Freelancer timesheets are often a necessity for both business owners and freelancers, but traditional timesheet methods often fall short. They’re time-consuming, usually full of mistakes, and nobody likes filling them in or reviewing them.
However, the development of automated time tracking apps has paved the way for a much easier way to track how freelancers are spending their time, and can vastly increase performance.
Why Change Your Current Method?
Whether your business uses pen and paper or a digital format such as Excel or Google Sheets, the chances are your current timesheet method presents a variety of obstacles.
- Too many variables: it’s hard to keep track of every single freelancer. There will always be someone on vacation, on sick leave, or freelancers that need to account for overtime.
- It’s not flexible: manually adapting a timesheet to account for changes such as promotions or different freelancer rates is time-consuming and can lead to errors.
- Takes up space: if you’re using paper, then storing freelancer timesheets will take up physical space. But even electronic documents will be taking up space on your hard drive.
- Time-consuming: it’s hard enough for freelancers to remember to track their time. Chances are, you’re also wasting time reminding them to hand in their timesheets on time during each pay period.
Freelancer Timesheet App Advantages
Instead of relying on freelancers manually inputting data, timesheet apps streamline this process and automatically track time whilst freelancers are at work. It also makes it easier for remote freelancers to track their time, which can also be done on their phone.
Freelancers don’t need to recall when and how long they worked on certain projects, how many hours they’ve worked, or worry about handing in their timesheet on time. It’s all done automatically.
Automatic time tracking eliminates the question of accuracy. This can help build a level of trust throughout your company, as freelancers don’t need to try and recall or estimate their time.
As well as making the whole process faster (no need for freelancers to log on and off to track time), you also won’t need to chase down freelancers to hand in their hours. You’ll be able to save valuable time by avoiding rolling out new templates and revising freelancer timesheets to fit different working times.
Opportunity for Feedback
Automated freelancer timesheets will allow you to provide freelancers with constructive feedback to improve productivity. You’ll be able to point out where time may be better spent or offer additional onboarding in areas which seem to be taking too long.
Key Features To Look For
Timesheet apps offer the easiest and most effective way to track company time and can help increase freelancers’ performance. Here are some of the key features to look out for when comparing time tracking apps:
Timesheet apps operate slightly differently so it’s best to consider your company’s needs. Most record hours worked in real time and then compile the information into a report. Some also offer visual freelancer timesheets and more advanced reporting options such as vacation time or other time off.
If you bill by the hour or by project, choosing an app with invoicing features can streamline your billing process. You can automatically create invoices based on hours worked and your clients will be able to see exactly where time has been spent.
Even if you use a separate project management system, apps that offer some features of their own are useful for increasing performance. For instance; grouping tasks, setting deadlines, prioritizing tasks, and checking that freelancers are meeting goals on time.
Alerts are useful for letting you know if a project is falling behind, how freelancers are performing, and whether a project deadline should be extended. They’re also useful for freelancers, as they’ll be able to prioritize their workload and stay up to date with other freelancers’ tasks to move a project forward. Apps that allow notifications across devices such as mobiles and desktops are a definite plus.
Most apps will create simple PDF reports, but some offer additional features such as advanced reporting. Depending on your needs as a business owner or an agency, this can be important. Having access to data which you can check daily, weekly, or for a specific project will allow you to better understand where time is being spent, and either cut costs or increase the budget for future projects.
Consider the layout and design that different apps have to offer. It’s important you’re able to navigate easily and have a visual layout which allows you to decipher key information quickly. A timesheet app should also run seamlessly behind the scenes as freelancers work.
With automated time tracking, it’s now easier than ever to stay on top of things and review how freelance freelancers spend their time. As well having access to useful data which can help increase freelancers’ performance, you’ll also be able to save valuable time and better allocate your resources.
Once that’s all set up, you’ll have more confidence to take even more tasks off your plate. Then you can sign up with FreeeUp to get introduced to the freelancers you need to really give your business a boost.
Peter Bailey is the owner of American Display – a manufacturer of offline marketing products. In his spare time, he learns and shares his knowledge about the online marketing principles he uses for his projects.