How to Track Hours Worked

Time to work, clock-face and money background image by Nikolai Sorokin from

Most modern companies have electronic or computerized methods for tracking employees' hours worked. This isn't always true for smaller businesses and is rare for independent contractors. It is important that you accurately track employee hours worked for payroll purposes as well as for tax records. Find the system that works for you and stick with it consistently throughout the year for the best and most accurate records.

Study various tracking methods and decide which one works best for your workplace. Many very small businesses get by with a paper work log, with each week's sheet held in a ring binder. If you have a computer on site, you may want to use an Excel program designed to record payroll. Choose the method that is easiest for everyone to use consistently.

Write down all the rules about hours tracking and post them in a prominent place. Include details about what to do if you're checking in early or late, whether you will use military or civilian time, rules on rounding off minutes and any other regulations you wish to enforce.

Keep the record-keeping item where everyone has access to it. Keep a binder with time sheets on a shelf in the office, or above the main register. Allow everyone access to the computer with the Excel program or to the time sheets if they will be transferred to the program by a manager.

Check your tracking method on a weekly basis to record total hours for each employee. Look for errors in record keeping, like employees forgetting to check in or out, and implement methods to correct these problems.


About the Author

Victoria Bailey has owned and operated businesses for 25 years, including an award-winning gourmet restaurant and a rare bookstore. She spent time as a corporate training manager in the third-largest restaurant chain in its niche, but her first love will always be small and independent businesses. Bailey has written for USAToday, Coldwell Banker, and various restaurant magazines, and is the ghostwriter for a nationally-known food safety training guru.

Photo Credits

  • Time to work, clock-face and money background image by Nikolai Sorokin from