Is working time the same as project time?

This question arises again and again in many sectors. Usually, opinions differ here. Many companies working with projects and the related time accounting, mix up these things. However, the question remains: is working time the same as project time?

To approach this subject, the working hours must first be analyzed. In Germany, there is a standard working time of eight hours per working day. According to legal regulations, there is also the possibility, to increase this time to a certain amount up to ten hours. Assuming a 5-day week, a full-time worker is charged with 40 hours per week. This is true if there is no increase to 10 hours of working time.

Thus, an employee has eight hours of working time available per day.

Let's have a look at the project time. Here, we also make assumptions. Our first assumption is that we will install and set up two servers. We plan six hours in our projects for each task. At the same time, there are tickets from customers that we want to complete. In our assumption, we suppose three tickets, each requiring a working time of 15 minutes.

Now this is our project plan:
360 minutes - install and set up server 1
360 minutes - install and set up server 2
15 minutes - complete ticket 1
15 minutes - complete ticket 2
15 minutes - complete ticket 3
765 minutes - total time (12 hours 45 minutes)

If we would say: "Project time is the same as working time", we would not be able to complete the work within one working day (eight hours) - provided we would process the work one after the other or distribute it among several employees.

Everybody knows that an installation involves downloading and installing a lot of data. This results in waiting times and an intervention usually only is necessary if an error occurs. Thus, during installation, it is quite possible to do other work short term. So, for some employees it is no problem to process smaller inquiries or tickets during the installation.

In the above-described case, we assume that the two installations run without errors and partially at the same time. In this case, an experienced employee would be able to do all the work in one working day. The planned time, i.e. a total of 765 minutes (12.75 hours), can be booked on the project time account all the same, since the individual work actually took up the planned time. The employee accounts the time that he actually used as working time on that day to his working time. Since the work was partially done in parallel, the working time would be lower than the project time.

If we look at the working time, it can be longer than the project time, e.g., if a company does not map administrative activities such as meetings, further education, and the like in projects. In these cases, you must consider whether you want to set up administrative projects so that these times can also be recorded. However, this creates additional accounting effort for your colleagues. It must also be clearly stated that an employee who has not been assigned to any project work and who has a contractually stipulated working time of 8 hours can also account these hours - but where to if project work is the same as working time.


There is a significant difference between working time and project time. The project time can be longer than the working time and just like that, the working time can be longer than the project time.

In this respect, one can answer the question asked at the beginning: “Is working time the same as project time?” with a clear “no”.


In KLUSA, we will still support the existing time accounting for the project work and integrate a simple possibility for the accounting of working time with a display of flextime and holidays.


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