Blog | 12.30.2019

What If Your Employees Worked “To The Task” And Not To The Clock?

Here’s a thought experiment for you: How long do you think it will be before the majority of the workforce has never seen (let alone used) the traditional timeclock with that solid ka-chunk sound indicating when your workday officially starts and ends? Have we reached that point already? 

And if the concept of “punching the clock” has become so outmoded, surely, it’s also time to reassess not just how your employees spend their workday but how they think and feel about their workday.  

In decades past, it seems that generations of employees just accepted that their job would be repetitive and uninspiring – that they would “put their time in” until it was “quittin’ time” every day. This emphasis on time was reasonable when jobs were fairly static from day to day – but that’s not what today’s workforce is dealing with. It’s become common to walk into work (or just login for remote employees) and spend the whole work day dealing with something they’ve never heard about before and that happened miles or even oceans away.  

Work culture has shifted; the task is now at least as important as the time. We talk about “taking deep dives” and “putting out fires,” and no one actually empties their email inbox. Yet when it comes to measuring your employees’ productivity, are you still using techniques that are decades old? How can you move your employees to be more engaged and less clock-driven?


You know you need to. After all, it’s been reported that: 

  • Only 34 percent – 1 in 3 – employees feel engaged in their work. 
  • The annual cost of lost productivity in the U.S. alone due to disengaged employees is $483-605 billion. 

And those are numbers that any company should put some time and effort into analyzing. 


What Engagement Is… and Is Not 

Does your organization have a strong vision of what an engaged employee looks like? Do you know what their productivity levels should be – how much they can get done in a day, what tools help them be most productive, what parts of their job they find most inspiring?  

At the same time, do you know exactly what “time sucks” and distractions your employees are dealing with every day? Let’s look at a couple of the most common. 

  • Time leaks: Quite simply, the time employees spend on work activities often does not match what they expected or intended. They may walk into the day expecting to wrap up a report, but they lose minutes and hours on unscheduled discussions with staff, being called by the boss for meetings and in long phone calls. Then you add in the unexpected tasks that need to be done right now, and suddenly the whole day’s gone. 
  • The computer: Can’t work without it – and some days, can’t work with itAny employee can unintentionally lose time to browsing, checking personal emails and social media updates, or chatting online with friends. Various studies have shown that an average of 1.5 to 2 hours per day is lost on non-business internet surfing and tea/coffee breaks. And that clearly affects your company’s bottom line. 

Of course, work tasks still have to get done. So one consequence of these distractions is that employees compensate by working more hours, especially when deadlines loom. That has its own negative consequences – including error-prone work, reduced efficiency and a quicker path to burnout – which are all classic characteristics of a disengaged employee. 


Knowledge is Power 

There’s a flip side to this, though. Given their choice, most human beings would choose not to be bored and to instead contribute with meaningful activity. Empowered by awareness of their individual time use, anyone can improve their own efficiency. 

Our product takes employee engagement tracking beyond counting keystrokes or mouse movement. Throughout the day, it works quietly behind the scenes tracking time utilization and inferring employees’ activity and purpose based on their historical usage and previous actions. Then, it arms employees with knowledge about the exact time spent on work projects, whether essential or nonessential to company goals, and personal work. Their own work time is presented back to them clearly broken down into activities such as design time, meetings, calls and various online applications. 

When employees understand how they spend their time, they can conduct self-assessments and use the information to improve their performance. If time leakage and distractions can be reduced by even 5-10 percent, it has an immediate positive impact on employee work-life balance.  



More Task, Less Time 

We know that when employees are engaged, they spend appropriate amounts of time in productive activities, creating value for the company. When they are not engaged, they may take more frequent breaks, spend more time on nonproductive work and contribute less value to the company.  

However, traditional human resources tools like employee engagement programs and interactive surveys are time-consuming, rely on manual processes and often provide inaccurate or incomplete data. They end up capturing only a snapshot of employee engagement and opinion.  

In contrast, Sapience collects actual data in real time on an ongoing basis, allowing companies to move beyond surveys and questionnaires to real-life employee engagement. With Sapience, HR departments have a strategic tool that improves workload planning and quantifiably impacts business goals. Companies who use Sapience typically improve productivity in the workplace by 20 percent or more, while increasing engagement and empowering people to work more efficiently. 

Once your company has established its productivity benchmarks, you can use Sapience to creatively build new engagement programs that are actually funSapience’s gamification tool focuses on improving employee engagement through customized games. Managers can set challenges or host team contests, with results aimed at achieving business goals. Gamification adds healthy competition to your employee engagement programs, fueling a desire to be the best, and facilitating simple but effective goal-setting. 

True engagement happens only when employee and company goals are aligned. Sapience makes it easier and less expensive to measure employee engagement, proactively and on an ongoing basis, so management can analyze the cause of problems, set benchmarks for improvement and recognize real progress.  


Curious about what Sapience can do for youContact us to learn more.