Easy Ways Small Businesses Can Keep Track Of Work Hours

Let’s be honest – nobody wants to work a second more than they have to. Whether you love your job or not, it’s hard to deny that you’d much rather be curled up in bed with a pizza and a film.

Work time also has other ramifications too, besides eating into your pizza and Netflix time. For some companies, it affects whether or not you’re eligible for certain employee bonuses. Perhaps your company gives an extra day’s holiday to those who work 2,000 hours, for example.

And that’s why it’s important to keep track of these figures. For small businesses, it’s even more important. It’s not like you’ll have infinite resources at your disposal, so you have to keep your current crop of staff members happy. And, overworking them is not the way to do that!

Some of the following solutions will be easier to use than others, but that’s not the point here. The point is to offer you a lot of options! Obviously, everyone will gravitate to the easier choices, but what if you don’t have the budget to do so? Here, we’ve included a range of free and paid options for diversity.

  1. A basic clock on/clock off system

There are multiple ways of doing this, and it’s ultimately up to you which to choose. A clock on/clock off system lets employees ‘sign in’ and ‘sign out’ of the work day, so you can see what they’ve done.

At a very, very basic level, one option is to just have them write down what time they arrive, and what time they leave. Then all you have to do is subtract their lunch hour, or lunch break. This can be hard to keep track of though, and should be used as a last resort.

A proper clocking system involves employees scanning fingers, or a card, into a machine.


They scan their prints or card when they arrive and when they leave. This data is then transferred to a CMS for tracking.

  1. Software solutions

Software solutions are frequently the simplest ways to solve a problem, and the same could be said here. Both employees and employers can benefit from a system like FMLA software, which can be used to keep track of hours worked.


This way, all the data you need is stored in one singular location, as opposed to being spread across multiple spreadsheets or systems. Tracking employee hours has other benefits too. For example, avoiding any lawsuits that spring from not managing employee attendance correctly.

By keeping this data controlled on one system, you can produce it quickly, as and when needed.

3. Spreadsheets


Pretty much every computer system you can buy comes with some sort of spreadsheet program. This could be Excel or something more third-party, but functionality is largely the same.

If you aren’t used to formulas and correct use of cells, using a spreadsheet to track work hours could prove difficult. The formulas are also prone to errors, and frequent bugging out. This could make them a less-than stable solution, and if you do choose it, make sure you keep copies.

But, spreadsheets are free, and even though their functionality is basic, they’re good to use until you can upgrade. To start with, you’ll need to create separate documents for each different employee, add a master sheet, then add a sheet for each work week.

On each work week sheet, have rows for Monday – Friday (or however your work week pans out) and overtime. Now it’s a simple case of totting in the numbers and watching them add up! The formula


…should do the trick. G2:G10 refers to cells G2:G10. The system will add up the values for those cells. So in your sheet, replace these two figures with your Monday – Friday cell numbers.

  1. Don’t track hours – track work

This could potentially work for you if you don’t have too many full-time employees. Instead of tracking how many hours are worked, track how many projects are completed or how much work is done. There are several ways you can gauge this, depending on what your company does.


You could gauge it on how many videos are edited by that person. One video could be worth $75, for example. You could gauge it by how many articles are completed, or how many words are written. You could even track the amount of sales that person has completed to determine their cut of the profits. Why not get creative!

Of course, this does have several issues – how do you account for holidays, and sick leave? There are more risks at play here, but that’s your decision. Logistically, a proper tracking system may be more viable. But only you know what works for you!

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