You are reading: What is Flextime? Types, Benefits, Best Practices ( 2022 Guide)

Updated on 2022-06-01 17:33:38

2022-01-25

Learn everything about flextime, including its different types, benefits, and key steps to follow while implementing it.

Flextime is a work arrangement that lets employees manage their work and personal lives, giving them the liberty to make their own work schedule. 

Companies adopt flextime systems due to their convenience, low maintenance, and ease of management. They’ve become quite popular during the pandemic-induced lockdowns — when companies had to shift to more flexible remote work. 

In this article, we’ll talk about flex time and its five types. We’ll also cover the benefits of adopting a flextime schedule and highlight the seven key steps to implementing a successful flextime schedule.

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What is Flextime? 

Flextime (or flexitime) is a schedule with flexible hours in which employees can alter the start and end times of a workday to accommodate work and personal lives effectively. It can be a short-term or long-term arrangement depending on the employees’ situation and work requirements.

Although flexitime doesn’t have a fixed start or end time, it has a fixed number of daily working hours and core hours. 

What are core working hours?

Core hours refer to the number of hours in a workday during which all employees have to be available, no matter how different their schedules are. Employees can discuss issues and make decisions in real-time during core hours.

Typically, a company decides core time depending on the employees’ role and locations, projects, and operational needs. 

For example, you can ask staff members to be available without fail from 10 am to 11 am to discuss their task progress.

Let’s take a look at the different types of flextime arrangements.

5 Types of Flextime Arrangements

Here are a few popular flextime arrangements to facilitate workplace flexibility and accommodate the company’s requirements:

1. Remote Work 

Remote work involves employees working from home or any other location outside the company’s physical office, like a cafe or a co-working space. In addition to letting employees choose where to work from, this setup often gives them the liberty to work at their own pace. 

For example, a remote employee can travel on a working day and work after settling in. 

Learn more about fully remote work from our comprehensive article.

2. Job Sharing

In this flextime arrangement, two part-time employees work on a job in shifts to substitute a full-time employee. However, these employees need to coordinate and communicate with each other to ensure maximum productivity.

For example, an information technology customer service agent can work from 8 am to 12 pm while another can take over the work at 1 pm and continue till 5 pm.

3. Customized Work Hours

With this system, employees have the flexibility to choose their work hours. This means that two employees may not start or end work at the same time. 

For example, an employee can come into the office at 8 am and another employee can do the same at 10 am. 

However, employees need to consider the core time and cover the minimum flexible working hours. 

4. Flexible Work Week

The flexible workweek lets employees choose how they want to complete their weekly work hours. According to this flextime system, an employee can take a long weekend off after completing the minimum weekly work hours.

For example, if an employee completes all their work in four days, they can take a day off and have a three-day weekend.

5. Comp Time 

In this arrangement, employees can work extra hours on busy days without receiving any overtime pay. Instead, they can take time off on days when there is little work. 

For example, an accountant who puts in extra hours during an audit can take a comp time and work less later.

Now let’s see how flextime can help businesses.

4 Prominent Benefits of Flextime for Businesses

Although flex time gives companies less control over employee work schedules, it has several benefits. Here are some of them:

1. Decreases Employee Absences

In a fixed work time system, employees may apply for time off to carry out any personal task during a working day. Even if the task takes only an hour, the employee may spend at least half a day off.

With a flextime work schedule, employees can attend to their personal responsibilities even during work hours. This can reduce absenteeism, unplanned absences, and other attendance issues.

For example, an employee who couldn’t reach the office on time due to rush hour won’t be tagged as tardy. 

2. Attracts Top Talent

Employees usually seek employers that offer flexible working hours and telecommuting.

As a result, you can attract more talent by offering a flexible working schedule.

For example, a skilled employee may prefer a job that permits remote work over one that necessitates office work to avoid a tiring commute and save travel expenses.

Similarly, an employee with a sick spouse may require flexible work timings to attend to emergencies. They’re more likely to choose a job with flexible schedules than one with fixed work timings.

3. Improves Employee Productivity

According to the Gartner 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey, 43% of surveyed employees felt more productive with flexitime work.

How?

Flexible work reduces burnout by letting employees manage their tasks and breaks effectively. Employees can take breaks if they feel distracted and work for longer stretches when they feel productive.

For example, an employee excited for a football match can watch the match in between work hours and complete unfinished tasks at a later time. 

Similarly, a flextime employee can take an hour-long break when they feel stressed and resume working once they feel refreshed.

4. Saves Money

Flexible work doesn’t require your employee to come down to the office daily. 

This means that you can get a smaller office space and buy refreshments, tables, computers, etc., only for employees that need to work from the office. 

As a result, you can save a lot of money by adopting a flexible schedule.

Additionally, flextime increases employee retention by boosting job satisfaction. You can save the money you would otherwise spend on hiring and coaching new employees. 

This is especially true for senior employees who have acquired knowledge exclusive to your field and clients. When a senior employee resigns, you may lose the money you invested on their promotions, paid leaves, and other incentives.

3 Top Benefits of Flextime for Employees

Now, let’s look at the benefits an employee experiences with a flexitime schedule:

1. Improves Work life Balance

In a traditional office system, employees have fixed start and end timings, and they may not attend to any personal work during the time period.

But employees don’t have to work for eight hours straight in a flextime schedule. They can carry out their personal responsibilities in between work hours, helping increase employee satisfaction by improving work life balance.

For example, an employee can simply schedule a personal task any time before or after the core time. Similarly, working parents can start their workday early to accommodate childcare in their schedule. 

Likewise, employees can plan an hour-long doctor’s appointment and work an extra hour to make up for the missed time.

This flexibility helps increase employee morale and loyalty. Such employees are more likely to be engaged with the company and put in extra work when required.

2. Ensures Better Health

Flexitime lets you cultivate a safer work environment and ensures that your workforce remains healthy.

How?

Flexible work arrangement limits the number of employees in the workplace by enabling remote or hybrid work. This means fewer employees come to the office or interact in person, reducing the chances of spreading diseases like Covid, viral flu, etc.

Additionally, since employees won’t be commuting often in flexible remote work, they may not interact with the outside world frequently. This further reduces the probability of getting sick during a pandemic and ensures employee well-being.

3. Provides More Opportunities for Development

Flextime gives employees more time to upskill themselves. They can attend online or offline classes to advance their careers without worrying about missing work.

With flex time, a remote employee in New York can attend an online class streamed from France, even if it’s scheduled during working hours.

In addition to professional development, employees can work on their health, personal lives, and other interests. 

For example, an employee can attend a yoga class after working for an hour in the morning without jeopardizing their work hours. 

Now that we know the benefits of flextime, let’s look at the steps to implement flex time into your team.

6 Key Measures to Introduce Flex Time into Your Team

Although flextime has several benefits, implementing it in a workplace can be difficult due to lack of familiarity, poor flexible scheduling, and other reasons. To ensure smooth implementation, you need to follow some tested and proven steps. 

Here are a few helpful measures to smoothly introduce flextime into your team:

1. Clarify Employee Roles

You need to ensure that employees know their roles and responsibilities and that of their coworkers. 

They should know who is in charge of a particular project, whom they need to report to, or where they should apply for leaves. Without such clarity, employees might end up blaming each other over issues.

2. Set Clear Goals

It might be difficult for a flextime manager and staff members to keep track of work progress as flextime doesn’t entail regular working hours. 

To overcome this, team members need to set project goals, discuss tasks, deadlines, work progress, etc., with each other regularly. 

For example, when an IT (Information Technology) employee has clear deadlines, they can structure their work hours better. Other team members can fast track or sideline a related task accordingly.

3. Set Communication Guidelines

Due to a lack of in-person communication, a flextime employee can have weaker bonds with other team members. This could result in frequent misunderstandings and low employee engagement.

You need to set guidelines for employees regarding the frequency of meetings, emails, online video calls, and other communication. Based on the work situation, you can bring all employees together once every month or conduct a weekly video conference.

4. Establish Core Employee Hours 

Collect information regarding employee flextime, including the time they remain unavailable. Based on this data, you can establish core hours and plan necessary activities. 

For instance, let’s say all your employees sign in at different times but are available every day from 1 pm to 4 pm. You can set your core hours within this time frame.

Likewise, if you plan to adapt to a comp flextime policy, you need to limit the clock in and clock out time. If not, employees could start working at odd hours, disrupting the team’s work.

Even after setting regular employee hours, you may face difficulties scheduling employees with a flextime approach. 

Thankfully, you can use employee scheduling tools, like Time Doctor, to help with that.

Time Doctor lets you set a fixed or flexible schedule for each employee. It then automatically marks flextime employees as ‘Present’, ‘Partially Absent’, and ‘Absent’ depending on when they start their shift.

Most importantly, the tool lets you record the time they spend working during a shift. This way, you can see whether employees meet their minimum work hour limit and log overtime hours.

Here are some of its other key features:

5. Develop a Flextime Policy

Once you establish a working schedule, plan and design a flextime policy. A formal policy will lay out flextime rules and guidelines to avoid misunderstandings.

For example, an employee can refer to the flextime policy about how frequently they can change their flexible schedule before consulting the employer or manager.

Check out our article to create a successful flextime policy for your employees.

6. Start on a Trial Basis

After carefully discussing and planning a flexible work schedule, you can implement it on a trial basis. This way, you can ensure your team is comfortable with the flexible schedule before approving it.

You can also suspend the flexible work arrangement if it isn’t suitable for the company’s operation needs or affects employee productivity.

Wrapping Up

Flextime offers various benefits such as employee satisfaction, better productivity, and reduced absenteeism. 

However, you need to ensure that your organization’s flexible work schedule is well-planned and implemented smoothly to prevent any issues.
Refer to the steps suggested in this article to navigate through the flextime implementing process with ease.

Liam Martin is the co-founder of Time Doctor—one of the world’s leading time tracking software for remote teams. He is also the co-organizer of Running Remote, the world’s largest remote work conference.

 

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2021 Work Hour Trends to Watch in 2022

21-12-2021 · And recently (December 2021), UAE has announced that it’ll transition to a 4.5 hours/day work week with Friday afternoons, Saturday, and Sunday as the weekend. The extended weekend is a part of the government’s efforts to enhance employee work-life balance. What Do These Work Hour Trends Mean for Your Business?

21-12-2021

The past few years saw a massive shift in employee work patterns, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As a result, organizations adopted various productivity techniques and monitored work hour trends to keep up with the changing workplace culture. 

In this article, we’ll explore the top 11 work hour trends in 2021 that will give you a detailed insight into how the industry changed and what you can expect to see in the near future. We’ll also look at how these trends will affect your business and what they mean. 

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11 Interesting Work Hour Trends from 2021 

Here’s are the top work hour trends for your business in 2022: 

1. Average Workweek Around the World 

According to a 2020 survey, the average working hours for a workweek worldwide range from 37 to 50 hours per week

This study analyzed over 37 countries around the world. Here’s a detailed demographic breakdown of the results: 

Country Average Number Of Hours Per Work Week in 2020
USA34.3
Denmark 37.2 
Norway38
Italy 39.5
Czech Republic40.3
Mexico41.3
United Kingdom41.8
Columbia 49.8

Source: 24/7 Wall St, 2020

Based on this data, the same study made certain observations between the countries’ average weekly hours and employee satisfaction. They found that:

  • Developed countries with shorter work hour weeks had more employee-friendly workplace laws and conventions in place. (US. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monthly Labor Market Review) 
  • These had better overtime compensation, more considerate vacation and annual leave policies, and higher employee life satisfaction in general. 
  • In contrast, countries with long working hours had lower life satisfaction. (worldpopulationreview.com, 2020)

2. Average Work Hours Duration 

The overall work hours have declined substantially over the recent years, mainly because employees improved their productivity and performed the tasks in a lower working time. 

According to OECD stats for the annual working hours in the European Union and other OECD countries, most countries had shorter working hours in 2021 compared to 2018. 

Here’s a comparison between six of these countries: 

CountriesAnnual Work Hours (2018) Annual Work Hours (2021)
Costa Rica21211913
United States17821767
Australia17331683
Japan16801598
France15141402
Norway13791369

Source: OECD.Stat, 2021

Additionally, data shows that North American and European countries had considerably shorter (34 hours/week) working hours in 2021 when compared to Asian and African respondents (over 48 hours/week). (NCBI, 2021) 

3. Working Hour Losses Remained High 

According to the International Labor Organization, working hour losses are related to unemployment and the number of jobs lost.

Another after-effect of the pandemic has been a loss of working hours around the world. These losses remained persistently high throughout 2021. 

Why is that? 

In the wake of COVID-19, employers are more likely to reduce their working hours or eliminate job positions to reduce labor costs.

For example, research shows that the total working day hours logged in high-income countries was 3.6% lower in 2021 than in 2019. But even so, low-income countries suffered a much higher loss at 5.7%

When you look at the regional employment impact data for 2021, it states the following: 

  • Europe and Central Asia saw the lowest cut in weekly work hours at 2.5%.
  • Asian and Pacific countries suffered a loss of 4.6% in working time.
  • African and American countries had a 5.6% of work hours loss.
  • Middle Eastern states saw the highest cutbacks of 6.4% working time.

4. Per Hour Productivity in 2021

GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per hour worked measures a country’s productivity, excluding unemployment or hours worked per week. 

It measures the efficiency of labor input and the total hours worked by all persons engaged in production, along with other factors of production.

According to Our World in Data, here are the top productive countries in 2021 and their average work hours:

Country Productivity per hour (2021)Average work hours (2021)
Ireland.1339.7 hours per week
Norway.8338.0 hours per week
Switzerland.2640.5 hours per week
Luxembourg.3640 hours per week
Germany.7139.5 hours per week
Sweden.1039.0 hours per week

Source: Our Work in Data, 2021

These countries had better mental health and well-being initiatives, paid leaves on public holidays and vacations, a more agreeable minimum wage, and a more flexible work arrangement. 

5. Increase in Remote Working 

According to a 2020 Gartner poll, 48% of employees will continue to work remotely in their main job post the COVID pandemic (compared to 30% in 2019).  

Another Upwork study predicts that at least 22% of the American workforce will be remote employees by 2025. That’s almost 36.2 million people working from home. 

To top it off, a Breeze survey found that in 2021, 65% of employees would be willing to take 5% pay cuts for full-time work from home.

This could be due to the positive effects of working from home. Research suggests that remote employees are more productive, face fewer distractions, and have a better work-life balance. 

With the increase in remote work, 16% of employers are more likely to use technologies to monitor employee attendance and productivity. (Gartner, 2019) 

Productivity software like Hubstaff saw a 72% hike in new leads in 2020 compared to previous years. Teramind, another productivity software, reported a triple-digit percentage increase in new clients since 2020.   

Another study found that over 94% of organizations use some means of monitoring employee productivity and management

But some of these tools faced their own challenges. According to a 2019 Accenture survey, 64% of employees were concerned about how their companies use their collected data.

So what do you do? 

This is where time tracking software like Time Doctor can help you. 

Time Doctor has strict privacy and data security laws to protect employee privacy. It also does not track your keyboard activity or monitor your screen outside of work hours. 

7. Rise in Hiring of Consultants over Full-Time Employees

While 2020 saw a lot of pay cuts and reduction in freelancers’ budgets, 2021 saw a drastic shift. 

A recent Gartner survey of HR professionals reveals that organizations preferred remote consultants and gig employees for full-time or part-time work in 2021. 

Why is that? 

For one thing, remote freelancers and independent contractors substantially reduce labor costs like healthcare, paid vacation, and other benefits. 

For example, businesses can save up to 31% by hiring remote freelancers (USDL, 2021). Employees also have better flexible work schedules with telework. 

These reasons lead to a rising trend in hiring consultants and contractors. Over 80% of large corporations in the US plan to use a flexible workforce. (Intuit, 2020) 

8. Work Hour Flexibility Shifted from Location to Time Parameters

2021 also saw a growing workplace trend shift in terms of work hour flexibility. 

As seen in 2020, remote work offered the flexibility to work from home without visiting the office, and over 88% of organizations allowed their employees to work from home in 2020. (Gartner, 2020) 

Employers soon realized the benefits of a flexible schedule compared to a 9-5 job. 

For example, a 2020 Gartner survey surveyed over 5,000 HR professionals. Here’s what they found: 

  • Organizations with a standard 40 hour workweek saw 36% of their employees as high performers
  • In contrast, companies that offered flexibility over when and how employees worked saw 55% of employees as high performers in their team.  

Interestingly, many organizations in the UK, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, and more recently Iceland have started conducting trials to encourage employers to adopt a 4-day workweek. 

9. More Employees Ditched 9-5 Jobs for Self Employment

Considering the various benefits of flexible work, 2021 saw a growing trend in employees going for self-employed work. In other words, the gig economy saw a phenomenal rise. 

The US alone saw 35% of its entire workforce working freelance jobs in 2021, compared to 14-20% in 2014. In fact, the global gig worker market is expected to reach over 5.2 billion by 2023. (Statista, 2021)  

So what does this mean for businesses? 

As an employer, you need to adapt to the changing market by hiring freelancers and attracting fresh talent.

10. Remote Workers Worked Longer Hours than Before

A 2020 Owl Labs study found that the average worker in a remote environment worked a longer work schedule in recent years. Specifically, consultants and freelancers worked more hours for their organizations (26 average working hours each month)

About 55% of employees admitted clocking in outside of the working week. To top it off, 34% of those surveyed said that they regularly put in more than eight hours per day. (Robert Half, 2020) 

While this resulted in higher profits for the company, employees found it difficult to sign off and disconnect after work hours.  

11. Countries Emphasized on Work-Life Balance    

A Fingerprint For Success survey conducted in 2021 found that 67% of employees believe that their work life balance improved after working remotely

Your work-life balance largely varies depending on the country you work in. 

For example, Finland encouraged companies to adopt a 6 hour workday in 2020. Stockholm also ranked first for the work-life balance due to its flexible work hours, parental leaves, and sick leave policy.  

The Netherlands was another country to emphasize greater work-life balance for its employees. Only 0.4% of employees work long hours in the Netherlands, and the country scored highest (9.5/10) in the world happiness index. (OECD, 2021) 

And recently (December 2021), UAE has announced that it’ll transition to a 4.5 hours/day work week with Friday afternoons, Saturday, and Sunday as the weekend. The extended weekend is a part of the government’s efforts to enhance employee work-life balance.

What Do These Work Hour Trends Mean for Your Business?

Every year, businesses face hundreds of challenges, one of them being the changing trends in the workplace. These trends highlight the changing norms within the worker culture. 

So being up-to-date on the latest work hour trends, for example, will help you stay on top of things. Here’s what they mean for your business: 

  • Increased importance of employee wellness: An increasing number of people seek jobs that advocate employee wellness. This includes better sick leave and parental leave policies, focus on employee engagement and mental healthcare initiatives, minimum wage laws that eliminate the need for collective bargaining, flexible work arrangements for older workers, etc. 
  • Move towards flexible work: Companies will need to adapt to the changing labor productivity standards. This includes a shift in focus from 9-5 workdays to more flexible working hours. 
  • Benefit from freelancers: The employee landscape is shifting towards independent work. Both organizations and individuals can benefit from the gig economy, and employers need to modify their workplace culture and hiring practices to keep up with the changing trends. 
  • Keep evolving your workplace: Most importantly, both employees and employers need to constantly educate, evolve, and upskill themselves with the fast-changing workplace trends. 

Closing Thoughts

Monitoring the latest work hour trends and statistics is a great way to understand how the changing employee trends will affect your business. 

This way, you’re always prepared to implement any changes within your employees’ workflows and work environment to make them more productive. 

And if you want to track the trends in your own organization, time tracking and employee productivity software like Time Doctor can help you track employee work hours accurately.

Why not sign up for Time Doctor’s free trial and become a trendsetter?

 

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How To Make Virtual Meetings Fun and Interactive in 2022

19-01-2022 · Here are some ways to make your virtual team meetings pleasant and productive. 1. Open with Icebreaker Questions. The trick to making virtual meetings fun is to make your employees feel comfortable. So before you begin brainstorming ideas or crunching numbers, try to strike up a non-work related conversation.

19-01-2022

Virtual meetings are essential for the smooth functioning of your businesses. 

But keeping your employees engaged throughout the meeting can be challenging. They may get restless if the meeting runs too long or if the discussion gets repetitive. 

However, there are some simple ways to transform your online meeting into fun virtual gatherings!

In this article, we’ll give you some amazing tips on how to make virtual meetings fun and boost employee engagement in 2022. We’ll also go over the most frequently asked questions on making virtual meetings fun. 

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Top 10 Ideas On How To Make Virtual Meetings Fun

Here are some ways to make your virtual team meetings pleasant and productive. 

1. Open with Icebreaker Questions 

The trick to making virtual meetings fun is to make your employees feel comfortable. 

So before you begin brainstorming ideas or crunching numbers, try to strike up a non-work related conversation. It’ll help you eliminate the initial phase of silence and awkwardness. 

Teammates can blow off some steam by engaging in a series of virtual icebreaker questions. These can be anything from sharing the best birthday gifts ever received to talking about weekend plans. 

How do icebreakers help?

Working from home, especially during the pandemic, often gets lonely and frustrating. 

By introducing virtual ice breakers or fun conversation starters, you allow your virtual team to bond with their colleagues. 

Opening with a virtual icebreaker or fun check-in questions helps you warm up the team for a productive remote meeting. It encourages them to contribute more and collaborate easily, especially if you have a new team member on board. 

This way, it acts as a virtual team building exercise and lays the groundwork for an effective virtual team meeting. 

2. Keep Presentations Crisp and Colorful

Holding the attention of a remote team is no easy task. 

So besides making your virtual meetings fun, it’s crucial to keep them short and to the point. Otherwise, your employees may zone out midway during the presentation you spent hours preparing. 

Highlight the critical points in your presentation or docs using bold fonts or distinct font colors so your remote employees can follow you easily. 

You can create presentations centered around a particular theme so your virtual team stays hooked throughout. For instance, you may use catchphrases from some popular show while discussing critical points in your presentation. 

Such an approach will evoke relatable, funny reactions from the team and make your online meeting as interactive as any in person meeting. It also paves the way for virtual team building and improved communication during the video call. 

Moreover, setting a time limit on your video meetings and sticking to the predefined topics will help you avoid wasting the time of your team. 

3. Introduce Your Pets

Once in a while, you can conduct a virtual team building activity asking every teammate to introduce their adorable pets. 

It will bring a fun twist to your virtual meeting and make the remote work more exciting. 

Almost every pet owner has had funny experiences preventing their pets from interrupting their virtual team meetings. So why not make them a part of the virtual event the next time? 

Not to mention that watching the antics of a Persian cat or a playful Corgi will be a refreshing change from staring at pie charts and graphs. 

Dedicating even 10 minutes of your meeting time to this fun activity can make your team more energized. Spending quality time with pets can reduce the stress of every attendee and help them put their best foot forward in the meeting. 

This temporary distraction can have a calming effect on the person and motivate them to take on work challenges positively. 

4. Create Interactive Polls

Conducting live polls can help you keep the remote team engaged and get their real-time feedback. 

How do you do it?

Video conference tools like Microsoft Teams, Webex, and Zoom allow you to create polls. 

You can prepare poll questions that align with the meeting agenda. For instance, if you have a meeting to decide on a marketing campaign name, you can create a poll asking employees about the best option discussed so far. 

Moreover, you can use the breakout rooms feature to divide the virtual team into specific groups. It can be useful if you want to get the opinion of every team member from different departments. The data can provide valuable business insights for better decision-making and workflow improvement. 

The polling feature is a great way to facilitate virtual team building and get honest, critical responses from every meeting attendee. It helps you identify the drawbacks in your plan and discuss the possible solutions in your remote meeting. 

5. Boost Engagement with Gamification

Implementing gamification is a simple way to make things more exciting in the virtual setting. 

It makes virtual meetings fun for every meeting attendee. 

For instance, you can include food puns throughout your presentation like ‘Avo Good Day!’, ‘You’re one in a melon’ and much more. At the end of the presentation, you can ask your remote meeting participants to name as many as they can.

You can reward the winning participant with extra break time or personalized e-gift cards to make things even more interesting. 

Besides having fun in the virtual space, this will ensure that every employee follows the video call discussion closely. Gamification techniques also act as a virtual icebreaker and help create a relaxed atmosphere during the meeting. 

Naturally, every attendee will be more willing to participate in these activities, which will enhance engagement levels. 

However, as the meeting moderator, you’ll need to see that these games don’t get aggressive or promote unhealthy competition in the workplace. Otherwise, it’ll end up ruining the fun intent behind it. 

6. Try Out Workplace Trivia

Add a dose of excitement to your virtual team meetings with trivia

You can create quizzes related to your workplace or industry. Once in a while, you may also opt for non-work topics like pop culture, travel facts, guessing brand names, etc. 

Trivia questions or Q&A sessions are excellent team building activities to host in the virtual space. It promotes healthy competition amongst remote employees and gives them a break from workplace banter. 

Additionally, your virtual team gets the chance to interact with other colleagues in a fun way. 

It makes it easier for your online team to collaborate more efficiently on future projects. They get to understand the mindset of other members in the remote team and recognize their work strengths. 

As a result, it promotes great team culture and encourages a healthy exchange of ideas amongst the remote meeting participants. 

7. Elevate the Visual Experience

Most video conferencing tools offer interactive features to make your online meeting visually impressive

For example, Zoom lets you set a customizable virtual background to make your Zoom meeting playful and fun. You can even use the tool’s digital whiteboard to engage in team building games like Pictionary or doodle. 

Moreover, if you’re explaining a complex idea or business strategy in your presentation, try including more images, GIFs, and videos than words. 

Why? 

Your employees will be more likely to check out the videos than read through verbose slides during the Zoom meeting. In other words, you’ll want to keep it simple yet striking. 

Adding visual elements to your meetings can help you capture your team’s attention and drive remote employee participation.

8. Discuss Trending Shows and Movies

Once in a while, during the virtual event or meetings, you can gather all the cinephiles in your team, asking every participant to share the best movie recommendations — there’s nothing more wonderful than seeing the team bond over coffee and cinema.

Using the breakout rooms feature (available in both Zoom and Microsoft Teams), you can divide the team into specific groups sharing common interests. 

For instance, you can have a group of meeting participants discuss Money Heist, another debate on insane Marvel fan theories, or explore the funniest F.R.I.E.N.D.S memes. 

Hosting such a fun activity makes it easier for remote team members to connect in the virtual world. Moreover, it allows remote meeting participants to ditch the small talk and avoid awkward silences in these sessions. In short, your virtual team meetings turn out to be more interactive and successful. 

As a manager, you should consider implementing this idea to reduce workplace stress and boost employee productivity. 

9. Organize Team Building Activities 

Virtual team building games are crucial to improving employee engagement in remote workplaces. 

Some of the games you can play during the virtual meeting include remote work bingo, “Never have I ever,” solving a murder mystery, decoding movie names from emojis, guessing the song from the first five seconds, and so much more. 

You can incorporate these virtual team building activities on your Monday meetings to kickstart a great week or Friday meetings to end the work week on a high note. 

These games can help employees unwind, inspire great teamwork, and encourage open communication. Employees learn to work towards a common goal and even develop problem-solving skills that may help address everyday work challenges. 

For meetings that run way too long, you can use the break time to enjoy a virtual team lunch with your teammates. The important thing here is to spend some quality time with your team and catch up on each other’s well-being. 

This way, your employees are not restricted to discussions on work topics throughout the meeting. Instead, they can have interesting conversations and get to know each other organically through these team building activities. 

10. Plan A Remote Scavenger Hunt

Who doesn’t love some adventure every now and then? 

And by adventure, we do not mean an ad hoc client request on a Friday evening!

As the meeting facilitator, you can plan a quick remote scavenger hunt for your team during the meeting. It’ll give them a much-needed break from the work discussions and act as a stress buster. 

The rules can be very simple, and you can specify a list of house items that every teammate needs to collect and bring back to the table within a particular time. You can include a mix of common and unusual house items like:

  • Children’s toys.
  • Crime novel.
  • Spatula.
  • A fruit.
  • Baking tray.
  • Mints.
  • Watch.
  • Boardgame.
  • And whatever else you can come up with!

Once the time is up and everyone re-assembles, you can check everybody’s collection through the screen sharing option and then declare the winner with the maximum number of items. You may even invite the winner to share an anecdote associated with any of these house items. 

Needless to say, if you can host such a fun activity at your weekly meetings, it will encourage team bonding and make workdays more productive. 

4 FAQs About Fun and Engaging Virtual Meetings

Here are answers to some of the most general queries on creating a fun and productive virtual meeting. 

1. Why is it important to make virtual meetings fun?

Virtual meetings allow your remote workers to unwind and socialize with colleagues. Making virtual meetings fun is critical to nurturing a positive team culture. It motivates your remote team to go that extra mile, reduces stress and employee burnout. 

Alternatively, if your video conferencing is all about work from start to finish, the meeting attendee is more likely to feel detached and disinterested. 

2. What can you celebrate and bond over during virtual meetings?

You can use these video meetings to recognize your top-performing employees and boost employee morale. It’s also an excellent platform for welcoming any new team member to ensure a great start to their journey with your organization. 

To make every participant more comfortable and involved, you can introduce a virtual icebreaker game or team building activity. 

3. What are the common challenges of virtual meetings?

The common challenges of virtual meetings include unstable internet connection, varying time zones of team members, lack of virtual icebreakers, or virtual team building activities.

You must prepare accordingly and tackle these challenges to make your video meetings smooth and productive. 

4. How do I know if my virtual meeting was fun?

You can observe the body language and facial expressions of every person involved in the video meeting to understand if it was a total success. Here are a few indicators of positive body language or non-verbal cues that you can look out for:

  • Nodding.
  • Maintaining eye contact.
  • Leaning in during critical discussions.
  • Maintaining an upright posture.
  • Absence of frowning.
  • Giving the occasional thumbs-up.

Additionally, you can also request them to share their honest feedback. It’ll provide you with crucial insights and help you make the next virtual team meeting even more effective. 

Final Thoughts

Hosting meaningful, enjoyable virtual meetings can help you increase work focus, improve employee participation, and destress with the virtual team in a fun way. 

These sessions encourage team bonding. And in the long run, they help you create loyal, empathetic employees who work alongside each other to accomplish significant organizational goals.

So go through the ideas we’ve compiled above to ace your next meeting in the virtual world.

Liam Martin is the co-founder of Time Doctor—one of the world’s leading time tracking software for remote teams. He is also the co-organizer of Running Remote, the world’s largest remote work conference.

 

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How to Extend Zoom Meeting Time (Step-by-Step Guide + FAQs)

23-12-2021 · 2. How to Update a Scheduled Meeting in Zoom? To edit and save a scheduled upcoming meeting, you need to: Open the Zoom app and sign in. Click on Meetings and then, Upcoming Tab. Choose the meeting you need to edit and click Edit. 3. How to Schedule a Recurring Zoom Meeting? Here’s how you can start a recurring meeting: While scheduling a …

23-12-2021

Zoom Meetings is a popular video and audio conferencing software that helps teams and clients from across the globe connect through online meetings. 

However, a Zoom meeting has a  40 minute time limit in the free plan.

Wondering how to extend Zoom meeting time?

In this article, we’ll explain some workaround for the time limit in Zoom’s free plan. We’ll then look into eight frequently asked questions about Zoom and explore the best three alternatives to Zoom.

This Article Contains:

(Click on the link to go to a particular section)

Let’s get started.

How to Extend Zoom Meeting Time  (Step-by-Step)

The Zoom call minute limit for free users in all Meetings versions, including Zoom app, Zoom Desktop Client, Zoom Web Portal, and Zoom PWA (Progressive Web App), is 40 minutes. 

After 40 minutes, a Zoom session automatically ends. 

You can avoid this and extend the Zoom time limit in two simple ways. 

Let’s check them out: 

1. By Upgrading to Pro Account

Since the 40 minute time limit is only for the free plan, you can simply upgrade to a Pro account to extend your Zoom meeting time. 

By upgrading to a Pro account, which costs .99 /license per month, the meeting host can conduct meetings with a 30-hour time limit — which is more than enough for any user.   

Here are the steps to get a Pro account:

  • Sign in to the Zoom Web Portal using your free account.
  • From the navigation panel, click Account Management and then, Billing.
  • Click on the Current Plans, followed by Upgrade Account.
  • Go through the plans and click Upgrade on the Pro plan.
  • Customize your plan by editing the number of licenses, selecting monthly or annual payments, etc.
  • Click Save & Continue.
  • If you want to purchase other products or services, choose from the Interested in Other available products window. If not, select Skip This Step and Go to Checkout to continue. 
  • Fill up the Sold To and Bill To contact information.
  • Choose an appropriate payment method.
  • Review and agree to the Terms of Service.
  • Click on Upgrade Now, followed by Confirm to complete the purchase.

In addition to a longer time limit, the pro account enables you to conduct a large meeting with more capacity.

However, as it costs nearly /license per month, it can be quite expensive.

The good news is, you can always extend the meeting minute limit without upgrading your free account. 

2. Without Upgrading to a Pro Account

First, you need to avoid starting an instant meeting for this method. 

Instead, schedule them.

Quick Note: The steps we’ll cover here are applicable for the Zoom website, mobile app, and all other Meetings versions.

Step 1: Schedule a Zoom meeting

For scheduling meetings in the Zoom client on a desktop, all you have to do is:

  • Select the Schedule icon (it looks like a calendar).
  • Enter the meeting details in the Schedule Meeting pop-up.
  • After inserting the required information, click on the Schedule button at the right bottom.

Similarly, for scheduling meetings in the Zoom app on a mobile, you have to:

  • Choose the Meet & Chat homepage and click on Schedule.
  • Enter the meeting settings according to your preferences and click Done.
  • When another form opens up, enter attendee names and other data, and click Done

Check out our step-by-step guide on how to use Zoom for more details.

Step 2: ‘END’ the Meeting

A countdown will appear in the Zoom window when the scheduled time is about to end. 

Now, as the host, you have to click on the End button at the right corner of the screen. 

Step 3: Leave the Meeting for the Time Being

Choose the Leave Meeting button. When the host leaves, the meeting will end for all participants. 

Note: Be careful not to click on End Meeting for All. You or a participant may not be able to extend the meeting if you click it.

Step 4: Restart the Meeting

After that, the host must restart the meeting using the same Meeting ID. 

You can then ask the attendees to click on the same Meeting ID. They will enter a new meeting that’ll last for 40 minutes.

You can repeat the above steps as many times as required to extend the meeting for hours. 

Additionally, you can use this process to add short breaks in between these 40 minute sessions. 

How?

Let’s say you decide to incorporate a 5-minute break after 30 minutes of the meeting. Just select the Leave the Meeting icon and restart the meeting after your break is over. 

Now that you know how to extend the Zoom time limit, let’s look at a few FAQs.

8 FAQs About Zoom Meetings

Here are a few frequently asked questions regarding Zoom Meetings:

1. What is Zoom Rooms, Zoom Webinar, and Zoom Meetings?

Zoom Room, Webinar, and Meetings are widely used Zoom products. 

Here’s what they do: 

  • Zoom Rooms: A virtual room system that integrates video conferencing, audio conferencing, and wireless screen sharing.
  • Zoom Webinar: This product of Zoom helps the meeting host conduct a large meeting with 50000 attendees.
  • Zoom Meetings: This cloud-based software enables the user to host and conduct online video meetings with 2-500 participants.

2. How to Update a Scheduled Meeting in Zoom?

To edit and save a scheduled upcoming meeting, you need to:

  • Open the Zoom app and sign in.
  • Click on Meetings and then, Upcoming Tab.
  • Choose the meeting you need to edit and click Edit.

3. How to Schedule a Recurring Zoom Meeting? 

Here’s how you can start a recurring meeting:

  • While scheduling a meeting, make sure to select the Recurring Meeting option.
  • Choose a calendar (Google Calendar or Outlook)
  • Select the recurrence you want.
  • Finalize and click Save to schedule a recurring Zoom meeting.

4. Can You Extend or Reduce Breakout Rooms Time? 

You can easily cut short a breakout room meeting by selecting Leave Breakout Rooms early. 

And if you want to extend the meeting duration of breakout rooms, you need to choose Keep Breakout Rooms Open

5. How to Start Cloud Recording? 

To start cloud recording a Zoom meeting, you need to:

  • Click the Record button at the bottom of the screen.
  • Click on Record to the Cloud to start recording.
  • To stop the recording, select End Meeting/Pause/Stop Recording.

6. How to Designate an Alternative Host?

You can assign an alternative host in a few easy steps:

  • Click on the Schedule icon.
  • From the scheduler window, choose Advanced Options.
  • Enter a name in the Alternating Host field.
  • Click Schedule.

7. How to Enable Screen Sharing on Zoom?

Follow the two steps to enable screen sharing:

  • Click on the Share Screen button on the meeting controls.
  • Then choose the Basic or Advanced screen share option depending on your needs.
  • Enable extra features from the bottom-left corner, such as share sound or share to breakout rooms.
  • Finally, click Share to start screen sharing.

8. Does Zoom Remove the 40 Minute Limit?

Occasionally, Zoom offers a concession in the time limit as a token of appreciation for free Zoom account holders. Free users can carry out meetings longer than 40 minutes on upcoming special occasions, like New Year.

But since the unlimited meeting duration feature isn’t available every day, it isn’t practical for a growing company. 

You can either upgrade to the Pro plan or workaround the Zoom meeting time limit without an upgrade. 

You can also look for other video conferencing software with more acceptable time limits.

3 Popular Alternatives to Zoom 

Here are the three best alternatives to Zoom:

1. Google Meet

Google Meet is a video conferencing service developed by Google. It’s the replacement for Google Hangouts and Google Chats as it combines features of the two.

Key Features

  • 60 minute meeting limit for a group video call with 100 participants.
  • Provides closed captions for video calls.
  • Switches layout and screen to show most active meeting participants.

Pricing

Google Meet offers a free trier. Its paid plans start at .99/user per month.

Customer Reviews

  • Capterra: 4.7/5 (10,000 reviews)
  • G2: 4.6/5 (39K reviews)

2. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a powerful business communication platform that’s part of the Microsoft 365 office suite.

Key Features

  • Lets free users conduct unlimited meetings without any time limit during the pandemic.
  • The maximum capacity of free video meetings is 100 participants.
  • Offers 10 GB of cloud storage per user.

Pricing

Microsoft Teams’ paid plans begin at per user/month when billed annually. 

Customer Reviews

  • Capterra: 4.4/5 (7,000 reviews)
  • G2: 4.3/5 (11,000 reviews)

3. Cisco Webex

Cisco Webex is a web and video conferencing tool that conducts online meetings, screen sharing, and webinars.

Key Features

  • Allows 100 people in their meetings with a 50 minute time limit.
  • Supports video calling functionality on Android, iOS (iPhone 15), Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chrome.
  • Permits you to add participants easily during the meeting.

Pricing

Webex offers a free plan with basic video calling features.

Customer Reviews

  • Capterra: 4.4/5 (5K reviews)
  • G2: 4.2/5 (13K reviews)

Wrapping Up

With hundreds of businesses operating remotely or in hybrid work models due to the Coronavirus pandemic, video conferencing tools like Zoom have been a godsend. 

However, the 40 minute limit can hinder meetings. 

Fortunately, you can use the steps mentioned above to extend the Zoom meetings limit or upgrade to a Pro account. 

And if Zoom’s not your cup of tea, you can try out the other video conferencing tools we listed above that have similar features but more lenient time constraints.

 

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We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously.

How to Schedule a Teams Meeting in 2022 (Step-by-Step Guide)

10-01-2022 · Microsoft Teams allows you to schedule online meetings with colleagues or external contacts. You can post your meeting on a channel to let anyone in the team see or join it. You can also schedule a private meeting where only the team members you’ve invited can attend. Here’s how you can schedule a meeting in Microsoft Teams: 1. On Desktop

10-01-2022

Microsoft Teams (MS Teams) is a popular collaboration and video conferencing app designed for individuals, freelancers, small businesses as well as large corporations.

You can use it to conduct virtual meetings instantly. All you need to do is click the ‘Meet Now’ button to get started.

But what if you want to schedule your next business meeting to accommodate everyone’s schedule? 

In this article, we’ll learn how to schedule a Teams meeting with a detailed step-by-step approach – both on desktop and on mobile devices. 

This Article Contains:

(Click on the link to go to a particular section)

  • How to Schedule a Teams Meeting (Detailed Walkthrough)

Let’s get started.

How to Schedule a Teams Meeting (Detailed Walkthrough)

Microsoft Teams allows you to schedule online meetings with colleagues or external contacts. 

You can post your meeting on a channel to let anyone in the team see or join it. You can also schedule a private meeting where only the team members you’ve invited can attend. 

Here’s how you can schedule a meeting in Microsoft Teams:

1. On Desktop

Your calendar in Microsoft Teams is connected to your Microsoft Exchange Calendar. 

So when you schedule an online meeting in Teams, it’ll show up in Microsoft Outlook, and vice versa.

Now let’s check out the different ways to schedule a meeting in Teams:

A. Schedule a Meeting

Follow these steps to schedule a meeting:

  1. Open Microsoft Teams.
  2. Press the Schedule a meeting button below the ‘Type a new message’ input box.
  3. In the Calendar tab (on the left side of the app) select New meeting at the top right corner.
  4. Specify a range of time in the calendar.
  5. This will open a scheduling form to add a meeting title, invite people, and enter meeting details. 
  6. Here, you can use the Scheduling Assistant to find the right time for all team members, including yourself.
  1. Select Save when you’re done filling out the details.

Doing so will close the scheduling form and send an invite to all participants’ Microsoft Outlook inbox.

Note: If you’ve added categories to your Outlook calendar, the scheduled meeting invite will appear under Teams at the top of the form. 

B. Invite People Outside of Your Organization

Microsoft Team users can invite people outside their organization, including those who don’t have a Teams license. 

However, you’ll need the full email address of the people you want to invite.

To invite people outside your organization:

  1. Go to Add required attendees input box and type the full email address of the meeting participant. (ex: [email protected]).
  2. If anyone is an optional attendee, press Optional instead.
  3. Now, select Invite

Each meeting participant will receive an email invitation with the meeting link.

C. Create a Channel Meeting

You can create Teams channel meetings. But this feature isn’t available for private channels.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Click New meeting to create a new Teams meeting.
  2. In the Add channel box (under the time and date fields), enter the name of a channel.

Note: Channels can’t be edited or added once the meeting invite is sent. The meeting organizer will need to send a new invite with the updated channel.

Once you’ve added the individuals you want, select the Scheduling Assistant to find the best time.

Additionally, if it’s a recurring meeting, open the dropdown menu next to Does not repeat and pick how often you want it to occur. You can even select Custom to create your own cadence.

Please note that when you have a meeting in a channel, everyone in that channel will be able to see and join Microsoft Teams meeting.

D. Schedule Teams Meeting in a Channel Calendar 

Here are the two ways to add events to your shared calendar:

  1. Press Add new event at the top of the calendar.
  2. Click and drag your cursor to select a block of time.

Or, 

Press the arrow next to Meet now at the top of the Teams app to open the menu.

Whatever way you choose, each action will open a scheduling form with the channel name filled in. You can then add an Outlook group or manually enter the names of individuals you want to invite. 

That was all about how you can schedule a Microsoft Teams meeting on the desktop. 

Here are some more meeting options for you to explore:

  • Right-click an event in your calendar to RSVP, open the meeting invitation to view the meeting details, or remove the event if the meeting is canceled.
  • If the event is a Teams meeting, users will also get the option to Join online or Chat with participants.

Moreover, Teams meetings will show a Join button on an event in your calendar (visible five minutes before the start time of the scheduled meeting). 

Also, you can select Join to open the meeting settings window to configure your camera and mic settings before joining an online meeting.

Now, let’s check out how you can schedule meetings from your mobile app.

2. On Mobile

If you have a paid subscription to the full version of Teams, you can schedule meetings from your mobile app on Android and Apple devices.

Here’s how you can schedule a meeting on your mobile:

  1. Select Calendar Meetings button on the bottom of your Microsoft Teams app.
  2. Click the Schedule a meeting button in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. In the New Event form, tap the Add participants button and choose the team members you’d like to invite to the meeting.
  4. If you want to conduct a meeting in a channel, press Share to a channel and select the desired Teams channel, or skip if you don’t want to.

Note: When you conduct a meeting in a channel, members will be able to see the scheduled meeting and join it in that channel.

Something like this:

  1. Next, add meeting details like title, start and end times, or date for the event. 
  2. Tap Done to schedule your meeting.

Once the meeting has been successfully scheduled, you’ll receive a temporary notification saying “Event created successfully” as you return to your Teams calendar.

Additionally, you can set a physical location for the meeting, make it a recurring meeting, or add a description if you want.

Further Reading: A Step by Step Guide to Using Microsoft Teams.

Wrap Up

Online meetings have become an essential part of our lives. And Microsoft Team’s scheduling feature allows business leaders to conduct meetings at the right time with the right people.

You can even use the scheduling assistant feature to automatically find a common available slot for all your team members.

Use the simple steps mentioned in this article to schedule your next meeting with ease!

 

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Slack Time Tracking: The Ultimate 2022 Guide

02-09-2020 · A DM is a smaller Slack conversation outside a channel and can be between the user and up to 8 people. This is the perfect place for one-off chats or messages that should remain private. Note: You can also find the Slack bot in the DM section. 4. Slack Calls. With a Slack account, you can make voice or video calls to teammates. But that isn’t ...

02-09-2020

Using Slack to communicate with your on-site or remote team

Slack is a name that’s synonymous with text-based, workplace communication. 

But did you know that with the right integrations, you can even track time in Slack?

In this article, we’ll first highlight why you should set up Slack time tracking. We’ll also highlight the best integrations that can help you easily track time in Slack.  

This Article Contains:

Let’s get started.

What is Slack?

Slack is a virtual messaging platform that was specifically designed with business and team usage in mind. It helps you virtually communicate with your on-site and remote team members – no matter where they are.

But instant messaging isn’t the only thing you can do with a Slack account. 

It also lets you:

  • Upload and share files with any employee.
  • Jot down notes and memos.
  • Host audio and video calls quickly.
  • Set reminders using the Slack bot.
  • Integrate with tons of workplace apps to enhance its functionality.

But that isn’t all.

For maximum ease of use, Slack supports multiple platforms and devices too.

It’s available as a: 

  • Web app for browsers (Google Chrome, Firefox, etc.)
  • Mobile app for iOS and Android devices.
  • Desktop app for Mac, Windows and Linux.

How do You Use Slack?

If you’re not familiar with virtual chat-based environments, Slack might seem confusing at first. But don’t worry, we’ll give you a basic overview of how to use this versatile app. 

1. Slack Workspace

In Slack, you start with a Slack Workspace. This is a single area used by a Slack team, which contains all the channels and chats of an organization. 

2. Slack Channels 

Present within a workspace, Slack channels are perfect for topic-centered discussions. A Slack channel is where teams share messages, files and tools. 

Any employee can join or leave a Slack channel and you can use chat threads to organize a particular Slack conversation in a channel. This helps you have all relevant discussions within that specific thread.

3. Slack DMs

When you need to send a Slack message to just one person, you can’t send it on a team channel, right?

That’s where Slack Direct Messaging (DM) comes in.

A DM is a smaller Slack conversation outside a channel and can be between the user and up to 8 people. This is the perfect place for one-off chats or messages that should remain private. 

Note: You can also find the Slack bot in the DM section. 

4. Slack Calls

With a Slack account, you can make voice or video calls to teammates.

But that isn’t all.

It also supports screen sharing from the desktop app when you need to explain something!

Note: On Google Chrome, you can view other employee screens, but you can’t start screen sharing.

5. Sharing Files in Conversations 

Slack lets you easily upload PDFs, documents, audio, video, screenshots and other files to a channel or direct Slack message. Uploaded files count towards the overall file storage limit on Slack. This is very similar to how usual cloud storage apps like Google Drive function.

6. Slash Commands

In Slack, a slash command is a quick way for you to type an instruction without having to click with your mouse. This way, you can save tons of time as you instantly access what you need without performing endless different actions!

Just type a “/” in the text box, and a list of possible slash commands will pop up. 

Here are some examples of built-in slash commands:

  • /dnd for Do Not Disturb
  • /away to toggle your away status
  • /remind to set reminders

Note: Some integrable custom apps, like time trackers, have their own slash commands to start and stop time tracking quickly.

5 Reasons why You Should Track Time in Slack

Since Slack is a team communication tool, many people don’t think of using a time tracker with it. 

After all, it’s just messages, right?

But you’d be surprised at how beneficial it is to track time in Slack.

Here’s why you should track time in Slack:

If you’re using Slack, you’re already benefiting from the rapid communication that a traditional communication channel like email lacks. 

But with a time-tracker, you can get even more time-saving benefits:

1. Track Your Discussion Times

When you track time in Slack, you’ll be able to see how much time discussions take. This will give you an idea of how that time contributes to your overall project time-usage.

2. Measure How Long Tasks Take

With time-tracking, you can see how long it takes to perform a particular task inside Slack (such as onboarding new hires into the channel). 

You’ll then be able to project how long it’ll take to complete tasks of a similar nature.

3. Monitor Attendance

When your time tracker is linked to Slack notifications, you can quickly see who’s clocked in or out. You’ll also be able to view what they’re working on to keep an eye on everyone.

4. Gauge Your Team’s Productivity

Accumulated time data can help you gauge how efficiently your team is performing. You’ll get an idea where work hours may be wasted, and where your team needs to put in more time. 

5. Create Timesheet Reports

The gathered start and stop times will help you create accurate timesheet reports, which lets you see where your billable work hours were spent.

Time Tracking in Slack: All You Need to Know

One of Slack’s strongest suits lies in its ability to integrate with many apps. It may not have a native time tracker, but it can easily integrate with a third-party time tracking software.

That’s why the first step is to find a time tracking Slack integration that works for your needs. Many tools come with a free plan or trial period that doesn’t require a credit card. 

After that, it’s merely a matter of following the installation steps for that time tracker. 

To help you out, here are some great time tracking apps that work with Slack: 

1. Time Doctor

Time Doctor is a powerful task-based time tracker that works through a start/stop timer button. Used by major companies as well as by SMBs, it’s the perfect tool to skyrocket your team’s productivity.

Time Doctor’s Slack integration allows you to see what tasks your entire team is currently working on in real-time. 

However, it’s important to know that the Slack integration is not used for time tracking, and it only works with the classic version of the Time Doctor app. 

But don’t worry! 

This doesn’t mean you can’t track time for your tasks — you can do it using the Time Doctor app. The Slack integration will simply make things easier for you and help you track what everyone’s working on. 

Understanding Time Doctor Integration for Slack

With Time Doctor working as a Slack integration, you’ll be able to do the following in Slack:

  • Get notified in real-time when team members start working on a new task.
  • Choose who gets to see Time Doctor notifications in Slack.
  • Get notified in real time when a Time Doctor task is marked as completed.

How to Install Time Doctor for Slack (Step-by-Step Guide)

It’s easy to install Time Doctor for your Slack account. 

But before you start, note that only Time Doctor account owners or administrators can enable the integration with Slack. 

So if you’re one, just follow these simple steps:

Step 1

First, install the Time Doctor Classic desktop app.

Step 2

You now have to enable the Slack integration for the whole company from the company’s integration page. 

For this, log in to the Time Doctor web dashboard and then:

Click the left menu bar > Click company logo > Company Integration

Step 3

On the Company Integration page, find and activate the Slack integration. Do this by clicking the “Turn it on” link.

Step 4

In the new page that appears, you’ll be asked for your team’s domain. 

Enter your username and password for the domain, followed by the login prompt. 

Note: If you’re already logged into Slack on your current browser session, then you won’t see these screens.

Step 5

Inform Slack that you’re granting access to Time Doctor.

Step 6

The Time Doctor-Slack integration is now live. 

In Slack, you can choose the channel where Time Doctor notifications should appear, and which users will be invited to that channel.

And that’s it! 

You’ll now be able to see who’s working on what in that specific channel. 

This is how the real-time notifications will look like in Slack:

Using The Time Doctor Screenshots Feature For Slack  (optional)

What else can the Time Doctor integration do?

Perfect for remote work, it lets you take screenshots of your teams’ computers to see which tasks they are working on — only during work hours, never during free time. 

While this is an optional feature, it’s quite helpful when you want to see what projects or tasks your remote workers are working on.

You can expand screenshot thumbnails into medium or full-size versions. The activity level of the keyboard and mouse are also displayed beneath each screenshot.

2. Tracking Time

Tracking Time is a task-based time tracker. It helps business owners and managers track working times, manage projects, create accurate timesheet reports and more. 

You can use it to collaborate with your Slack team to see what everyone is doing in real time.

This app has its own set of slash commands for Slack, like /tt start task_name,,project_name to start tracking time for a project, or /tt tasks to display your tasks.

3. Toggl

Toggl doesn’t have a native integration with Slack. 

But, you can use it through a browser extension (available for Google Chrome and Firefox).

Once you’ve downloaded the add-on, the Toggl Button will appear at the top right corner of your browser (within Slack). 

After you’ve signed into Toggl, you can start using the Toggl Button to send Slack time tracking information to your Toggl account. 

Other Apps You can Integrate Slack with

Remember how we mentioned that Slack could integrate with many third-party apps?

Since time trackers aren’t all that you need for productivity, Slack can integrate with various other kinds of tools to make sure you stay on top of your employees. 

Here are some other handy apps that work with Slack that you can easily find in Slack’s app directory. Additionally, we’ll also highlight how tracking time will help you get the most out of these other integrations too:

1. GitHub

GitHub is a software development platform. 

With a Slack integration, you can get updates on what’s happening on GitHub without ever leaving Slack. This could be for activities like generating new issues or new pull requests. 

If you have time tracking enabled, you can keep track of existing task progress and predict how long a task will take based on current activity.

2. Asana

Asana is a popular task management and project management tool. When integrated with the Slack app, managers can create new tasks in Asana without leaving Slack. You can also get real time project updates in Slack channels. 

And with time tracking, you can track how long those tasks take and view how time management contributes to your project schedules in Asana. 

3. Jira

Jira is an Agile project management tool developed by Atlassian. 

At its heart, Jira is an issue tracking platform for software developers. 

With a Slack integration, you can create new Jira issues or add to existing ones directly from Slack. You can also receive customizable notifications on Jira issues in your Slack channels. 

If you also track time in Slack, you can see the time spent on issues, which will help improve future sprint estimates based on previous sprint cycles.

4. Trello

Trello is a team collaboration tool for projects. 

When integrated with Slack, you can add new Trello cards directly from Slack. You can attach a Slack conversation to Trello cards and change due dates from Slack. 

A time tracking software will help track time spent on any Trello card, and gives managers an overview of task management and time management on Trello projects.

You can also check out this video for the top Slack integrations that you can use in 2022 to boost the productivity of your remote team:

Concluding Thoughts

Slack is a versatile communication tool that can integrate with tons of different apps. And while there are various kinds of integrations, integrating it with a time tracker is a must.

Remember, with efficient time tracking, you can not only keep track of time management in Slack – but also cut down the need to switch between apps. 

Using an external time tracker like Time Doctor can help you easily track which tasks your remote team is working on in Slack. It also allows you to monitor any remote team member through screenshots — making sure they’re performing their work properly.

So why not download Time Doctor and see how it can help you be more productive on Slack?

 

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Coffee or Tea: Which One Is Boosting or Sabotaging Your ...

24-06-2021 · Unlike coffee, tea’s effects are far milder, even when drunk in excess. You won’t suffer from jitters, anxiety, or heart issues just from drinking too much tea. The worst you’ll feel is a bit nauseous, or an increased need to urinate. None of these effects are going to hamper productivity drastically. But that’s not to say tea doesn’t ...

24-06-2021

Warm, caffeinated beverages have become a staple accompaniment to worker’s lives all over the world. With the move to working remotely, many people’s routines may have changed. But it’s almost guaranteed that their beverage consumption hasn’t. 

Whether you prefer coffee or tea, chances are you are one of the millions who claim they can’t get through a full day of work without a sizable dose of caffeine in your system. 

The adult population has become extremely reliant on the use of caffeine to fuel their production levels. Coffee has become a staple pick me up, and it’s an integral part of every working day. The fact that people can suffer from withdrawal symptoms when not drinking it speaks volumes. 

But is this energy-inducing substance really the answer to unlocking our productivity potential? 

Well, that depends on how much you are consuming. Both coffee and tea contain wildly different amounts of caffeine. Plus, the way different bodies respond to the chemical varies dramatically. 

So is coffee or tea the smarter option when it comes to safe caffeine consumption. And is it possible that one of the two could in fact be sabotaging our productivity levels rather than supporting them? 

Let’s spill the beans (or tea leaves!).

Deconstructing Coffee: What’s in it for Your Body?

“Even a bad cup of coffee is better than no coffee at all.”
– David Lynch

An average of 64% of Americans drink at least one cup of coffee a day, and 120 million bags of coffee beans are globally manufactured every year. These numbers make it plain to see that this beverage is a part of an international daily ritual. 

Coffee is full of caffeine, with every cup containing up to 40g of the naturally energizing chemical. Energy is important for focus and productivity, but at what point does the high content of caffeine in coffee do more harm than good?

Look at How Coffee Affects You

The Brain

When consumed, caffeine travels to the brain and prevents the production of a neurotransmitter called adenosine. 

Adenosine is a critical neurochemical that causes natural tiredness. It helps us to wind down as night draws near and promotes sleep at a healthy hour. 

The more caffeine you have in your system, the harder it is for adenosine to build up, blocking any signals of drowsiness from occurring. Caffeine also promotes the production of dopamine and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters that cause alertness and focus).

These reasons are why those who do remote or office work rely so heavily on coffee. This quickly activated stimulant for concentration certainly does the trick. 

The Bloodstream

Coffee enters the bloodstream within 20 minutes, causing blood vessels to narrow and blood pressure to rise. 

This is why consumers report faster heart rate, a dizzy or spinning sensation, and sometimes heart palpitations. Large doses of caffeine affect the internal organs, speeding up the digestive process and increasing metabolism. 

The Mind

If you think that drinking coffee makes you feel happier, you’d be right. Scientists have proven that coffee stimulates the release of dopamine. Dopamine is the feel-good chemical that triggers a feeling of euphoria. 

When you drink a cup of coffee, there’s a psychological reaction that tells you you’re feeling better, brighter, and happier. This feeling is something every worker wants, especially in the morning or when battling with a tricky problem.  

Caffeine is linked to a lower rate of depression and has the same effects as a mild antidepressant. With remote workers battling new challenges in the pandemic’s wake, this attribute is certainly a positive one. 

The Pros of Coffee

In a nutshell, there are several pros of coffee:

  • Improves energy levels
  • Enhances focus
  • Acts as a mood booster
  • Reduces feelings of depression 
  • Increases metabolism
  • Reduces feelings of sluggishness

Any natural substance that boosts positivity is surely a good thing for productivity. Right? 

The answer is yes, but there’s a caveat… 

How Much Coffee Is Too Much?

The New England Journal of Medicine study suggests that moderation is the safest approach to take with caffeine consumption. 

Research found that 400 mg is the recommended daily intake amount for healthy adults. 400 mg of caffeine is equivalent to five 8-ounce regular cups of coffee, which is more than adequate for the average adult.

Consuming over 400 mg of caffeine per day can cause disorders like insomnia, anxiety, and heart dysfunction. None of which support being productive. 

Let’s take a closer look at how each of these conditions has a negative effect on productivity:

Insomnia

A lack of sleep has a negative impact on productivity as it hampers performance. It’s impossible to perform at your optimum if you’re sluggish, tired, and lack focus. 

Insomnia sufferers struggle to concentrate, battle to communicate, and their problem-solving abilities diminish. Plus, they are also prone to memory lapses. 

Anxiety

COVID has already added to our anxiety. If we pour too much coffee on this, it’s a recipe for disaster. 

Anxiety can impact productivity in that it causes fear. This fear results in a freezing action, where people simply become unable to function. In a remote work environment where there are already feelings of tension due to uncertainty and change, anxiety is heightened. 

Anxiety also affects our ability to focus. Focusing is at the root of being productive, and a lack thereof leads to procrastination.

Heart dysfunction

This seems somewhat obvious. If you’re suffering from heart issues, you cannot work. Too much caffeine can exacerbate heart issues, and this leads to workers requiring time off to rest and recuperate. 

More Than Just Caffeine: Talking About Tea

“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you.”
– William Ewart Gladstone

Tea is the second most widely consumed beverage of all time. With a caffeine content of just 11 mg per cup, you could consume up to 36 cups of tea a day without going over the recommended 400 mg caffeine quota. 

In this way, it would make sense for tea to be the recommended beverage for those needing to boost their personal productivity levels. However, because of the reduced caffeine dose per cup, the results will be less effective. 

The mild caffeine content that a cup of tea provides may feel too weak for those who have a high tolerance for caffeine. Or, if someone is looking for a noticeable pick me up, the lack of buzz is an issue. 

The Pros of Tea 

There are many types of tea in the world. But the ones with the most notable amounts of caffeine in them are black tea and green tea. 

Contrary to coffee, tea is actually known for lowering blood pressure and being a source of critical flavonoids and antioxidants. 

Low Blood Pressure = Lower Stress Levels = Good For Productivity

How many times have we said or heard the words this is giving me high blood pressure? If tea does the opposite and lowers your blood pressure, it stands to reason, it’s good for productivity. 

In the workplace, stress is a productivity killer. It reduces engagement, negatively affects focus, leads to fatigue, and causes an overall decrease in enthusiasm. 

In a remote work environment, stress can have other knock-on effects, especially when communication is all virtual. Stressed employees struggle to communicate, and this leads to the degradation of relationships. 

If tea lowers blood pressure, it goes a long way towards reducing feelings of stress.

Health Benefits of Tea

Many of the benefits that come with drinking tea have more to do with the herbs and plants they come from as opposed to the caffeine itself. These are just some teas that offer health benefits that will boost your productivity:

Black Tea

Black tea contains a mix of caffeine and L-theanine, an amino acid that improves alertness. This tea is often seen as a better alternative to coffee as it provides a more stable energy source. 

Jasmine Tea

This tea contains an amino acid that acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter that puts you in a good mood. This reduces stress levels and makes you feel more alert and energized. 

Ginseng Tea

Asian ginseng tea is energy inducing. It helps promote energy and fights fatigue, and regular drinkers often see improvements in memory and mood. 

Peppermint Tea

As a caffeine-free alternative, peppermint tea improves concentration and energy levels. It also enhances sleep quality, reducing the chance of insomnia and other sleep disorders.

Green Tea

Green tea has a huge effect on brain function, cognition, and mood. It influences psychopathological symptoms due to its caffeine and l-theanine content. This means that anxiety reduces, memory gets a boost, and brain function and energy levels increase. It offers a different buzz, but one that’s noticeable.

Teas Effect On the Brain, Body and Mind

 Unlike coffee, tea’s effects are far milder, even when drunk in excess. You won’t suffer from jitters, anxiety, or heart issues just from drinking too much tea. The worst you’ll feel is a bit nauseous, or an increased need to urinate.

None of these effects are going to hamper productivity drastically. But that’s not to say tea doesn’t have a physiological and psychological effect on you.

Tea And The Brain

Depending on the type of tea you drink, it will have some effect on the brain. 

As you see in the above examples, different types of tea affect the brain in various ways. Overall, they tend to stimulate brain function and boost memory—both of which are essential for maintaining productivity levels.

Tea Effect on the Body

Thanks to its calming effects, tea makes your body relax. However, the caffeine content in most teas still gives you enough of a buzz to keep you alert, rather than leading to drowsiness. In tea that has no caffeine this buzz is absent, but the feeling of wellbeing a warm cup offers still adds value.

In a stressful environment, a cup of tea can do wonders. There’s a reason people who have suffered a shock are given tea. 

… and the mind

Which brings us to the psychological effect of tea.

So many people see tea as a comforting drink rather than one that will wake you up and energize you. As we all face uncertainty and battle to bring about a work-life balance in the new normal, tea is a great mood booster. 

While it may not give you the same energy boost as a strong Americano or a shot of espresso, it has a more long-lasting effect—one of well-being. 

Tea can also promote healthy sleeping patterns. A good night’s sleep is an excellent productivity booster, as you’ll perform at your optimum when you’re well rested and relaxed. 

Studies have shown that remote work can affect the quality of sleep, making tea an excellent choice for anyone battling to get enough shut-eye.  

The Downside of Tea

From a health perspective, tea is significantly better for the body than coffee. However, its downfall is the fact that it contains far less caffeine. This is what people are after when they reach for a caffeinated beverage…

Despite the small presence of caffeine, many people find drinking tea to be a soothing or calming process rather than a productive, focus-oriented one. 

From this perspective, it makes more sense for those struggling to focus on work to grab something with a higher caffeine dose. 

Coffee or Tea: Which is the Better Beverage? 

This is a tough question, and it’s one only you can answer.

Choosing which beverage best supports your productivity levels will depend on your workstyle and state of health. If you have a high tolerance for caffeine and are prepared to consume under 400 mg per day, coffee is likely to be a good match for you. 

However, if your body struggles to process caffeine or you suffer from the negative side effects of high caffeine consumption, coffee is not a wise choice. Instead, it’s a far better idea to substitute your morning cup of Java with several steaming cups of green tea. 

Either way, your body will receive an adequate amount of stimulating caffeine that fortifies your focus reserves and lets your productivity levels soar. 

In the era of remote work, this is all you need. 

Wrapping It Up

As we acclimatize to working remotely, we may face new challenges and added distractions. We don’t need to compound these by killing our productivity. 

Changing up the way you function while you work from home may be as simple as swapping one beverage for another. Or reducing your coffee intake and upping your cups of tea. 

If you know the facts, you can choose what you drink wisely.

Kelly Lowe is a passionate writer and editor with a penchant for topics covering business, entrepreneurship and WFH. When she’s not tapping away at her keyboard writing articles, she spends her free time either trying out different no-bake recipes or immersing herself in a good book.

 

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