Every place I’ve worked, from my first job cleaning hotel rooms to my last marketing gig at a software company, the time off request procedure went something like this: Fill out a request form, hand it to your supervisor, spend three weeks waiting to hear if it’s approved, follow up with your boss and get the approval.
Once you’ve got the approval though, it wasn’t over. You had to remind folks you were going to be out, sometimes repeatedly, and whoops! The boss scheduled too much holiday, so would you mind taking a little work with you? OK to be fair, that wasn’t the case when I cleaned rooms, but it happened enough everywhere else.
No one wants the process to be like this. Not your boss. Not your coworkers. Certainly not you. We’re all on the same page when it comes to vacation. Painless. Easy. Stress-free. These are the words we want to associate with taking time off. So why are we still all filling out paper forms? There should be an easier way. That’s the question Timetastic is trying to answer with its new app.
What Is Timetastic
Timetastic is a computer and mobile app that aims to make requesting leave quick and simple for employees. For employers and supervisors, it makes approving time off and keeping track of holiday hours easy.
How Does It Work
- Sign up is super easy. The owner or manager enters a name, company name, email address and a password, along with an annual holiday allowance. This can be edited for each employee or department later on.
- Enter in your employee names and their email addresses. If you’ve got many employees, you can use the bulk upload option, submitting a spreadsheet instead of inserting name after name.
- Because the service is so new, the billing hasn’t been finished, meaning it’s free for everyone at this point. For a small business owner like me, it will continue to be free because the first three employees are complimentary. After that, each employee costs 50p, or roughly .75 USD, p
er month. That’s pretty neat if you ask me.
- Each employee receives an email to create their own account, where they can request time off, see their remaining holiday time and see other employees’ schedules.
- An email is sent to the employee’s manager, where they can approve or deny the leave. The manager can see everyone’s remaining holiday time as well as add departments, administrators and other managers to approve or deny vacation requests.
- The mobile app allows users to request time off and see their requests.
Things We Loved
- Change can be tough, and introducing new systems to employees presents a whole world of challenges, but Timetastic won’t be too bitter a pill to swallow. The whole navigation is really intuitive, which means even the most technologically challenged of folks will be able to handle the process.
Although the program is simple, which is what a lot of other reviews said about it, the best solutions generally are the simplest. It seems to have all the features most companies need. Like I said before, you can upload your employees in bulk, organize them into different departments and give them each their own amount of vacation.
Owners and managers can also add different types of leave, sick time or bereavement leave for instance, and decide whether to deduct them from their holiday allowance.
- Administrators can add and delete bank holidays, which is great because not every office closes for Flag Day and other more obscure holidays. And of course, you can always add your own favorite holidays. I added the summer solstice for instance, because who doesn’t want to be outside on a bright summer day.
- There’s also an iCal feed, so you can keep an eye on your vacation calendar in Outlook, Google Calendar, and loads of other calendar applications.
- One of our personal favorite features is that Timetastic will pull in an employee’s gravatar if they have one, which adds a nice visual element.
Things We’d Love to See in Future
- We downloaded the Timetastic Android app for my Samsung Galaxy SIII and found many of the features to be slow and unresponsive. A system restart and clean install didn’t fix it. The iPhone app seems to be better. I’m happy with how things work on my laptop, so I’d probably just stick with using the Internet software.
- Because the app is made in the U.K., the bank holidays are different than what they’d be in the U.S. and other countries. I don’t mind that as there are just a few differences, but some people might find deleting them tiresome.
- When declining leave, you’re unable to provide a response or reason, which while not necessary, would provide a nice touch. After all, no one likes to hear they can’t go on holiday.
Who is Timetastic for
Pretty much any company that’s still using a paper or spreadsheet system to manage its paid leave can benefit from this program. Small businesses with three employees or less can use it for free, and large companies can check it out for free right now to see if it’s worth the expense.
Tossing those “request off” forms may be worth it for returns in improved productivity and employee morale. We’d conclude by saying it’s worth the small time investment and effort to find out for yourself.
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