How and Why Transition Your Business to Workstatus?

This guide is created to help businesses, ranging from startups to large multinational companies, implement Workstatus to improve efficiency and streamline their business processes.

The guide covers topics from onboarding your team to making complex business decisions based on data from Workstatus.

If you get stuck, contact our team of engineers, support staff, or even our founders by emailing hello@workstatus.io

You can also schedule a setup help with a customer support specialist here. Our team is available for one-on-one meetings to answer all your questions.

Contents

Why Use Workstatus?

Faster, More Consistent Communication and Collaboration
Less Admin, Less Stress
Pushing Projects Forward, Faster

Your First Steps with Workstatus

Setting up your Project Structure: Why it Matters
Basic Terminology
Integrations and Tasks

Getting Your Team on Board

On-Boarding an Existing Team Versus a New Hire
Roles
Inviting Your Team to Workstatus

User-Specific Settings

How Do Time Tracking and Monitoring Work?

Automatic Time-Tracking
Manual Time Entries / Timesheets
Screenshots and Activity
Activity Level Benchmarks
Erratic Work

Paying Your Employees Manually

Further Resources and Support

Walkthroughs of Workstatus
In-App Support
View Support Articles or Submit a Ticket
Live Chat and Skype

Welcome to The Future of Work

The world is changing, and you’re invited to join the change.

Technology enables businesses to operate on a highly lean budget with virtual employees and effective time-tracking software with actionable data. Measurable data enables businesses to make intelligent decisions, which is what makes a company successful. This technology is the cornerstone of Workstatus, as we focus on continuous improvement.

Workstatus helps more than 13,000 remote businesses operate more effectively every day. Since we operate our own remote business with the tools we develop, we understand how important it is to bring teams together and make communication more effective. Although communication is the core of every team, it becomes even more vital to have the right communication tools when working in a remote environment.

Workstatus focuses on getting management the data needed to make informed decisions about their staff and real-time insight into their teams. However, effective communication is a two-way street, so we make it effortless for your team by providing tools that consistently supply information to management.
Let’s start by solving three real-life scenarios. Workstatus solves these business problems for new customers every day.

Faster, More Consistent Communication and Collaboration

Problem: Managers or owners do not receive the information they need from their teams.
One of the things that we’ve learned through working with thousands of remote teams at Workstatus is that managers are not getting the communication they need from their teams.

This is usually the case because it’s hard for team members to get into the habit of creating a “work dialog” of what they are doing daily. This includes the projects that a team is currently working on, what specific tasks are being done, and what progress is being made. Most managers don’t know the details of what their employees are working on. Often, all they understand is their staff is doing “customer support” or “developing X features.” This lack of detail is a problem, especially when issues arise and management needs to find the specific team member involved with the problem.

A typical team member is usually tasked with multiple projects simultaneously, making that detailed communication difficult, although necessary. If priorities aren’t set effectively, you could have a management disaster. It’s a combination of management problems, team member problems, and above all, communication problems.

Solution: Workstatus provides a macro-level and micro-level solution for this problem

On the Macro level, business owners receive data reports that show the exact projects and tasks that team members are working on. Tracking time is as simple as clicking a button, and team members can change projects as they work in real-time. You can then view these reports by day, week, month, etc., to get the information you want.

Reports look like this:



Sample report from Reports > Time and Activity. For an overview, click here.

You can see from the image above that a business owner can exactly see what a particular employee has worked on over the past X days. It is automated large-scale business intelligence.

You can now take that time data and use it to reduce your administrative and clerical work. Manual timesheets are a thing of the past. Tired of sending follow-up emails to figure out what your team is working on? It’s no longer a problem. Is it hard to figure out the exact amount of time that you should invoice clients for? Workstatus makes invoicing easy. Once you have insight into how your team spends their time, things become much more straightforward.

On a micro level, you can also see what your team is doing. Take the example of a web designer that has started working for you to create a new WordPress theme.

You could run this project in one of the two way:

Option 1 (traditional): You hire the developer at a fixed cost, or just have them create an invoice for you and bill you without any proof of work. They begin the work, and you don’t get an update for a few days or even weeks. You send a follow-up email and wait 24 hours. The designer gets back to you with an update that they will have something for you to see in a few days. This adds unnecessary stress to the process. At this point, you are probably overpaying for the work being done, in both time and money, since you’ve had to send follow-ups and haven’t even seen results yet.

Option 2 (with Workstatus): Add the designer to your Workstatus organization, tell them to start work, and set an hourly rate. Instead of following up, you simply log in to Workstatus, and you see the progress made via our activities page. You also see how their design is developing in real-time.
Here’s what the activities page looks like:



Screenshot of the Activity > Screenshots page. To learn about how Workstatus records activities, click here.

Using Workstatus eliminates the need to follow up, and your team doesn’t need to spend time recording what they are doing each day. You can get real-time feedback, which is key with remote offices and virtual teams. It saves you money, time, and stress. You are now dealing with facts, and you have measurable data at your fingertips. You are now paying for the exact amount of work that is done.

Less Administration, Less Stress

The problem: Managing employees, invoicing clients, and paying employees are wasting too much of your time.

Have you ever tried to compile a timesheet for your team manually using Excel? That’s what some of our customers were doing, and it sucked. Our job as business owners is to focus on growing or operating a business. It’s time to get rid of unnecessary manual processes that eat up time and cause stress.

Jeff of NY Medical billing has a team that created notes in Excel and sent them to him via email. Jeff then had to download, save, read, and sort through these attachments. If he had to look something up, he needed to manually and search for the email or Excel file. This process overloaded Jeff’s inbox and created clutter. This way of doing time tracking is not only a tedious manual process, but it also hinders accuracy.

The Solution: Workstatus includes automatic time-tracking for Mac, Windows, Linux, and iOS. Your team can also enter time manually.

NY Medical Billing has each of their clients set up as a project in Workstatus. Our software is flexible, in terms of how projects and tasks are set up, to adjust to a wide range of businesses. Now, when their team members track time to a specific client, they’re getting paid accurately, and their time and tasks are recorded efficiently.

And the team members love it too because they no longer have to compile those nasty Excel spreadsheets.

Here’s what it looks like:



The Send Payment page for manual payroll processing.

This saves time for everyone and produces much more accurate data. Jeff can also now track how much time is being spent on each client so he understands exactly how profitable each client is.

Pushing Projects Forward, Faster

The Problem: Your team is not moving individual projects to completion fast enough

Many of the project management systems available on the market have a major problem… No time tracking. Without time data, even if you push team members to work harder and longer on projects, there always seems to be a hidden hindrance keeping tasks from getting done. Sounds familiar?

It’s hard to see in most cases because you’ve got to look in the mirror to properly understand it. It’s usually a management issue. And it’s not really anyone’s fault, it’s just that you don’t have the data points to analyze in order to make informed management decisions.

Here’s a use case from a previous business we worked with. I had a web developer that was good, but slow. Even after multiple follow-ups, I couldn’t get the information I needed to decipher what was causing delays.

I started him on time tracking, and I realized a few key things really quickly.

I had him loaded down with too many projects at the same time. This was an e-commerce business. He was running sales, writing emails, testing, writing software, working with customers on tech support stuff, etc…

He was spending the majority of his time on tech support.

Now, he was a nice guy, and he was very trustworthy. But this situation was my fault. The majority of your team is not going to give you an answer that they are spending too much time on tech support. In their mind, they are answering customer emails, because that’s who is yelling at them, and then they get up and go home at 5 p.m. Again, it boils down to communication.

The Solution: Start tracking time and get business intelligence.

Through time tracking I was able to see within seven days that this was my fault. I saw that he was spending so much time on tech support and I finally got the data I was missing all along.

His projects were not moving forward because he was doing what I was asking him to do… help the customer. And that was first on his list, because like I said above, he was a good guy. And people were yelling at him.

I hired a tech support agent to take over that work. The new team member was 50% of the price, so I immediately saved money thanks to that decision; I had someone doing the same task for 50% of the cost. I immediately freed up the developer to work on development projects, which pushed my projects forward faster. He was happier because he was doing the work that he liked doing. He was challenged and motivated by his work, and his productivity level went through the roof.

The answer is not always immediately obvious. It’s up to us as business owners to empower our teams and help them succeed. Time-tracking data is vital to making decisions that can do that.

Ready? Let’s start getting the data.

Your First Steps with Workstatus

The organization / Project / Task structure stands at the heart of Workstatus’s time-tracking software. Despite its simplicity, we constantly find this method of organizing the most efficient both for us and our customers. Getting this right is essential, that’s why we recommend spending some time getting to know the basics of our software.

Setting up your Project Structure: Why it Matters

Having the correct architecture matters because it dictates how your data will end up being structured. Do you want to see your data by the client or by function? Both? These decisions will influence how you set up your projects.

In Workstatus, you can track time to projects (general) or tasks (specific). You can have one broad project if you want and just track the time to that project. This setup would mean that your team members never have to switch projects and you can see everything lumped into one project. Or, you can have 50 projects and 3,000 tasks. It doesn’t matter in terms of Workstatus’s technology or the price you pay, but it does matter in terms of how actionable the data that you receive is.

Basic Terminology

Below we explain the basic terminology that Workstatus uses. Familiarizing yourself with the vocabulary will help you find your way around the interface faster.

Organizations: This is what we call companies in Workstatus. You should have one organization for each company you operate. Many of our clients operate multiple companies, so we built Workstatus to allow clients to manage multiple companies with one login. You cannot track time for an organization. organizations are where all the settings for your company reside, like how many screenshots you want Workstatus to take, the people you want to work in your company, and more.

Projects: You can track time for projects in Workstatus, and at least one project is required for each organization.

Keep in mind that you can always change your projects. Don’t get too hung up on this aspect. As your team starts working, the most efficient structure to implement will become fairly apparent. For starters, just think about the general topics that your team works on, and how they work. What are the broad “buckets” of your tasks, and how do you want to see the data?

Here are some ideas for your setup:

Set up projects based on client structure (each of your clients is a project) so you can clearly see the amount of time spent on each client. Clearly, this is more useful to agency-type organizations (marketing agencies, web development studios, etc.)
Set up projects based on business functions (marketing, customer service, development, sales, etc.) Multi-departmental businesses would probably benefit more from this kind of setup.

Tasks: You can track time to tasks in Workstatus, but they are optional. Tasks can be considered “sub-projects.” Tasks allow you to get a more detailed view of how your team is spending their time. This can be really useful to analyze the ROI of the various projects your team is working on and find out what really brings value to your business.

For example, you could have your tasks set up as business functions:

Project – Client 1 / Task – Web Development
Project – Client 2 / Task – Sales
Project – Client 3 / Task – Support

As your team tracks time to these various tasks in Workstatus, you’ll get the data packaged up very nicely. At the end of the month, you can see exactly how much time was spent on Client 1 simply by filtering out reports for that project. You can then invoice them for the exact amount of hours spent.

You’ll know how much time your team spent working on support, sales, and web development for that specific client, and exactly who spent that time.

Onboard Your Team and Start Getting Actionable Data

Let’s begin this section by addressing the white elephant in the room: tracking and monitoring. Workstatus does an awesome job of it, and I want to explain how it works, and how to address this with your team. Don’t overthink this step, but don’t overlook it either.

The bottom line is this; Your team exists to help your business succeed. Do you think your team members want you to spend hours on admin? Do you think they want fast communication or slow communication?

You and your employees are on the same team. If you believe that they are actually trying to slow down communication or want you to waste time on admin, then you have the wrong team.

We believe that software such as Workstatus will be commonplace in a few years. Even though we’re not quite there yet, this will soon be the case, because once companies (management and staff members) are introduced to and work with software like this for a while, they will never go back to their former way of doing things.

In the scenarios above, I explained some of the common problems that Workstatus solves. Your team should want to solve these problems just as badly as you do. If you can provide a company-wide solution to these problems, your team should jump all over it.

If someone has a problem with this software, you need to ask yourself why. If you onboard many people in your own team, make sure it’s part of the initial interview. Let them know time will be tracked using Workstatus, and make it clear that they’ll be paid on a weekly basis for the exact amount of time worked.
Here are some of the major benefits of the tools Workstatus provides:

Your team gets to show off their work. Your team members probably don’t like receiving emails that ask them to detail what they worked on today and make other time-consuming reports. Instead, they should be able to focus on doing their work. Workstatus shows what each team member works on with automatic screenshots.
Employees don’t need to spend their time creating time cards and doing administrative tasks. Instead, they get to spend that time with their kids. They are getting important tasks done when they work and should enjoy that increase in productivity.
Your team gets to see exactly how they spend their time. They should be just as interested in improving their productivity as you are.
They’ll know exactly what you want them to do on a daily basis. You can spend a few minutes a week assigning projects or tasks. Your team members will only see the tasks that you’ve assigned them, in order of priority.
Your team can have more freedom. As I said above, this is a two-way street. If your employees run Workstatus’s time-tracking software while they work, it means you can relax a little more. You won’t need to worry about finding out exactly when they are working, or where they are working from.
You can pay them more. Because you’ll be able to immediately separate the productive and non-productive employees, you can afford to pay your top employees a little more money, and you’ll feel good about it.
Your valuable, productive employees get job security. Think about it this way; When you have an active employee that consistently and efficiently produces quality work, would you ever fire them? No.

On-Boarding an Existing Team Versus a New Hire

I usually find that honesty is the best policy.

I advise our clients to logically explain the challenges they’re currently facing in the business. Layout how much time is spent on admin, show how they are not getting the data that they need, and finally, demonstrate how Workstatus will solve these problems. This, along with some other benefits (such as more freedom and easy payment) usually goes over well. As I mentioned above, everyone should have the same goals to start with. Business owners, their employees, and Workstatus are all partners on a mission to achieve company success.

Roles

In Workstatus, there are various roles that a staff member can be assigned. Here is a brief summary of what they mean.

Owners – Owners can see all data across the entire organization. Owners can delete projects, update billing, and much more.

Organization Managers – Managers, by default, can see all data across the organization. However, they can be removed from specific projects by owners, hiding the project data from that manager.

Project Managers – can see all data recorded against a project.

Users – Users only see their own data on the dashboard, activities, and reports pages. Users cannot see the data for other members. For example, this means that on the dashboard and reporting pages, the users will only see their own time and the projects that they have been assigned. Owners and Managers who view the same pages will be able to see the consolidated time of all users assigned to the project. Users aren’t able to see the activity of other users.

These roles can be assigned not just organization-wide, but also for each separate project. This gives you the freedom and flexibility to give wider permissions to those who are responsible for overseeing and managing separate projects. The following diagram might be helpful in understanding and setting correctly organization-wide and project roles:



Here is a more detailed breakdown of the roles listed above.

Inviting Your Team to Workstatus

Inviting your team to Workstatus is easy. You can invite your team and also revoke access at any point in time.

You can invite and manage who can track time to your organization by going to the Members page and make sure that you already chose the right organization. You can check that on the top right corner of the page.



Tip: You don’t pay for team members that don’t track time. You can invite clients, accountants, and anyone else into your Workstatus organization to see activity, screenshots, and reports for free. Just invite them and disable their ability to track time. Here’s a guide on how to add clients into WorkStatus.

Once invited, your team members will receive an email that explains what Workstatus is and how to join. When they accept the invite they’ll be added to your organization automatically and will be able to track time.

Here is a guide on how to get started on WorkStatus, written specifically for new members. You can send this easily understandable guide to new team members, or refer them to it should they want help getting started. And here is a guide that details all of the most commonly asked questions team members ask from a technical standpoint.


User-Specific Settings

In Workstatus, you can control the settings for each individual user. Here is a list of what you can control with simple explanations:

Track apps & URLs – See which apps team members use when working. View detailed reports of time spent using each app. View detailed reports for URLs accessed and time spent on each. You may choose to track just Apps or Apps & URLs at the same time.

Track Locations (Mobile only) – This gives you access to our mobile-based (iOS) time tracking (GPS enabled) application. Our GPS time tracking iOS application allows your team to track their time when they’re on the road or out of the office. The app will allow you to always know where your team is through sophisticated location monitoring.

Modify time – This controls whether the individual is allowed to add manual time, or edit automatic time.

Delete screenshots – This setting is for whether managers or owners can delete users’ screenshots or not. This setting only applies to owners and managers.

Screenshot frequency – This is the setting for screenshot intervals to get captured ( 5 Mins, 10 Mins, 15 Mins ).

Idle Timeout – This controls when the idle prompt pops up. Idle timeouts are for when a worker goes idle for a set amount of time. You can choose to show them the warning at 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or 20 minutes of no activity. Or, you can turn the setting off. Here is a detailed support article on how the idle timeout works.

Keep idle time – It allows you to choose if idle (inactive) time gets added or removed from the user’s work log automatically. The “Idle timeout” option always prompts the user and asks them if they want to keep idle time or remove it.

Here’s how to navigate to the settings page for your organization:

First, go to the settings page by clicking Settings on the sidebar menu. You can also choose the organization you want to manage by choosing the right organization on the top right corner of the page.



We also have a technical quick start for owners, which goes into more specific details on how to set up your Workstatus account, invite your team members, and assign roles within the team.

Time Tracking and Monitoring

Time tracking is at the very heart of Workstatus. We also focus on providing monitoring tools so you can gain an in-depth understanding of what your team is working on, should you want that information.

Your team can download the Workstatus apps here (this will always be the latest and greatest version of our software). They’ll be able to download the version compatible with Mac and Windows. We also have an iOS app in beta that utilizes GPS monitoring.

Automatic Time Tracking

When recording time in Workstatus, your team can use one of our automatic timers (Mac, Windows, or iOS), or they can enter time manually in the form of a timecard/timesheet. Automatic time tracking is more accurate than manual, and it provides you with monitoring aspects such as screenshots, activity, and more. With manual time entries, your team needs to be asked to provide a reason for their adjustment.



Here is an overview of how automatic time is calculated in WorkStatus

Workstatus’s time tracking system is extremely accurate. We track time down to the second. Your team will be able to switch projects or tasks as often as they wish to do so. Your team can track time to projects or to specific tasks.

Here are some of the cool things that we take into account, which many other time-tracking software solutions disregard:

Workstatus guards against employees’ tracking time to multiple projects at the same time. They cannot track time to multiple projects at the same time. This means you will never double pay.
Workstatus’s timer works offline. If your team member loses his internet connection, it’s not a problem. We store all time and monitoring data locally on their machine first, and then upload it to our servers once every 10 minutes. If your team member loses Internet connection, they can continue tracking time and all the data will be uploaded when their Internet connection is restored.
Our software is lightweight and extremely well engineered. We take pride in our engineering. Our software is not bloatware. It’s lean and fast.
Workstatus timers are built for your native operating system. Windows will look like Windows and Mac will look like Mac.
Workstatus timers can run in the background. Your staff can operate them via a menu if they choose to not have the timer running on their desktop.

Manual Time Entries / Timesheets

Some of your employees may prefer to enter time manually. Workstatus has full support for manual time entries and edits. You can choose whether a team member has the ability to enter manual time or not in your admin settings.

This is what our manual timesheets look like:



As shown in the image above, you will get a breakdown of how much time your staff is spending on various projects. The durations are similar to clocking in and clocking out. Every time your team member stops working or switches projects, new duration is started.

Screenshots and Activity

Workstatus records activity and uses screenshots to provide proof of work for the time that was tracked. The screenshots allow managers to view the actual activity that was taking place during a duration of time. This speeds up communication flow and allows you to provide this information to clients when invoices are sent.

Workstatus supports multiple monitors. We take a screenshot of each active monitor. Although Workstatus only shows the default monitor on the thumbnails screen, you can click on the thumbnails to access shots of all screens. Just swipe right or left.

Your staff members will be able to see their own screenshots, and not their colleagues’ unless that staff member is set as a manager of a specific project or organization.

Here is how the activities page looks:



The screenshot above shows that Workstatus also records activity levels while your team members are working. Activity levels are meant to provide a guide to how active employees are over a period of time.

Workstatus does not track individual keystrokes. We only assign a true or false value for each second of the activity tracked and then report that to our server.

Here is a detailed guide on how activity levels are calculated.

Activity Level Benchmarks

It’s important to realize that not all employees are equal, nor is all work equal. The activity percentage can be widely different based on who is doing the work and what tasks they are performing. Design or technical writing for example would, by nature, have a much lower activity percentage than data entry.

Remember, Workstatus takes every second into account and assigns a 0 or 1, and then calculates the percentage of the complete ten-minute segment.
Below is a quick guide that you can use to evaluate your staff:

NOTE: These percentages are referring to “trends” that you can recognize over days or weeks. Do NOT evaluate an employee based on a specific segment or by a period of only a few hours.

95% – 100% – This activity level is not sustainable over a period of more than 30 minutes or so for most employees.
90% – 94% – Only the most active employees can reach this. It is reachable, but as an employer, you should not expect it.
75% – 89% – This is the activity that you could expect from an extremely active employee. If they reach these percentages on a consistent basis, they are working at a very good pace.
65% – 74% – This is still a very acceptable activity level for a good employee if they are working at these levels consistently across the day.
50% – 64% – This activity level is becoming questionable. These employees are not as fast as other employees. They may take longer to make decisions, are slower at typing, or easily get distracted by other things.
35% – 49% – There is something else going on with this employee. They are simply trying to do just enough to get by.
0% – 34% – It may be time to look for someone else.

Here is an example from one of our best and most consistent employees. You can see that the work varies from anywhere between 61 – 94%, with most being in the 80% range.



But there is something just as important going on here, and that is consistency. There are no large breaks in time, and the levels are consistently at a high level.
Now, you can see how consistent this work is. Here’s an example of a different employee:



This employee’s work ranges from 46% – 84%. It’s a much wider range and it’s not as consistent. However, this particular employee has to read more, make different decisions, and is still new and learning the job.

There are other employees Workstatus has had in the past who drop to an average of 25% activity, and those employees are typically no longer with our company. These employees were simply not operating at the level that we needed them to. Generally, we see that these activity levels correlate to many things, including how fast a person can think on his or her feet, decision making, and overall effectiveness in an organization.

Erratic Work

Erratic working hours is another trend you want to look at on the activities page. Let’s say that you’ve hired a contractor and you don’t have a full-time arrangement. Seeing an activities page that looks like the screenshot below will be very common.



The problem with this is that it’s difficult for an employee to get into a consistent workflow when they are multitasking with other things.

In this case, it could be another client, the TV, Facebook, family, exercise, or anything you can think of. Workstatus is all about work-life balance and enabling employees to be the best they can be, but what we ask them to do is to time-block their hours. If they working for us part-time, we want it to be on a set schedule.
For example, every day from 12 to 4 p.m. If they break up that four hours into chunks of 20 to 30 minutes throughout a typical eight-hour day, the work just becomes too sparse, and we feel that their effectiveness goes down. Generally what this means is that they are spending time on tasks like responding to emails, but fail to get into a good flow of production.

Resources and Getting Help

We’ve designed Workstatus so that entire teams can run their businesses on our software. We understand that means supporting both the management team and the staff. Our typical customer is a team of around six (6) people, but we have teams of four hundred as well. Either way, our support team is fully invested in assisting our clients’ needs. It’s one of the most important things that we do as a business (it has to be when you are supporting iOS, Mac, and Windows).

We would love to help you manage your team better. Click here or email us at hello@workstatus.io.

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