If you were asked to describe an architect in one word, what would it be? For many people, this one word would be “creative.” It certainly takes a highly creative mind to design buildings, merge the purpose with aesthetics, and think in 3D, among many other things. Being an architect means taking each project as an opportunity to design a unique solution to a unique problem.
While architecture is exceptionally inspiring and rewarding, it’s by no means a simple discipline. If you’re an architect, you can attest that there’s a lot to do all the time. Without a perfect time management strategy, managing both the simplistic and complex tasks can prevent you from focusing on the part of the job you enjoy most – being creative.
Here are 3 ways architecture firms can improve efficiencies:
- Dealing with Deadlines
Most people like to believe that they can work well under pressure. However, this is rarely the case. If you’re working on a complex project with a very tight budget and strict deadlines, there’s no evading the pressure and the stress. According to a report by the American Institute of Stress, 41 percent of stressed workers attribute their unproductiveness to stress.
The best way to avoid missed deadlines and the stress that comes with working under pressure is to stay organized. With a time tracker, you can easily keep an eye on the deadlines and log hours accurately for the different types of tasks you do.
You’ll also have a checklist to monitor progress so that you can see if everything is on track. Not only will the time tracker enable you to keep track of hours spent on tasks, but you will also be able to see which part of the project has been accomplished, what is due, and what is left to be done. Furthermore, you’ll quickly deduce how long a project actually takes, thus allowing you to quote more accurate timeframes for similar projects in the future.
- Managing Billable Utilization
Another big challenge that architects experience is managing billable utilization. Many architecture firms do not track billable hours and utilization on a real-time basis. As such, profitability metrics might not be accurate.
Billable hours are the number of hours spent on payable projects. Utilization, on the other hand, is the percent of billable hours against the total number of hours, including admin, leave, etc. Low billable hours and utilization indicate several inefficiency issues, including:
- Inefficiency at distributing tasks
- Structure issues that result in more time being spent on non-billable hours
- Inaccurate posting of the billable hours
Picture this: you’ve just wrapped up a month-long project that involved you and five of your team members. To work out how much you should bill the client, you ask your team members how many hours they spent on the project. From their guesstimates, you come up with a rough estimate of the billable hours and prepare an invoice.
While the above method is easy and pretty quick, it’s also fairly inaccurate. Should your client want to see a breakdown of how you spent your billable hours, you will have nothing to show. Recording billable hours on a notebook or on a printed timesheet might be better than the first method, but you’d still be out of luck if you lose or damage it.
If tracking billable hours using the guesstimate method or the paper method has been a real pain, it’s high time you invested in a time tracker. A good time tracker will make recording your billable hours almost effortless. Open the time tracking app, click on the timer, perform your tasks, and click the timer again to stop. With a time tracker, you will:
- Know how much time you and your employees spent on every task
- You will no longer have to wonder where precious time was wasted
- You will know which tasks/projects got a disproportionate amount of attention for the budget
With greater knowledge comes greater efficiency. That information will also add value for your clients as they can view details about the time taken and a breakdown of costs and hours. Furthermore, that information will help you to understand why some projects run over budget. It will also enable you to improve estimates for future projects.
- Keeping Track of the Team
Architectural projects are hardly a one-person show. This means that an architect can never work alone, especially when working on a huge project. As an architect, you need a team of talented employees to accomplish the project efficiently and timely.
After delegating tasks to the team members, you need to keep your communication lines open to ensure the project’s success. Each of the members should report on his/her progress, and you’ll need to keep track of their work to ensure that everybody is meeting their deadlines.
Keeping track of your team members by phone is not only disrupting, but it’s also costly and time-consuming. Tracking your employees physically by foot is also tiring. You can make tracking your team members easier by using one of the collaboration tools currently available. A time tracker, for instance, can enable you to know who is doing what, how far along they are, and how long it has taken them to accomplish delegated tasks.
Get a Time Tracker Today
Dealing with deadlines, managing billable utilization, and keeping track of team members are the key pain points for architecture firms and key reasons for inefficiencies. Say goodbye to cumbersome spreadsheets and paper timesheets forever. It’s time you embraced a time tracking system, and all it can offer your architecture firm. Try Time Tracker for 14-days for free and track time efficiently.