While important for business, no company wants to actually spend time on timesheets. Thankfully, a rich employee timesheet app market exists to streamline daily admin. But given the overwhelming dependence on manual input, the majority s simply aren’t up to the task. Companies seeking accuracy and ease-of-use are increasingly recognizing that the best employee timesheet apps are automatic. Here’s how these apps work and why they’re a cut above the rest.
Only a handful of employee timesheet apps currently available are automatic. The majority simply offer digital timesheets—teams simply plug in the time they spend on different pieces of work via a cloud-based platform.
In practice, this amounts to a “slightly better” spreadsheet system. The majority of online timesheet apps don’t actually solve the problem of time tracking; they simplify it. Digital timesheet apps still require employees to start and stop timers for every task and spend time writing notes about what they did. They can’t work without continual, disciplined manual input. Inaccuracy and guesstimates are common, with research showing that manual timesheets are only ever 67% accurate—even when logged daily.
In contrast, automatic employee timesheet apps outsource the time tracking process. They capture everything teams work on in the background and can even draft timesheets for them using AI. In doing so, they remove dependence on manual input and set a new standard for timesheet accuracy.
Automatic timesheet apps might sound intense, but they’re actually ridiculously simple to use. Here’s how it works in Timely:
1. Turn automatic tracking on. You can also schedule this to turn on automatically during your work hours.
2. Get on with your day. As you work, Timely records the time you spend on every document, websites, email, meetings, video call and more to a private timeline only you can access.
3. Drag tracked activities to log your timesheet. Alternatively, get AI to draft timesheet entries for you! Nothing goes public without your active consent.
Our brains aren't designed to track time, so tools that depend on manual input often produce a highly inaccurate list of “guessimated” work. With automatic timesheet apps, every aspect of your work day is objectively remembered for you.
You hire people for their skills; not to track their time. But with traditional manual methods, employees can spend two hours a week logging timesheets. Automatic employee timesheet apps like Timely reduce this to under ten minutes.
Most online timesheet apps require employees to remember to start and stop timers. It’s highly inaccurate, but it’s also pretty annoying and requires you to continually break your focus. With automatic timesheet apps, there are no interruptions; you can review or log your timesheet when it suits your schedule.
By expediting the whole timesheet creation process, automatic timesheet apps limit invoicing delays at the end of the month. Employees simply have to spend a few minutes reviewing draft timesheet entries, so late time sheets become less of a bottleneck. Stragglers can set automatic reminders, to ensure they remember to approve their timesheet in time for invoicing deadlines (happily saving managers the job of chasing them).
Automatic timesheet apps pick up commonly missed billable hours—like out-of-hours emails, overrunning meetings, travel and daily Slack communication. It also lets you capture all the time you spend on different tasks—not just the billable ones—for a more hollistic view of how you spend your time.