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May 17, 2022

Understanding Timesheet Reports: How to make sense of the data


Table of Contents

Tired of paperwork?

The outcome of a project is dependent on two main variables: (1) Time & (2) Money. The relationship between the two is relatively complicated and does not always follow the same logic.

However, that’s not the point of this blog post. On the contrary, we are looking to help you understand the importance of each variable and its relationship with the outcome of a project.

If you are someone struggling to get projects completed on time under a pre-defined budget then you’re having a problem managing your or your staff’s workload, or do not have the necessary resources to complete the project as intended.

If you’re like most field service businesses then you are using contemporary timesheets to track work hours and calculate payroll. Once that is done, you pass the paper onto your folder and move on. Timesheet reports are more than just work hours and payroll.

As such, we want to help you understand the value of time within a project by using modern timesheets as a method of deriving more from your time data

Let’s get into it.

Identifiable data elements of modern timesheet reports

Unlike contemporary paper timesheets or time-stamped clocks - which are limited in the information they communicate about how the worker spent their time during the day - digital timesheets are much more comprehensive in the data they provide.

At first sight, digital timesheet reports may seem overwhelming because of the many data elements they contain. Whether you’re looking at your dashboard (packed with general insights) or generated reports, your employees’ regular working hours, breaks, overtime, double overtime, time off,  and estimated pay are all automatically counted and displayed in an instant for you to process. And that’s not all, should you need a more detailed view of a particular employee’s activity, you can easily generate clear, simple timelines of everyone’s daily activity.

Besides being able to automatically calculate payroll for employees, time clocks like Atto can seamlessly integrate with your booking keeping software (i.e. Quickbooks Online or Xero) to completely streamline your payroll process.

Without a solution to automatically calculate every data element, you or your team would have to spend countless hours collecting reports, organizing and cleaning the data, and then deriving the information you need to make insightful decisions. Therefore, why not stop wasting your time collecting the data, and instead start spending more time on the things that matter, like for example, interpreting the automatically generated timesheets.

Understand Timesheets and Stay on Top of Everything

Now that we’re clear on the data collection part, let’s start talking about how you can make an insightful decision with this newly automatically generated timesheet report.

Get wage estimates from your employees’ timesheets

Let’s start with the most important benefit of timesheet reports: Payroll. We’re going to use Atto as an example to showcase the process of estimating payroll. All you need to know is your employee’s pay rate ($/h). Once that is clear, you can simply add every employee’s pay rate, and Atto will do all the work for you. Once you have some financial insight, you will be able to determine the true cost of offering your product or service.If you priced a product at $400, and from the report generated from Atto, you observed that the team working on the project plus the associated costs are almost equal to $400 then you could conclude that (a) the team working on the project took too long to finish, or (b) your underpriced your good or service. 

If you know that the price of your good or service is that of the market then the problem may reside with your teams’ performance. Let’s see how timesheets can help evaluate the productivity of your team.

Measure performance

Interpreting data that timesheet reports generate can also help you measure the performance of employees and teams, as well as find ways to increase productivity. With timesheet reports, you can filter all the work done by each employee, team, or towards a specific category of job. Comparing how long tasks take different employees or teams and spotting employees that are struggling at work will help you acknowledge potential issues and find solutions. Sussing out bottlenecks that are slowing progress is another perk of timesheet reports. This way, you can see if jobs are running on time and within the project budget. 

It’s especially useful for field service businesses, like those in plumbing, painting, or gardening. You can not only look at how long it takes certain employees to finish a job but also if any other factors come into play that may hinder productivity. Location data will help determine if certain sites need more or less time to be completed, so that for current and future projects you know which teams to send out. Being able to measure the performance of each employee and compare them to projects results in informed decisions on increasing productivity. 

Recognize your strengths and weaknesses 

Every company, CEO, manager, and employee has its strengths and weaknesses. Now, while a lot may want to focus only on the strengths and shift their attention to the things done well, dealing with weaknesses is a must if you want to improve every aspect of your business. With analytics from timesheet reports, identifying possible gaps for improvement and maintaining practices that work well for the company becomes a breeze.

If a particular employee works well with certain jobs, such as gardening in the backyards of domestic houses, then you will see that in their timesheet reports. They will probably finish the job faster and more efficiently and are ready to move to the next one. If you send that employee to complete jobs in a completely new site that is unfamiliar and not really part of their expertise, then the disadvantages of that will show in the timesheet reports as well. By analyzing the data, you’ll know what your employees do best so that you can plan projects more efficiently and make sure that they’re completed successfully.

Identify problems earlier 

Even if you are the CEO of your company, you are most likely not the only person making decisions. Important decisions, in most cases, are also discussed with heads of other departments, like marketing and finance. Even on a smaller level, managers make decisions for their teams. What all of these stakeholders have in common is that the best decisions are made when they are well-informed and have a lot of data to back them up.  

By looking at timesheet reports, businesses can monitor ongoing projects as well as completed ones. They’re able to identify any patterns that may hinder productivity or cause any potential problems. Especially if you analyze data from specific timeframes, you’re able to understand how employees are tracking their time and location, and if there are changes to be made. Stay on top of your company’s trends so you can forecast estimates for future projects that you plan to take on. With the current data, you’ll know what to look out for when new jobs come up and plan possible solutions in advance.

With Atto, you can get highly accurate data that is updated instantly and also automatically compiled into reports. And with all the generated data, you’ll make your company more efficient, increase productivity, and improve company practices. Work smarter, not longer. Try Atto free for 14 days now!

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