Tracking the time of your employees is crucial for the efficiency of your business processes. Choosing the right employee timesheet software is just as important. In this article, we will explain how to do it.
Time is money – this proverb has never been so true when it comes to time-tracking software. The Internet has given us, business owners, a lot of possibilities and at the same time posed quite a few new challenges.
One of the possibilities is to employ freelance specialists from pretty much anywhere in the world with the right set of skills and for a reasonable price.
One of the challenges is managing a team of such specialists when you can’t physically be near them.
Even if your employees are all highly motivated people that don’t need deadlines and time management (lucky you), the project manager still needs time-tracking software to:
- track the working hours and manage the payroll process
- understand how much time is spent on a given task/project
- see the overall efficiency of each employee separately and the team in whole via reports and diagrams
But why freelancers only? If there’s an office with over a dozen employees, wouldn’t it be nice for you, the manager, to delegate the burden of checking on your workers to specialized software?
This is where you face your first big choice.
PM Suite vs. Standalone Tool
The choice is up to you – here are a few things to consider:
|Project Management Suites||Standalone time-tracking software|
|PROS||The PM suite you’re using now may already have the time-tracking module available||Comes in really handy for small, project-based companies, agencies, and studios|
|Good for huge, professional companies with staff over 100 and multiple subdivisions||Easy to install and use – both for employees and project managers|
|CONS||Cost significantly more||Lacks integration with some bigger tools|
|A lot of features you and your employees might not need||Might not have some additional, advanced features|
Now that you have made your principal choice between those two, it’s time to talk about the must-have features of any employee timesheet software.
Must-Have Features For Employee Timesheet Software
Aside from the obvious things like “tracking time,” here’s what you absolutely can’t do without:
- real-time monitoring
- billing and invoicing
- comprehensive reporting
- multiple platforms
- easy to use
Let’s go into each one of these features in detail.
1. Real-time monitoring
That is the main thing you will need. Real-time monitoring allows you (to a varying degree) to see what your employees are working on at any given moment and, as a result, how efficiently they are spending their time and your money.
Constant disengagement of employees is quite a problem for many companies, big or small. A report by Gallup asserts that some 70% of workers in the US stray away from the productive work process.
Arguably, the most effective way of keeping an eye on things is actually seeing what’s happening on your employees’ screens – usually, in the form of screenshots.
Some might argue that is pure spying and rather creepy, especially from an employee point of view. We counter that argument by saying that:
- There are hardly any secrets in the work that we do – if you’re working on a project, what’s to hide?
- Such approach (tracking working hours + taking screenshots) really motivates employees and increases their productivity since they know there is no time to be wasted
Besides, you’ve got your employees’ full consent to this – they are aware when, where, and how their work is being tracked.
In fact, we’ve got a whole article dedicated to the subject of online real-time monitoring – be sure to read it as well.
2. Billing and invoicing
Managing working hours, rates, and payroll process in general is another main feature of any employee timesheet software. Small businesses don’t exactly have millions of dollars to waste so every penny spent should be accounted for.
Business owners need to balance the budget of the company. To do that, project managers need to know how much money and time went into each project in order to keep the costs under control and, possibly, optimize them.
This particular feature prevents time theft, which does happen at many companies. According to the stats from American Payroll Association, an average employee “steals” 4.5 hours a week.
Different employees can work on different teams/tasks/projects. Therefore, your ideal employee timesheet software should be able to track working hours and rates for each project separately.
See how this feature works in Screenshot Monitor, for example.
3. Comprehensive reporting
After the work on the project has been finished, it is time to analyze the efficiency:
- how many hours the team/employee spent on a given task
- were there any overtime hours?
- how much money the project cost
All this information is crucial to the project manager since it allows him/her to see the flaws in the current working process and provides great insight for potential improvements.
4. Multiple platforms
In this time and day, multi-platform feature is a must for any time-tracking tool. Some people prefer to work on PCs, some on Macs. Others prefer to do it various mobile devices – smartphones, tablets, etc.
Make sure your employee timesheet software of choice can be used across various platform and operating systems.
5. Easy to use
Although we do think all programs should be like that, when it comes to time-tracking software, ease of use is a must. Ideally, your workers shouldn’t even notice it’s there – all they have to do is press “Start” at the beginning of their working day and then hit “Stop” when they’re done working.
The rest should be handled by the employee timesheet software and project manager.
Some of the things you definitely wouldn’t mind having:
- integration capabilities – some programs offer their API to be integrated with the existing project management software, which is really useful when you are already using PM software
- scalable – the employee timesheet software should be able to grow along with your company. No matter how many people, tasks, projects, or team you might have, the software should be able to provide you with the same level of quality
- affordable – you shouldn’t pay for something you don’t use. Therefore, it’s nice to have a set of well-balanced plans to choose from when signing up for employee timesheet software
Thanks for getting to the bottom of today’s “5 Must-Have Features for Any Employee Timesheet Software” article – we hope it’s been helpful and you’ve learned something new.
Before settling on a particular time-tracking tool, be sure to formulate and write down your criteria based on the ones we mentioned and the ones you need for your business. This will help you to make the right choice and get the most of your employee timesheet software.