Paper Timesheets: A tradition to relish or an unwelcome relic?
Human beings are creatures of habit. We cook the recipes handed down from our grandparents (or at least, we try to). As adults we tie our shoelaces the same way we learned as a child. In general, we like doing things the way we have always done them. Sometimes, those habits are worth sticking with because they work. But in the workplace, bad habits and out of date practices cost you time and money. This is where paper time sheets come in.
At Mitrefinch, we regularly meet new clients who have spent decades fiddling with paper timesheets. If this is a burden you’re still encumbered with, and you’re unsure about making the switch to paperless, online timesheets, let us run you through six of the pitfalls that await you if you refuse to kick the habit.
So without further ado, here are 6 common symptoms of paper addiction:
An unnecessary waste
This issue is not exclusively an Australian one but rather a global issue impacting business of all sizes and industries. For example, over in the UK, Experian’s latest annual fraud indicator report shows that companies in the UK suffer a payroll fraud loss rate of 1.7%, equating to a staggering total loss of £12.7 billion. And in the US the IRS estimates 33% of businesses experience financial loss due to payroll issues, that’s billions wasted per year! Nobody needs that kind of hole in their pocket.
Even if you are lucky enough to have a workforce comprised entirely of angelic choristers without a dishonest bone in their body, they are still vulnerable to human error at the end of a tough shift. Paper timesheets do nothing to minimise those innocent errors, and certainly don’t stop the not-so-innocent ones.
Mind the (skills) gap
All of your staff filling out paper timesheets may give you a rough idea of the times they are working, but can you truly monitor the quality?
Without paying meticulous attention to the skill sets and qualifications of every member of staff for every shift, can you really be sure you’ll always have everyone you need on hand? Manually assessing when shifts are short on people with specific training is an in-depth task, and failure to identify times when you are at risk of shortcomings can put your whole business at jeopardy.
Is it worth adding that extra pressure to your shift leaders’ workload?
Paper timesheets struggle to reflect reality
Life comes at you fast, and that goes for work too. Employees will be sick, have to suddenly pick up a child from school, or agree to work an extra hour at last minute’s notice. That schedule you worked so hard to create can be thrown out the window in an instant, so being able to react is crucial.
Fiddling around with paper timesheets can be a tremendous hassle when flexibility is needed. It’s a waste of time, and also means that if a shift has opened up you need to spend further time trying to fill it as nobody is aware of the availability.
Poor project prediction precedes pitiful performance
When starting out on a major project, it’s important to get a decent handle on what resources will be needed. This means you can budget efficiently, set expectations, and deliver on time. Everybody is a winner.
But if regular mistakes have crept into your paper timesheet system, your estimate could be out by some margin. Get this wrong and you could overspend on headcount, miss deadlines, disappoint clients, and generally end up delivering a project that’s below the standards you wish to be known for.
Do your employees enjoy paper timesheets?
Not the getting paid part, we know they like that bit. We mean the paperwork part. Let us answer that for you, no they don’t.
As a working week draws to a close, the last thing they want to be doing is the last thing they end up doing. Instead of heading out to see their friends and families, they have to huddle over a timesheet and try to recall where and when they were putting in the hours for you. This is only going to produce unnecessary friction between employer and employee, totally needless when far better options are on the table.
It’s your admin too
Of course, for every employee who has filled out a timesheet, someone senior to them needs to check it and process it. Don’t you have anything else to do?
Manually sifting through even a handful of timesheets is a task that generates very little value to your business. Doing this task at scale over a whole year will pour hours down the drain. Also, who’s to say you won’t accidentally key a ‘7’ instead of a ‘1’ into your database when reading a tired employees handwriting. You could end up paying them too much or too little, a mistake that will lose you friends somewhere in the building.
There are better ways to spend your time
Shocking as it may be, nobody was hired to fill out paper timesheets. Unfortunately, it’s just one of those frustrating little chores that eat up your time and budget.
But do things have to be that way?
Mitrefinch’s online timesheets are trusted by brands all over the globe, from SMEs to FTSE 500 enterprise companies. Isn’t it time you had a look at what we would do for your time management challenge?