At eBillity, we like feedback.
Recently, we surveyed our clients and found that one of the Time Tracker features they use most is weekly timesheets. So today we’re exploring the effectiveness of weekly employee timesheets, while also looking at which features need to work for you.
Are weekly employee timesheets effective?
The short answer is yes—but only if employees use them, and only if the information they input into those timesheets is accurate.
When it comes to employees, studies show that:
- 36% never track time spent sending emails
- 20% never track time spent in meetings, and overall
- More than 700 hours go unbilled annually in any company.
Across all professions, our collective inability to capture email, meetings, and call time in weekly timesheets adds up fast. Experts estimate that the U.S. economy loses 50 million hours a year in productivity simply because of errors or omissions in weekly employee timesheets. That’s $7.4 billion a day.
How do you fix it?
Start with technology. Experts say software and tech can prevent employee time leaks by accurately measuring activity without disrupting their day or processes. Stick to a simple, weekly timesheet system and you’ll make it easy for employees to help you close the gap.
3 features you need in a weekly employee timesheet
Not all timesheet solutions are created equal. To illustrate which features of weekly employee timesheets are essential, we’ll use Time Tracker as an example. However, if you choose another weekly timesheet solution, check its features against the list below.
How many hours did you spend on emails yesterday? What about two days ago? Now, can you break that time down further by client? If you didn’t track that time as you went, you’re working with an educated guess at best.
Timers fix that. Every weekly timesheet solution should include timers that are intuitive and customizable.
With Time Tracker:
Each timer is displayed on the right side of the screen.
This happens regardless of where employees use Time Tracker—from their desk, home computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Timers keep running even if the browser is closed.
Do you pay for employee travel time? Employees can start a timer at the office and stop it when they get home.
Multiple timers can be run at once.
Employees can start a timer for a last-minute client call while logging time traveled to a meeting for a different client. If you don’t want employees to have the ability to run multiple timers at the same time, simply disable the “concurrent timers” feature in Admin > Settings > Time.
2. Automatic population of weekly timesheets
Once all that time is tracked, employees need an easy way to get it into their weekly timesheet so they can submit it for approval. With Time Tracker, that step is done with the push of a button.
The system will keep a tally of hours each day and automatically populate each employee’s weekly timesheet so they can submit everything at once. All they have to do is review and submit.
3. Timer integration
Since you’re using technology to solve timesheet problems, make sure your weekly timesheet solution offers integrations.
For example, Time Tracker:
- Connects to Amazon smart devices, which allows employees to start and stop timers, run multiple timers at once, and create time entries with a simple voice command.
- Integrates with the If This Then That app (IFTTT), which automatically completes repetitive tasks in response to specific events. With IFTTT, employees can:
- Start a timer when they connect to your office WiFi
- Start a timer for a customer when they call
- Email their admin when a timer is started
By making sure the weekly employee timesheet solution you choose offers integrations that interest you, you ensure they’re innovative and on the cutting edge of time-tracking technology.
How to use a weekly timesheet
Employees need options, so systems like Time Tracker make the time-entry process simple, whether employees track hours using timers or manually.
If your employees track with timers, all they need to do at the end of the week is review and submit their timesheets. Then, you can review and reject or approve their time—simple as that.
Manual entry: 3 steps
If you allow manual entry for certain employees, direct them to the “Dashboard” tab, and then to the “Weekly Time Entry” sub tab. After that, they can follow these instructions:
1. Select your customer and activity
Enter the total hours you did each day in each cell. Click “Save” when you’ve made all your entries.
2. Identify which items are billable
Select whether or not each item is billable. If you don’t mark items as billable, those entries won’t be available to bill to clients. Mark items as non-billable if you need to be paid for the work but don’t need the time to be billed through to a client.
3. Edit and finalize
After you save your weekly timesheet, it will be set as “pending.” You can still edit your hours until you submit them to your Admin for review. Remember: You can enter time in two formats:
- With a decimal (ex. 1.5 equals one and a half hours), or
- With a colon (ex. 1:30 equals one and a half hours).
Once you’re happy with your weekly timesheet, submit for approval.
Ready to streamline your company’s weekly timesheets?
A free 14-day trial of Time Tracker is a great place to start.