Cutting Down on Non-Billable Hours: Strategies for reducing internal time

In project-based companies where time is money, non-billable hours can silently undermine profitability. Effectively managing the use of internal hours is essential for maintaining your operation’s financial health.

This article delves into strategies to not only identify but also reduce excessive non-billable hours, equipping you with the tools to enhance productivity and the bottom line. Join us as we explore practical steps to streamline internal processes and improve efficiency across your company.


Psst! The strategies we present in this article are part of our more comprehensive guide to mapping revenue leaks in project-oriented businesses. Check out the full guide

Examine the hours logged by the employees

To begin optimising internal activities, it's crucial to understand the current landscape of time allocation within your firm. Start by examining the hours logged by employees, paying close attention to those not related to client work. Analyse timesheets, and engage with your staff to uncover the rationale behind these entries. Are there patterns or frequent activities that contribute to a large proportion of internal hours? Gathering this data is the first step in determining which activities are necessary, and pinpointing areas that could benefit from streamlining or removal.

Identifying and categorising non-billable activities

Once you've examined the logged hours, the next step is to create distinct categories for various types of internal activities. Common classifications may include

  • Competence enhancement
  • Training
  • Administration
  • Downtime.

Categorisation not only clarifies the purpose of each internal hour spent but also facilitates more systematic logging of time by employees. This structured approach enables management to conduct a detailed analysis of time usage trends and identify areas that require intervention. For example, a high number of hours spent on IT-related issues could signal the need for better equipment or additional training for staff.

Setting clear guidelines for internal hours usage

With a clear understanding of how internal hours are spent, it's time to establish guidelines that define acceptable use of this time. It's essential to communicate to employees what constitutes necessary and beneficial internal activities—such as professional development and training—while discouraging excessive time on administrative tasks or idle periods. The aim is to align employees' use of internal hours with the company's strategic objectives, ensuring that every non-billable hour adds value to the firm.

Implementing tools and processes for efficiency

Efficiency in logging and managing internal hours can be significantly improved by implementing uniform tools and processes. When everyone in the firm uses the same systems, not only does it streamline the administrative workload, but it also enhances the quality and consistency of the data collected. Such a unified approach is key to gaining accurate insights into internal time expenditure and making informed decisions to optimise it.

Discover how Milient's system consolidates essential features into one convenient platform. This ensures a cohesive workflow, effective project progress monitoring, and simplifies the analysis of time tracking trends.

Communicating the guidelines to the staff

The successful implementation of any new practice relies heavily on clear communication and comprehensive training. Engage your employees by sharing the progress and rationale behind the optimisation of internal hours. This step is critical in securing buy-in and fostering a culture of continuous improvement within the firm.

Analyse the time spent on internal tasks regularly

Continuous improvement requires regular analysis and assessment. Keep a diligent watch on how internal hours are being used within your firm. Regular analysis allows for the identification of trends, the assessment of the effectiveness of implemented strategies, and the making of necessary adjustments. This ongoing scrutiny will ensure that the firm remains on track in reducing non-billable hours and enhancing overall productivity.

Interested in further enhancing your projects' financial health?

The strategies we presented in this article are part of our more comprehensive guide to mapping revenue leaks in project-oriented businesses. We recommend reading the full guide to reach the full potential of revenue in your company.

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