How to Keep Track of Employee Time Off in 2022
What do you get when you mix a vacation sale, an employee’s birthday, and the first day of summer break? A lot of requests for time off! If you’re like most employers, keeping track of employee leaves can feel like a full-time job in itself.
With so many employees out sick or on vacay, it’s easy to lose track of absences. Luckily, there are a few ways to make sure you’re prepared for whatever the rest of 2022 throws your way. Let’s go over some leave management solutions after exploring what could happen if you neglect to track your employees’ leaves.
Top Sitches You Want to Avoid At All Costs
First off, we gotta stress the value of knowing how to keep track of employee time off. Why? Because there are situations that no one wants to find themselves in—like these ones:
- Missed deadlines: When employers don’t track time off, it can be difficult to plan around employee absences. This can lead to projects being delayed or even falling through entirely.
- Increased stress: Not only do you have to worry about getting your work done, but you also have to keep track of everyone else’s time off.
- Decreased productivity: If you constantly have to cover for absent coworkers, you’re not going to be very productive. This can mean lost time and money.
- Lower morale: Chasing people down to see if they’re taking their vacation days can be a real morale killer. No one wants to feel like they’re being watched all the time.
4 Ways to Keep Track of Employee Time Off
The above major workplace buzzkills can all be avoided by implementing a solid time off tracking method. Here are a few ways to do it:
1. Good Ol’ Fashioned Pen & Paper
Get your quills out, fogeys, it’s time to take notes the old-fashioned way! This method is cheap and cheerful, but it does require a bit of discipline. While this method can work for some, it lacks the flexibility and organization that other methods offer.
How it works: Every time an employee requests time off, you jot it down in a physical calendar or notebook. This way, you can keep track of who is taking what days off and when.
Who it’s for: This method is best for small businesses with a very limited number of employees. It’s not recommended for companies with more than a couple of employees as it can get overwhelming fast.
- Inexpensive: Next to nothing to set up.
- Easy to use: Just a pen and paper!
- Time-consuming: You have to write everything out by hand.
- Easy to lose: If you’re not careful, a physical calendar can get lost or ruined.
- Zero transparency: Only the owner of the precious paper knows what’s going on, and the rest of the team is left in the dark.
2. Good—and Less—Ol’ Fashioned Spreadsheets
This is a step up from the good ol’ fashioned pen and paper method, but it’s still pretty low-tech. All you need is a basic Excel spreadsheet (or Google Doc, if you’re feeling fancy).
How it works: You create a table with columns for employee names, dates, and days off. Then, every time an employee requests time off, you update the spreadsheet accordingly. Check out one of our templates here.
Who it’s for: This method might work for smaller to medium-sized teams who are comfortable using spreadsheets.
- Inexpensive: All you need is your spreadsheet program of choice.
- Access anywhere: As long as you have an internet connection, you can access your spreadsheet.
- Not very flexible: If someone’s plans change, you have to go back into the document and manually make changes.
- Limited features: Spreadsheets can be pretty basic, so you might not be able to do everything you want like generate reports or track absences over time.
- Prone to human error: Ah, the joys of working with other humans. If someone makes a mistake on the spreadsheet, it can be difficult to spot and even more difficult to fix.
- Not very pretty…
3. The High-Tech Option: HR Software
If you want something a little more high-tech, there are plenty of digital time off tracking options to choose from. These range from simple to complex, so there’s definitely something for everyone.
How it works: Employee requests time off using an online form or calendar. The request is then either approved or denied by a manager.
Who it’s for: This method is best for businesses with mid to larger-sized teams. HR software typically has the most features and is the most customizable making it a good fit for businesses needing more than just the basics.
- Easy to use: After a quick training session, most employees will be able to use the software with no problem.
- Automated: Once it’s set up, this method is pretty much hands-off.
- Flexible: Employees can easily change their plans within the platform if needed.
- Paid subscription: Some HR software can be quite pricey.
- Filled with too many features: Not all businesses need or want all the features an HR software package has to offer.
4. The High(er)-Tech Option: Integration Tools
With all the software companies use, is it really necessary to add another platform to the mix? The solution to this is adding an integration tool so you can keep track of everything in one place.
How it works: You connect the integration tool to your team’s software that you’re already using (like Slack, Teams, or Google Workspace). This way, you can view and update leave days from within the platform you know and love (or, in some cases—tolerate).
Who it’s for: Businesses of any size who use software platforms for messaging.
- Easy to set up & use: Integration tools are designed to be intuitive and straightforward.
- Connects to your workspace: Keep all your information in one place for easy access.
- Flexible: Adjust settings to tailor the tool to your team’s needs.
- Transparent: All team members can see who is away without having to leave their workspace.
- Paid subscription: Most integration tools require a paid subscription.
So, which employee time off tracking method is for you? Whether you go high-tech or low-tech, the most important thing is to find one that works for your team and stick with it. Learning how to keep track of employee time off can be a pain, but it’s worth it to avoid productivity setbacks and morale meltdowns.
If you want some help getting started with time tracking, we’ve got you covered. Sign up for a demo below and see how our software can help you keep track of employee time off in 2022.
Elizabeth is currently a writer based in Montreal. When she’s not glued to her laptop, you can find her sipping craft beer, practicing yoga, or planning her next adventure.