Let’s dive in.
What is a Timesheet?
You can use a timesheet to record the amount of time your employees spend working on their tasks and projects. Employees can also enter the time they start and end their work day or shifts into these sheets.
Freelancers and contractors who don’t work regular hours can also use timesheets to calculate their billable time accurately.
Traditionally, employees or their supervisors record this information on paper timesheets. However, creating timesheets from scratch every day is often time-consuming.
It is much easier to enter data into a preset timesheet template, also known as a time card template. These templates are a more organized way of recording information using Microsoft Excel, Word, Google Docs, or a similar program.
4 Popular Timesheet Templates
Based on your needs, there are various types of timesheet templates to choose from.
For your convenience, we’ve included these free timesheet templates in the four most popular formats: Microsoft Word, Excel spreadsheet, Google Sheets, and PDF.
You can download the free employee timesheet template you need (for example, the daily Excel timesheet template) and use it to track employee hours.
1. Daily Timesheet Template
Here is a template you can use if you have hourly employees or workers that you pay an hourly rate.
With the daily timesheet template, you can track how employees spend their time every hour as they move from one task to the next. Employees can also indicate their lunch breaks if necessary.
2. Weekly Timesheet Template
If you want to record employees’ billable hours on a weekly basis, you will find this weekly timesheet template useful.
3. Bi-weekly Timesheet Template
With this bi weekly timesheet template, you can calculate employees’ billable hours on a biweekly basis (every two weeks).
4. Monthly Timesheet Template
If you want to track your employees’ hours every month, this timesheet template will be perfect for you. The monthly timesheet template shows you how many hours your employee worked on a monthly basis — broken down week by week.
With the monthly timesheet template, employees can add their start and end times, vacation days, overtime hours, and sick leaves before managers calculate their total hours.
Pros and Cons of Using Timesheet Templates
If your company doesn’t have a proper system to record working hours or uses an informal attendance register, using a free timesheet template can make things easier.
However, they also have certain drawbacks that you need to consider.
Here are the three major benefits of using a timesheet template to track employee hours:
1. Simplifies Attendance Tracking, Payroll and Invoicing
Timesheet templates make tracking time and attendance information a lot easier.
Once you decide to start using a particular template, you can download and email it to your employees. They can save it or take a printout and enter their data regularly.
This way, there will be consistency when calculating and processing payroll for each team member. Additionally, if you use an Excel or Google Sheet template, you could save time calculating payroll using a few handy formulas.
And when billing clients, you can submit invoices along with relevant timesheets to show a record of the hours worked on their projects.
2. No Costs Involved
Manual time punch clocks and similar biometric systems are expensive to purchase and install.
However, the simple timesheet templates we’ve provided are absolutely free! You can download the suitable template for your team and start using it today without having to budget for it in advance.
3. Easy for Small Businesses to Adopt and Use
Timesheet templates are good for handling basic timesheet needs, especially for small-scale work.
If your company is a startup or smaller enterprise, you can start using timesheet templates without training employees. Most employees will already know how to use Excel, Word, etc., and they won’t require additional instructions — they can get started instantly.
Here are four major disadvantages of using employee timesheet templates:
1. Prone to Human Error
Whether it is a daily or a biweekly timesheet, there’s a lot of room for human error when you use a timecard template. These errors can end up costing the company.
Employees could make unintentional errors when reporting actual hours worked, especially when working remotely. They may fail to record their hours on a daily basis or forget their in and out time because they’re working from home.
Additionally, supervisors could leave out key figures, use incorrect formulas, or even use a wrong format, leading to erroneous calculations in an employee’s pay rate.
2. Not Suitable to Evaluate Employee Productivity
An employee timesheet template only provides managers with data about the number of hours an employee worked in a week or month.
This data is too limited for managers to evaluate their employees’ performance as you don’t get an in-depth view of what exactly an employee did during each working hour.
Managers also won’t get updates about an employee’s work hours in real-time. This makes it difficult for them to adjust workloads or make timely improvements.
Additionally, the format of this data doesn’t make it easy to analyze. The chances of a manager or supervisor misinterpreting data are high because all they’re working with is a page full of numbers.
3. Timesheet Records Can Get Corrupted or Deleted
The most common types of timesheet template formats are Excel and Google Sheet spreadsheets.
However, the more they’re updated and shared, the higher the chances of the file getting corrupted. And that can be a problem as you may not be able to recover the data from a corrupted spreadsheet.
If your team doesn’t work enough hours, this could be a huge inconvenience and cost the company a lot of money.
Moreover, if you are using an Excel template, you could delete it accidentally, and trying to retrieve this data may be difficult or impossible.
4. Manual and Time-Consuming Process
Once your team has completed and submitted their timesheets, you still have to check manually if the hours and calculations are correct. You’ll also have to process the payments, which takes up more time.
In the long run, keeping a record of every employee’s timesheets will become cumbersome.
Companies will need an efficient filing system to avoid timesheets piling up — requiring additional time, space, and money.
And when you need to revisit a timesheet, you’ll either need to dig through several computer files or dive into a sea of paperwork. It will be even more of a hassle if you need to review the timesheets for multiple employees simultaneously.
A Better Alternative to Manual Timesheets: Time Tracking Software
If you prefer a more reliable time tracking method, using an online timesheet software or time card calculator is the ideal solution.
It is a convenient way to record and analyze employee time.
With an online employee timesheet tool, employees just have to clock in when they start work and clock out at the end of their shift. The app will generate automated timesheets based on their hours worked.
Additionally, as the data recorded will be 100% accurate, you can rest assured that you pay employees or bill clients with the right amount.
You’ll also get comprehensive insights into each employee’s worked hours, helping you understand how productive they are.
But which software should you use?
To help you out, we’ll check out three of the most popular time tracking tools available in the market today. We’ll cover their key features, pricing, and user ratings to give you a comprehensive view of each tool.
1. Time Doctor
Time Doctor is a great electronic timesheet app that helps you track employee hours and monitor their productivity. It also has employee-friendly settings to encourage personal productivity management and strict privacy and data security policies.
A. Key Features
- Manual and automatic time tracking flexibility.
- Track time even when you are offline.
- Create and assign tasks/projects to employees for specific project timesheets.
- Attendance reports let you see which team members are present, absent, or late.
- The work schedule feature lets you schedule and monitor employee shifts in real-time.
- Real-time productivity analytics in the form of detailed reports.
- Streamline payroll and make payments directly through the app via payment gateways like Wise (previously TransferWise) and Paypal.
- 50+ integrations to monitor productivity across your favorite apps.
- Track time spent on other project management apps like Jira and Zendesk with the powerful Chrome extension.
Paid plans start from $7/user per month. Time Doctor also gives you a 14-day free trial that doesn’t require a credit card.
C. User Ratings
- G2: 4.4/5 (180+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (330+ reviews)
Clockify is a time clock app that lets you track time across various tasks and projects automatically using a timer. It also allows you to manually record working hours on a built-in timesheet.
A. Key Features
- Track time across your devices, and the data will sync automatically.
- Live status feature to see what each team member is currently working on.
- Calendar view to visualize your tasks across time periods.
- Generate timesheet reports based on tracked time.
- Share reports with clients in PDF, Microsoft Excel, or CSV formats.
- A Pomodoro timer is available for Chrome and Mac operating systems.
- Integrates with apps like Asana, Freshdesk, and Google Calendar.
Clockify has a free plan with limited features. Paid plans start at $4.99/user per month.
C. User Ratings
- G2: 4.4/5 (70+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (1500+ reviews)
Teramind is an automatic timesheet app and employee monitoring tool.
While it can generate timesheets, it is best suited to companies who want to ensure data security and employee compliance to organizational/government regulations.
A. Key Features
- Tracks time silently in the background when your employee turns on their computer.
- Keystroke logger lets you monitor and record employee mouse and keyboard activity.
- Productivity reports to analyze employee performance.
- Network monitoring helps detect malware and other potential threats.
- Track the websites and apps your teams use.
- Built-in schedule to track attendance automatically.
Teramind’s paid plans start at $10/user per month for the cloud solution.
C. User Ratings
- G2: 4.1/5 (30+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.6/5 (60+reviews)
Timesheet templates are a popular method that you could use to record your employees’ working hours. The free timesheet templates we’ve provided here are a great start — you can download, customize and print them instantly.
However, if you really want precise payroll and productivity data, timesheet software is the way to go.
With an online timesheet software, you get accurate employee timesheets and insightful reports to help analyze, improve productivity and supercharge your business.