Who does not know the diction “time is money”? One of the main goals of timesheets is to avoid losing them. Several American studies have shown that service companies lose $ 50,000 a year in revenues due to inaccurate employee timesheets.
Indeed, if the employees do not correctly enter their hours worked, it is impossible to invoice these hours to the customer, and therefore to the company to be paid.
Even if you don’t invoice your hours, timesheets allow you to identify the time required to complete the various tasks of the project and anticipate potential delays.
In short, this tool allows you to precisely follow the progress of your project and the performance of your team. This is why it is essential that this tool is filled accurately.
As a project manager, you know that it is important to fill out your timesheet precisely and diligently.
Most of your team members know this too; however, there are always collaborators who don’t. This can have several consequences on the smooth running of the project, such as:
Loss of income;
- The inability to know whether the completion of the tasks takes the scheduled time
- The impossibility of knowing the workload of your collaborators, and thus of distributing it better to be more effective;
- The impossibility of knowing if your project is profitable because the working hours of your collaborators are not entered correctly;
- A lack of data on which to rely to establish schedules and evaluate your future projects;
The different causes of inaccuracy
It is true that today, it is difficult to accurately capture the time spent on each task during a working day. First, because it is rare to work on only one task throughout the day.
Then, because you are constantly contacted, either by email or by phone. Answering a call or an email only takes a few seconds to a few minutes, but no one enters this time in their timesheet.
Same thing with meetings: a lot of people don’t capture the time spent in meetings. Yet it is an important part of your work.
Another reason is that the timesheet is considered an additional task. Indeed, it is not part of the project tasks and is not included in the planning.
Your employees often think about it after the fact, usually on Friday evening, just before leaving for the weekend, or else they completely forget to fill it out. In these cases, it is difficult to remember precisely how much time they spent on their tasks. The information entered is then very often inaccurate.
What about hours which are not directly linked to the project, but which nonetheless contribute to its completion? For example, going to lunch with the whole team, training a newcomer, taking a coffee break with their manager, or even organizing the next Christmas evening.
These tasks do not directly advance the project, but they do help keep the team motivated and keep the business running properly, which makes them essential. It is, however, difficult to enter the hours spent on these activities in the timesheets.
Each actor in the project must complete their timesheet
It is essential that each person working on the project fills out their timesheet as this can determine the success or failure of the project.
- Indeed, timesheets allow in particular to:
- Manage the project budget by following the distribution of resources;
- Ensure that deadlines are met;
- Measure the performance of his team;
- Compare the planned efforts with the efforts made.
You must follow your project in real-time so that you can act quickly and make the necessary decisions when problems arise.
This is why each member of your team must fill out their timesheet daily and rigorously.
How to have precise timesheets?
First, you must explain to your team why it is essential that each of them completes their timesheet accurately. Then define together the expected level of precision: half-day, hour, a quarter of an hour, etc.
Then use online time management software or project management software that automatically integrates timesheets into its functionality.
There is a multitude of software available that makes entering hours easy and intuitive. Some apps even let you start a stopwatch that counts your hours while you work.
As a project manager, it is essential that you analyze the timesheet reports of your team members. In this way, you detect potential problems, anticipate delays, and identify overworked collaborators and those who are more available.
Finally, you show your employees that timesheets are useful and that they don’t fill them out for nothing.
For more precision, link your timesheets directly to your project schedule. Project management software automatically fulfills the different tasks assigned to each employee in his timesheet.
At the end of the day, the team members only have to enter the hours spent on the day’s activities. The advantage? Your schedule is automatically updated according to the hours entered.
So you know which tasks are likely to take longer, and which tasks are progressing faster than expected. Then fix the issues and make any necessary adjustments to make sure the project is on schedule.
The use of our free editable template greatly facilitates the use of timesheets and project monitoring.
To increase the accuracy of your team’s timesheets, follow these 4 steps:
- Explain to your team the usefulness of timesheets;
- Equip yourself with intuitive software to easily enter the hours worked;
- Analyze the data collected;
- Make decisions based on data analysis.