How To Track Employee Time with a Simple Timesheet
If you want to be able to see how people spend their time in your organization, optimize the way you work, focus on the activities that bring you value, while at the same time keeping your users happy, read on…
The Question – How To Track Employee Time?
Whether you are working as a freelancer, a non-profit organization or a large enterprise, you need to make sure that your company has as much success as possible. An essential part of this is accurately knowing how your workforce spends their time. This is the case no matter if it is for billable hours, for internal activities or simply time off, and whether it is for sending an invoice to your clients or used as the basis for your payroll processing.
So, how to track employee time? In some organizations they try to keep track of work hours by manually entering time in a separate application or a spreadsheet. The issue with this approach to time tracking is that it requires users to remember exactly what they did and at which time and day, and it also requires them to shift to a separate program. All this takes time and becomes highly inaccurate, resulting in your users becoming not as happy as they could be and since they need to spend so much time on it, your workforce productivity will also suffer greatly.
This is not what you want, if you want your organization to become more successful. You want a simple timesheet that makes life easier for your employees while making your organization more successful.
The Answer – A Simple Timesheet
You want your timesheet software to be as easy to use as possible, while at the same time providing you with the numbers and data you need to make informed decisions, and to make your operations run more efficiently.
If your company or organization is like most other professional organizations, you are using the Microsoft Outlook Calendar for scheduling your appointments and more or less all your time on a daily basis. A simple timesheet should build on this, and seamlessly integrate with this, so that you can use your Outlook calendar appointments as the basis for your time tracking. So this is the answer to how to track employee time.
Your time tracking software should help you simplify things and work in an intuitive way for your users. In this way it will be a lot easier for your users, as they do not have to enter different applications and they do not need to remember what they did when. It is all there in the calendar, which your time tracking software should be able to use.
Besides tracking time, if you also have the need, you should have options for expense tracking and hourly rates in the system.
Furthermore giving supervisors the option of approving submitted time entries is also a great feature to have.
Finally the solution should of course also provides you with reports and overviews of how time has been spent, which will help you with eliminating activities which do not bring any value, calculate job costing, see totals, allocate resources to the right areas and help you with overall workforce management.
You should of course also be able to share this data with other systems or employees via CSV files or Microsoft Excel.
Benefitting Your Users
It is all great that you now know how to track employee time in the best way possible, but how do you ensure that it will also be implemented well and received well by your actual users?
It is paramount here that you explain to your employees why you track time at all. Explain how this is to see how time is being spent, both individually and for the organization overall, so that you can see if you focus on the right areas or if you need to reconsider how you prioritize your activities.
Give them access to the reporting function, possibly only access to their own time, so that they can actually see how they spend their time themselves. This will often be quite an eye-opener, and benefit them in so many ways, since they can then spend their time in a more productive and fulfilling way.
Also, show them how easy it is to track time by using their Outlook Calendar appointments, compare to more traditional approaches that would take up a ton of time for them, as well as management in collecting all the data.
So involve your users early in the process, and have key employees be part of the setting up of the system in the trial phase, so they can really benefit and pass on the knowledge that they gain to other employees.
Imagine a scenario where your users actually enjoy reporting their time, and where they can easily get an overview of how they have spent it. Also, imagine management being able to have data and information right at their fingertips with user-friendly reports that clearly show how time and resources has been spent.
This is all possible if you keep the points from this article in mind:
- Your timesheet solution should be based on your Outlook Calendar appointments
- It should provide you with an easy overview of how time has been spent
- It should be user-friendly and require almost no training for your end-users
- Options for tracking expenses and having hourly rates
- Engage and involve your users early in the process
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