As with any other business, nonprofits need to log work hours, overtime and track time off. For many, this is especially critical, since most grants require nonprofits to present accurate employee records or track time spent on a particular project to estimate program costs.
Vacation and sick time tracking is an important indicator of the proper functioning of the organization, so you’ll want to get it right.
What is a vacation and sick time tracking timesheet?
A timesheet is a document used to log work hours and calculate pay, including vacation hours, sick leave, and holiday pay. More complex timesheets can keep track of hours spent on a specific job by itemizing services or tasks completed. While primarily used to track hours for payment, timesheets can also be used for volunteer time tracking by logging hours a nonprofit’s volunteers spend on your programs.
While timesheets usually refer to excel sheets or documents, they’re increasingly being managed online or by software to record employees’ hours.
Nonprofit vacation and sick time tracking spreadsheets are a good option for small nonprofits or businesses with only a few employees and limited volunteer staff. Using our expertise, we designed a vacation and sick time tracking excel template that saves you time, and makes it a little easier to process payroll.
If you have more staff and volunteers, or just don’t want the hassle of tracking and calculating time-off manually, PartnerHR is a great option that automates it, and the first month is 100% free. Give it a try for free here.
Automate Time Tracking Using People Management Software
While time tracking spreadsheets are useful, if you have lots of staff ad volunteers you might want to consider moving to a software program instead to help automate vacation and sick time tracking.
People management software with automatic time tracking (like PartnerHR), makes volunteer and employee time tracking easier than ever. Staff can login and request time-off, and when the time is approved, the time is automatically deducted form time-off remaining, and added to a shared calendar, so at a glance you can see when your team is off.
This automation not only saves time, but drastically reduces the possibilities of errors.
Whether you use PartnerHR or another people management software, here are a few common features that your time tracking or volunteer management software should include:
1. Automated Time Tracking
One of the best things about people management software with time tracking is that it automates time-off tracking.
You no longer have to create formulae or look for individual timesheets to enter vacation time or days off. If an employee needs a few days off, all they have to do is log in, apply for leave and once it is approved by their manager, vacation time is automatically deducted.
All employee timesheets are always up-to-date and there’s no need to cross check calculations.
2. Flexible Vacation and Sick Leave Policies
With good people management software, you can also set multiple policies for different employee types of stages of employment.
For example, contract staff may not be entitled to any paid vacation, new staff have limited vacation days and volunteers are allowed to take unlimited time off.
Keeping track of multiple types of leave manually can be extremely difficult and result in errors. With automated software, all you’ll have to do is enter the date of joining, type of employee, and their vacation and sick leave time is automatically set – saving you time and energy!
You can also view everyone available on a specific date or time to easily plan and keep employees informed of important meetings and events.
3. Employee self-serve portal
A good people management software solution will also include an employee portal where employees can view how many sick and vacation days they have left, and apply for time off.
Employee profiles also help managers stay informed of remaining leaves, along with employee type and other important information.
4. Improved Staffing and Scheduling
Employee or volunteer time tracking software takes the guesswork out of your staffing and scheduling efforts. By looking at your shared work calendar, managers can quickly identify which staff and volunteers are off.
This kind of birds eye view of everyone available at a certain period is difficult to create on an excel sheet. By having an accurate sense of time needed and up-to-date schedules, you’ll save time and be able to make data-driven decisions about recruitment and scheduling.
5. Comprehensive Reports
One of the key benefits that make people management software a better choice than vacation and sick time tracking spreadsheets are the detailed reports they can offer at the click of a button.
A software like PartnerHR can immediately pull up a number of varied reports on different projects, expenses, vacation time and availability of individual employees. To accomplish the same tasks on an excel sheet would take a considerable amount of time and effort.
Integrations are a key component for most time tracking or volunteer management solutions since they avoid doubling of data and reduce the need to switch between multiple platforms to accomplish simple tasks.
For example, PartnerHR’s solution integrates with Google Calendar so when an employee’s vacation is approved, it’s automatically added to a shared work calendar. This keeps the team informed, without anyone having to log into the main portal – making scheduling easier than ever.
Ultimately, even if you’re a small organization, the time and effort a software solution will save you is an important aspect to consider. Organizations with small teams will especially benefit as vacation and sick time tracking software frees up employees to focus on more mission-driven work.
What to Look For in Time Tracking Software
If you’re thinking about switching from your excel time tracking template to a more comprehensive software solution, you’ll need to think about a few things before selecting one. Here are the top 5 features nonprofits should look for in a volunteer time tracking software:
- Automation: This is the main reason for most nonprofits to switch to software, so make sure whichever one you choose automatically calculates reports, including vacation and sick time tracking, so you won’t have to do these yourself again.
- Daily and weekly notifications and reports: Help managers stay on top of their employees’ vacation time as well as scheduling projects by ensuring the software you choose sends notifications and reports. A reminder before someone goes on vacation can save a ton of time when allocating resources to projects.
- Integrations: With Excel, time and budget data is an island. It’s difficult to share this critical information with your accounting, project management, CRM, or other software. A time management platform that integrates with your existing systems, reduces errors, double entries, and most importantly, allows you to have a 360-degree view of your organization.
- Employee self-serve portal: A self-serve portal means employees can login to request time off and sick days and check their vacation balances.It also means they can update their profile picture, address, and contact details on their own, so it stays up to date.
- Ease of use: Finally make sure you select a software that your team will use! There’s no point in paying for something that’s so overly complex that excel sheets seem like a better idea. Pick a software that matches your most critical needs while also being easy to use. This will also ensure your team adapts to the new software quickly and easily.
5 Best Practices for Tracking Nonprofit Vacation and Sick Time
Whether you’re using a vacation and sick time tracking spreadsheet or a time tracking software, you’ll need to make sure that employees and managers are using this effectively, and in the way it is intended.
Time-tracking software can make employees feel like management is checking up on them, creating an atmosphere of distrust and tension within the organization. To keep employees happy while still staying on track with leave, staffing and volunteer management, follow these 5 best practices.
1. Communicate ‘Why’ employees need to track time
Simply onboarding a new software or starting a vacation and sick time tracking spreadsheet isn’t enough. You’ll have to pitch it to your employees as well.
Explain why you need the data, how it is going to be used, demonstrate its value for your nonprofit and encourage employees to keep tracking time. Make it absolutely clear that you’re not doing this to check up on employees and that time sheets won’t be used for assessing work quality or employee performance.
Once people understand why tracking is important, it will be much easier to get employees to adopt the system – if they can see the benefits to your nonprofit, they may even help out more with getting the data you need!
2. Fill timesheets every day, rather than at the end of the week
Make sure employees fill timesheets at the end of every day – rather than at the end of the week. Entering a large amount of time at once takes longer and is less accurate since many won’t remember the exact amount of time spent on tasks and will waste time going through their calendars and emails.
While it might feel like you’re asking employees to do something every day (as opposed to once a week), the sooner a timesheet is completed, the better for everyone.
A useful strategy you might want to use for entering time is to write down everything you want to work on at the beginning of the day, and at the end of the day, check the list and enter approximate times for each activity.
3. Make time tracking data transparent
As far as possible, keep your time tracking data transparent. While it makes sense to limit who can see certain time tracking entries, try making this data available to all employees to foster a culture of transparency. It will also help employees easily track vacation or sick time of others and plan better. (It’s okay to limit some data to admins in case of private information!)
This might also help your team adopt timesheets faster, since they can see what others are filling and be motivated to do the same. If your team likes getting competitive, enable the Team Dashboard so people can see who tracked the most time. A little bit of competition is a good thing, as long as there’s no extrinsic reward.
4. Standardize and document the process
Once time tracking becomes part of your everyday routine, think about standardizing the process by setting clear expectations.
You may also want to document the process and create a time tracking policy or guide. This will be useful for new staff or external vendors that also need to track time on your software or spreadsheet.
A standards document should answer useful questions like:
- How to classify the time I spend on writing emails?
- What about helping others? Should I track that time as well?
- How to track time I spend juggling multiple projects?
- What if I do some research that’s related to two different projects?
Start working on the document as soon as you have a basic system in place, so it’s easy to update down the line.
5. Be Open to Feedback and Change
Volunteer management and time tracking isn’t going to be an exact science. Like any new program or policy you implement, be prepared to make adjustments and concessions along the way.
Listening to your employees and their difficulties is important, as employees are the ones using this system. You’ll be able to more accurately identify and correct problems if employees know that you’re listening to them.
Implementing time tracking into your company’s work routine can be challenging – so we hope this helped!
If you’re thinking of using a software for vacation and sick time tracking, PartnerHR is a great option for streamlining and automating the onboarding of new staff and volunteers. Your first month is 100% free and it starts at only $20/month after that, so you don’t need a large budget to get started.
How to use the Vacation and sick time tracking excel template
- Download the vacation and sick time tracking excel template.
- Open Microsoft Excel
- Change the name of the nonprofit on the File name and save your file in an appropriate folder
- Reopen the file and start entering the names and details of your employees and projects!
How to use the free vacation and sick time spreadsheet (Google Docs)
- Click here to open the free vacation and sick time tracking spreadsheet on Google Docs
- If you aren’t already signed in to Gmail, sign in or create an account.
- To start editing your vacation and sick time tracking spreadsheet, go to File and select Make a Copy. This will allow you to open the template on your own Drive so you can edit it.
- Rename the file to include the name of your organization and start filling in the spreadsheet!