10 Ways To Encourage Employees To Submit Timesheets On Time

By Jamie Hill - 3 October 2019

BusinessExpert VoicesFeatures

Timesheets are quite an important requirement to keep a company running smoothly. They help a manager know what their employees are up to, and in some cases, it determines how much they’ll be getting paid. However, there’s one problem, which is that no one likes to keep track of what they’re doing in their workday. So, how do you get your employees to submit their timesheets on time? Read on to find out.

1.   Lose the Paper 

The more complicated your employees find the timesheet submission process, the more they’ll procrastinate doing it. What some employers do is that they make their people print out their worksheets as well as fill them out which could be a tedious process for some. Instead, if you just abandon the paperwork and only require them to fill the sheets out using a software, it’s guaranteed they won’t give you a hard time when it comes down to it. 

2.   Talk to Your People 

Employees are not machines, you can’t just order them around without expecting any questions. Not only that, but it’s also not what a good leader does. See, as long as your employees don’t see the purpose of filling out timesheets, they won’t do it as promptly as you’d want. So, why not explain to them their importance? By seeing the overall benefit, they’ll be more considerate when they get the job done.

3.   Set Up Reminders 

Sometimes it’s not that employees are being blatantly disobedient or anything. With a busy working schedule, it’s easy for anyone to forget that they should have been filling out a timesheet. Luckily, this problem isn’t unfixable. You could do one of two things. Either remind them personally through your team chat or use a software to remind them automatically of when their timesheets are due.

4.   Consistency 

We all know that humans are creatures of habit. Our minds have a high tendency to look for patterns and automate tasks. Just think about how many times you find yourself at home without fully remembering the walk back. Anyway, the point is, if you’re consistent about when you ask for the timesheets, by time, you’ll find that your employees have been used to submitting them on whatever date you specify.

5.   Make it Easy for Them 

Even after going paper-free and only using software to track their time, employees may still delay on their timesheet submissions. When we looked into the common staff complaints, we found that most people would rather not waste a precious half an hour to fill out an overly complicated timesheet. One suggestion is to pick a simple template and stick to it. The actual process of finding timesheet resources isn’t at all time-consuming. Plus, as mentioned on exceltemplate.net, having a stable template also puts into action the whole concept of consistency. Keep in mind, you need to make filling out timesheets a short, simple process, rather than a dreadfully tedious task.

6.   Software Training 

If you already have a time tracking software for your staff, this point may be useful for you. It’s common for a lot of people to end up finding it quite hard to get a full grasp of the software and how to use it. Needless to say, if they struggle with the software, they’re not going to log their hours until the last minute. So, to avoid all that, it’s better to hold a training session where you have yourself, or an experienced user, train the rest of your employees. That way, they’ll be able to log in their hours in no time, and you’ll end up receiving everything on time.



7.   Clear Any Mix-ups

If you’re going to see a client, do you include the time spent in traffic under working hours? What if you manage to get a little work done on the way to work? How about time wasted if the internet ever goes down? Well, all these are questions that lead to one end result, empty timesheets. How could you enter the hours you’ve spent working if you don’t even know how much time you’ve spent? That’s where your role as a manager comes into play, you need to set clear, all-inclusive guidelines regarding what falls under “work” and what doesn’t. In addition, it’s always a good idea to listen to any questions your team might have.

8.   Don’t Lose Sight of What Matters

A reason your employees may be reluctant to enter their hours is fear. When working on projects, you could either finish late, or you could finish early. Naturally, when you meet your goal and find nothing else on your plate, you’re going to spend more time doing things other than working. For some, including these hours is a thing they’d rather avoid. This may be the reason they wait until the last minute to submit. What should you do? As long as they’re meeting their deadlines, don’t make a big deal out of it. It’s that simple.

9.   Feedback is Important

Effective communication goes both ways. If you have a problem with your employees, there must be a cause. Finding out that cause is just a matter of asking. Talk to your staff, ask them for feedback on your strategies, time tracking template, and software. Instead of guessing, you’ll be getting direct answers.

10.  Use Penalties

Last, and also our least favorite method, is penalizing late submissions. If at the end of the day, you’re the one who’s going to be getting slammed with over 40 submissions, there’s no doubt it will hinder your productivity and maybe even pay. When employees realize the consequences of their actions, they won’t slack again.


All in all, here’s what you should take out of this article. Listen to your employees and their problems, then use their complaints as guidelines to help you design a perfect time tracking method. After doing so, teach them how to use it. Of course, you’re going to need positive motivators, but if push comes to shove, you might need to punish them for being late. Yet, don’t start docking pay from the get go. It will only cause you harm.


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