The Lost Timesheet

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Billions would agree that timesheets are always an issue. Inaccurate timesheet can be extremely costly and cause numerous issues. Timesheets are directly connected with everything a company pays and does, with every employee, project and goal. Let’s take a look at a case I stumbled upon recently and make some conclusions.

The Lost Timesheet and the Dawn of The Unhappy Employees

There was this office, not a big one to be honest, where I had to run some stuff for a while. With the few people (11 to be precise) who worked there, they found it unnecessary to pay much attention to timekeeping. The schedule was basically a sheet with dates and on each day, employees wrote down the hours they’ve worked for. At the beginning of the next month, the manager will take that sheet, count the hours, pay the wages and voila.

However, unfortunately for everyone in the beginning of the next month… the paper timesheet was gone. Literally nowhere to be seen, no one having even the slightest idea where it is since it was not in any of the usual places or the unusual ones. The more troublesome fact – it was right after December, awfully busy month, swaps of shifts all the time, working extra hours and more similar stuff, which made the schedule totally unpredictable.

The result? No one could remember the hours they have worked for,  recreate even parts of the schedule, or had any idea where could it be. In addition, the company had no clue what they must pay to the employees, what were the taxes and etc. An absolute mess and nothing to be happy about. Not to mention the enormous amount of time lost in search of the time sheet, or debates for the work hours. Also, the sad loss of trust between employee and employer, the insults and accusations.

Nevertheless, there was something like an agreement for a fixed wage based on their regular hours and a day off for those who want (an unpaid one). Not that it was well accepted, everyone knew they worked the hell of a lot more. Yet their work cannot be paid, because someone was sloppy enough to lose the timesheet.


Besides the fact that the lack of stable organization and accurately predetermined work hours for the busiest month of the year, made the schedule impossible, we can also conclude these stuff:

Trust no one if you want to build a good work relationship, where everyone trusts each other. Now, I know how this sounds, yet entrusting something this important and allowing it to lie around, at the beginning may seem like a wonderful idea to show your faith in the rest, but it will come back and bite everyone eventually. If they would’ve used a timesheet app, which stores this data safely, this would’ve been extremely unlikely to happen, not to say impossible.

Organize everything that can be organized. Misplacing, mishandling, miscalculating and lot more other missing/mistaken stuff can be avoided with a better organization and creating a particular place for everything. If you have  a solid organization, then accusations, disputes and such would be less likely to occur.

  Always make a schedule and edit it for the smallest change of events, a swap of shifts, the extra hours work and etc. This, however, sounds so troublesome that if your office is any bigger than 5-6 people, you will need to hire someone as schedule editor. Yet, if you want accurate timekeeping and pay your employees exactly what they’ve earned, no more or less, this is a must. Unless you prefer to save yourself and everyone else the trouble of human errors and start using a time and attendance tracking software.

  Verify everything. With everything that went on the days after the timesheet was lost, I can assume that fear is a strong motivator to keep silent even in front of people who you’ve worked with  for a long time. Also, how can you trust such employee/s they have written their true working hours in the past? Even how can such employees call themselves a team?

I must admit that after this whole story, it was the first time I started doubting everyone who rejects simple management needs because they “trust” each other. Moreover, the capable and awesome manager with a college degree for the position proved absolutely incapable of controlling the work place.

So what do you do to ensure the accuracy of your time sheet and its safety?

You use time tracking software, make actual real personalized schedules, organize and systematize everything. Trust in a team is not build only when everyone likes each other, a team needs a solid base. The team members need to know their work will be appreciated and paid for. Something that can be ruined by a simple thing like a lost time sheet, or underpaid labor.

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