Every founder wants the same thing: to know that their employees are all working effectively and productively each day for the benefit of their business.
But as your company grows, it can be more difficult to keep track of what everyone is up to, and where people are spending their time.
This can lead to you feeling out-of-the-loop and as if your company is running without you. What’s worse, having less of an understanding of what people are doing each day can lead to your company running inefficiently and wastefully.
To make sure this doesn’t happen, you can start requiring all of your employees to fill in timesheets each day, where they log what they were working on for every hour they’re in the office.
Timesheets provide a simple solution to problems that can affect growing companies, and can help to minimise waste and improve employee productivity.
Used by companies large and small, and favoured by agencies, remote teams, and growing startups, employee timesheets are a quick and easy way to make an impactful change to the way your business runs. They can take the form of paper printouts that individual employees keep at their desks and hand in at the end of each week, an online shared document that everyone fills out each day, or powerful and automated time tracking software programs that run in the background and monitor what your employees are working on at all times.
The Benefits of Employee Timesheets
As well as helping you gain a greater understanding of what is going on in your company on a daily basis, employee timesheets also help companies save time and money by pointing out where inefficiencies lie in workflows or in teams.
How Employee Timesheets Save Time
Employee timesheets can help to quantify time sucks or time-wasting employees, and help management and executives take better leadership decisions that can reduce time waste and help to encourage employees to work productively for every hour of the day.
Being able to see what everyone is working on and how long they spend working throughout the day, not only informs you to make better decisions, but can also make you a more empathic leader, as you understand intimately how hard your employees are working and the sacrifices they are making to help you grow your business. Showing empathy at work can inspire your employees to commit to their jobs more readily, make greater sacrifices, and can make your team better respect you as a leader – all things which can greatly boost your business’ chances of success.
How Employee Timesheets Help Agencies
If you run an agency or a client-facing business, employee timesheets can serve as a great way to reassure your clients that projects are being handled effectively, efficiently, and productively, and that their money is not being wasted on ineffective workers. What’s more, being able to justify all of your invoices and billed hours through concrete, impartial reports and independent trackers means that your clients will have less room to manoeuvre when it comes to payments and that your company will be able to bill what it deserves.
As well as helping you justify your costs, powerful time trackers and timesheet software can help you to avoid the dreaded email back-and-forth where clients repeatedly check up on a project’s progress. Employee timesheets make it easy for clients to see what is being worked on right now, how much time is being dedicated to projects, and how much progress is being made each day.
What’s more, employee timesheets can help you keep track of whether you are making or losing money on a project. If you’re providing a client a fixed-fee, employee timesheets allow you to monitor how much time is being spent on a project (and the spend per hour), so that you don’t end up losing money.
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How Employee Timesheets Lead to Increased Efficiency
Having such a deep level of insight into how your company spends its time can also help you to make big improvements in the way your company runs its projects.
If you see that your employees repeatedly fall down at the same stage of a project, whether it be planning or final execution, you and your team leaders can investigate to see what’s creating the roadblock. This can help you make refinements to workflows, processes, or even the way your team communicates, and this can only be achieved by intimately knowing exactly how your company is running each hour of the day.
Why Employee Timesheets Can Save Your Company Money
Better understanding your business, and having concrete information that tells you exactly what your employees are working on each day, can help you to make substantial and necessary savings that can make your business more profitable.
Employee timesheets let you spot which of your workers is most productive and effective by letting you compare their output and the time they spent working. This means that you can quickly and clearly see which employees you should reward, and spot which employees are costing your business money through poor performance and time wasting.
Being better informed also means that you can make better decisions around resourcing and staffing, and can avoid costly hiring mistakes.
Employee timesheets can also act as a great way to increase the productivity of your employees by offering them an impartial way to track their own performance and output – having to fill out time each day can act as a small nudge that encourages your employees to spend their time wisely and productively.
How to Implement Employee Timesheets
The benefits of using employee timesheets in your company are pretty clear, and they are an inexpensive and easy way to make your business run better, your clients happier, and your employees more productive.
But how do you implement them quickly, and without annoying your employees?
Start from the Top
To get started, create a top-down approach to employee timesheets, and mandate that all of your top-level employees (including yourself) start using timesheets for every work day.
Starting with your highest-ranking employees first, and then rolling the practice out to the rest of your teams, will make your employees less likely to feel that the timesheets are being implemented to watch over them, and more likely to accept it as a smart business decision.
Incentivise Your Employees
To make the transition to using employee timesheets even smoother, encourage competition between employees and teams – give out monthly awards for the most productive and efficient team or employee, and make the process of tracking time an activity that your employees will want to do. If you don’t want to give your employees prizes of value, you can reward them with things like 30 minutes of extra lunch time, or an extra half-day of vacation. These prizes are worth working for, and will make your employees embrace the timesheets.
On top of this, create a culture of transparency in your workplace, where all employee timesheets (yours and your executives’ included) are shared among every worker. That way, you can all see what everyone is working on, and less productive employees will feel slightly pressured to increase their productivity to bring it in line with their peers.
While employee timesheets themselves have lots of benefits, you will only get the most out of them if you implement them effectively – if your employees hate filling them out, and are suspicious of your motives, the practice won’t pay off as well as if they embrace them and enjoy using them.
Use Time Tracking Software
To avoid one of the biggest burdens that comes with using employee timesheets (remembering to fill them in regularly), consider using powerful time-tracking software that automatically tracks the time you spend on projects.
This means that your employees don’t have to repeatedly remember to fill out exactly what they’re doing each hour of the day, and can get on with working on their computer.
Hubstaff and other time tracking software can also capture screenshots of your employees’ computers, monitor the apps and URLs they use and visit, and benchmark and compare employee activity levels – all of these features will help you better monitor your workers, and allow you to understand where time is being spent.
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Make It Simple
If you are looking for a free and easy-to-use solution to get started with time tracking, consider creating a simple Google spreadsheet that your employees can update each day. As it’s a spreadsheet, you won’t have all of the powerful features that custom time tracking software offers, but you will still have the ability to track time effectively.
Are You Ready to Implement Employee Timesheets in Your Company?
Employee timesheets can be the solution to many of the problems businesses face today. They can help founders and executives gain a better understanding of what goes on in their companies, they can help businesses justify their invoices to clients, and they can help improve efficiency and reduce time-wastage.
If you’re ready to implement timesheets in your business, remember to be clear and transparent with your employees and make the timesheets something they will want to use – only then will you see all of the benefits they have to offer.