Employee Time & Attendance Tracking Excel vs. Online vs. Software

Do you work overtime? Do you have a close eye on your time recording and working hours? How do you calculate the time required for your various projects?

Whether start-up, freelancer or SME – time recording for employees is essential for all types and sizes of company. It is not just a matter of documenting the presence of employees, but above all of recording their task and project-related working hours. Because they form the basis for controlling budgets and expenses, accounting for completed projects, creating calculations for future tasks or planning capacities.

Employees who perform certain tasks particularly efficiently are identified and the need for training is revealed. In this way, personnel development in the company can be promoted. And approaches for process optimization can also be derived from the recorded times. In the following, various options for time recording for employees are presented. As well as their areas of application and advantages and disadvantages.

1. Excel vs. online time tracking

Manual time recording with Excel templates is still widespread. Because time recording with Excel is a simple method because there is no need to familiarize yourself with a new system. In addition, Excel is almost always inexpensive or free of charge, since most of the software is already available in the company.

It is usually more convenient to use online time recording. They offer the advantage that working times can be logged at any time, anywhere and usually from any device – employees simply have to log in with their individual user access. This solution is suitable, for example, for freelancers, but also for companies that employ employees all over the world.

2. Time recording with stopwatch function

Many providers of online time recording provide a stopwatch function. This is activated by employees when they start working for a specific project or customer, and deactivated again when they change tasks. With logging in real time, there is no risk of forgetting to record the times at the end of the working day. In addition, the recording and thus also the billing is possible to the second.

The disadvantage: When things get hectic and the employee has to switch between projects frequently, working with the stopwatch can quickly become a nuisance. For example, if the phone rings while a task is in progress, the clock must be changed immediately. This is not always possible directly, so that times have to be corrected afterwards.

3. Manual recording of working and project times

An alternative to the stopwatch is the manual entry of work and project times in a time recording software: The employee logs all his times as soon as possible when changing tasks, but no later than the end of the working day. Many companies forego recording accurate to the minute or even to the second and only allow minimum times of a quarter of an hour or half an hour to be entered.

How the logging of working times is carried out can therefore be handled differently from company to company. There are now a large number of freeware or free and paid apps that are suitable for manual time recording. A smartphone is of course required for this.

Time recording as part of the corporate culture

As important as it is, many employees still find time recording to be a nuisance, and some even feel that they are being monitored by it. One consequence is often that working times are recorded incompletely or incorrectly. That is why time recording must be established as an integral part of the corporate culture, ideally right from the start. In addition, it must be clear to the employees what advantages correct and complete timekeeping has for the company, and that they do not suffer any disadvantage as a result. For example, employees can be given the opportunity to “redeem” their overtime on days off.

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