough when it is too late to do anything about it.
2. Billable or unbillable. When you are tracking your time you need to be able to distinguish between productive time, i.e. that time that is billable to your clients and unproductive time, which is that time that is not specifically attributable to a project or is not chargeable to a project. Tracking these two basic groupings of time will enable you to see the split between revenue generating hours and those that don’t.
3. By project, stage and variation. When you are looking at your billable or productive time, it is useful to be able to see which projects the time is being spent on. And then within each project it is useful to be able to define which stage and/or variation the time was allocated to. You may find that you are consistently underperforming in one area of your projects, perhaps you spend too long on design documentation. If you don’t track it you will never know.
4. Ease of use for employees. If you want your architecture employees to use your timesheet system, you have to make it as user friendly as possible. This means it should be easy to access and easy to input the required information. On top of this it should be easy for new architects to learn when they start. If you do this, everyone will be more inclined to use it properly.
There is a balance to be struck by making the system flexible enough to capture the time with all the different classifications you need, but not making the system so complex that it is difficult to learn and a chore to use.