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How Can Time Tracking Spreadsheets Help You Save Time

If your business is tiny, you might not be ready to invest in human resources software that includes time tracking. However, you’ll still need a way to keep track of your employees’ working hours. How would you know how much to pay hourly employees each pay cycle if you don’t know how much to pay them? Using time tracking spreadsheets is your best bet until you’re ready for an automated technique. This is a completely free method of keeping track of time.

This RisePath blog discusses all that you need to know about Time Tracking Spreadsheets.

Time Tracking Spreadsheets

Defining Time Tracking Spreadsheets

A time tracking spreadsheet is a data table that an employer can use to keep track of how many hours an employee has worked over a specific period of time. Time tracking spreadsheets are used by businesses to track how much time they spend on tasks, projects, and clients. Time tracking spreadsheets have been recorded using a variety of ways, including paper, spreadsheet software, and internet time-tracking software. Digital time tracking spreadsheets have mostly replaced paper-based spreadsheets.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Time Tracking Spreadsheet?

In an ideal world, all of your employees would show up for work on time and leave on time. However, a doctor’s visit in the morning may cause them to be a little late, or a large project may require staff to stay late at work. Your organisation could pay thousands of dollars for the time that wasn’t worked or underpay employees who worked overtime if you don’t have data from a time monitoring spreadsheet. You may also require time tracking spreadsheets for client billing and government compliance, in addition to payroll.

Tracking time in a spreadsheet is essential for keeping clear, concise, and easily available records of the time you’ve tracked for work – you’ll need this data later for HR and payroll, client billing, regulatory compliance (DCAA, FLSA), and project status reports you to give to customers.

How to Track Time with Spreadsheets

To construct free employee time monitoring spreadsheets, most companies utilise Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Microsoft charges a one-time or ongoing cost to install or utilise their cloud-based system, OneDrive. Google Sheets is a free cloud-based spreadsheet programme that anyone with a Google account can use. Both systems are capable of using the same formulas and have similar functionality. However, having access to your spreadsheets from anywhere and being able to collaborate with your team can be really beneficial. If you can’t afford to pay for OneDrive, Google Sheets may be a better option for your small business.

Templates for Time Tracking Spreadsheets

You’ll need to start by generating a template, regardless of the system you use. It’s easier to discover information and manage payroll when everyone in the firm uses the same template to enter their time. 

You’ll need room in most templates for the date, start time, end time, and overtime. You might also include places for lunch hours, employee number, employee location, and PTO/sick leave hours, depending on your business needs.

If you’re not a spreadsheet genius, you might be hesitant to create a timesheet on your own. Fortunately, there is a plethora of free employee time tracking spreadsheet templates on the internet. 

Consider your payroll cycle while choosing or developing a template, and set up the template properly. If you process payroll biweekly, for example, have employees submit timesheets biweekly as well.

Different Types of Time Tracking Spreadsheets

For various business requirements, below are a few sorts of Time Tracking Spreadsheets:

1. Timesheet for each day

A daily employee timesheet allows you to track how many hours an employee, freelancer, or contractor worked in a given day. A daily timesheet is useful for companies that need to keep track of their employees’ schedules on a daily basis.

2. Timesheet for the Week

Businesses that wish to know how an employee, freelancer, or contractor spends their time in a week should use weekly timesheets. You may also track their productivity over the course of a week and evaluate their performance in short bursts.

3. Timesheet that is updated biweekly

A biweekly timesheet keeps track of single and multiple employee time entries for two weeks. You simply need to produce paychecks twice a month with this timesheet.

4. Timesheet for the Month

Every day for a month, a monthly timesheet tracks the work done by paid staff and freelancers. The timesheet lists each employee’s working and overtime hours for the day, as well as other information.

Pros and Cons of Using a Time Tracking Spreadsheet

Tracking time with spreadsheets can be a practical approach to managing time tracking in the early days of a firm when there are only a few employees. It can be done for little to no money, and since most people are already familiar with spreadsheets, it shouldn’t take long to learn how to use them.

However, you should be aware of the following disadvantages:

  • It can be challenging to track down spreadsheets for each person as your company develops.
  • Accidents are more likely to occur the more frequently a sheet is changed. A number is modified here, a date is removed there—mistakes like this can take a long time and even money to correct.
  • Employees may make mistakes when entering data. You rely on staff to remember to input their times each day and to be honest about them when using spreadsheets.
  • Payroll errors can be caused by errors on timesheets.

Some of these blunders can be avoided by sealing cells on employees’ timesheets that they don’t need to interact with (everything but their time in and out) and archiving old sheets so they can’t be modified later.

HRIS vs. Time Tracking Spreadsheets

Managing time cards was identified as one of the top three HR productivity killers in a survey. If you discover that time tracking spreadsheet errors are inescapable and that managing them consumes too much of HR’s time, you may need to modernise your procedure. HR can save time and avoid costly payroll problems by using time tracking software. The following are some aspects of time tracking software that any business might find particularly useful:

  • Approvals that are more efficient
  • Reminders to amend and approve timesheets are sent out automatically.
  • Overtime tracking is done automatically.
  • Reports that are simple to create
  • Errors are less likely.

If your company is still tiny and time tracking spreadsheets are serving you well, keep with them and try to streamline the process as much as possible. However, with technology growing at a breakneck pace and time becoming the most valuable resource for a business, time tracking has never been more critical. When your business grows, consider upgrading to time tracking software to save time and avoid the inevitable headaches.

Asha patel

Asha has been a program manager, project manager and product manager for multiple Fortune 500 global companies. She has experience with implementing many successful technology, operations and product management projects.

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