Managing your team's availability with software
As a team leader or manager, it's important to know the availability of your team members at any given time. This can help you assign tasks and projects efficiently, ensure that there is always coverage for critical functions, and reduce the risk of bottlenecks or delays. That's where team availability trackers come in.
A team availability tracker is a tool that allows you to view the availability of your team members in real-time. This can be especially useful for teams that are distributed or work remotely, as it can be difficult to stay up-to-date on everyone's schedule.
There are several types of team availability trackers available, each with its own set of features and capabilities.
Some popular options include:
- Calendar integration
This type of tracker integrates with your team's calendar system (e.g. Google Calendar, Outlook) and displays the availability of team members based on their calendar events.
- Custom availability
Some team availability trackers allow team members to input their availability directly into the system, either on a daily or weekly basis. This can be especially useful for teams that have irregular schedules or work on a flexible basis.
- Automatic tracking
Some team availability trackers use artificial intelligence or machine learning to automatically track the availability of team members based on their activity. For example, if a team member is actively working on their computer, the tracker may assume that they are available. Microsoft Teams is a great example of this with your availability regularly changing during the day.
What are the benefits of using a tracking tool?
There are lots of positives to availability tracking for managers and teams.
- Improved efficiency
A team availability tracker can help you see who is available to take on new tasks or projects in real-time, allowing you to assign work more efficiently.
- Better coverage
By tracking the availability of your team members, you can identify and address potential bottlenecks or coverage gaps, ensuring that there is always someone available to handle critical functions.
- Increased productivity
By streamlining the process of assigning tasks and scheduling meetings, a team availability tracker can help your team be more productive.
- Better communication and transparency
A team availability tracker can help improve communication within your team, as it provides a central location for everyone to see the availability of their colleagues whilst also helping to increase transparency. This can help reduce misunderstandings and improve collaboration.
Some team availability trackers allow team members to input their availability directly into the system, which can be especially useful for teams that have irregular schedules or work on a flexible basis.
What are the potential negatives?
There are a few potential negatives to consider when using a team availability tracking tool:
- Invasion of privacy:
Some team members may feel that their privacy is being violated by having their availability tracked. It's important to make sure that the use of the tracking tool is clearly communicated to all team members and that their privacy is respected.
- Forced availability
Some team members may feel pressure to make themselves available at all times, even when they are not able to work. This can lead to burnout and reduced productivity.
- Time spent maintaining availability
Team members may need to spend time updating their availability in the tracking tool, which could be seen as an additional burden.
Depending on the tool, there may be a cost associated with using a team availability tracker. This could be a concern for small businesses or organizations with limited budgets. It's important to weigh the potential negatives of using a team availability tracker against the benefits it provides in order to determine if it is the right fit for your team.
Hints and tips for choosing and implementing an availability tracking solution
Most software offer free trials these days. For example at team-today.com we offer a free 30 day trial of our software meaning you can trial it with your team to ensure its the right fit without first creating a paid subscription.
To give your implementation the best chance of success try following some of our helpful hints below.
- Integrate with existing tools
People can resent having to do a "new thing" never mind a "new thing in a new software in a new place." Team Today for example integrates with Microsoft Teams and Outlook so team members don't need to leave the software they are used to.
- Keep it simple
Everyone is busy and learning new software is laborious, your choice should be intuitive enabling team members to get going without any training.
- Communicate clearly with your team
Make sure that all team members are aware of the team availability tracker and how it will be used. This will help ensure that it is used consistently and can help reduce any concerns about privacy.
- Try a small trial with a range of teams
Having a BETA team to trial the solution can help give you focussed feedback before its rolled out to the rest of the organisation.
- Encourage use
Encourage all team members to use the team availability tracker consistently, whether they are in the office or working remotely. This will help ensure that the tool is accurate and up-to-date.
- Monitor usage
Keep an eye on how the team availability tracker is being used to ensure that it is providing value to your team. If you notice that it is not being used as intended, consider adjusting your approach or finding a different tool.
Hybrid work is here to stay so its time to upgrade your office tools
Team availability trackers are an essential tool for team leaders and managers especially now we are in the days of hybrid working. Hopefully this article helps you in your search for an availability tracker.
If you'd like to find out how Team Today can help you track your teams availability contact us at email@example.com.
Team-Today is now free for up to 2 teams or 10 people. Sign up here, no credit card required.