What is a Time Card or Timesheet

tiles that spell timesheet

Timesheets and time cards, often used interchangeably, are actually different. We can thank lawyers for timesheets who began using them in the early 1900s to track billable hours by client. This idea of tracking hours by client spread to independent contractors, freelancers, service companies, and any business with hourly workers who wanted job cost reporting. Time cards (or punch cards) were adopted in 1894 when a New York inventor, Daniel M. Cooper, created the first punch card machine to track time for hourly factory workers, hospital staff, and other shift workers.

Companies with hourly employees still track time with timesheets to calculate payroll. They also use timesheet templates to track attendance, productivity and ensure their businesses comply with labor laws.

The Details of a Company Timesheet

Timesheets record when an employee starts and stops working and include the total number of hours worked each day. Some timesheet templates have the time spent on specific tasks or at a location for job cost reporting.

For example, if a security guard firm employee has work hours that include a nine-hour shift across two locations, he would likely record two entries for his workday. For location A, he would list 8:30 AM as the start time and 1:00 PM as the stop time, totaling four and a half work hours. For location B, he would list 1:30 PM as the start time and 6:00 PM as the stop time, totaling another four and a half hours. Finally, he would record nine hours for the total hours he worked that day. 

*As a side note, if your handwritten employee timesheets are always this clean and "on the dot," you have a time theft problem.

The details needed on an employee payroll time card report depend on what the employer needs to know, from payroll and invoicing to attendance and productivity tracking. You can customize your own timesheet template in Google Sheets as long as you accurately record the time card hours for each pay period. 

The Advancement of Timesheets

Companies with remote, hourly employees still use handwritten timesheets to track hours, but the advancement in technology has made this wasteful time-tracking practice inefficient and unnecessary. Also, payroll admins must collect every employee time sheet and manually calculate hours or use a timecard calculator, converting minutes to decimal hours. This manual process done every pay period is prone to many errors.  

Daily time cards are essential for managing employee hours, tracking attendance, and job cost reporting, but it's time to move on from 100+-year-old technology. Companies with a remote workforce should adopt more efficient GPS time clocks to capture accurate time-tracking records. Everyone has a mobile device. Now is the time to adopt time clock software for tracking time and getting live timesheet data! An employee time clock app also provides live time card reports for your payroll admin.

Start your free trial today and see the difference Chronotek Pro's GPS time-tracking software makes for your business!

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In conclusion, time cards or timesheets serve as vital tools in tracking employee work hours and ensuring accurate payroll processing. Whether in traditional paper format or modern digital solutions, these records provide essential data for businesses to manage labor costs, monitor employee attendance, and comply with labor regulations. By understanding the purpose and significance of time cards or timesheets, businesses can implement effective time tracking systems that promote transparency, fairness, and efficiency in their workforce management practices. Whether through manual methods or automated software, the proper use of time cards or timesheets plays a crucial role in fostering a productive work environment and maintaining trust between employers and employees.


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