If you’re managing a team, it can get very hard to keep a track of vacation time. With the holidays coming up, you don’t want to be caught in a situation where all your employees are out of office at the same time, unless you’re really planned for it. If you happen to have many freelancers working for your company, it can be especially hard to figure out who’s going to be unavailable, when.
Timetastic is a fantastic little tool that helps you manage leaves for people in your organization, and is loaded with options that make it a must-have for anyone responsible for the smooth functionality of a team. It’s even got a nice design. Let’s take a look.
The first step, of course, is to create your own profile. Key in your name and email, then a password, your company’s name, the month you want your calendar to start the year and the annual holiday allowance. You’ll then be taken to your Wall Chart, which is basically the home page you will always use to get a snapshot of the upcoming leaves. The number of leaves you have left in the year is indicated by a number in a blue circle next to your name.
For your personal leaves, you can hit the ‘My Calendar’ tab to get a month-by-month overview of all the days in the year and when you have taken an off. There’s also the list option for a quick snapshot.
The Settings tab of Timetastic lets you customize your account to the hilt. You can change your company name, the default number of leaves assigned to any employee when creating a new account, and the working days in a week.
Here, you can also add and edit departments, so that it’s easier for you to keep a track of your staff.
Under the Bank Holidays/Free Days, you can add or delete common holidays for the team. By default, UK bank holidays are already added, but you can easily customize this however you want.
Finally, ‘Leave Types’ lets you dictate the different options staff can avail of when applying for leave. By default, this list includes holiday, maternity, paternity, meeting and sick leave, but again, you can add or delete to your liking.
Where Timetastic shines is in employee management. Adding a staff member is easy: key in the person’s name, email address, select the department, and the number of annual leaves assigned to him/her.
The employee will be notified by email and can sign up for the service, entering a password in the process.
Much like the manager, the employee sees all the same Wall Charts and calendars. As the current administrator, you can customize any employee’s settings by editing their staff profile, which includes the option to change the name, email, department, working days, annual leave allowance, and the ability to grant admin privileges to that user. Doing so will let that staff member approve or decline leaves, as well as invite others.
Applying for Leave
Of course, the crux of Timetastic is the ability to apply for leave, and the interface couldn’t be easier. At the top-left corner, you’ll see a button for ‘Book some time off’, clicking which brings a drop-down bar.
Here, all you have to do is select the “From” and “To” dates and the type of leave, and book it. You can even apply for half-days, putting in which part of the day (AM or PM) you won’t be working for.
Once you click ‘Book It’, administrators get the leave directly approved while employees have to wait for their managers to approve it.
Notifications are sent by email upon applying, accepting or declining a request – all of which are dosed with a little humour. Sample this:
Apart from reviewing Timetastic here, I recommended it to a friend who was looking for a web-based tool like this to manage his team. He travels a lot and mostly works with freelancers, so this was ideal. After a week of using it in which he had to manage many leaves (a lot of his team is in India and it’s the holiday season there), this was his response:
I love this tool! It made my life so much easier. Earlier, I was managing this on my Google Calendar and my freelancers had to send in emails, after which I had to manually update my calendar each time. This is way better. I just have to approve and decline now, nothing else.
There was one problem he noticed though:
Google Chrome and Timetastic seem have to have some issue in working happily together. A lot of the features, like deleting common holidays, wouldn’t work when I was using Chrome. I switched to Firefox and it was just fine. Not that this is a big problem, but Chrome is my default browser.
What Timetastic Lacks
Perhaps the biggest failing in Timetastic right now is the ability to export the data you have right now into an easy CSV file. The next step after managing leaves is processing payments, and there’s no way to use Timetastic’s ample data for that unless you’re manually keying it in. Perhaps if Timetastic’s makers invented a payment management service and linked the two, or allowed for Timetastic data to be exported, this problem would be instantly solved.
But despite that, I would whole-heartedly recommend Timetastic, even though it’s still in beta. Also, they’re launching mobile apps pretty soon too, which will make it even easier to manage vacation time on the go.
Manage leaves, half-days and holidays for your team in a super-simple interface10
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