Fudged Time Recording Leading to Burnout and Hampering Growth, Finds New Report

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Kimble Study Shows Workers Routinely Go the Extra Mile but Companies Don’t Get the Full Picture

In its first annual Billing and Burnout Report, Kimble Applications, a global leader in professional services automation, analyzed and reported on the habits and burnout of employees that track billable hours (accountants, lawyers, IT consultants, marketers, etc.), finding that many employees under report the hours they work - a potentially dangerous little white lie.

In cases where employees are working more than 40-hours per week, management is only aware half (49 percent) of the time, suggesting some flaws in how businesses track time. When it comes to recording the additional hours spent on work, almost a quarter (22 percent) of professionals admit they do not record additional hours, even if they worked more than was assigned.

Whether these employees are told to underbill their clients or afraid of the consequences from management for working beyond their normal scope, this tactic leads to inaccurate projections for future projects. Almost one in five (19 percent) professionals think their management team lowballs the hours a new project will take to win a new client, or project.

“Too many professional businesses have no idea how much they are pushing their employees, because many fudge their time to create the right optics for client bills,” said Mark Robinson, co-founder of Kimble Applications. “The end result is that businesses do not appreciate employee burnout or accurately appreciate how much resource it takes to complete a given task, so the next time they plan out a project they do so with erroneous data and underestimate – it’s a vicious cycle. Time recording and billing need to be considered as two related, but separate fields, or businesses will struggle to maintain growth and they will hemorrhage talent.”

Finding Balance
Overall, American professionals have mixed emotions with how their weekly hours affect their burnout rates. A third of professionals (35 percent) feel burnt-out from the excess hours they put into their work, while another third (33 percent) don’t feel burnt-out as they know extra hours are necessary to get work done and get ahead. This data suggests that while a 40-hour work week may be ideal, many American professionals feel that to succeed in their role, extra work is always necessary.

If employees are burnt-out, they are not all budging. A third (34 percent) of professionals feel burnt-out at work, but aren’t considering changing jobs. While some employees may be able to deal with the hours and pressure, one in five (21 percent) workers are passively looking for a new job because they are worn down. To prevent turnover from burnout, company leaders can help to encourage employees to delegate unnecessary work, recharge throughout the day whether with a brisk walk or lunch with friends or communicate with the team more often.

“Professional industries are notoriously demanding for those trying to build a career – long business trips, late nights in the office, e-mails at all hours – but given the nature of those industries sometimes an always on mentality is second nature,” continued Robinson. “While having employees that understand the value of hard work and dedication is key for driving a successful business, especially in professional industries, having employees that are continuously burnt-out ultimately affects their personal productivity and the productivity of the business itself. If you’re not accurately tracking all time worked, you don’t know the scale of the problem.”

Millennial Bashing Unjust?

The folklore of the “me generation” does not lend itself to the perception of millennials as well organized, dedicated professionals. However, based on the Kimble report, millennials may be more responsible than they are given credit for. When tasked with managing their time and hours, nearly a third (32 percent) of respondents age 25-34 submit their billable hours to management daily, compared with 30 percent of those over 35. Close to one half (44 percent) of professionals submit their hours on a weekly basis, but that figure is higher at 48 percent for those aged 25-34. For a business to be running at the most efficient level, a daily submission for hours spent on work is crucial for all employees to help management identify productivity on current projects and forecasting for future projects.

Survey Methodology
The findings are based on a Google Consumer Survey of more than 1,200 consumers in the United States, aged 18 and over. Google Consumer Surveys automatically fields a validated, representative sample of respondents which was weighted against the U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey for age or gender of the United States to be representative of the adult Internet population.

About Kimble Applications
Kimble Applications helps professional service businesses by improving business performance, increasing visibility and providing enhanced company collaboration. Kimble is dedicated to the production of unique management solutions delivered through a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. The Kimble Management Team are recognized Professional Service experts, having founded, managed and grown several successful IT and Management Consulting organizations. They have first-hand experience of the business problems which result from the lack of adequate software available to manage professional services. The Team have harnessed the best practice and unique intellectual property gained in their careers, along with detailed design input from a range of experts from leading firms in the US, Europe and India.

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Kerin Norton
Kimble Applications
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