Use our free Google Sheets template to start tracking your team’s time off today.
No matter how small your company is, you will need to track time off as soon as you hire your first handful of employees.
Our Google Sheets holiday tracker is a good place to start — you can download it here for free and start using it straight away!
What you can do with our holiday tracker
Our Google Sheets tracker is great if you want an off-the-shelf solution to manage time off for your small team.
It allows you to:
- Visualise a time-off calendar with your employees’ past and future leave
- Set a leave allowance for each of your team members
- Calculate how much holiday they have already taken, and how much they have left (here's more details on calculating holiday allowance)
- Set custom employee leave types and decide which ones are deductible from your leave allowance
What you can’t do with our holiday tracker
As brilliant as it can be, this is still a spreadsheet! Using spreadsheets to manage employee time-off comes with a few downsides:
- You’ll still have to fill the sheet manually with time-off dates and duration every time someone requests annual leave.
- Spreadsheets do break sometimes. If you’re not an Excel wizard, it’s easy to make mistakes — and once a formula is broken it can be hard to fix.
- People can’t book time-off using the sheet. Every request still has to pass through you, via an employee time-off request form template.
How to use our Google Sheets holiday tracker
We built our free leave tracker template to be very intuitive, but you may want to read these step-by-step guidelines to set it up correctly the first time you use it.
1- Copy and rename our template: you’ll receive our time off template via email, straight after submitting the form. You’ll be prompted to copy the sheet — once that’s done, rename it and save it in your Google Drive account.
2- Add your employees: head to the ‘Team members’ tab, and replace the sample data with:
- Your employees’ names
- Their department (Function)
- Whether their holiday allowance is set in days of leave or hours (Unit)
- Their holiday allowance
3- Add your leave types: now go to the ‘Lookups’ tab and add the types of leave you use at your company in the Leave Types column (for example, full-day, half-day, sick leave, long-term sick leave, parental leave, public holidays, etc.). Remember to select whether or not each type of leave is deductible from the allowance you previously set in the ‘Team members’ tab. You can also customise the identity code for each leave type.
4- You’re now ready to record your team’s time off: now, every time you approve a leave request, you can record it using the ‘Time off’ tab. Ignore the first two columns on the left (they self-populate). Simply pick the employee’s name from the drop down, add the leave start date, the amount of time they’ll be away and the type of leave they’re requesting.
5- Check remaining time off allowance: if you go back to the ‘Team members’ tab, you’ll see the numbers have adjusted, based on the data you added in the ‘Time off’ tab. Use this tab to see the number of days off your team has already taken, how many are booked for the future, and what’s left for the rest of the year.
6- Get a full overview with the time-off calendar: the ‘Calendar’ tab in the sheet is where you can visualise your team’s past and future time-off after it’s been recorded in the ‘Time off’ tab. This monthly calendar template is a view only tab, as all fields will be automatically populated from other tabs. What you can configure is the month and year field on the top left corner — use that to navigate to the period you want to have a look at.
You’re ready to go!
Alternatives to Google Sheets holiday trackers — why you should consider holiday tracking software
When you work in a small business, time is your most precious resource. Time is what gives you the headspace to focus on hiring the right people and setting up your team for long-term success.
If you’re using spreadsheet templates to manage your team’s time off, you’ll know they’re a real time sucker. They can work if you only have a couple of employees to look after. But as your small business grows, maintaining a time off Excel sheet can take more time and effort than it actually saves.
It’s no surprise that many small businesses and startups use employee time off tracking software rather than Google or Excel templates to automate their time-off admin.
HR software vs Google Sheets
Benefit 1 - Your employees can self-serve
With HR software like CharlieHR, the time-off booking process runs itself.
People can make PTO (paid time off) and other leave requests and change their own bookings through the platform — without ever needing to go through you.
It’s then up to people managers to approve their direct reports’ holiday requests — they can do that in one click, always through Charlie.
We bet nobody in your team will miss the old cumbersome leave request forms and the email back-and-forths. And neither will you!
Benefit 2 - Everyone is up-to-date on who’s away and when
If you use a Google spreadsheet to track time off, it’s likely people in your team will forget its existence — or they simply won’t bother checking it every day. This may cause issues if people suddenly realise they have to re-prioritise work because they forgot some key team members were going to be away.
With software like Charlie, past, current and future leave is visible in multiple places across the platform:
- It’s the first thing you see when opening the home page
- In the Who’s Working section
- In the Calendar view
You can also integrate Charlie with your Google Calendar, to have everything in one place. And if you use Slack, you can set up daily notifications to remind your team who’s off every day.
Benefit 3 - Complex calculations are all handled by your software, error free
Spreadsheets are great to do basic calculations — but they don’t guarantee against human error. How many times have you turned to a spreadsheet to find it filled with broken formulas and incorrect data?
With HR software, you can be safe in the knowledge that human error cannot interfere. On top of that, CharlieHR is both Cyber Essentials and ISO 27001:2013 certified, meaning your employee data stored on our platform is safe and secure at all times — something a spreadsheet simply can’t guarantee.
You can also make sure you handle policies such as carrying over annual leave by setting an allowance directly in the software so you never forget about it again.
Benefit 4 - It’s more affordable than you think
Spreadsheets are free — but how much are they costing you in terms of time spent updating them every week? How much on managing annual leave requests via email and Slack? How much on fixing mistakes?
With CharlieHR’s software, you can streamline not only your time off process, but also performance management, data storage and onboarding — all for just £4 per employee per month.
Want to give Charlie a go? Start a 14-day free trial now or join one of our Group Demos by clicking here below:
Find out more about what is annual leave for small businesses and startups with our complete guide.