Tracking how much time employees spend on specific tasks is a challenge for many project managers and business owners. Having an accurate understanding of realistic timescales and worker output is essential for budgeting, planning future projects, and anticipating the need to hire more staff.
For employees, a time-tracking system is a useful tool for planning and prioritization. Recording and monitoring how long your team spends on projects can help them to focus and work together productively.
The project management software market is growing all the time, but many of these new apps are expensive. On top of that, they can actually increase the volume of work they are supposed to reduce: giving employees yet another tab on their browser to check and update. Often data can end up duplicated in multiple locations and staff fall back on emails, calls, and messages to discuss the status of tasks and projects.
When it comes to project management, you don’t actually need to invest in any new software. Here we’ll show you how to keep track of your team’s work all in one place, with a timesheet template and the tool you (and your colleagues) already know and use every day: spreadsheets!
Why use Google Sheets to manage timesheets?
- Flexible: Online spreadsheets enable you to create a timesheet tracking system that’s custom-built for your team and your business. You can adapt and expand the system over time, without coding or IT support.
- Accessible: Because Google Sheets is cloud-based, you can manage your team’s timesheets from anywhere, at any time, via your laptop or mobile. Keeping everything in spreadsheets saves you money on unnecessary software.
- Compatible with everything: All types of software integrate with Google Sheets. As a result, you can easily import data from other areas of the business, giving you everything you need in Google Sheets.
- Easy to use: Most of your colleagues can probably already use spreadsheets, so it’s easy to roll out a sheet-based system in the company without training. This makes the system future-proof and simple to maintain.
Sign up for Sheetgo and start tracking your team’s progress
Looking for a basic template instead?
Are you running a small project with just a couple of people? If you’re looking for a simple spreadsheet template to track tasks, try our one-file template.
This template is still based in Google Sheets but it does not contain multiple files or Sheetgo connections, just a simple way to plan and tick off completed project tasks.
How to get started
Sheetgo’s spreadsheet-based workflow template is a pre-built system for automated timesheet management that can be used by any team, in any company.
The template provides staff with a simple and reliable way to log their tasks. At the same time, it gives managers an overview of timescales and progress.
What is a timesheet template workflow?
A standard spreadsheet template is a single file containing tables, charts, layouts, and formulas. In contrast, a Sheetgo workflow template is a complete system. It’s a group of interconnected Google Sheets that exchange data between them. This enables the project manager to share data with specific team members without sharing their spreadsheet, and it allows employees to manage their work in their own private file.
A spreadsheet-based workflow template gives you:
- Organization and data privacy: Each file is dedicated to one specific task, which keeps data flows secure and separated. Every team member has their own timesheet spreadsheet where they can see which tasks they have to do, and log how long each task takes them to complete. The manager has a private master spreadsheet where they allocate project tasks to colleagues and receive timesheet reports from employees.
- Scalability: Google Sheets sharing function is powerful but multiple people working in the same spreadsheet can make the file heavy and slow. Separating data in individual spreadsheets keeps the system working smoothly. When a new team member joins the project, you can simply duplicate one of the Colleague spreadsheets and share it with the additional employee.
- Integration: In addition to being able to import data from different software, a spreadsheet-based workflow allows project managers to merge data from other departments. In a few clicks, you can connect data from your budget workflow (or those from other departments) to generate top-level reports.
What you get with this template:
When you install the Sheetgo Timesheet Management template, four Google Sheets files with ready-made Sheetgo connections are saved to your Google Drive:
- Three Colleague spreadsheets. Share these files with team members and make as many copies as you need to add more people to the workflow. Each individual has their own personal copy of this spreadsheet to log how long they spend on each task. They can monitor everything in their personal dashboard.
- One Timesheet management master sheet, for the project manager or administrator. Data flows into this file from the Colleague spreadsheets, giving an overview of the hours worked per day, per colleague, and per project in the automated dashboard.
How to get the workflow template
Click on the blue button below to install the Sheetgo Timesheet management workflow template
- Log in to Sheetgo with your Google account. Because this template is based in Google Sheets, the files will be saved to your Google Drive.
- Click Install template.
- Wait a minute while Sheetgo installs the template and creates the connections for you.
The Timesheet management master file opens inside Sheetgo.
In the workflow diagram in the side panel on the right of the screen, you will see that arrows run in both directions between the master sheet and the Colleague spreadsheets. These are the Sheetgo connections that transport data back and forth between the files.
To open any of the spreadsheets, click on Workflow or Files in the side panel and select a file. Take a look at all the spreadsheets to see how the template works. You will notice that the Colleague files contain sample data. Just delete or overwrite this information when you and your team start using the template.
If you want to close the sidebar, just collapse it to the right using the blue arrows.
How to use the timesheet management template
Step 1: Enter project tasks
Firstly, go to the Projects and Tasks tab in your Timesheet management spreadsheet. Here you need to replace the sample data with the names of all your current projects and tasks.
Step 2: Send project tasks to the Colleague files
Now that you’ve entered the list of tasks, it’s time to share that data with your team members’ spreadsheets.
The template contains pre-built Sheetgo connections that will send this information to the Colleague spreadsheets. Click on Workflow on the side panel, then click Run in the left bottom corner.
Running the workflow updates all the connections and sends fresh information back and forth between the files in the template. Each Colleague spreadsheet will therefore now contain the new list of tasks.
Step 3: Share the Colleague spreadsheets
Click on one of the Colleague spreadsheets, then go to Share located in the right top corner.
Start tracking your team’s progress
Step 4: Start using the template as a team
Now that you’ve shared the individual input spreadsheets with your colleagues, they can start logging their work.
They do this in the Timesheet Report tab of their personal spreadsheet.
In Column A, they enter the date.
In Column B and C, they should select the project and task from the dropdown menus. If the name is wrong or the task is not visible, they should contact you to check it was entered correctly in the master sheet.
In Column D and E, they enter how long the task took them and add any notes that might be useful for you or other managers.
Step 5: Automate the workflow
Once your colleagues have started updating their spreadsheets, you need to pull this information back to the Timesheet management master sheet.
Again, the Sheetgo connections are already set-up in this template, so just click Run on the menu bar. To open the menu bar, click on Workflow.
You will see that your colleagues’ tasks have been imported into the All Timesheet Reports tab in the master sheet.
In a busy team, you will probably be adding and completing new projects and tasks regularly. To ensure that you and your colleagues always have the latest data in your sheets, automate the entire workflow.
Click on Workflow to open the menu bar, click Automate, and choose how often you want the data to be transferred.
Build a complete project management system in Google Sheets
Want to add more Colleague spreadsheets to the template? You can do that by copying one of the Colleague spreadsheets and connecting it with new Sheetgo connections. Get step-by-step instructions here.
If you want to create a more advanced system, you can customize the template further, incorporating other project data or information from other departments.
If you’d like a tailor-made system for project management, or you need a more robust system that still works with spreadsheets, check out our project management solution.
Share with your manager
If you’re not personally responsible for timesheet management but you think this system could be useful in your workplace, share this article with your manager so they can set up the workflow.
Are you an HR manager looking for a timesheet template that enables staff to clock in and out? Try our employee timesheet template, which gives employees a way to track their working hours and lunch breaks.