Before using Timetastic — our annual leave calendar software — most of our customers tried to keep track of their team’s annual leave on either a physical office calendar or an Excel spreadsheet, which looked something like this 😵‍💫

Excel annual leave calendar template spreadsheet example
A familiar spreadsheet - but sadly not a great annual leave planner!

But they quickly realised both of those methods were inefficient, time-consuming, and the kind of bad that only gets worse as your team grows.

  • They don’t save you time. You need to update them manually every time someone takes a day off.
  • They don’t help your team put in new time off requests, so you’re going to get emails, text messages, hand-written notices, etc.
  • They aren’t easily accessible or shareable.
  • They can’t alert you when someone hasn’t had a holiday recently.

Let’s look at how using our annual leave planner is better in every way.

Note: Skip the article and start your free one-month trial with Timetastic. Timetastic is an annual leave calendar software that automatically tracks and records your team’s annual leave, so you don’t have to worry about it. Plans start at £1 per user per month.

The best annual leave calendar: How Timetastic works

Your staff holiday planner and leave records are updated automatically

The first big improvement with using Timetastic is that you’re not personally responsible for updating the company calendar.

For example, let’s say you were using an Excel template to track your team’s leave throughout the year.

Here’s a screenshot of how that might look:

Microsoft Excel's Employee Absence Schedule annual leave calendar example

Note: This screenshot was taken from our detailed review of 2 leading Excel annual leave planners.

With an Excel template, when someone takes a holiday or a sick day, you need to go to the spreadsheet, mark the dates they’re off, and update their annual leave balance. You need to make sure you’re also keeping separate tabs on deductible leave (such as holiday leave) and non-deductible leave (such as sick leave).

While this is not the most difficult task in the world, manually updating calendars is tedious, repetitive, and something Timetastic can easily do for you.

Plus, if there are keystroke errors or you forget to update your company’s spreadsheet, then your records are completely off, and that’s a problem that can mess up work schedules, payroll, and leave balances.

When you use software like Timetastic, your team’s annual leave calendar is automatically updated. And this is because your team uses the Timetastic app to put in their time off request.

The GIF below shows how easy it is to use the Timetastic app to put in a new holiday request.

(FYI: Timetastic is available as both a web app and a mobile app.)

Booking time off with Timetastic: The best annual leave calendar

Your employee picks the dates they want, picks the type of leave they’re taking, and adds any notes, if necessary. They can also add photos, which is perfect for sending along a doctor’s note or other official documents relevant to their leave request.

The request is routed to you — either through your email or as a direct message on Slack or Microsoft Teams.

Sophie Jones has requested time off: Mon 16th August through Fri 20th August

You can approve or decline it with just a click.

Once approved, all of your records are automatically updated. It’s that simple.

Timetastic’s annual leave calendar is accessible and easy to share.

When you log into Timetastic, you see your team’s Wallchart.

Your Timetastic Wallchart is your annual leave calendar.

Your Wallchart tells you:

  • Who has time off booked. You see a month at a time on your main dashboard and you can jump ahead or look back throughout the year.
  • What type of leave someone is taking. There are colour-coded icons so you can see at a glance if someone is out sick (or on holiday or parental leave, etc.). Plus, you can edit the leave types you offer in your settings.
  • What everyone’s annual leave balance is. Annual leave balance is displayed as a number right next to each employee’s name.

Plus, you can click on an individual employee’s profile and get a more detailed breakdown of:

  • How much leave they’ve taken in the year
  • How much leave they have left to use
  • When they’ve taken time off
A breakdown of individual employee’s annual leave

A quick note: Your employees have their own Wallchart.

The employee wallchart is very similar. They can see when other team members are off but they can’t see why other team members are taking off or their annual leave balance (for privacy reasons).

However, they can see their own remaining leave balance, which means they don’t need to reach out to HR or management to figure out how much holiday time they have left to use.

Annual Leave Calendar Wallchart Employee View

Compare that to using a physical wall calendar that everyone has to share, where it’s basically impossible to keep personal information private (such as who is out on bereavement leave and who is on holiday).

As a manager, you can sync an employee's annual leave planner to your work calendar, like Google Calendar or Outlook Calendar.

Timetastic is a full time off management system that syncs to your calendars

That way, everyone on the team can just check their work calendar to see if someone is off.

Other benefits of using Timetastic as your annual leave calendar

Get absence summaries sent directly to you

Timetastic can send you absence summaries on a daily or weekly basis. These summaries tell who is off for the day and who has time off coming up in the week.

Get weekly and daily absence summaries sent to you via Slack or email

For example, getting these summaries on a Monday helps you plan your work week and not be surprised when Wednesday rolls along, and your Customer Service manager is out of the office.

Burnout Board in Timetastic: See who might be overworking or in need of a break.

When you use Timetastic, you get a Burnout Board that tells you who is at risk of burning out (i.e., who hasn’t taken a holiday recently).

This is valuable information that you can’t easily get from just tracking leave dates on a physical calendar or in a spreadsheet.

Because Timetastic tracks your team’s leave history and record, it can tell you:

  • Who hasn’t taken time off recently
  • Who has a lot of time left to take
  • Who doesn’t have any holiday bookings coming up

This information is also sent to you via email at the end of every quarter so that you can get on top of your team’s leave management and nip any potential problems in the bud.

The Fire Wire: Get quarterly reports on who needs a holiday

Next steps: Set up your annual leave calendar in minutes (for free)

Before you bother with an Excel template or a printed calendar, try Timetastic free for one month.

It’s easy-to-use annual leave software that you can set up within minutes.

With Timetastic, you get:

  • An annual leave planner that is always up to date
  • An easy way to see when your team is off (and why)
  • A calendar your team can use to book their own leave request
  • Absence summaries sent to you directly
  • A Burnout Board that tells you who on your team is overdue for a holiday

Start your free trial of Timetastic today.

For more information about leave planners and leave management, check out our posts on: