We're not fans of employee monitoring, and we're strongly against any form of screen spying, so we'll focus only on resource management, planning, and charging by the hour.
Venturing into a new project also means estimating the effort necessary for completing each part of it. An accurate estimate will ensure correct due dates and no deadline anxiety. Of course, unpredictable events may come your way at any moment, but you can only do so much about including them in your plans. When your team keeps track of the amount of time they spend on each task or project, you'll be able to compare these records to the given estimates. This will provide you with great insight for future planning.
Here's an example. You ask the content writer how long will it take them to wrap up a 1000 word article for a client, and you ask the designer the same question, only regarding the illustrations needed for the said article.
The writer estimates 16 hours, the illustrator 20, so you set the due date to be three days from the moment they start working on it. In the end, it turns out the writer tracked 22 hours (6 hours more than planned), and the illustrator 18 (2 hours less). It's not easy to make accurate predictions, especially when it comes to creative work, but these estimate vs. reality comparisons can help you plan better in time.
All this applies to solo freelancers, small teams, and large companies with many different departments.
We're all too familiar with setting a deadline for ourselves that we can hardly accomplish and then end up pulling all-nighters. The same goes for waiting around on a colleague to finish their part so we can take over.
We're here to say: it doesn't have to be that frustrating!