Want To Do Timesheeting in Outlook EASILY? Here’s How
Life can be hectic even at the best of times, especially if you are dealing with multiple responsibilities and commitments at work. Utilizing time tracking in a business environment has huge benefits, which is why so many companies across the world are increasingly opting for timesheet software and integrating it into their business protocols.
Time tracking software – also known as timesheet software, sometimes in the form of a timesheet plugin, is a highly sophisticated, specially-designed computer program or application that enables users to seamlessly track, record and report what, when and where they are working on, and their progress. While timesheets are primarily used for entering the hours worked by employees in the organizational system, there is much more to it than meets the eye. Your software used for timesheeting can often be used in numerous work-related activities, such as calculating payroll, billing clients, managing multiple projects, detailed reporting and enforcing reporting rules such as minimum work hours, access to projects and project information updates.
Challenges with Traditional Timesheeting
Timesheeting, or tracking time, has historically been used in organizations as the simplest, most straightforward way to track employee workloads, measure performance and calculate payments. However, when business owners and managers consider time tracking, they are faced with a dilemma.
Traditional approaches to time entries are time-consuming and cumbersome. These methods not only involve tons of hours’ worth of manual work; they are often riddled with errors that result in faulty reporting.
In contrast, modern time tracking software – by automating data processing and timekeeping – have successfully replaced the old and archaic paper-based time reporting systems at the workplace. These electronic time reporting mechanisms help users avoid costly calculation errors, labor-intensive manual reporting work and even fraudulent activities such as ‘buddy clock-in’. Today’s timesheet software is increasingly being employed in a wide range of industries – such as consulting, education, architecture, law firms, IT and many other fields.
What is the Purpose of Timesheeting?
Time is a scarce commodity that holds the key to a profitable business, being the most important element of success; the best way to track it is to use timesheets. If you’re looking to implement a timesheet system into your organization, there are five purposes it may serve.
- Accurate Payroll and Invoice Calculations
One of the most fundamental purposes of a timesheet is to calculate accurate wages for your employees. A timesheet serves as a foundation that contains all the necessary information required to pay your employees fairly and to send invoices to clients based on the timesheet records. This reassures your clients that their projects are being managed efficiently and that their money is being used in the best way possible. Time tracking serves as a means to justify your billings and allows clients to see how much progress is being made and the number of hours being dedicated to them.
- Human Resource Management
Timesheets are useful in more than just calculating payroll. They provide you with a better understanding of the inner-workings of your business and gives you detailed information which can be used to make better decisions regarding staffing and resourcing. Armed with this data, employers can evaluate which employees are the most efficient workers and who may need training to perform better. Timesheeting also gives insights as to where employees excel and where they are struggling, which allows management to allocate the workload more equitably based on each employee’s highlighted areas of expertise.
- Management Accounting
The use of time reporting provides data-driven managers with detailed information about a business’ operations to allow them to identify, analyze, and interpret the data which can help them make better and more effective decisions.
- Measures Efficiency
The flexible use of timesheets offers the ease of identifying the activities within an organization’s operations that are more efficient and the activities that are less productive, which can be used to modify and optimize a business’ workflow. These refined processes will ultimately help a business maintain its budgets, meet its deadlines, and most importantly, accomplish its goals.
What is the Use of Timesheets in Project Management?
Increasingly every day, employers are starting to realize the importance of time tracking in project management and for several businesses, timesheets have become an essential resource. Timesheets provide information that helps with both current projects and planning future ones by providing valuable insight that can drive an organization’s corporate strategies.
Timesheets offer managers the convenience of easily identifying the projects that require more time and the factors causing a delay, which can be used to solve time management problems and deliver projects on time. With the information they glean from their hour reporting, managers can analyze the amount of resources used in previous projects for future planning and can also calculate the costs of their projects and their employees’ engagement rate. This can be used to make reliable future financial and time estimations that can be compared to real-time data during execution.
How to Start with Timesheet Management?
Start by taking a step in the right direction by moving towards a convenient and accessible automated time tracking system. However, this will be of no use until your employees understand the significance and value of time tracking in their daily workings. Support the process with ongoing communication about the purpose and benefits of time tracking to your staff or else they will never be motivated to do so.
Train your employees to help them get a better understanding of the time tracking method you’re using. Start with one team of employees first, so you can identify problems before implementing the solution for everyone. It is also important to make sure that the timesheets are supported with additional information that illustrates your organization’s activities and that your employees understand the importance of filling out the timesheets regularly and honestly.
Devise a policy for your employees that documents the guidelines and procedures for completing and submitting timesheets, which will ensure that timesheeting is viewed as a responsibility in the office and increase accountability. Follow up on your employees regularly to ensure the non-disruptive running of your time tracking system and to clear any confusion they might have.
Get a Time Tracker with Outlook Integration
The great thing about timesheet software is the fact that you can have a time tracker with Outlook integration. At the most basic level, the ability to track your time or your employees’ time means that you see how you spent your time on various projects, tasks and activities at the workplace. Automating your time entries with Outlook timesheets have clear benefits, including:
- Improving Accuracy: Processing time data with automatic timesheets helps you achieve greater accuracy and transparency, meaning less errors and more accurate figures in less time. Outlook timesheets help you avoid serious issues such as over-billing/under-billing clients, clocking-in/clocking-out miscalculations and potential errors in reporting activities, which means more accurate data for managerial decision-making.
- Simplifying Business Processes: Time tracking tools in Outlook enable you to record workloads, fixed hours, overtime as well as leave time easily and quickly. This further simplifies payroll calculations, hours spent on work assignments and any time-off taken by employees.
- Better Planning and Forecasting: Manual reporting, as discussed, is slow, labor-intensive and burdensome. If you are looking for accurate, error-free time data that leads to better planning and forecasting, then automated timesheets is your best bet. Outlook time tracking tools improve efficiency in work management and better-quality planning for the future. Time tracking tools provide a measurable workforce solution that helps employers make more effective and sensible decisions when presented with all the data.
- Simplifies the Process: A time tracker integrated with Outlook makes it possible to track time on projects from your MS Outlook calendar, which leverages the infrastructure that you are already accustomed to since most businesses use Outlook as their calendar system. This way, users don’t need to be trained on how to use the new application, thereby simplifying the process of time tracking.
- Gives Your Organization A Competitive Edge: In today’s day and age, it’s important to keep up with competitive business practices in the market that help improve your business’ efficiency. An efficient timesheet solution in Outlook gives you that exact edge you need to prove yourself as a fierce competitor within the industry.
- Integration with Other Systems: A time tracking software integrated with Outlook aligns the organization by going hand in hand with other systems and departments, such as accounting, customer relationship management, and enterprise resource planning, which brings together your whole business as one unit. Pairing timesheets with advanced project management tools or invoicing systems can significantly ease the process of archiving, analytics, management, and billing.
- Personal and Business Insights on Time Spending: As an employer, you can’t have your eyes and ears on everyone, but it’s imperative that you’re kept up to date with your business’ dealings. Timesheeting in Outlook provides insights that help evaluate the skills of your employees and a summary of your team’s efforts, which can equip you with the necessary information required to help your business grow and enhance its agility, making it easier to adapt to future scenarios. Companies can also use this data to astutely invest resources in areas of their business where it may be profitable and stop investing where it may not.
- Transparency: With time tracking software, employees tend to be more sincere towards their work since there is more transparency and accountability. It can also help you gain their trust by providing objective data that will make them no longer question whether they are being paid less than what they deserve.
What to Expect from Timesheet Software in Outlook?
Time tracking might just be the perfect way to maintain your organization’s management and to adequately understand your organization’s needs. Here are a few changes in your business you can expect after implementing a time tracking tool in Outlook:
- Expect your business to reach new heights of success.
- Expect to see new levels of efficiency and competency from your employees.
- Expect your employees to be happier, which is an important factor in multiplying your business’ productivity and focus levels significantly.
- Expect convenience in tracking all your business processes – not just time.
What to Look for in a Time Tracker for Outlook
With rapid advancements in technology and automated business practices, there’s no reason your business shouldn’t be equipped with the best timesheeting tool out there. With quality time tracking software comes an efficient use of your time which can drive your business on the road to success. But what defines quality timesheet software? Here are some of the features that top-notch time tracking software in outlook should bring to the table before you choose to invest in it:
- System Compatibility: Good timesheet software needs to be compatible with your existing systems, for example Outlook. This saves the company the cost of having to provide all its employees with training for the timesheet software being used. A good solution should also allow you to import and export data to other systems making the work of other departments such as accounting or customer relationship management easier.
- Personalization: Providing employees with personalized options will go a long way towards ensuring efficiency. Something as simple as a ‘favorites’ option for employees that work on a specific project regularly can save a lot of time.
- Simple and User-Friendly Interface: The easier the interface of the software, the more likely the users are to understand how to use it.
- A Simple Flextime Solution: An ideal timesheet software should allow a business to define how many hours need to be reported by each employee, which should be used to give supervisors an overview of the hours reported compared with the hours that should have been reported.
- Accuracy: A timesheet software is nothing if not accurate. Unambiguous and accurate data plays a fundamental role in ensuring your business is making the right moves.
- Employer Supervision: Supervisors should be able to view the number of hours spent by each employee on a project and should be able to generate reports based on the data recorded in the timesheets.
- Simple Representation of Data: A good timesheet software shouldn’t complicate a business’ working, but instead provide a simple and easy-to-understand overview of all the information recorded with filters for your convenience.
- Data Security: Being in command of your data’s security is highly essential in today’s day and age because employees trust that their data is safe and secure when entering it.
How Do You Create a Timesheet in Outlook?
If you are a Microsoft Outlook user – and chances are that you already are – then you can take advantage of a time tracking add-in like TimeSheet Reporter that will help you keep a detailed record of what you do (or your employees do) during the day with little or no effort. This feature can prove to be extremely useful in proper time management and time reporting at the workplace.
By seamlessly integrating timesheet reporting in Outlook, timesheet software provides the user ready access to time-sensitive projects, client reporting, workflow deployment and reporting of time entries all inside Microsoft Outlook. From helping employees to easily track when they worked, to optimizing work processes, to forecasting future capacity of your teams, timesheeting in Outlook can serve as an ‘all-in-one’ solution that leads to realistic planning and better output.
When looking for time tracking software in the market, we recommend that you carefully assess each option against the value they will offer to your business. Ideally speaking, you would want to go for a software solution that will help you improve the workplace, manage workloads, improve productivity and efficiency and do a whole lot more besides. Getting the right solution can save you hours each week, with several hours more productive time per employee on a monthly basis.
Here is Everything You Need to Know
According to the latest research, organizations which keep a track of their time are able to gain more insights on business processes and productivity dynamics, while justifying time expenses and making better future estimates of billable client hours. User-friendly timesheet software can serve as an internal business tool that is extremely helpful for employee time tracking, workload allocation, management approval and reporting purposes. In addition, using timesheets helps companies avoid time leaks, workflow bottlenecks and any subsequent overstaffing or understaffing issues. By fine-tuning the entire recording and reporting process, timesheets improve accountability, productivity, efficiency and transparency at the workplace.
So you are convinced of the benefits of using timesheets, and are ready to begin. Now what? Timesheets are not only fast and easy to use, they are also incredibly simple to install and implement within the broader organizational structure. That is, importantly, if you get the right solution. To get the most value out of your time tracking data, here is a detailed guide on getting started if you want to do timesheeting in Outlook.
Managing Time for Activities and Projects
With a timesheet add-in in Outlook, like TimeSheet Reporter, a user can easily enter, edit and submit time entries for approval by his or her supervisor. He or she can also check or update the status of each entry made as accepted, rejected, under review or not submitted. Furthermore, the user can also flag them as billable or non-billable entries. You simply create an appointment like you normally would and add the relevant timesheet information.
Managing activities and projects with Outlook time reporting is not only quick and effortless, doing so also helps you determine which activities are most important and set priorities accordingly – thus making the most out of your time. You may also easily record and review the entire list of time entries for the day – with aggregates for the day and week – in one place.
Recording, Reviewing and Reporting
We all know how time-consuming and downright frustrating the task of filling out manual timesheets really is. In addition, maintaining manual timesheets is expensive – both in terms of costs incurred and time consumed. On the other hand, using an almost automated time tracking system helps you record, combine, track and analyze time data in a fraction of this time and cost.
Using Outlook time tracking, you can create unlimited time entries, projects and activities, and record daily hours on these. While timesheeting enable detailed reporting for administrators and project managers, it also results in a more transparent reporting process due to billable and non-billable reporting as well as project and activity specific reporting.
Timesheeting Add-in for Outlook
One of the most important questions when considering time tracking, is “How do I make time tracking easy?”
You need a hour reporting tool that not only helps you and your employees track time more efficiently, but something that they are already familiar with. Most professional organizations use Microsoft Outlook to manage emails, manage calendars and store important information on customers and clients. Your employees too might already be using Outlook, so finding a solution that builds on this is your best shot.
To do proper timesheeting in Outlook, you want to make sure you acquire a suitable timesheet plugin that seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Outlook. The next step is to streamline timesheet collection and reporting for all employees in Outlook. This will ensure that everyone in the company is on the same page, and the benefits of using time reporting software are equally dispersed across the board.
The right Outlook time tracking solution will offer you an overview of the performance of employees and projects in your organization. By streamlining objective, timely and accurate data, timesheet software helps business owners, supervisors and project managers to get a clear picture of employee performance, workplace productivity and company profitability.
Better time keeping with Outlook helps employers eliminate the problems of workload bottlenecks, leaked hours and incorrect reporting. By using digital timesheets, employees can track their time better, spend more of it in meaningful tasks and get more done.
By taking the guesswork out of the equation, the right time reporting solutions offer strong reporting capabilities, the ability to track hourly rates and expenses, and improve productivity and employee performance. Getting started with timesheets is easy and simple, and there are many benefits to reap if you want to do timesheeting in Outlook.
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