Understanding how to track the number of hours you and your employees’ work on each individual task can be difficult. Time logs in the workplace are important but with shift pattern variations and individual tasks requiring differing levels of effort and time, keeping tabs of who has done what and when is no simple task. The situation becomes even more confusing if you work for a business that bills clients by the hour.
The question is, are there simpler ways to track tasks and record what your employees are doing at any given time?
Well, it just so happens that there are. In this article, we will look at time logs in detail and discuss how they can be implemented successfully. We will also look at software solutions that make the task much easier. Let’s begin.
What Is a Time Log?
A time log is a chronological set of written records detailing employee activities with a time stamp. These time tracking records are used for internal analysis and optimization of work. They can also be used for client billing and payroll if required.
When you get an accurate picture of the time taken by employees to complete tasks, you can eliminate low-value activities and invest time in activities that contribute to the company’s success. Small business and freelancers in particular can use time logs to track billable hours, time spent on projects as well as to assess the time management of their team members.
What Do Time Logs Look Like?
Time logs are often split into something called activity logs. The time spent on certain tasks by you and your employees can be recorded in an activity log. In essence, these logs are a comprehensive record of the time taken to complete tasks. These can then be sequentially ordered and displayed to get a better picture of how time has been spent on projects.
Activity logs allow you to systematically study how you and your employees spend your time and can help you to build a better time management process in your organization. They are also one of the quickest ways to identify the activities on which time is being wasted and allow you to figure out how you can increase efficiency.
Benefits of Using Time Logs in the Workplace
There are a number of benefits of time tracking in the workplace and maintaining activity logs. These include:
- Tracking time regularly and maintaining accurate time logs can help you keep a track of how close you are to accomplishing your goals
- Maintaining time logs is essential if you charge clients by the hour. This can help businesses to record time against a specific client and automatically bill them for work completed.
- It can help you to identify and eliminate low-value tasks which staff may be wasting their time on.
- Activity logs give you an insight into the time taken to complete tasks which may be different from your initial estimates. This will help you make any necessary adjustments in the future for similar tasks.
- It can help businesses to increase productivity and avoid staff procrastination. By creating a schedule to complete work on time, staff are motivated to get work done.
What Does the Law State About Time Logs?
Keeping track of employee working hours is not an optional chore. The law states that employers must keep records of hours worked, wages paid, and other conditions of employment. Beyond the law, it is impossible to run a successful business without keeping track of employee working hours. For many business reasons, employers need to keep thorough, accurate records of all hours worked, including starting and quitting times for each employee. This is vital if logging time is used for billing clients. Inaccurate billing can lead to court cases and damaged reputations
The law does not, however, mandate just how time records should be kept. Employers have any number of options from electronic time logging software to paper-based time cards.
Can You Use Software to Create Time Logs?
Yes, you can. In the modern workplace, time logs are often digitised with many businesses employing dedicated time logging software to record activities. If dedicated software sounds expensive, then cheaper options like spreadsheets or calculators can also be used.
If you would like to explore a free excel template for employee time tracking, download it for free here. Similarly a free timesheet calculator can be checked out below. These solutions can help you in the short term until you have had the time to explore Papershift’s proven time tracking software.
Free Weekly Timesheet Calculator
What Are the Benefits of Software-Based Time Log Systems?
There are many of benefits of using dedicated time logging software systems in your business. These include:
- Most time logging systems are online-based. This makes the process of logging time paperless. Not only is this good for the environment, but it also makes it more difficult to lose crucial information.
- Having one central time logging system for staff to record hours allows businesses to run a more efficient payroll and billing process. Errors can be flagged up quickly and checks completed automatically.
- A good time logging software can save your business money. While most time logging solutions are not free to use, they can save vast amounts of money in other areas, especially on HR tasks.
Can You Get Free Time Log Software?
Yes, you can. There are free and paid time logging software systems available. Many free ones have limitations in scope and may be basic in nature. Paid ones tend to have more functionality and while expensive to implement, they can save many man-hours in work overtime.
Time logging in the workplace is never easy to manage. If it was, businesses wouldn’t have to rely on HR teams and many man-hours of work. That doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to manage time logging, so activities are monitored and payroll and billing are made easier. Using software is a good way to automate the process but will add extra costs that may not justify implementation.
We hope you found our guide informative. For more comprehensive workplace information, check out the rest of our website.
- Clock in and out from browser
- Time tracking via Phone & Tablet app
- View & approve time records online
- Export timesheets to payroll
- View & approve staff vacation requests
- Overview of employee availability & absences