6 Good Reasons to Use Timesheets
Timesheets might seem like a dull and boring tool to use at first but they can help you get the most out of your workforce while improving productivity. Here we give you six good reasons to implement timesheets sooner rather than later.
1. Billing your clients
One of the main reasons why organisations track the work hours of their employees is to facilitate the billing of their clients. Any consulting or service-based firm will charge their clients on a time-basis. It then becomes necessary to know the exact amount of time your employees have spent on client-related activities which will need to be charged.
2. Tracking Project Costs
The time your employees spend working on a project has a cost. This cost is simply equivalent to your employees’ hourly pay rate, plus any other employer contribution usually associated. Materials, external suppliers and internal labour generally make up the project cost. It is this last category, internal labour cost, that is the hardest to keep track of since employees accomplish a variety of tasks during their day; ranging from completing a training course to working on administrative tasks.
Whether your projects have an internal or external purpose, it is important to measure its related labour cost. If you are working for clients, you will want to know when your projects stop being profitable. If they are internal projects, you will certainly be as much curious to find out the actual cost of your activities. Without a time tracking solution, It can be difficult to know the cost of a project, and therefore know exactly where your money is going.
3. Planning Your HR
By keeping track of the actual amount of time spent on different activities, you will be able to compare your planned resources with the actual resource utilisation. You will then be able to analyse the causes behind that delta and draw lessons for more efficient resource planning in the future.
4. Estimating Future Costs
On the long run, your estimations will become more reliable and accurate. In fact, by comparing the actual time required to complete similar tasks or projects, you will be able to easily figure out how much time you will need for future projects.
Of course, you will have to account for other factors such as the level of experience of your employees, as well as the level of technology they have access to. Time tracking will provide the information you need and will serve as a reliable reference to estimate future costs.
5. Measuring Unproductive Time
Unproductive time represents the time that is not focused on creating value – for example: annual leave, personal leave, training, administrative tasks, etc. Obviously aiming a 0% rate of unproductive time would not be realistic. However, the objective here is to be equipped with the information so that you can be ready to take action if necessary. For example, an organisation for which that ratio is close to 50% will want to understand the reasons behind this number; so that it can increase work time focused on high value activities instead. Excessive and lengthy procedures can have a heavy impact on productivity and process improvement can allow your organisation to improve this aspect.
6. Understanding Your Employees Workload
This is not about implementing a surveillance program, but about better comprehending how much work your employees have to accomplish. Do you have people working over 80 hours per week? If so, you might want to consider ways to alleviate their workload, for example by transferring tasks to more available employees who are ready to give a hand, or by recruiting additional staff. Systematic overtime, repeated week on week, might mean that the workload is too important or poorly allocated, and highlights that certain resources are key. Hence why the importance of using timesheets to ensure that your human resources do not get run down and exhausted.
Using Timesheets the Wrong Way: Watching & Controlling
On the other hand, implementing a timesheet system to watch your employees and ensure that they are actually working will not deliver a positive outcome. Employees who feel like they are under constant surveillance will not produce more effort to achieve the objectives of the organisation. The truth is that they will only try to look like they are working harder. In addition, a scientific study has shown that people’s intrinsic motivation to work (i.e. the pleasure they take in accomplishing a task) will diminish if they perceive their work environment as controlling. On the other hand, providing more freedom and autonomy has been linked many times to an increase in performance and satisfaction, while lowering felt work pressure.
Fortunately, watching and controlling is not what encourages human resources managers to keep track of their employees work time. A time management software will certainly help increase visibility over your cost, activities and profitability. Tracking time, one of our most precious resource, has become crucial since it is non-renewable. Nevertheless, this should not be a reason to use timesheets to pressurise your staff. Creating a positive work environment in which your people will actually want to be in is much more effective.