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The advantages and disadvantages of using timesheets


Maintaining a healthy work environment can often be challenging, and office politics can be quite tricky to manage. Disputes are bound to arise in the workplace, and people will eventually disagree because it’s what people do. The best thing you could do, though, is to ensure that no differences arise because of the business operations, including employee attendance and task assignment. This is where timesheets come in, and they make a huge difference in how businesses monitor and evaluate employee progress. But like anything in life, timesheets do have their disadvantages next to their advantages. Here’s a breakdown of both.


Improved productivity

Perhaps the biggest advantage of timesheets is the fact that they help improve the general productivity in the workplace, and the results are quite impressive. Employee working hours are tracked from the minute they arrive until the moment they leave, including the number of hours they spend on each task and whether or not they finish by deadlines. This greatly affects the employees’ mindset, as they race to finish tasks on time because they know their progress is being monitored, and there’s no room for slacking off. They become more focused on the task at hand, and there’s little for interruptions, which, in turn, increases productivity.

Accurate invoicing

Another major upside of timesheets is the fact that they save costs by allowing you to better track working hours, which makes invoicing much more accurate. You won’t have to pay extra money anymore because you couldn’t keep track of the exact amount of work done. With timesheets, you can keep track of the hours an employee or an agency has worked for you, and in turn you’ll be better able to create accurate invoices.

It’s also important for billing your clients, as you’ll be able to provide the exact billable hours your people worked according to the time sheets. This will save you any possible disputes that usually arise if you’re not providing proof of billable hours.

Better resource management

It happens quite often that a company misallocates its resources due to improper tracking of employee working hours and resources. A timesheet would help fix that problem, because you’ll be able to keep track of your people’s progress in projects, and in turn allocate the exact needed resources in upcoming ones, without squandering any time or manpower.

Easy to create

No one is an expert when it comes to dealing with Microsoft Excel, considering the fact that it can be a pretty complicated program to manage. The great thing about timesheets is the fact that they are not exactly complicated to make. In fact, when browsing through you can find ready-made templates online with all your needs. This will make your life easier since these templates are good to go, and you won’t have to put in any effort to prepare them. They also come with basic features like ‘time-in/time-out’ and more advanced requirements for businesses that are looking for wider options.

Better project management

A lot of companies face a certain roadblock that seems to repeat itself with projects, and this drop will continue to happen unless you manage to identify when and why it happens. Employee timesheets will help you do that, and you’ll be able to keep track of when that recurrent problem occurs, which means you’ll have the chance to figure out the reasons behind it and handle them in time for the next endeavor.

Enhanced decision-making process

The key to any successful business is a good decision-making process, and a timesheet will help you achieve that. When your entire company is using one, you’ll be able to keep track of every detail in every task your team is on, which means you’ll have the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision. Knowledge is crucial to making the right decisions, and with timesheets, you’ll have more knowledge about your work process than ever.


Possibility of human error

While it has been reduced with the evolution of timesheets over the years, the possibility of human error is still there. Yes, with automated timesheets, the chance of that error occurring is much less than with paper sheets, but there is still a human factor involved because the input is often made by people. It may be accidental, or on purpose, but in either case, you’ll need to have a system in place to check for such shortcomings.

Employee morale

Managing your business with timesheets can be a bit tricky, and it’s definitely a double-edged sword. Employees might feel that you, as a manager, don’t have faith in them to work without supervision, which can lead to a problem in morale that might affect the work if unresolved. It’s important that you make your people feel that this is not about trust, but rather keeping order and organizing workflow to make sure everybody knows what they’re supposed to be doing, and when.

More work for the employee

Another angle why timesheets might be an inconvenience for some of your employees is how it’s extra work for them. Sure, human resource agents and payroll staff will love the timesheets and how much it makes their lives easier, but the rest of your team might feel inconvenienced by the fact that they now have the added task of filling in those timesheets so their work progress can be monitored. It’s definitely important that you continually remind them of the importance of the timesheets and how it’s for the greater good of everybody, and make sure they’re not too upset by this new change. It’s definitely an added responsibility, but it’s one that will help everybody.

At the end of the day, as a business owner, you need to think it over and find out if timesheets are best for your company or not. Does the scale of work you get warrant getting timesheets? Do your people need constant tracking to make sure they get the job done? You’ll need to ask yourself questions like these to truly decide whether or not you need a time tracking solution.

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    April 2, 2020 at 9:59 pm

    In my experience, timesheets on Excel or similar programs are a complete waste of time. As an employee, it felt like I was just doing busy work filling in how many hours I worked each day (regardless of if I came in late, stayed late, left early, etc), and I have yet to figure out how it added value to the company I worked for/my managers.

    I switched jobs last year and the company I work for now uses time tracking software (BeeBole Timsheet, to be exact), and apart from tracking my time on individual projects, I can also see my vacation time, sick days etc. all at a glance. I find it extremely empowering to know where my time goes, and I know my managers can run really valuable reports on ROI, profitability, absenteeism and burnout rates, and so much more. That’s the kind of tool I’d want if managing people, too.

    I’d say forget Excel and spreadsheet timesheets, and go for a much powerful software tool.


    Roy Williams

    June 15, 2020 at 3:57 am

    I personally use a free employee timesheet by Orapex. It’s an excellent time tracking software that includes an employee calendar and shift schedule. I can track all my employees and see their hours. that saves me time from using multiple systems.

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