Tracking work hours spent by employees who work far off place or prefer to work from home has always been a challenging proposition for employees.
An Hourly Timesheet is a data table used by employers to track the time an employee has worked during an hour of office.
It is a corporate practice for businesses to track the time an employee spends working. Detailed records of work hours spent working helps employers in calculating how much they must pay.
In addition to that, time tracking also is a guarantee of compliance with the overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This Act legally entitles hourly employees to be rewarded for each hour spent working beyond the average 40-hours per week. Put merely, timesheets are a means to control labor costs and prevent legal risks.
What is a Time Entry?
All companies or organizations must account for the time their workers spend on tasks and projects. Time entry is a simple process, and it merely involves employees entering the time they start and end work on a timesheet. This information is used in calculating and processing payrolls by the employer.
10 Good Reasons to Use Timesheets
Following are the benefits of using an hourly timesheet:
Planning and providing quotes
The key reason why most organizations track the work hours of their employees is simply to facilitate the billing of their clients. Knowing how long specific tasks take, helps in planning for future jobs, and also increases the contractors’ confidence when sending quotes to potential clients.
Maintaining precise records
Employees, as well as employers, need accurate and detailed records to enable them to issue the correct payment and balance budgets. Having an hourly timesheet helps track the total hours spent on a project or task. Consequently, it also helps in calculating payments, thereby making the process effective and efficient for both the employer and the employee.
Tracking project costs
It is a common practice for any business to budget for every project in advance. The time taken by employees on a task has a cost. This cost is proportional to your employees’ hourly pay rate, plus any other employee contributions towards the project. Project cost is comprised of external suppliers, materials, and internal labor costs.
One of the toughest things for any project manager is to keep track of who has done what when, as employees accomplish a wide variety of tasks during their day. Regardless of whether your projects have an internal or external purpose, it is always imperative to measure the related cost of the project.
Tracking the time taken, with the help of an hourly timesheet, to complete the project will not only help you in determining the total cost of the project but also give you a comfortable time knowing exactly where your money is going.
Reduce time wastage
Hourly timesheets help one in understanding where labor is being over or underutilized. Hourly timesheets help in weeding out tasks that take longer than required and assist you in making decisions as to how you can tailor your tasks for optimum results.
Estimating future costs
Keeping detailed time records on tasks helps you in estimating the time it shall take for you to complete similar projects in the future. However, you have to put into consideration some other factors like the level of experience of your employees and the level of technology they can access.
Superior project management results
Hourly timesheets are startlingly essential tools for management in the following ways:
- In tracking the time taken by your employees on a project, you shall have an easy time qualifying an employee for a new project, role, or job based on their overall performance.
- Hourly timesheets helps to foster better cost tracking, consequently improving control over expenses. In addition to that, timesheets also help in stimulating better adherence to budgets and prevent risks of cost overruns.
- By analyzing the time taken by an employee to complete a task, you can determine the skill of someone in an individual area and allocate them the tasks they are best suited.
- Time tracking helps in overseeing employee adherence to time estimates and schedules. It helps you in assessing your team’s work progress and also the quality of your time estimation, which is very important as time estimation is one of the leading causes of project failures.
- Time tracking also helps in resolving disputes. For any project manager, time tracking is of utmost importance as it enables you to avoid any misunderstandings, conflicts, or any lawsuits that may arise with regards to the hours worked and payment received.
Additional information for employee appraisal
Cumulative data from hourly timesheets informs employee appraisal. The employer looks at various factors when carrying out employee appraisals. These factors include consistency in results in terms of adherence to time estimates and the average amount of time spent on tasks. In ensuring your employees sign hourly timesheets, you shall be able to pin out underperformers, achievers, and overachievers through the analysis of their logs.
Saving money through better HR
By compiling data on your employees, as an HR, you shall have a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your employees. This gives you a better understanding of the areas where individual employees perform best on. You can use this information to manage how you allocate tasks. It also helps you in making decisions such as when to hire, whom you should let go, where to allocate more resources etc.
Every employee is judged based on their performance. Since this performance is noted down in terms of hours worked in the hourly timesheet, and the time is taken to complete a project, everyone is treated according to the magnitude of their effort towards their tasks. Hourly timesheets create a bias-free working environment.
Monitor project and anticipate delays
Lastly, hourly timesheets enable project managers to monitor progress and anticipate delays. Following the average working hours of your employees’ allows you to estimate the time needed to finish a project. Consequently, help you in planning and devising ways of avoiding delays. As a project manager, you will have an easy time monitoring the progress of a project and making the needed changes were necessary to make it a success.
How to Use an Hourly Timesheet
Following are the five sections that are needed to be filled while using an hourly timesheet:
Section 1 – Employee Information
This section is usually at the top of the sheet it comprises:
- Full name of the employee
- Department- where the employee is assigned in the company
- Supervisors’ full name
- Date mm/dd/yyyy
- Hourly Rate
Section 2 – Hours worked
This section of hourly timesheet includes the records of:
- Regular hours
- Vacation hours/days
- Sick Pay
- Other Paid hours
- Unpaid hours
Section 3 – Total Calculations
In this section:
- Add the total hours by rows and record the numbers
- Add the dollar amounts in the columns and record in the blocks provided at the end of each column
- Regular hours
- Vacation hours/days
- Sick Pay
- Other Paid
- Unpaid hours
Section 4 – Amounts Paid
This section includes:
- Hours Paid
- Gross pay
Section 5 – Signatures
Signatures are usually included at the bottom of the timesheets. They include
- Employee Signature
- Supervisor’s Signature
Things to Improve Time Tracking
Following are a few things to do in order to improve the employee tracking time:
Make it super easy
For any successful team in an organization, time management is usually the determinant. Regardless of what you are using in tracking the time your employees take to complete a task, it should be simple, easy to use, and understand.
Make it quick
Filing in the working timesheets should be a quick process, not taking more time than it helps to save. To speed up the process of your employees filing in the timesheets, you can download our pre-designed timesheets.
Align everyone’s time tracking
To make your work easy as a manager and to avoid spending more hours reviewing and documenting everyone’s work time simply because it is unorganized, you should align everyone’s time tracking.
Set a deadline for submission of timesheets and approval deadlines for your managers. Have a clear policy on time management and enforce the rules in your time and labor management system.
Organize your time management
Creating project labels is one of the best ways of establishing clear distinctions in project categories and avoiding confusion. Agree on the minimum amount of time to use when logging in. To get accurate results and actionable insights, you can also include sick days and overtime in the timesheet.
Mistakes to Avoid for Time Tracking
Some of the mistakes that you need to avoid are:
Spending too much time on time tracking
Employees should have to take more than 10 minutes of logging. Similarly, the manager should have to spend much time analyzing the timesheets. Timesheets are meant to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of time usage, not end up costing you even more time.
Losing the trust factor
To ensure that your employees provide you with accurate reports and help them avoid questions like “Did I work enough today?” or “is the manager happy with my work today?” As a manager, you should be honest with your employees and explain to them that it is ok to log in the hours they’ve worked per day.
Forgeting to use the time reports
The primary purpose of having a timesheet is to help you in analyzing and optimizing your work. Time reports are of utmost importance to any project manager, and using it wisely will most definitely give you insights into not only your employees’ performance but also into the overall progress of the projects.
Having the best timesheet for your business is imperative in creating a valid payment system. Below are some tips to help you as you draft or customize your timesheet templates:
- Aim for simplicity: having a simple and immaculately designed timesheet enables your employees to fill out the timesheets correctly. Managers need to train their employees on how to fill in the timesheets to keep operations running smoothly.
- Ensure Government Compliance: to avoid any legal battles regarding the working hours; it is recommended you consult the FLSA to ensure you are calculating and recording hours and pay appropriately.
- Use Project Codes: as a project manager, it is essential to label all the tasks that employees shall be undertaking in a project. Assigning a code to each task makes it easy to track the resources deployed in all the tasks. It also helps in avoiding any mixups that may arise if the tasks are not labeled.
- Send Email Reminders to Employees and Managers: it is important to send email reminders to your employees and project managers to remind them and guide them through the whole process of filing and to submit their timesheets. The message should inform the employees of what they are required to do when they are required to do it, and, the importance of doing it.
- Get Managers and Higher-Ups Involved: inform the managers on the importance of approving the timesheets. Having everyone dedicated to ensuring that the employees file their timesheets is the best way of showing the seriousness of timesheet compliance. If the employees get an email from the top managers for failing to submit their timesheets, then they’re more likely to take note, and more often than not, they will correct their behavior immediately.
Free Hourly Timesheet Templates
Following are the hourly timesheet templates that can be downloaded for free:
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we fill hourly timesheets?
There are various reasons as to why you are required by your employee to fill out hourly timesheets. Hourly timesheets allow the organization to allocate its resources, manage its employees, and evaluate the total time and cost for their projects.
Do employees have to fill out timesheets?
This depends on the organization’s policy. All organizations have different policies. If it is a requirement that they must fill in timesheets, then they have to follow the rules and regulations set.
Is using a timesheet a good idea?
There are many benefits to using timesheets compared to its disadvantages. Timesheets are an effective way to manage time in an organization. So the answer is YES! It is a good idea to have and use them in your organization.