Whether you run a tech startup or a call center, keeping track of staff hours is critical. Not only will it help you in managing attendance and payroll, but it will also assist you in determining employee efficiency.
However, how do you keep track of staff hours?
One of the easiest methods available is by using spreadsheet-based timesheets to track and record billable hours.
In this blog, we will also discuss what a timesheet is and the pros and cons of using manual timesheets. Lastly, we will highlight a superior alternative you can use today to further streamline your workflow.
Table of contents
- What is a Timesheet?
- Is Maintaining a Timesheet Essential for Higher Productivity?
- Pros of Using Spreadsheet-Based Timesheet
- Cons of Using Spreadsheet-Based Timesheet
- A Better Alternative to Manual Timesheets: Time Tracking Software
What is a Timesheet?
A timesheet is a data table that an employer can use to keep track of how many hours an employee worked during a specified period of time. Timesheets are used by businesses to track time spent on tasks, projects, and clients.
Freelancers and contractors who work irregular hours can use timesheets to precisely compute their billable hours.
Employees or supervisors have traditionally recorded this information on paper timesheets. Creating timesheets from scratch each day, on the other hand, is frequently time demanding.
Is Maintaining a Timesheet Essential for Higher Productivity?
From a small to medium business perspective, maintaining a spreadsheet appears to be the most reasonable. A powerful spreadsheet-based timesheet can be used to manage an entire business, while smaller spreadsheets are used to control processes, count money, manage resources, or analyze and visualize data. This method does have some advantages, yet it comes with several flaws that cannot be overlooked.
Pros of Using Spreadsheet-Based Timesheet
1. Boosts Profitability 💵
A manual timesheet, whether in Excel or Google Sheets, is capable of performing extensive analytics and business intelligence operations.
Tasks can be scheduled to fit in the time slots of timesheets. By creating an Excel timesheet and implementing it throughout the company, makes it much easier to track who worked on a certain project and for how long. Apart from simplifying invoicing, this system provides more precise information about the effectiveness of the campaign and who-and-when-did-what.
“By promoting timesheet compliance, all the additional costs of each project can be properly tracked, assuring constant and accurate cost forecasts”
TImesheets are ideal for small businesses that provide custom solutions to their customers. Not only can timesheets alert management to areas where clients are being over-or under-charged for completed work, but they can also be shared with the client to increase transparency. If customers continue satisfied with the value they receive, they are likely to extend their stay as a retained client. Additionally, they are more likely to suggest your agency to others, which will result in increased revenue for you in the long run.
Apart from current clients, tracking the costs of certain projects enables you to fine-tune your pricing strategy and make more educated judgments about how much to charge new clients.
Furthermore, when charging clients, you can provide invoices alongside relevant timesheets to demonstrate the hours spent on their tasks.
2. Increase Productivity and Accountability ⏭
According to Staff Squared, one of the most popular HR software, nearly 90% of employees waste time on the job on a daily basis, with social media distractions costing the US economy approximately £25 billion each year, or an average of £824 per employee. By requiring employees to measure their time, they become more accountable for their actions, which results in increased productivity and decreased procrastination.
Timesheets for tasks can help demonstrate to staff the value of their efforts to a broader project. If a person feels accountable for a specific aspect of a project, rather than being a cog in a machine, they will be motivated to work more efficiently in order to avoid making any mistakes or errors that could have a negative impact on the organization.
This amount of transparency between management and team members can also demonstrate how diligent individuals are, which is especially significant for remote employees who cannot physically witness how they use their work hours.
3. Identifies Areas for Automation to Improved Efficiency 🧮
According to a recent ABBYY study, UK employees waste approximately 40 working days each year on administrative tasks such as paperwork, data or document organization, or reminding staff of upcoming tasks. Furthermore, according to the same study, 62% of UK employees want their companies to streamline or automate their operations, particularly for manual, paper-based tasks.
Without timesheets, however, you will have no accurate way of determining which tasks need to be streamlined. Timesheets provide a comprehensive view of all the tasks of an employee. By correctly recording the time required to accomplish each task, no matter how trivial, you’ll be able to identify areas where employees are wasting time and whether they may be improved.
Allowing your employees extra time in particular areas can increase their efficiency, allowing them to focus on more complex and critical assignments. It may even assist them in reducing their stress levels, thereby shortening their workweek and enhancing their work-life balance.
4. Track Staff Behaviour and Adapt Roles 🕵️♂️
It barely matters how long a business has been running; the fact that positions must evolve and change, and eventually become redundant is absolute. Flexibility is critical — businesses that are willing to adapt to changing conditions are more likely to prosper. With a little bit of creative thinking, timesheets can help you with this.
Timesheets helps you discover which departments are requiring workers to work overtime more frequently, which may indicate that they may be understaffed and requires more resources. Alternatively, you can also identify which departments are perhaps overstaffed, with individuals frequently clocking out early, indicating that their time could be better used in other areas of the business.
Cons of Using Spreadsheet-Based Timesheet
1. Low Employee Morale 🙍♀️
While many people thrive on being accountable for their own time management, others may feel as though management is spying on them. In some cases, this sense of surveillance by itself might motivate an employee to work well because they are aware their production is being observed. However, for others, particularly those who highly value trust in the employee-employer relationship, this can have a detrimental effect on their morale and sense of autonomy.
Additionally, If you decide to implement timesheets in your firm, you need to do it throughout the entire business. If you begin selecting which members of staff to use to record others’ time, there is a possibility that morale will suffer. Employees will be perplexed as to why they are required to report their time while others are not.
Employees dislike seeing management treated differently from them, which is why it’s critical that if you’re going to utilize timesheets, you ensure that everyone is using the same system, all the way up to the senior management team. Additionally, it will assist you in remaining organized and sustaining those efficiency gains across your entire firm. Benefits will accrue only if everyone is on board.
2. Timesheet Anxiety 😫
Numerous factors can contribute to timesheet anxiety. For example, team members may feel bad about reporting their ‘real’ hours if a task takes longer than is considered appropriate. Alternatively, personal or health circumstances may force an employee to underperform for a brief period, prompting them to panic if they are unable to clock in a sufficient amount of time.
3. Difficult to Track Intangible Tasks 📅
Meetings, catch-up sessions, and brainstorming sessions can all be valuable to a project, but they can also be challenging to measure effectively. For example, if six team members attend a client meeting for an hour, is it counted as one hour of the client’s time allowance, and if so, which of the six attendees keeps track of that time? Or is it six hours of the client’s time allowance, because each member spent an hour in the meeting?
4. Human error ❌
Regardless of how automated your timesheet system is or how clever your online system is, a timesheet is inherently reliant on some form of human participation. As a result, there is a high probability of a human error occurring at some point. It may be wholly unintentional – after all, mistakes are inevitable – or you could even run the danger of someone purposefully misrepresenting their hours.
In either case, you should consider implementing some type of check to ensure that these errors are caught and do not affect payroll. If someone is consistently documenting incorrect hours worked, you do not want to pay them more or less than they are entitled to, since this can be costly and time-consuming to rectify when it is detected.
A Better Alternative to Manual Timesheets: Time Tracking Software
If you want a more dependable and more efficient method of time tracking, an online timesheet software or time card calculator is the perfect solution.
Employees only need to clock in when they begin work and out after their shift using an online employee timesheet solution. The program will automatically generate timesheets for them depending on their hours worked.
Additionally, because the data is 100% accurate, you can feel comfortable that you are paying staff or billing clients the correct amount.
Additionally, you’ll receive detailed information about each employee’s work hours, which will assist you in determining their productivity.
But which software should you use?
There are a lot of free time tracking services, but, with more than 100,000+ users, we recommend TimeTackle. TimeTackle provides the simplest and versatile time tracking services in the market. Track everything you do for a week, from getting lunch to attending important conferences, to get an accurate picture of your time utilization.
Automatic Time Tracking and Analysis with Time Tackle
TimeTackle is a time tracker which allows you to measure your time spent on tasks in real-time and then analyze whether you’ve achieved them or not. It provides an easy way to construct timelines from your calendar data directly so that you will be able to track hours and time spent in new and inventive ways.
What makes TimeTackle special is that it caters to all types of users’ time management needs. You can sign for yourself as well as for your teams so that your organization can achieve true-time efficiency. Audit and adjust your schedules to make your team time efficient. It utilizes machine learning to explore and analyze your key performance indicators(KPIs) and priorities and assists you and your team in getting the most out of your workday and save time.
Additionally, you can also measure your meeting health with TimeTackle. TimeTackle allows you to understand the overall meeting load across your organization and lets you identify and eliminate time sinks.
- Calendar Event Analytics
- Realtime Time Tracking
- Categorize and Tag Events
- Custom Reports
- Sync with Google Sheets
- Enterprise-Grade Security
- Easy to use Chrome Integration
If you are still not convinced about online tracking software find out more about whether you should consider using timesheet apps or spreadsheets in our other blog: Spreadsheets vs Timesheet apps: The Good, The Bad, and The Pointless
After considering all these choices, you may decide to use timesheets in your organization. They are not for everyone, but many firms find them to be an efficient method to save time and money, and as long as you are aware of the potential negatives, you can typically work around them.
Why not check out our timesheet calculator to learn more about how timesheets might benefit you? You’ll find our timesheet calculator, as well as further information about timesheet systems, right here.