If you are thinking about implementing timesheets in your workplace, you will always come across differing opinions. Some consider them essential for tracking and improving productivity. Others fear it makes employees feel mistrusted and hinder their established time management by restricting them to set rules. What are the benefits of keeping a timesheet, and how can it be of help to employees and employers alike?
The History of Time Sheets
Timesheets have existed ever since the first employer paid their employees time-based wages, which means they are very, very old. According to this article from Papershift about timesheets and their history, they date back to 1772 BC and the Babylonian empire.
Most of us became more aware of companies tracking our time with the invention of time clocks that had workers physically clock in and out with a stamp card. A system like this became necessary for the businesses in the early 1880s that started to pay workers hourly wages instead of daily salaries. They took this data and used it to calculate how much the respective worker was owed.
In modern time, physical timesheets were replaced by computer solutions. For a long time, many companies used software like Excel to create timesheets. These days, technological advancements have led to time recording apps that can be easily accessed from anywhere and successfully automate many processes.
Next to their development from literal sheets to digital solutions, the purpose of timesheets has changed over time as well. Today, we can use this data for much more than just calculating wages. Interestingly, the original benefit for employers who would use the sheets to control their employees switched to focus on employees benefitting from it over time.
A Tool for Control & Turning the Tables
Many employers used timesheets purely to control their staff for a long time. They could use them to make sure employees came in on time, didn’t leave too early, and were only paid exactly for the time that was tracked.
Nowadays, with employee protection becoming increasingly important in legislations, employees can make similar use of the timesheets. In fact, the European Court of Justice has already passed a law that makes it mandatory for employers to track their workers’ time. The intention behind the law: to reduce the number of employees who work overtime and get exploited. Employers now have the duty to record and archive times and prove that they are compliant with labor laws.
Benefits of Keeping Timesheets
If the workplace culture is tense in the first place, implementing a timesheet can lower staff morale. They feel mistrusted and restricted. Communicating the intent and possible benefits clearly can help to alleviate these feelings. Here are some benefits of recording time:
Helps Scheduling Tasks
Timesheets can be a great tool for time management. This applies to employees and employers alike. The employer can analyze the data from old timesheets to find out which tasks take longer or shorter than planned or necessary and use this information to optimize time previously wasted. Employees can use the sheets to structure their own day, just as efficiently. Especially for employees in home office who struggle with starting and ending their workday, a timesheet can give a much-needed framework.
Accurate Payroll Management
The original use of timesheets is still helpful today. Especially when we use a digital timesheet tool, calculating payrolls and billing accurately becomes much easier, efficient, and it reduces errors. In most cases, these calculations can be automated to reduce even more work for HR staff.
Proof of Compliance
Both employees and employers can use the information archived in timesheet software to protect themselves. A worker can use it to reduce overworking and prove their compliance to their contract. The other way around, employers can use it to prove that their working hours are within the legal framework or avoid timesheet fraud.
Timesheets are an important tool for businesses. This applies to companies that pay hourly wages, freelancers that have to calculate their own billing, and even those who don’t calculate pay or bills on the hours worked. Keeping track of which tasks have been completed or worked on during which timeframes is a helpful tool when it comes to evaluating this data and create more efficient time and task management. This way, companies can cut wasted time and costs. Additionally, it helps both employee and employer to create structure and gain proof of the hours spent working.