In this post, we look at two different types of vacation tracking software.
- First, there’s software like Timetastic. Timetastic is easy-to-use vacation tracking software that automatically tracks and records your team’s vacation days, including when they’re on vacation and how much paid time off (PTO) they have left for the year. Thousands of businesses — ranging from digital agencies, fully remote companies, retail stores, non-profits, and much more — use Timetastic to track their team’s vacation and keep their entire leave management process running smoothly.
Timetastic also comes with other beneficial features, like a burnout board that tells you who on your team is overdue for a vacation (which helps prevent employee burnout and end-of-the-year stress where everyone is trying to take a vacation at the same time), as well as convenient integrations with Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, iCal, Slack, and Microsoft Teams.
We’ll go through Timetastic in more detail below (or you can skip the article and start a free one-month trial). Most companies can set up their account within minutes.
- Then there’s HR software, which includes tools like BambooHR and Factorial HR. HR software often does similar things to Timetastic, but the difference is it’s meant for more than just vacation tracking. You can use HR software to recruit and hire, manage payroll, issue performance warnings and reviews, and so on.
HR software can be a good option if you want to overhaul your entire company under one system or if you need those other features. But if you only want a vacation tracking tool, then HR software is overkill (and thus, too expensive and too time-consuming for what you need).
Let’s look at both options for vacation tracking software in more detail.
The best vacation tracking software — Timetastic
When you use Timetastic’s vacation tracking software, you get the core elements of any good vacation tracking tool.
- Your team can easily submit new time off requests. On the Timetastic app, available as both a mobile app and a web app, your team can pull up a shared calendar to see which dates are available to request off. Plus, they can easily look at their remaining annual leave balance for the year. All requests are submitted through the Timetastic app, keeping everything in one place.
- As a manager, you can quickly approve or decline any new request from your Timetastic app, email inbox, or from your Slack or MS teams account. You can also set up an automatic approval process where, as long as your department is fully staffed, someone’s vacation request is automatically approved by Timetastic.
This makes it easier for your team to plan their holidays and also takes one more thing off your plate. (This is what we do at Timetastic HQ, and everyone loves it.)
- All approved vacations are tracked and recorded by Timetastic. You don’t need to update or double-check anything. Every time a vacation is approved — whether by you or by Timetastic — everyone’s calendar and leave balance is updated.
- You can set up integrations with calendars like Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, iCal, and more. This lets you look at your work calendar to see when someone is on vacation. Plus, you can connect Timetastic with Slack and MS teams and get daily and weekly absence summaries sent directly to you, telling who is off or who has time off coming up in the week. This way, you’re never surprised when an employee is on vacation.
How to put in new vacation requests in seconds
Your team can either log into Timetastic via our web browser or via our mobile app. Our mobile app works with both iOS and Android devices.
When they log in, they see their Wallchart, which tells them all they need to know to book a vacation, including:
- Who is already on holiday or has time off approved
- How much paid holiday they have left to use
- What dates are locked (i.e., can’t be requested off because they're a high priority for the company).
A quick note: We recommend locking dates sparingly and only when necessary, as we write about in our post on creating a fair time off request policy.
Here’s the employee view of the Wallchart from our web app:
When they’re ready to put in their request, they just pick the dates they want and the type of leave they’re taking.
You can use Timetastic for all types of leave tracking, not just vacation tracking, but for tracking sick leave, parental leave, etc. In your company’s account settings, you can customize which leave types you offer your team.
And that’s it. Once they click submit, their request is routed to whoever is responsible for approving/declining their time off requests, which is what we cover next.
How to quickly approve vacation requests
You can receive vacation requests via:
- The Timetastic app
- Your email
- Your Slack or MS Teams account
You get all the information you need to approve/decline a request, and you can respond to a request with a simple click.
But you can also set up parameters that make it so Timetastic can approve your team’s vacation requests (when appropriate).
- First, just set maximum absent levels by department. This tells Timetastic how many people your company/department can have off on holiday at one time. Once that threshold is met, Timetastic won’t approve any other vacation requests, keeping your departments properly staffed.
- Then, lock any restricted dates. Locking a date means making it so someone on your team can’t request it off. You can lock dates across the entire company, by department, or by a specific individual.
There are two big benefits to setting up an automatic approval process.
- Your team can quickly plan their holidays. It’s not great when someone has to hold off on buying airline tickets or booking hotels because they’re waiting for their manager or HR to approve their time off.
- You don’t have to stress about responding to each request. Responding to someone’s time off request isn’t difficult, but it is just one more thing that can easily get overlooked or buried under all of your other tasks. Letting Timetastic handle vacation requests just makes everyone’s life easier.
No matter how you choose to handle vacation requests, Timetastic will always keep your team’s Wallchart up-to-date, which is what we cover next.
An up-to-date, shared, and easily accessible vacation calendar
We looked at the employee Wallchart above. Here it is as a refresher:
Your employees can quickly log in, see who is on holiday, and see how much personal vacation time they still have left to use.
The manager/admin Wallchart is similar but with more information.
Managers/admins can see:
- Why someone is off. Timetastic uses colour-coded descriptive icons to indicate leave types. So with a glance, you can quickly see who is on vacation, who is out sick, etc.
- Everyone’s individual leave balance. Next to each person’s name, you can see how much leave they have left to take for the year. When you click on a name, you get a detailed breakdown of when they’ve taken time off throughout the year.
The employee Wallchart and the manager Wallchart are one and the same, however, managers can see more information than team members (for privacy reasons).
When there’s a change to the calendar, everyone sees the same updated and accurate time off calendar. There’s no confusion about who is on vacation, and none of your employees will have to reach out to you to see how much holiday time they have left to use.
Plus, you can set up calendar integrations — this means integrating your Timetastic account with popular work calendars like Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar.
- As an employee, you can link your individual Wallchart to your work calendar. By doing this, you can easily see when you have time off coming up. Plus, your fellow team members can look at your work calendar and see when you’re on holiday.
- As a manager, you can link your individual Wallchart along with the Wallcharts of your employees. For example, let’s say you manage a development team, and you want to know when your senior developer is on holiday. You can sync their time off calendar with your Google Calendar. Now when you open your Google Calendar, you’ll know when they have a vacation coming up.
Finally, as a manager, you can get absence summaries sent directly to you via email, Slack, or MS teams.
Absence summaries tell you who is out of the office for the day and who has time off coming up in the week.
Timetastic bonus: See who needs a vacation
When you use Timetastic, you also get a Burnout Board, which alerts you to who may be overdue for a vacation.
Your Burnout Board tells you who:
- Hasn't had a holiday recently
- Doesn’t have a holiday coming up
- Still has plenty of vacation time left to use
If you’re ready to start using Timetastic, start your free one-month trial today. You can set up an account, add your employees, and have it up and running an efficient vacation tracking system within minutes.
And if you’re more interested in a full-fledged HR system, keep reading.
Using HR software to track vacations
The next option for vacation tracking software is to use HR software — like BambooHR and Factorial HR. There are several different HR tools to choose from — and we’re not listing these two because we’ve tried and approve of them, but simply because looking at what they offer will give you a good general idea of how HR software works.
For example, when you use BambooHR to track vacations, you’re also getting:
- A way to manage employee files, such as tax paperwork, onboarding agreements, and more.
- A way to manage how you recruit and onboard candidates. You can create an entire onboarding process, from the application to the multiple interviews to their first day at the company.
- A way to manage job performance reviews. When you write reviews, you can store them and deliver them via BambooHR. This keeps all of your team’s performance reviews in one centralised location. This makes it easy for your HR manager to see who is getting a payroll increase, for example, or who was recently passed over for a promotion.
- A clock in and out tool. This is a big plus if you’re dealing with shift workers who need to punch in for the day.
As another example, here’s what you get with Factorial HR.
With Factorial HR, you can:
- Create schedules that your team can access and follow. You can put projects on the schedule, such as assigning certain retail workers to the front of the store or the back of the store.
- Give performance reviews. Similar to BambooHR, you can write and handout performance reviews via Factorial HR.
- Manage employee expenses. If you give your team a per diem (to cover meals for business trips or car mileage), they can use the Factorial HR to report their expenses and get reimbursed in a timely manner.
As you can see above, HR software does a lot — a lot more than tracking vacations and keeping everyone up to date on when someone is off. If you can benefit from these features — for example, if you need expense tracking or a clock in and out feature — then HR software might be the right route for you.
But if you don’t need all that we listed above, or you want to use more precise tools for each use case, then you can stick with using software like Timetastic to track vacations.
For more information, check out our post on the best HR software for leave management.
Next steps: Start your one-month free trial with Timetastic
This post looked at two different types of vacation tracking software.
There’s HR software that can let you handle vacation tracking, as well as other HR-related features like payroll management, recruiting and onboarding, and more.
Then there’s vacation tracking software like Timetastic, which is perfect for companies that need a way to track and record vacation days and keep their entire team updated.
With Timetastic’s vacation tracking software, you can:
- Track and record your team’s vacation days.
- Give your team an easy way to submit new vacation requests. Plus, you can approve/decline their request with a click. And don’t forget, you can set up an automatic approval process that saves you and your team a lot of time.
- Set up integrations with tools like Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, iCal, Slack and MS Teams.
- Get daily/weekly absence summaries sent directly to you.
- See who is overdue for a vacation and make sure they don’t experience burnout.
For more information on tracking time off, check out: