40 Non-Billable Billable Hours

I understand that many professions have billable hours.  Lawyers, accountants, and consultants in general need a way of quantifying slices of time in order to request payment from their many clients.

If you’re part of a business who primarily consults with clients, then I understand the direct link between logging time and receiving payment.

However, if you’re part of an internal organization that performs a standard function servicing thousands of internal clients who in turn serve internal clients themselves, tracking and categorizing time may be splitting hairs and counterproductive.  Should a timesheet really take an hour to fill out?  Should we really break down what kind of work and who we did it for on a time sheet?

Apparently filling in 40 hours per week is not acceptable effort in filling in the time sheet.  Are we really talking about “time sheet effort” or work hours here?  I don’t really consider it consequential that I worked 8.25 hours on Monday and 8.75 on Thursday.  If the purpose is to indicate when someone is working too many hours, I think it would be more important to actually talk to the employees directly.  If I’m feeling passionate about a particular project, if would feel that it’s counterproductive to tell me to stop work on it because I’ve worked too many hours.

Also, how am I supposed to classify “making coffee” and “deleting 2 MB internal bulk email items”?  If we are to assume that 40 hours of productive time occurred, I’m not certain that there would be enough hours in the day to fill those.

It’s also suspect that every week logged must be over 40 hours per week when hourly employees are not allowed to log 40.25 hours in a week without permission.  This indicates that it’s more a question of how much value [hours] the organization is getting out of an employee for the pay given.