Are Spreadsheets the Right Tool for Leave Management?

January 21, 2019

We love Microsoft Excel. From bookkeeping to sales reports it has transformed business, but is it really a good way to manage your company’s annual leave?

Ever since the rise of the MS Office Suite in the 1990s, spreadsheets have become a go-to tool for business life. So when you realise that you need to coordinate employee holidays across your firm, the instinct is just to create a spreadsheet to manage it all. After all, with just a couple of employees, all that is needed is a simple table showing who’s out of the office on any given day.

Growing Pains

This will probably work fine for you in the early days, but as your business grows, that simple little spreadsheet starts to become more complicated. As the number of employees increases, so, obviously, does the number of entries on your sheet. Building specialist teams within the company begin to mean that you need separate spreadsheets, but all must be coordinated with the central, company-wide one.

New employees also complicate your simple picture when they start midway through the holiday year or work part-time hours. For either of these, you need to work out their holiday entitlement pro-rata, which your spreadsheet can only do automatically after you craft an elaborate formula (assuming you have the calculation right yourself).

Information Sharing

Over time you will also need to share the information with others, both members of your managing team and the employees themselves, so they can see their entitlements. This brings with it a new set of issues, surrounding data protection. To use your spreadsheet for leave management at this point, you will need to find ways to protect employees’ data from each other, as well as to make sure that changes aren’t accidentally made by people who are meant to be reading the information.

So when spreadsheets no longer do the job, what are your options? Well you could hire someone to take over the job. This can be pricey, especially for a business in the growth phase. It also outsources, rather than solves the problem, as well as meaning that the data you might need is managed by a third party, rather than being right where you need it.

Secondly, you could sign up for a Human Resources Management (HRM) system. HRM systems tend to be designed for large companies and then made available to other clients. This means that you get very little control over the platform and its features, and end up paying over the odds for features that you never use.

A Tailored Solution

The third option is to turn to a dedicated online leave management system. A tailored system that allows you to choose the features your business needs puts you in control. With web-based and mobile apps, LeaveWizard allows employees to check their holiday entitlement and book time off at any time on the go. Managers can also use the intuitive dashboard to approve and manage leave, as well as create custom groups to track leave and absence among core team members.

Flexible customisable reporting also lets you use the data generated about leave and absence to stay on top of trends and patterns. Using external measures such as the Bradford Factor, as well as custom reports tailored to your business needs, you can see all of the patterns in holidays of sickness that help you to plan ahead or nip absenteeism problems in the bud. The flexible system is also able to handle complex working patterns and flexible hiring.

Above all, freeing yourself from spreadsheets frees up your time. On average managers using LeaveWizard save 10 hours per employee per year on annual leave administration. Whether you think of this in cost terms, or in time that could be used elsewhere, this is a huge saving, and as our clients ranging from start-ups to multinationals can attest, our platform can scale to meet your needs.

You can take a free, no-obligation trial of LeaveWizard by clicking here, and find out for yourself how easy it is to leave the spreadsheets behind.