How to get employees to track time and submit timesheets on time?

Motivating employees to track time is one of the challenges that managers face nowadays. Getting the workforce to actually track work hours by using a time tracking software and submitting the timesheets in time is a challenge. As you probably guessed, employees find the task of filling in their timesheets to be a burden. So you need to find ways to transform that burden into a pleasant activity.

This is why we have put together this article, for you to discover how to get employees to track time and also to learn about the benefits of employee time tracking. Here are 5 tips we believe are the key to encouraging your employees to see this task as less of a nuisance and more of an enjoyable activity.

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1. Communicate the importance of time tracking

Employees will always need transparency, regardless of the matter discussed. Same goes here. If you just demand that they use the tracking system, without any explanation, they will feel left out. So revealing the benefits of employee time tracking is a must.

a Firstly, when working on billable hours, you can show them how every tracked hour turns into invoices, which leads to profit.

bSecondly, you can also share with them a report, which is an instrument for keeping tasks and projects on budget and for making future estimates.

c Thirdly, always point out that time tracking is a win-win-win situation: employees have to gain from it, the company itself and the clients.

Time tracking is closely linked to time management. The importance of managing time wisely provides many benefits: a better work-life quality, increased productivity, less procrastination, indecisiveness and stress, improved decision making, better success in the career path and faster goal achievement. In addition to these, we will mention that time management gives a confidence boost, more energy, and greater leisure time.

"Time is our most irreplaceable asset—we cannot buy more of it. We can only strive to waste as little as possible."
Ryan Holiday

To sum up, a profitable company will induce a sense of security for the employees and a happy working environment.

Transparency has two sides.

The one where you tell your team what time tracking IS about and the one where you inform them what is NOT about.

They need to be assured that this will not be the tool used for spying on them.

That you won’t be checking how many breaks are they taking - it has been proved that the highest performing workers are the ones who take breaks.

You need to be realistic, do not set impractical goals, because the majority of workers are able to stay focused for 3 to 6 hours during an 8-hour shift. So there is no point in scrutinizing every minute of your team’s work. You want them to be productive, not exhausted, miserable, and delivering work that lacks quality.

Another great advantage of time tracking is forecasting. You will know exactly how long does a project take and this will allow for better planning in the future. You can determine patterns and if you add the budget and costs data, important decisions are easier to make!

“Over 85% of best-in-class companies integrate their time and attendance tracking software with their payroll system”

Source: Aberdeen Group

2. Make sure your team is on board

Maybe a meeting is the last thing you and your team are looking for. But a short one may be the best way to get your employees to really want to track time.

Give a brief presentation

Present all the reasons that make you confident about the necessity of time tracking. This is the opportunity to show them a demo: of invoices and reports.

Introduce them to their options

You surely work with very different people: one is an office geek, so he will track the time from the browser/desktop app, the other is one that enjoys work “on the field”, so he will definitely use his smartphone to clock-in and out. If they have options, they will feel more inclined to use the tracking software.

Set clear guidelines and labels in order to educate your team

Teach your employees how to track time and they will be more open to the idea. But remember that everyone has their pace, so allow them an adjustment period.

First, you should set a schedule for when the timesheets should be submitted: choose one day of the week. Another tip is to also set reminders for that specific day, so employees know timesheets are to be completed. This can be done automatically using your chosen tracking system.

Secondly, create a system of labels for the activities your employees need to track time.They need discipline and easiness in order to accept the time tracking system and you need accurate data for your reports. For example, you can categorize the worked hours by project, task,client, project manager in charge etc.

Put someone in charge

The truth is, time tracking is a difficult task for every company, so every now and then, issues may rise. So the answer is to hand this responsibility to one person, add it to their job description. This way, the team knows who to turn to for feedback and for questions and the employee responsible can also remind the whole team about their deadlines for the timesheets.

Don’t leave out the new hires

They also need to know what time tracking is essential, so make sure this becomes part of the onboarding process.

Lead by example

You already know by now that this is the key to everything. No organization will be successful if managers don’t act as an example for their employees. Take your time and complete your timesheet daily.

Firms that are using a time tracking tools report a 30% productivity boost!

3. Assimilate time tracking into your workflow

Employees may see time tracking like a hassle if they need to stop what they’re doing, in order to start a timer. You can knock out this hassle with a simple solution: integrate time tracking into your team’s workflow. This way, they will be in touch more easily with the timer, directly in the applications they are using on a daily basis: Asana, Slack, Harvest, Toggl, Zendesk, etc.This may be one of the best ways to keep track of hours worked.

With AraHR, from now on you can manage your workforce time with a minimum effort! You and your employees will easily track how many hours or days you spend on tasks and projects.

4. Turn the time tracking process into a positive experience

How to get from a repetitive habit of completing timesheets to having fun?

By rewarding employees for accurate time tracking in order to make the process more appealing.

Find the perfect ways for your company’s culture to compensate your team when they do a really great job at time tracking. You can offer small gifts, hours off or maybe a cinema ticket. Some companies choose to reward employees individually, others will compensate the whole time, if at the end of the week all timesheets are correctly submitted. But be aware! If time tracking is not perfect one week, don’t public shame the employees who failed in completing their hours.

Prevent exhaustion in workaholics

If you constantly see that some employees work more than usual, take the chance and talk to them. Prevent them from persisting in their workaholics’ patterns and they will appreciate you for this.

Improve procedures and productivity

Sometimes people just do their work day after day, without realising how much do they spend on emails, calls, meetings. Using the data from the time tracking reports, you will be able to increase your team’s productivity. Timesheet data is the best indicator for profitability, employee cost, project cost, etc.

5. Ask your employees to provide feedback

Your employees are the ones that know exactly how your business is run. That is why their feedback is crucial for the organization, for possible improvements and adjustments.

Be open-minded and ask for their opinion, check how are they getting used to time tracking. If they find it somehow difficult, this is where you can take action and improve the time tracking system. You can also see this as an opportunity to make them feel valued, since their opinion is taken into account by the management.


Hopefully, this mini-guide will be of great assistance in your challenge of time tracking. You will need to choose the right software for your company and this may take some time, but do not give up! Once the system is up and running, employees will find it useful and painless. No more written timesheets. No more wasted time. You will know how to keep track of employees’ time.

AraHR is exactly what you need if you want your small-medium business to succeed!

We have created the easiest online employee timesheet app. The system is built to save time, eliminate errors and automate processes for your workforce. The timesheet app will reflect the working hours and also the absences, so you will be able to determine attendance patterns.

Use ARA to skip manual work

Getting your team to track time shouldn’t be a hassle. ARA designed the timesheet app that makes time-tracking easy, automatic, and fun.

Highlight errors automatically

The timesheet app will highlight time card errors automatically, and point on how to fix them. Running payroll will be effective and you’ll stay compliant with local labour laws.

Save hours on manual data entry

ARA tracks time worked automatically, so you won’t need to use energy and time entering clock in and clock out times in a spreadsheet.

All in one place

Use the app not only for time tracking, but add time off, notifications and all your labour data in one place.