If you’re tracking your team’s vacations with Excel spreadsheets — perhaps using a downloadable staff leave template — you’ll be able to keep a decent record of everyone’s vacation. But in the end, spreadsheets always create more problems than they solve:
- Spreadsheets always need to be updated: You or someone on your team will have to manually update the company spreadsheet every time someone takes a vacation.
- It isn’t easy to integrate a spreadsheet with other stuff: You could integrate Google Sheets with Google Calendar, so you can see your team’s vacation notices in your work calendar (if you use Google Calendar, that is). But it’s a pain to configure.
And with Excel and Google Sheets, you can’t get vacation notifications sent to your email, Slack account, or Microsoft Teams account. So you’ll always need to check your spreadsheet to see whether someone is off.
- Spreadsheets don’t help you handle new vacation requests: A spreadsheet just keeps a record of approved time off and individual leave balances, but it doesn’t help your team submit new requests and it doesn’t help you manage them.
That’s why the best vacation tracker isn’t going to be found in a spreadsheet, but in an affordable, easy-to-use app.
With vacation tracker software, you can:
- Easily see who’s on vacation with a company-wide calendar, and set up useful calendar and app integrations.
- Let your team submit vacation requests and quickly respond to each one.
- Make sure you avoid calendar clashes and staff shortages.
- Know how much vacation time everyone on your team has left to take for the year.
- Know who on your team hasn’t taken a vacation in a while and is at risk of a burnout.
Let’s look at how our vacation tracker, Timetastic, can do all of these things for you.
Note: Would you like to try tracking your team’s vacations without messing about with spreadsheets and clunky templates? Start your free one-month trial with Timetastic.
#1: Quickly see who’s on vacation and stay up-to-date
Timetastic gives you a company-wide Wallchart that tells you (and your entire team) when someone has time off. This lets everyone plan their own schedule and calendar.
FYI: For privacy, only managers/admins can see why someone is off, but for convenience’s sake, everyone can see when someone has upcoming leave booked in.
Your Wallchart shows all types of leave, from paid time off (PTO) to non-paid time off (sabbaticals, for example). If someone has to call out sick, they can put their sick leave notice in through the Timetastic app and it’ll show up on the company Wallchart.
Plus, Timetastic can sync all the right info to your work calendar — Google Calendar, Outlook, iCal — or any calendar that works with an iCal or WebCal feed.
You can customise what gets synced to your calendar, including whether you want to see:
- Your entire company’s time off notices
- Specific employees or departments
- Just your own calendar
Timetastic will also send you daily updates letting you know who’s away on vacation for the day, and who has time off coming up later in the week.
You can get these absence summaries sent to you by email, Slack, or Microsoft Teams.
With these features, you’ll never be out of the loop. You’ll always know when someone is on vacation (or out of the office for any reason), so you can better plan your workweek.
#2: Easily let your team submit new vacation requests (+ a quick way to approve them)
Timetastic gives your team an easy way to submit new vacation requests directly from their Wallchart. They can do this through their web browser or through the Timetastic mobile app (for iOS and Android).
Here’s what the web app looks like:
And here’s a snapshot of what it looks like to book time off through the mobile app:
People choose the dates they want, what kind of leave they want to take (e.g. whether they’re taking vacation days, sick days, or some other leave type), and add any notes they think are necessary or helpful. Then, they submit their request.
All vacation requests get routed to the manager (or whoever is in charge of time off approvals) — where the pending requests can easily be approved or declined with one click.
Timetastic can send staff vacation requests straight to you via email, Slack, or Microsoft Teams, so it’s super easy to keep track of everyone’s time off.
#3: Avoid calendar clashes and staff shortages
Sometimes, you’ll have multiple team members trying to request vacation at the same time. Depending on your staffing levels or the time of the year, this might not be a problem. But at certain times of the year, you may need to be careful about having multiple people take the same day off.
In a post we wrote on creating a fair vacation request policy, we discuss how we think the fairest way to decide who gets their vacation request approved is by responding to leave requests in the order they’re received — basically a first-come, first-serve basis.
That’s why at Timetastic, we make it easy to see a) when vacation requests overlap, and b) who submitted their request first.
Timetastic also helps you keep your company staffed properly throughout the year by letting you set maximum absent levels and lock specific dates.
- Setting maximum absent levels: Timetastic can limit how many people are off on a given day. Simply set your maximum absent levels by department or for the entire company. Once the threshold is met (i.e. enough people have a specific time period off for vacation), Timetastic won’t let anyone else submit a request.
- Locking dates: You can lock key dates where you can’t have anyone taking vacation. You can lock dates for the entire company, a specific department, or for an individual. We recommend that you set lock dates sparingly and only when absolutely necessary because locking dates means limiting when your team can take their time off.
Plus, when you set maximum absent levels and lock dates, you can have an even faster approval process — Timetastic can approve or decline requests for you automatically, by only approving requests that fall within your specific guidelines. We do this at Timetastic HQ.
#4: Track your team’s annual leave balance with zero effort
Timetastic gives you several ways to quickly check up on your team’s annual leave balance, broken down by the individual and grouped together as a team.
First, on your company Wallchart, you can see how much time off each employee has left to take in the year:
The number badge by their profile picture tells you their remaining total annual leave balance. (Depending on your policy, this can be updated to reflect days or hours.)
Second, when you click on someone’s name, you get their individual profile, telling you:
- How much leave they’ve taken throughout the year (and when they’ve taken it).
- How much leave they have left to take that year.
- A breakdown of how much deductible leave and non-deductible leave they’ve taken.
Finally, you can also see a group total on your Absence Insights page:
Here you can see the time off trends of your entire department, including what type of leave was most popular and when people took their time off throughout the year.
#5: Know who’s in need of a vacation right now
Sometimes certain team members can overwork themselves, going long stretches without taking a vacation. This can lead to burnout and general dissatisfaction with their work.
But with Timetastic, you can nip this in the bud by using your Burnout Board:
Your Burnout Board tells you which people on your team are at risk of overworking (a.k.a. the people who haven't taken a vacation in a while).
Timetastic also sends this info to your email at the end of every quarter:
Next steps: Start your free one-month trial with Timetastic
Timetastic’s vacation tracker is an easy-to-use software that manages your team’s vacation (and other time off requests) for you.
With Timetastic, you can:
- See who is on leave (including paid time off and non paid time off).
- Sync your company calendar with tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams, and get vacation notifications emailed directly to you.
- Avoid calendar clashes and staff shortages.
- Keep an automatically updated record of everyone's annual leave balance.
- Quickly see who on your team might be overworking themselves.
For more information on time off management, check out our posts on: