Use Outlook to Track Time – The EASY Way
You already know that tracking time is essential for your organization or company. This is in regard to both it’s current running but also longtime success and wellbeing.
Knowing how time has been spent is also paramount if you want to manage your organization’s financials, including payroll and invoicing, in the best possible way. Even if you don’t use it to calculate payroll or invoice clients, you still need to know how your time has been spent, to be able manage your projects and just your business overall in the best possible ways.
You need to know how time is being used and if it’s being used in the best possible way, for everybody’s sake.
Some of the things that we’ll be covering in this article is
- Why time tracking can be a hassle
- How to get around the hassle
- How you can use Outlook to track time
- How to see how time has been spent
- How to get the support from your employees
In a lot of organizations, when you mention the word ‘timesheets’, you’ll not always get smiles and high-fives. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can actually get employees to enjoy reporting their time.
Enjoy and read on…
Why time tracking can be a hassle
In a lot of organizations, when you mention the word ‘timesheets’, you’ll not always get smiles and high-fives. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. The reason usually is that it’s not the most ideal solution that has been implemented.
In a lot of these cases, users will have to learn and be trained in a new system. They will have to enter different programs on their computer, and on top of this, they will also have to remember what they did and when they did it.
This often results in the time reporting becoming inaccurate, since it’s based on guesswork. This is, if it get’s done at all, since in a lot of cases employees will try to avoid doing their timesheets, simply because it’s so much of a hassle.
Then supervisors will need to remind employees to send in their timesheets, which creates further frustrations.
All in all not an ideal situation.
How to get around the hassle
So how do you get around this hassle?
What you need to do, is to find a solution that builds on something that your users are familiar with, and make it easy for them.
If your organization is similar to most other successful organizations, you’re using Microsoft Outlook, including the Outlook Calendar, so you need to find a solution that lets you use Outlook to track time.
In this way, employees will not have to enter different systems. Instead it’s familiar to them, since they already know Outlook.
It also prevents double-work, since most info is already in the calendar, so you can use this as the basis for your timesheet reporting, together with a third-party solution.
How to use Outlook to track time
Now that we’ve established that using Microsoft Outlook as the basis for your time tracking is the best approach, let’s take a closer look at how you actually do this.
First of all, you need to find a solution like TimeSheet Reporter (TSR). This makes it possible to leverage your Outlook calendar for time tracking purposes. You simply go to the website and sign up, and then install the add-in.
When you now create appointments in your Outlook calendar, you can now also select a proper organization, project and activity for your time tracking. This will now show up on reports, etc. When you’re done with the appointment you can then optionally submit it for approval and a supervisor can then approve it.
That’s it. It doesn’t get much easier than this.
Seeing how you’ve spent your time
Having reported your hours is all good and well. However, you also want to get an overview of this collected data and see how time has been spent.
With the right tool, you also have strong reporting capabilities so that you can easily generate a report showing how time has been spent, both for individual users and also for the organization as a whole.
Furthermore you should also be able to see how time has been spent on individual organizations, projects and activities, both individually and also overall.
You should be able to dive down into data, depending on your needs and also to share this with other systems or people easily, for example via Excel sheets or CSV files.
Getting support from your employees
Is it really possible to get your employees to do their time tracking voluntarily and even enjoy it. It certainly is.
To do this, it’s essential that you show them the benefits of tracking time via Outlook and also the system as a whole. Show them how it benefits them individually as well as the organization overall.
You can give your users access to the reporting tool, so that they can see how their own time has been spent. Regarding this item, you can set it up so that they can see what everybody has been doing, or only how their own time has been spent, depending on your preferences and type of employee.
In all cases being able to actually see how time has been spent, is a great tool for most employees.
Besides this, it also makes timesheet reporting so much easier for them, since they don’t have to enter different programs, and they don’t have to remember when they did what. They can simply use Outlook to track their hours, making it really easy for them.
Furthermore it’s important that you communicate with them that this is not to spy on them, but to help them individually as well as the organization as a whole.
Summing it up
- Use Outlook to track time in
- Go to TimeSheet Reporter’s website and sign up for free to get an account
- Install the add-in
- Use the reports to see how time has been spent
- Enjoy all the benefits 🙂
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