Creating your employee timesheets doesn’t require a super specialized system, or the need to stick with pen-and-paper methods. We’ll address the in-between method of employee timesheet creation that’s easy and, best of all, free for everyone.
A paper employee timesheet is a pain in the neck. It’s okay, you can admit it because everyone else is thinking the same thing. They’re cumbersome, easily damaged, even more easily lost among the infinite stacks of other important paperwork, and are too tedious to examine and evaluate when the need arises. So how do we progress from here?
The obvious solution and the one we typically recommend here at Hubworks is upgrading to a scheduling management system of some kind. This type of system eliminates the paper employee timesheet, keeping everything better organized and more efficient to evaluate. For some restaurant owners, though, this is too big a leap for them to take and be entirely comfortable. We understand, and that is why we’re writing this article today.
With this article, we aim to walk you through a process that acts as a kind of middle ground between paper employee timesheets and fully digital scheduling systems. The only real technology you will need to employ this method is a computer or other device equipped with Microsoft Excel. Now that we know what we’re going to be focusing on let’s get into the meat!
1. Decide on a Format - Before you can begin doling out employee timesheets for everyone, you need to settle on the formatting for them. Often, you can find examples, and sometimes even existing employee timesheet templates online for your use. Using existing templates will save you the most time, but if you can’t find one that fits your needs closely enough, then it is probably best to draw up your own from scratch.
2. To Print or Not to Print? - Once you’ve landed on the ideal format for your employee timesheets, you’re going to want to decide whether or not you plan to use Excel only for the formatting, or if you’re going to maintain everything in the program digitally. There are pros and cons to both sides, but we believe that keeping everything digital simply makes for a cleaner, more easy-to-manage system of keeping track of employees’ hours.
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3. Individual or Group? - Something else that needs to be decided upon is whether you’re going to create an employee timesheet for each person or the entire team as a whole. Something to consider is the fact that, if you decide to keep everything digital, then you run the risk of having other people edit the timesheet file when they are supposed to be entering their hours. This isn’t necessarily a very likely outcome, but it is one worth considering. To get around this fear, and to make storage and analysis even more manageable, it might be worthwhile to design the employee timesheet template in Excel, and then transfer everything into a Google Sheets file. We recommend this because of Google Sheets, as well as all of Google’s other office applications, allows much easier monitoring of any edits made to a file, as well as who made those edits.
4. Pick Your Categories - When dealing with Excel and other spreadsheet programs, the more organized and spread out everything is, the better. One of the ways that you can optimize this level of organization is by selecting different categories for either separate employee timesheets, or at least separate departments on the same timesheet. By this, we mean that you should create a section of the timesheet for the different major areas of your staff (such as the front of the house, kitchen, administrative, and so on), and then list each staff member within that category.
5. Decide How It Will Be Submitted - Once you’ve got the above points all sorted, you’re going to want to spend some time thinking about how the new employee timesheets will be submitted for review. In the traditional pen-and-paper method, it was likely submitted to some member of the administration via their mailbox or some other simplistic means. If you’re opting to use Excel for their design, but still print them out for actual use, then something like this will be more than satisfactory. However, if you’re thinking digitally, then you’re going to need a bit more concrete of a submission method.
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As we recommended before, Google Sheets really might be the way to go with this. It allows you to access the employee timesheet at any time, from any compatible device, and see at a glance whether or not it of. If you’re hesitant to involve Google in the process, though, and would much rather keep everything isolated to Excel, then you’ve still got a couple of options. For one, you could have the final person filling out the employee timesheets take the file and email it to an administrator. You could also have that same person print the completed employee, out and submit it as you would a traditional paper timesheet. You can even have someone send you a note saying it’s been filled out for review, and not need to send or print the file at all. Your options here are pretty boundless, all things considered.
There you have it: our five key steps to transitioning from a traditional, pen-and-paper method of employee timesheet completion and submission to one based more in the digital realm. We hope that this has given you not only the confidence to make this transition, but to do so seamlessly and with as little stress and aggravation as possible. As we said at the beginning, we will always recommend going all the way to a scheduling management system, such as Zip Schedule, as the best and most efficient way to upgrade your employee timesheet process, but for those still experiencing the technological trepidation, this is an excellent intermediary step. If you’re interested in learning more about the process of upgrading your restaurant’s technology, have a look at this article we’ve written on the subject on our blog, which can be found found at this link.