Timesheets are such a mundane part of our work day, and in fact, many employees dislike filling out their timesheets completely. While tracking time on work is, in fact, essential for driving payroll, billing, and project management/accounting processes, employees give it the side-eye of disdain for one simple reason: it takes too much time.

So, how is the timesheet in a unique position to not only change employees’ view of tracking time, but reshape the way they work across teams, applications, and projects? A new report from Journyx, How Smart Timesheets are Shaping the Future of Work, explores this topic in-depth, answering this question with data culled from a recent survey conducted in partnership with MSDynamicsWorld.com.

The survey, conducted in December, 2017, focused on how people track their time and how the process of filling out their timesheets could be easier. Collecting responses from 186 MSDynamicsWorld.com members, the survey underscores the growing need for more intelligent time tracking applications that make the oft-maligned task of filling out a timesheet easier than ever before.

What are ‘smart’ timesheets, anyway?

“Smart” software applications are usually built on a foundation of artificial intelligence (AI) and/or machine learning algorithms, learning from the data inputs to make the user experience easier and more efficient.

They can also work seamlessly with other applications, using data from those applications to perform a certain function. In the case of smart timesheets, data from other relevant software applications could be synced into a timesheet and automatically categorized in the proper projects and task sets – making the process of filling out the timesheet exponentially easier for the end user.

Workers definitely willing to adopt smart timesheets

Given this ability for timesheet software to integrate with other software applications, the survey aimed to find out the frequency of respondents’ use of different software applications during the course of their normal workday. Not surprisingly, 74% responded that they’re spending at least most of their day working within software applications.

So, if a smart timesheet could automatically populate with data from other applications (to essentially fill out the timesheet for the employee), how useful would this timesheet be to survey-takers? An overwhelming 85% indicated either “Yes” or “Maybe” such a timesheet application would be useful to them.

This is a resoundingly positive indication that employees want better timesheets. No longer do they want the convoluted, time-consuming task filling out their timesheets at the end of their day or week.

But what if you had to “train” your timesheet?

As mentioned before, smart applications are typically built on a foundation of AI and/or machine-learning algorithms – with an emphasis on “learning.” This means that users of a smart time tracking solution will need to spend some time “training” their timesheet – in other words, changing any pre-filled data fields so the sheet can learn in order to make corrections and better suggestions for entries.

Is such a process a potential deterrent to adoption of a smart timesheet application? When the survey asked “How willing would you be to spend some minimal time and effort ‘training’ your timesheet?”, survey-takers responded based on the benefits they would enjoy from it:

  • 76% would be very or somewhat willing to do this if it meant their timesheet would be easier to fill out.
  • 74% would be very or somewhat willing to do this if it meant their timesheet would be more accurate.
  • 73% would be very or somewhat willing to do this if it meant their timesheet would be faster to complete in the future.

This underscores why users want smarter timesheets: they want the process of filling them out to be easier, quicker, and more accurate.

Want to know more?

For more findings from the survey, including how workers want data collected into their timesheet, what information they want to track, and their concerns about smart timesheets and privacy, download How Smart Timesheets are Shaping the Future of Work in its entirety, or get a snapshot of the results in our report infographic.