We know how tedious and laborious it can be for managers or human resources (HR) professionals to track and account for the daily activities of field employees. It’s frustrating for the employees too! The manual process of jotting down how they have spent every minute outside is an administrative task that takes them away from doing their actual job.
That’s where timesheets come into play. They help measure where and how much time has been spent by employees on tasks or projects. But manual timesheets are prone to error and untracked hours cost a world of hurt to organizations. Luckily, technological advancements have made timesheets digital, easy-to-access, and trackable for all stakeholders.
In this guide we will learn what timesheets are and how they are a much-needed asset to any business that has field employees.
Timesheets are a measurement tool that show the number of hours an employee has worked during a shift or day. It can also capture what tasks an employee has spent time on. Timesheets aid client billings and payroll processing, and also help your company meet labor compliance requirements.
However, timesheets are not just about clock-in and clock-out time anymore. Timesheets have grown to become insightful data sets that indicate trends in project performance, employee productivity, and organizational efficiency. Furthermore, the uptick in remote and field employees have made them a must-have for any successful, growth-oriented company.
Best time management applications are often utilized to manage overtime and time off requests. However, it’s equally important for field work scenarios. Let us explain.
Proper field service management is critical to reducing the potentially disastrous costs often associated with field service operations. Miscommunication, poor time management, and scheduling errors can result in setbacks and poor customer service — all of which can be a blow to your organization’s reputation, stability, and profit lines. With off-site employees, you can’t control their every move and neither can stand over their heads as you could with an in-office resource. Therefore their tracking has to be done in a way that is not invasive but still produces the desired results.
Common Challenges for Tracking Field Employees
Inaccurate or missed data
Inability to verify data
Data is stagnant or obsolete
No centralized system
Difficult to calculate payroll and benefits
Tricky to interpret manual timesheets
No insight on project/task status
In recent times, technology has greatly enhanced what a best time management application or platform can do. Curious as to what a timesheet can do for your organization that has both remote and field workers in various roles and capacities? Let’s delve into the benefits in greater depth.
Speeds Up Attendance Tracking
Field employees need to keep an account of what time they went out for a customer visit and when they returned. However, many tend to put this administrative task on the back burner and do it at the end of the week or month. This can lead to multiple human errors. On the flip side, HR personnel and managers of field personnel are left scrambling for data that they don’t receive until the last minute. This adds strain on their ability to calculate pay and other benefits. With an automated timesheet software, field employees can log their tasks and whereabouts on-the-go. A manager can also access this data in real-time.
The administrative burden is reduced with online, digital timesheets. Managers now have time to focus on more productive tasks that will actually support their employees (example: provide training or attend a client meeting with the resource)
With the best time management application you can streamline your entire scheduling process. The centralised dashboard provides access to all the resources available. You can schedule or split shifts via simple drag-and-drop. Once the schedule is created, an automatic notification is sent to all the workers. The platform can be customized to accept change requests.
In field roles, the schedule can change anytime. For example, a client can cancel the meeting with a sales representative at the last minute. Instead of scrambling for this empty time slot, the manager can quickly identify the next prioritized job and assign it. A notification will be sent immediately to the field rep. This process also allows everyone to focus on their work instead of worrying about whether they’ll be notified of changes.
A best time management application can boost productivity as it not only provides task estimates and generates deadline reminders, but it also presents clarity on time and money spent on projects and tasks. This will ensure that the employees stick to their “schedule.”
Managers get visual data on timelines and statuses, making it easier for them to gauge productivity and ensure it’s at optimum levels. Furthermore, with a timesheet, all the data is compiled and stored in a centralized place. Stakeholders, from any location, can access it and take strategic decisions.
Helps Estimate Future Work Hours
Digital and cloud-based timesheet software automatically calculate the employees’ total number of hours worked and how many hours they are left with. The time management application also stores all the data pertaining to how long it took to complete a certain task. This historical data can help managers plan future projects accurately. Now they will not only have an accurate estimate of how long a job will take, they also know who is available; they can schedule field employees without overburdening a single resource or going into overtime pay.
Reduces Risk of Errors
With digital, cloud-based timesheets, the chances of errors are reduced as the capturing and tracking of hours is done automatically. The software automatically calculates pay, overtime hours, benefits, and much more. This ensures that field and remote employees are compensated fairly and accurately for their work.
Best time management application also prevent field employees from going back in and “doctoring” their work hours. It generates transparency, and if there seems to be any discrepancy, the digitally stored data can be used for resolution purposes. The data also serves as a clean audit trail.
Identifies Work Trends
As mentioned earlier, timesheets have a boon of data. When the data is analyzed properly, managers can identify work trends and rectify them to make improvements. For example, if you notice that the majority of field service employees are consistently taking longer to fix or run a software update at the client site, you can realise that the time originally scheduled for it is inaccurate or they might need additional training. Identifying work trends will help you pinpoint areas of growth, focus, and expansion.
Creates Employee Feedback Loop
The best time management application can also be used as feedback loops for employees.
How? The platform tracks how much time the resource is spending on tasks; it also presents reports on time
taken vs. time planned. This quantifiable data can highlight a resource’s strengths and weaknesses.
Managers may use this data to effectively allocate work by taking into account these work
Managers can also use this data to drive conversations with their field resources. They can understand where the resource needs help or maybe even a professional challenge. This open dialogue will further boost employee morale and communication.
Maintains Compliance Requirements
There are several national, state, and local compliance regulations that a company’s payroll has to adhere to. Timesheets can help an organization meet the compliance requirements and steer clear of hefty fines, penalties, and lawsuits. They also make it simpler to keep up with any changes to regulations as it’s easier to make and implement a change. For example, if the state caps the number of overtime hours a field resource can work, the manager simply has to login to the system and change the limit on overtime hours. This change will be automatically applied to all relevant processes, without any extra effort from the manager’s end.
When every minute adds value to your business, you need to be diligent about using the best time management application. Untracked hours or miscalculated hours and pay that result from manual or Excel tracking techniques will have a negative impact on your company. Be proactive in managing your employees and increasing overall productivity by investing in the best time management application.
eResource Scheduler is one of the best time management application that has a user-friendly interface that seamlessly tracks hours and helps identify productivity and efficiency gaps. Try eRS’ 14-day free trial and let us know your thoughts.