How To EASILY Turn Outlook into a Vacation Time Tracker – How To Use Your Regular Outlook Calendar as an Employee Vacation Calendar As Well
Challenges with a traditional vacation time tracker
Vacations are a good thing for everybody. Whether you go traveling or stay at home, vacations are paramount. It’s a great way to recharge, which benefits both the individual person as well as the organization that the person works in.
In this regard you of course also need to know how much time you’ve spent on vacations, or time-off in general.
With more traditional approaches, you’d need to register this in separate software programs or in some cases just Excel spreadsheets. This can be a huge headache for both managers and employees, since they will need to enter different programs, learning how to use these, and in a lot of cases managers will need to collect and compile all this data manually.
This takes away focus from more important things, for example like their actual tasks to be completed.
That being said, it’s really important that time, including vacation time, is tracked correctly. For everybody’s sake.
So is there an easy and accurate way to do this? Luckily there is. Read on…
Where to look
So where should you look? You need to find a vacation time tracker that makes it easy for both employees and managers. Also, you should not overcomplicate things but also not oversimplify them either.
In a lot of cases for example being able to request time off formally through a system is not necessary. You just ask your boss if it’s fine that you take a certain number of days off at a certain time. Then you and your manager can quickly see how much vacation time you’ve already had, and see if it’s fine.
So in most cases all you really need is a way to simply register your actual vacation time and nothing more. This is both for managers’ and employees’ sake.
The vacation time tracker you select should also be able to quickly give you an overview of how much time has been spent on vacation.
For managers, they should be able to get an overview of all their employees, as well as detailed info about each individually if they need it. Regular employees on the other hand should also, optionally, be able to quickly get an overview of how much vacation time they have had.
Besides reporting time on time-off, your solution should also provide you with the opportunity of reporting your ‘normal’ work time. That is, time on internal projects, client projects, administrative activities, etc. In this way you can use the system for so much more and also still just having a single solution.
Turning your regular Outlook calendar into an employee vacation calendar as well
Most professional organizations and companies use Microsoft Outlook. Most employees also put their time-off in their Outlook calendar so it also acts as a personal employee vacation calendar. You should build on this and let your employees’ work calendar double as an employee vacation calendar.
With a third party solution, for example like TimeSheet Reporter, you can use your Outlook calendar for tracking time, including on time-off and vacation. You may already be familiar with TSR and know how to use it to track ‘regular’ time. You can actually also use it to track time-off, including vacation time.
What you do is that when creating an appointment in Outlook, you use the TSR add-in and first select an organization from the dropdowns on the appointment. This could be your own organization. Then you select a project, for example called ‘Leave’ or ‘Time-off’, and then an activity, for example ‘Vacation’.
That’s it. And already at this stage (after a synchronization has taken place) you can now see this in reports, etc., so that you can also easily get an overview of what has been planned.
When the vacation is then done, you can (optionally) then submit your hours for approval, and a supervisor can then approve it.
You can then again create reports and see how much completed/approved vacation time has taken place.
It doesn’t get much easier than this.
Making it benefit everybody
When selecting a vacation time tracker it is very important that you show your employees how it will benefit them. Show them how easy it is to track their time off, using Outlook as an employee vacation calendar, where they most likely already put in this information to begin with.
Show your management how easy it is to create reports to get an overview.
Also, consider giving your regular users access to the reporting function, so that they can easily see how much vacation time they’ve had or have planned.
Finally also find a solution that you can also use to track your regular hours, so that you don’t need to learn and access multiple different systems.
So this is how you can easily track your vacation time, as well as regular time, in your Microsoft Outlook calendar.
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