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A timesheet is a method for employees and employers to track hours worked. Number of hours total, clock-in and –out times, and other relevant notes are listed under each day of the week. If the employee was not scheduled to work on a specific day, then that could also be reflected on the timesheet, as well as whether or not the employee was on vacation or out sick.

The Many Uses for Timesheets

While timesheets are most often used for hourly and part-time workers, any business can use them to keep track of when employees come to work and leave the office. This can help track overtime or extra hours, especially for full-time employees. Timesheets are also useful for managers or employers who are concerned with productivity – for example, if an employee works better 10 AM to 7 PM, rather than 9 AM to 6 PM, then they could do a trial-run signing in at those times with a timesheet, to reflect the change in their work hours.

Timesheets can also be useful for managers who need to keep track of whether employees are actually in the office. Unfortunately, sometimes employees lie about when they come to work or leave for the day, and timesheets can be double-checked with when the employee was seen coming in or leaving for the day. This is rare, but in this case, timesheets can be used as part of employee discipline procedures.

Employers can also use timesheets to keep up with employee break times and length. Labor and Industry regulations vary from state to state, but generally, employees are allowed at least one paid 10 to 15 minute break in a 4 or 5 hour shift; after that, they are allowed at least one 30 minute unpaid lunch and a second short paid break. Many employees choose to work through their breaks, but this can negatively impact productivity. If a manager notices that employees consistently do not take their breaks and their work appears to suffer, encouraging employees to stretch their legs or get a cup of coffee in the break room can mentally help employees stay on track without hurting their morale.

If part- or full-time employees work on a specific project, then specific timesheets can be created to log hours worked on that project. This can help streamline the process later, or show that an aspect of the project was more complicated than the project manager anticipated.

Why Use a Timesheet Template?

Many timesheets can be used electronically, but if you don’t need or want your employees to use computers individually, then you can have a printed timesheet. You can also send a specific timesheet format to employees who telecommute on a regular basis.

Use our free timesheet template download to look over what timesheets can track, and see if it is an efficient choice for your business. If you have questions about breaks and their length, or other employee time questions, check your local L&I laws or speak with an employment attorney.