Employees don’t punch in, work for eight straight hours, and then punch out daily anymore. As work becomes exponentially more flexible, timesheets become increasingly complex. That’s why timesheet reminders are crucial. 

Hybrid and remote working models rely heavily on smart task management to be effective. When employees work on several important projects, timesheets are often relegated to their backlogs and forgotten. Asynchronous work can also exacerbate this issue.

Timesheet reminders will help alleviate this. But for them to work, you have to execute them properly.

With that out of the way, let’s discuss the best ways to send timesheet reminders to your team.

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1. Create reminders in Slack

Slack reminders (or IM reminders from any platform) are effective for two reasons:

  • Instant messaging, or “being online,” is already part of employees’ daily workflow.
  • You’re probably already using Slack for announcements anyway.

There’s a right way to do this, though. You can’t send a company-wide message hours before payments are supposed to be processed and expect everyone to submit their timesheets in time. Especially not if you have team members in different parts of the world.

Instead, remind your team ahead of time. Give them at least two days to submit their timesheets so they can finish up urgent tasks they’re working on first. You can send these reminders manually. Or use Slack’s built-in reminders.

The great thing about Slack reminders is that you don’t have to download any third-party apps or install additional plugins to use them. All you need to do is type the following command:

/remind [@someone or #channel] [what] [when]

Let’s say you want to remind the marketing team to submit their timesheets every other Wednesday. To create a Slack reminder, type /remind #marketing to Submit timesheets every other Wednesday and hit Send. Slack will send a confirmation message if successful.

Slack reminder confirmation message

You can be specific about the time, too. You can use time values like “10:00 AM every other week” or “12:00 PM every 12th of the month.” Get creative and find what works best for your team. 

2. Create an event in Google Calendar

Many businesses still use Gmail as their main internal communication and project management platform. While there are apps that let you perform these functions more efficiently, that doesn’t mean you can’t use email to your advantage.

Gmail shares the same primary benefit that Slack has: virtually everyone is already using it. If you create a timesheet reminder in Google Calendar, the notification will go straight to your email.

While you’re not creating a true “reminder” per se, this method still fulfills the same purpose. Here’s how to create an event.

  1. Open Google Calendar. At the upper left corner, select Create > Event.
  2. Type the name of the event in the title field. Use something obvious like “Timesheet submission” or “Submit your timesheet.”
  3. Select a date and fill out the start and end times. The duration isn’t important — the email reminder before the “event” is. Click on Does not repeat to reveal recurring options. Choose your desired option.

    Creating an event in Google Calendar
  4. Type in the email addresses of the people you want to receive your email. Or copy them from a spreadsheet to save time. No need to delimit each email address with a comma. You can manually type the email addresses if you want, but this will take more time.
  5. Set the reminder time. Choose Custom to set the reminder to send an email instead of just a notification. Hit Save.
    Setting a Google Calendar event reminder

3. Include timesheet submission in your task list

Timesheet submissions are unique in that while they’re technically a to-do, they’re not typically included in employees’ task lists. 

But instead of worrying that submitting timesheets will get buried under these tasks, why not formally make it one?

An easy way to do this is to create a task specifically for timesheet submissions in your project management platform. Team members can see this task in their dashboard alongside other to-dos so they don’t forget it.

The task creation process may slightly differ depending on your project management tool, but the step-by-step instructions will mostly be the same. You can do these steps yourself or assign each team lead to create these tasks for their respective teams.

  1. Create a task. Make sure the name is direct and obvious (e.g., “Timesheet submission”).
  2. Fill out the task description with links to where the timesheets are to be submitted.
  3. Add team members to the task as assignees. Keeping track of timesheets as individual tasks or one company-wide task gets messy. That’s why we recommend creating tasks for each team. 
  4. Set the appropriate deadlines. You can make these tasks recurring or manually adjust deadlines once everyone has submitted their timesheet.

Team members will now always see the timesheet task in their dashboard, which helps enforce its importance in their workflow.

Hubstaff Tasks is an excellent tool if you want to use this method. This project management app lets you manage tasks on Kanban boards, create checklists, and set recurring deadlines. You can even assign tasks to Sprints to ensure that teams prioritize the right work.

Creating a recurring task in Hubstaff Tasks

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4. Make timesheets fun

Okay, we read that too. Maybe “timesheets” and “fun” sound weird together, but that doesn’t mean timesheets have to be completely boring. Incentivizing even a small action, like submitting timesheets, can help develop consistent habits.

It doesn’t have to be anything formal. You can integrate it into non-work activities like weekly games of trivia or Pictionary. Tell your team members that whoever among the players submitted their timesheet first that week gets bonus points. This will serve as their reminder.

If you want to take it further, you can keep a running list of employees who consistently submit their timesheets first. Then, you can announce a timesheet all-star team quarterly or annually. You can even give one day of PTO to the person who submitted the most timesheets first to make it more rewarding.

5. Automate timesheets with Hubstaff

Everything we discussed above will work as good timesheet reminders, but if you want a fully streamlined process, use Hubstaff.

Hubstaff is an employee timesheet software that automates timekeeping, timesheet management, and payroll. It’s the ultimate win-win. No more recording your team’s hours in a spreadsheet. No more counting on HR to manually calculate and send payments. 

Hubstaff timesheets menu

With Hubstaff timesheets, each team member’s time tracking data becomes an automated timesheet in real-time. Each employee can make corrections, add manual time, and leave notes to correct inconsistencies. Managers can then easily view and approve timesheets with just a few clicks. 

You won’t have to set the app to send reminders. Hubstaff will automatically email all team members a few days before it processes payments. Just set pay rates for your employees, and you’re good to go.

Online timesheets made simple with Hubstaff

Try the 14-day free trial and fully automate timesheets, payroll, and invoicing.

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Wrapping up

Timesheet reminders may sound tedious but don’t worry. Your goal isn’t to get your team to submit their timesheets every single time. Instead, it’s to help them build the habit of doing that themselves over time.

Try the methods we discussed and see how they work for you. You might need to remind a few employees individually at first, but submitting timesheets will eventually become a natural part of everyone’s workflow.

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Category: Time Tracking