8 Practical Timesheet Reminders For Your Team

Author: Madalina Roman

Is filling timesheets on time not a thing in your team? Do you often find yourself sending reminders for timesheet submission on Friday or before that payroll report deadline when you’d rather do something else?

I get you. Sending timesheet reminders is not fun, though it can be – I have some ideas for you. Follow along to learn how this job can be easier for you.

What is a timesheet reminder?

A timesheet reminder ( aka timecard reminder ) is a quick notification that reminds employees to fill out their timesheet templates on time.

The main purpose of timesheet reminders is to help employees log their work hours accurately and submit them before the deadline looms over them.

The perks of submitting timesheets on time benefit both a manager and team members. The manager’s frustration in chasing down and collecting overdue timesheets goes away, as does the employee’s dread that comes with late completion.

So, it’s a win-win, isn’t it? By the way, at Timeular, we’re sending an automated timesheet reminder. This was mine last week:

Hi Madalina,

Quick friendly reminder. It’s time to wrap up last week’s timesheet.
Right now, you’ve logged 33.4 of 40 hours (83.5%).
Could you please double-check and fill in any missing time entries or leave requests? If you’ve done so already, please disregard this automatic reminder.

Thanks for keeping things up-to-date!

Warm regards, “

Why do timesheet reminders matter?

So what happens if your team doesn’t submit their timesheets on time? You’re probably aware of the negative impacts, but let me reinforce these for you:

  • It may sound simple and transactional, but reminders get you paid – particularly if you’re billing your time as an agency or a freelancer by the hour or just want to be transparent and send a nice report to your clients.
  • Reduces payroll processing errors. In fact, inaccurate timesheets and missing ones cause an approximate loss of $7.5 billion to the US professional services sector in a single day. Yes, that’s how timesheet reminders can improve such losses in the payroll process.
  • Prevents profit loss by capturing all billable time, which is rarely 100% accurate. The same study introduced above demonstrated that one in five billable hours isn’t logged.
  • Provides pivotal data – accurate employee timesheets aids in making data-backed decisions useful in resource allocation or the new direction of a project to keep it on track or profitable.
  • Removes friction – let’s be honest, no one is a fan of micromanagement. It’s better to receive an automatic timesheet reminder rather than a manager constantly nagging employees to submit their timesheets.
  • Ensures compliance, which, for some industries, submitting timesheets is a requirement stated in the labor laws, not a choice.

Effective timesheet reminders

Send automated reminders with time-tracking software

The easiest method that removes friction in chasing timesheets is making it so easy and enjoyable that you don’t actually need reminders. With versatile and fully automated time-tracking software like Timeular (👋), all this work is done for you and your team.

Let me explain how the process works:

Step 1: Your team performs their work as usual, and an AI-powered time-tracking app collects all tasks in the background for them.

Step 2: They will receive AI time entry suggestions based on their app usage, visited websites, and calendar entries – One click to accept the task, and the timesheet is done!

Step 3: In case an employee forgets to accept the AI suggestions, they’ll receive a nudge through weekly or monthly automated reminders.

Worried about privacy? Make sure you check boxes like employee privacy and compliance when choosing the time-tracking software. Timeular, for example, stores data only on the local device, not in the Cloud, for maximum protection and has an anti-surveillance policy that protects employee’s tracked data.

Step 4: Guesswork removed! Timesheets are at a click’s distance and can be downloaded whenever you need them directly from the app; no other interference is needed.

What’s more, an automated time tracking tool like Timeular can be used by managers as an overtime tracker or PTO tracking software.

Tried automated timesheets before?

Remove friction in chasing timesheets with AI-powered time-capture and automatic reminders.

Automate Slack reminders

With 18 million Slack users to date, I doubt you haven’t heard of it, you might actually love Slack messages. Here are some ways to send reminders through Slack:

Option 1: Set a reminder to prompt employees to submit timesheets (either for one or many employees) like: / reminder @Karolina or #growth-team to submit their timesheets at 9 am every Monday.

Option 2: Send witty and funny timesheet reminders on a team channel ( aka #dev-team). These can be memes or GIFS similar to what you know makes your team click and tick.

Option 3: Send automated timesheet reminders by setting an automation through Zapier or Geekbot. All done – everyone will receive the reminder in their timezone.

If you’re using Microsoft Teams, check their reminder policy or use the Teamsreminder app.

Send a timesheet reminder email

A timesheet reminder email can go a long way. I’d urge you to consider that we’re prone to ignore emails we get used to, especially if they’re sent at the same time with the same subject line and content. So, spice things up from time to time. Ask ChatGPT for some fresh ideas that ignite action and change the time or day you’re sending them to surprise your team.

Huh, and don’t forget to add your own reminder to remind the team. 🫠 Remember, it’s always a good idea to automate timesheet reminders if emails are not your cup of tea or your team doesn’t react to them.

Email timesheet reminder message:

#1 Subject line: Sent your timesheet yet? 👀

Happy Monday! Welcome back to work! Before diving into your new week, warm up by filling out your timesheets.

It’s time to let our clients know we’ve worked on their projects! 🙂

#2 Subject line: Almost Satur-yay! Uhm, forgot anything?

Cross timesheet submission off your list before going into the weekend. There’s a high chance you’ll forget what you worked on and for how long by Monday.

You’ll thank yourself later.

Set calendar reminders

I bet you’ve forgotten about countless calls only for a calendar notification to remind you of them. Setting team or company-wide Google Calendar reminders might do the trick for timesheet submissions, too. Schedule a recurring reminder to entice employees to track their time and send accurate timesheet submissions.

In this case, you could configure two different timesheet reminders: One on Monday to remind them to use their time-tracking software (if the case) and one on Friday before the timesheet submission deadline. Google Calendar reminders can be replaced by Outlook or any other platform.

Be aware of the risks of dismissal, as, among a pile of other notifications, if your timesheet reminder presents no urgency, your team might as well ignore it. So, consider an incentive – an agency from Brazil incentivized their team with free sodas or beers. Pick your own.

Send timesheet reminder memes

Humor goes a long way and diffuses the tension around timesheet submission. So, a casual way of reminding employees to submit timesheets is to send funny timesheet reminders. Covey your message with funny memes from Pinterest or Gify either via Slack messages or other messaging channels.

Alternatively, if you’re sending timesheet reminders individually, make them more personal. Choose a meme with a movie character they like – they’ll appreciate personalization and might even fill that timesheet right away! Be mindful that sending timesheet reminders can annoy sometimes; you don’t want to send a meme that’ll be interpreted wrongly. So, choose the right knack for humor for the receiver.

Send text messages

Though frequently met among recommended options you’d find in other articles, I have to say this method is not one that we’d advocate for at Timeular. We consider that you’d first need the employee’s consent to send reminders via text messages on their personal phones ( unless they’re company phones ).

However, if you have access to a mass-messaging tool and all privacy deets in place, here are timesheet reminder templates:

Hey – here’s your timesheet reminder to log your time and submit your timesheets for the week. Let’s get cracking!

Hello – it’s high time you filled in that weekly timesheet, as it’s due today. Let’s get cracking! 👀

Remind employees to submit timesheets verbally

How many times and in how many ways could you say a certain thing in your weekly calls or when you meet someone in the hallways?

I’d say this is ineffective, so I’d suggest leaving it to automated timesheet reminders to send push notifications instead of you.

Nonetheless, if you want to reinforce your message verbally, vocalize the need to submit their timesheets as many times as you consider necessary. 🙂

What to do when timesheets are not sent?

Paired with the actual reminders, remind employees in your 1:1s or send gentle reminders in your 1:1 communication channel. If the behavior persists, address this problem by simply asking your team what causes these delays.

They may not know how to use the time-tracking software or what counts as a task to be added to a timesheet. They may struggle to remember tasks. Find solutions to help them out.

Try to understand if the process is not performing as expected, too. Are you sending timely notifications for them to have enough time to complete timesheets? Maybe manual time tracking is disruptive, so they prefer to simply skip it and focus on work. Regardless of the reasons, go beyond the surface and approach the process holistically. That will make all the difference.

Why no one likes filling out timesheets?

It’s easy to assume that an employee “forgets on purpose” to fill in a timesheet, forcing you to send multiple reminders systematically. However, you need to understand the underlying causes of this behavior.

That’s how you’ll correct what bothers your team when submitting timesheets. Let’s explore some of these challenges:

Forgetting to submit their timesheets

We’re all working to meet the next objective, growth goal, or develop that new cool feature that will impact the customers. If timesheet submissions are at the bottom of someone’s priority list and there are no processes around this activity, any employee will forget to perform them.

Remember, memory is not as reliable as you’d think unless you’re stacking your days with habits.

How to fix this: Build a process around timesheet submission to remove any confusion around it. It doesn’t have to be rocket science, but it is as simple as the following steps:

  • When: Let employees know when timesheet submissions are expected and set a timesheet reminder to ease them into the process.
  • What: Write a process guideline outlining what should be tracked: billable hours, client emails or meetings, project research, etc. Make it crystal clear by giving practical examples of what should be logged and what not.
  • How: It can be either write down in manual timesheets like Excel, G-Sheets or simply configuring a time tracking software to capture tasks automatically.

Employees don’t understand what’s in it for them

Filling timesheets is often perceived as admin work, which is not desirable, right? I’ve even heard people on our team mention they resented time tracking as they didn’t really understand the purpose of it. Now rethink that in the context in which we’re time management geeks. 😱

It’s not me who says it, but Simon Sinek, starting with the why, shapes behaviors toward driving long-term results.

How to fix this: Clearly state the benefits of submitting timesheets. The perks of sending accurate timesheets on time can be improving productivity, accurate payroll processing, and being paid on time. Others are identifying time wasters and blockers that will remove project delays.

Timesheets are too tedious

To be honest, capturing all your tasks and writing them down manually is monotonous and disrupting. One minute, you’re writing a brief; the next, you’re in an all-hands with the team or in a client call.

So, setting time aside to fill in reports and submit timesheets is not realistic nor desirable. Particularly if our days are filled with context-switching and multitasking, there’s another layer of complexity.

How to fix this: automate timesheet reminders with an automatic time-tracking tool. Such a tool will send automated reminders and even capture all your team’s work in the background for them. Our piece on the best time-tracking apps on the market might help.

Timesheets are weaponized against them

I can’t find a reason for which team members would submit their timesheets if they are feeling under constant threat. If you’re nitpicking each and every timesheet they send across, they will start sending fabricated timesheets.

This way, you’ll no longer have a clear overview of productivity, which will impede accurate forecasts.

How to fix this: Evaluate work outcomes instead of how your team is spending its time. This will allow your team to feel safe when tracking their time. Don’t comment on their breaks or the fact that you estimated 4 hours for a deliverable, and they finished in 3 hours or overburdening them with tasks.

Of course, if there are time management issues and performance problems, these will be tackled differently. Feel free to dive into our guides on effective time management or learning how to teach time management at work.

Make it so easy they will love it

Upon sending the next timesheet reminder, ask yourself if the timesheet submission process is easy and your team gets what’s in it for them.

  • Inform your team about the impact of submitting timesheets on their own salaries on their workloads, which can be readjusted, or abiding with labor laws;
  • Automate the process as much as possible. Punch cards and Excels that are passed from one team member to another create too much friction, and there’s no delight in filling them out.
  • Ponder switching to automatic time tracking software like Timeular that does all time capture for your team in a few clicks.
Fill timesheets with one-click

Timeular’s AI captures all work in the background and sends suggestions to the calendar. Click, accept, done! Ah, it also sends timesheet reminders automatically!