How do you write a timesheet

Timesheets offer invaluable insights into resource allocation, project progress, and ultimately, financial accountability. However, crafting an effective timesheet template (especially when including time clock conversion for payroll)  doesn’t merely consist of jotting down hours worked; it's a strategic endeavor that demands precision, consistency, and clarity. In this guide, we review the intricacies of writing a timesheet tailored to the needs of medium-sized businesses, exploring best practices, common pitfalls to avoid, and the tools available to streamline this critical aspect of time management. Whether you're a seasoned veteran seeking optimization or a newcomer navigating the complexities of workforce management, this comprehensive overview aims to empower you in creating the timesheet your business needs.

What does a timesheet look like?

At Harvest, we know that understanding what a work timesheet looks like is essential for medium-sized businesses aiming to streamline their time tracking processes. While the specific format may vary depending on the needs of the organization and the nature of the work being performed, a typical work timesheet encompasses several key components (feel free to grab these to create a timesheet template of your own):

  • Employee Information: At the top of the timesheet, you'll usually find sections dedicated to employee information, including their name, employee ID or number, department, and perhaps their supervisor's name. This ensures that each timesheet is properly identified and attributed to the respective employee.
  • Date Range: A work timesheet typically covers a specific date range, such as a week or a bi-weekly period. Clear indication of the start and end dates helps in organizing and tracking time accurately.
  • Time Entries: The heart of the timesheet consists of rows and columns where employees can log their time entries. Each row typically represents a different day or task, while columns may include categories such as project name or code, task description, start and end times, and total hours worked.
  • Total Hours: Most timesheets include a section for totaling up the hours worked during the specified period. This can be broken down further into regular hours, overtime hours, and any other relevant categories based on the organization's policies and requirements. (some also include a timesheet minutes conversion chart to break it down even further)
  • Approvals and Signatures: Depending on the company's workflow, there may be designated sections for employee signatures, supervisor approvals, or both. This ensures accountability and compliance with company policies and procedures.
  • Notes and Comments: Some timesheets for employees provide space for employees to add notes or comments regarding their time entries. This can be useful for providing additional context or explanations for certain activities.
  • Additional Information: Depending on the specific needs of the business, there may be additional sections or fields included on the timesheet, such as leave requests, travel expenses, or client billing codes.

How do you write a timesheet?

Here's a detailed guide on how to effectively write a timesheet:

  • Choose the Right Format: Start by selecting a timesheet format that aligns with the needs and preferences of your business. Whether it's a digital spreadsheet, specialized time tracking software, or a paper-based template, ensure that it provides the necessary fields and functionalities to capture relevant information.
  • Include Employee Information: Begin each timesheet by including essential employee details such as name, employee ID or number, department, and supervisor's name. This ensures proper identification and attribution of the timesheet.
  • Define Time Period: Clearly indicate the time period covered by the timesheet, whether it's a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly cycle. This helps in organizing and tracking time accurately.
  • List Tasks and Projects: Create a list of tasks or projects that employees will be working on during the specified time period. Each task should be clearly defined and labeled to facilitate accurate time tracking.
  • Record Time Entries: For each task or project, employees should record their time entries accurately. This typically involves entering the date, start and end times, and total hours worked for each day. Some timesheets may also include additional fields for task descriptions or project codes.
  • Calculate Total Hours: Once all time entries are recorded, calculate the total hours worked for each task or project as well as the overall total for the time period. This helps in tracking resource allocation and ensuring compliance with labor regulations.
  • Confirm Info: Before finalizing the timesheet, encourage employees to review their entries for accuracy and completeness. Double-check for any discrepancies or missing information, and make any necessary corrections or adjustments.
  • Obtain Approvals: Depending on your company's policies and procedures, timesheets may require approval from supervisors or managers before submission. Ensure that all necessary signatures or approvals are obtained before finalizing the timesheet.
  • Submit on Time: Emphasize the importance of submitting timesheets on time to ensure timely payroll processing and accurate tracking of employee hours. Set clear deadlines and communicate them effectively to all employees.
  • Archive for Reference: After submission, archive the timesheets for future reference and record-keeping purposes. This helps in maintaining accurate records and facilitates audits or inquiries if needed.

How do I fill my timesheet hours?

Did you know that 54 percent of Americans have had a paycheck problem? When it comes to filling out your timesheet hours, accuracy and consistency are key. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate this process effectively:

  1. Record Time Accurately: Start by accurately recording the time you spend on various tasks throughout the day. Whether it's attending meetings, working on projects, or responding to emails, every activity should be accounted for. Utilize tools such as time tracking software, time clock conversion calculator, or mobile apps to make this process smooth and efficient.
  2. Break Down Tasks: Break down your work into specific tasks or projects to provide a clear breakdown of where your time is being allocated. This not only helps in accurately tracking your hours but also provides valuable insights into how time is being utilized across different areas of your business.
  3. Be Detailed: Provide detailed descriptions for each task or project to ensure clarity and transparency. Include information such as the nature of the work performed, any milestones achieved, and any challenges encountered. This level of detail not only helps in understanding how time is being utilized but also serves as a valuable reference for future planning and decision-making. Leveraging a daily timesheet template could be helpful too.
  4. Allocate Time Wisely: Prioritize your tasks and allocate time wisely to ensure that important projects are given the attention they deserve. Avoid overcommitting or underestimating the time required for a particular task, as this can lead to inaccurate time tracking and potential delays in project delivery.
  5. Review and Verify: Before submitting your timesheet, take the time to review and verify the accuracy of your entries. Double-check for any discrepancies or missing information and make any necessary adjustments. This final step ensures that your timesheet is complete and error-free, providing a reliable record of your time spent.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, from selecting the right format to obtaining approvals and submitting on time, businesses can ensure accurate documentation of employee hours and activities. Timesheets serve as invaluable tools for resource allocation, project management, and financial accountability. With a well-structured approach to writing timesheets, time management processes can become a strong foundation throughout the business. Ready for an intuitive, lightweight solution for tracking work hours and projects? Grab a free trial of Harvest today.