3 Reasons to Say 'See Ya' to the Time-Honored Timesheet

The outdated method of tracking an employee's work day is a waste of time for all involved.

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By Matt Straz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Remember last night's dinner? Or which episode of what you watched on Tuesday? Now how about recalling last Thursday's tasks at the office?

We know -- it's tough. And for that reason alone, timesheets are a thorn in the sides of both employees and managers.

The era of the timesheet is coming to an end.

Sure, they have some benefits -- helping to determine profitability, bill clients and track big projects. But they also have a number of issues. Here are three of the biggest problems with the time-honored timesheet and how to best remedy them.

Related: How Busy Entrepreneurs Deal With Mundane Tasks

1. Timesheets are inaccurate

The number-one issue employers and employees have with timesheets is that they're not an accurate representation of how workers spend their days. For starters, our ability to remember the exact amount of time spent on particular projects is just not the most reliable source. Additionally, the pressure to fill in timesheets by a set deadline only aids in inaccurate or broad estimates.

Remedy: If recording time is an essential part of business, consider using time-tracking applications. A robust HRIS or even mobile applications can help employees manage schedules without having to spend an extensive amount of time and effort outlining their hours. Time-tracking apps focus less on reporting work hours and more on being smart with those hours.

2. Timesheets are a waste of time

And that's true for employees especially. The irony lies in the fact that timesheets are designed to help with time management.

Having to recall the number of minutes spent on particular tasks is, in and of itself, time-consuming. Moreover, filling in timesheets takes away from hours that can be better spent knocking out daily tasks.

Related: Don't Squash Your Big Goals by Squandering Time

Not only does filling in a timesheet eat up the workday, but having to organize them into a system also takes up an unreasonable amount of time.

Remedy: To save everyone the time spent tracking, reviewing and organizing hours, consider implementing a full-service payroll system. Information will be easier to record and process, and the likelihood of errors and the need for duplicate data entry are reduced.

3. Timesheets measure time

And that's the problem. Timesheets measure the amount of time employees spend on particular tasks and projects -- not the quality of their work or results of their efforts. Success should be measured in work done well, not time spent.

There's also the idea that requiring the accurate and timely completion of timesheets can make employees feel less trusted with their time and assignments.

Remedy: Instead of relying on timesheets, try adopting a value-based approach. Rather than paying employees by the hour, opt to implement salaries. Or instead of traditional vacation accrual policies, go unlimited with paid time off. In short, shift the focus from time to value.

And… time! That's three timesheet tips in under five minutes. Not too shabby!

Where do you stand in the timesheet debate? What are some other alternatives to timesheets? Share in the comments below.

Related: 5 Time Management Techniques Worth Using

Matt Straz

Founder and CEO of Namely

Matt Straz is the founder and CEO of Namely, the HR and payroll platform for the world's most exciting companies.

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