Time Tracking Made Easy: How To Streamline Employee Productivity

At the core of every business’s success, is the hours its employees put into building it. But to stay profitable, business owners need to be accurate with their employee time tracking, for multiple reasons.

From staying compliant to continued profitability, employee time tracking is a necessity for your business to stay competitive.

What Is Time Tracking? 

Employee time tracking is the recording of hours your employees spend working, so you can pay them accurately and stay compliant with Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) timekeeping requirements.

It also helps you keep accurate records for taxes, audits, budget analysis, and paid time off. For companies that do government contracts, tracking employees’ time must be accurate and detailed to avoid delays in payments or, worse, non-payment. 

What About The Exempt Employee Time Tracking Policy?

An exempt employee is one who is usually salaried and is not entitled to overtime pay, according to the FLSA. However, there are benefits to having exempt employees clock in to track their hours, especially in construction and field service companies:

  • Accurate billing and invoicing 
  • Accurate payroll records
  • Easily track PTO
  • Calculate overtime costs
  • Better project management

While the law does not require employers to track exempt employees' hours, having an exempt employee time-tracking policy will help your business in these ways. 

An effective policy can be simple. It can be as simple as requiring them to use the same employee time-tracking system your non-exempt employees use.

Why Is Time Tracking Important?

Termed “The Most Dangerous Phrase in Business,” by Forbes, “we’ve always done it this way,” could be death to any business. So if you’re still relying on paper timesheets, guesstimations, and the memories of your workers, you’re likely losing money.

If not, you are certainly at risk of non-compliance with the FLSA.

But staying profitable and compliant are just a couple of benefits of employee time tracking.

Bill Clients More Accurately

It’s hard to build your company when you’re billing based on inaccurate information. Tracking employee hours is how you get a clear picture of your labor costs. This, in turn, helps you bill more accurately.

Quickly Generate Payroll

Most modern, cloud-based time-tracking systems provide you with integration to help you run your payroll quickly - usually within minutes - by importing the time information from the app.

Better Project Management 

With a mobile time-tracking app, you are always aware of where your crew is and doing what. This helps you manage your projects more efficiently than having to go to each worksite to determine where the project stands.

Monitors Productivity 

When you can see who is working on which job and task, you’re better able to assign the right jobs and tasks to the right workers. While one employee might be a master at framing, another’s strength might be a demo. With detailed and accurate time tracking, you’ll see for yourself and be able to assign jobs accordingly. 

Increase Transparency

When the team knows their times are being tracked, they’re more likely to be productive. Conversely, when their time is tracked, they can see for themselves, how many hours they have put in, and have an accurate estimate of how much their next paychecks will be.

Eliminate Timesheet Rounding

Timesheet rounding can cost your company money when abused. Plus, you can’t accurately track your labor costs. Automated employee time tracking removes this issue and gives you accurate labor data.

The complete guide to employee time tracking

Best Practices for Effective Employee Time Tracking

When you have multiple jobsites or field crews, it’s challenging to keep accurate timesheet records. But an employee time tracking policy will make it easier to track employees’ time.

Make One Person Responsible for Time Tracking

When you have a single person responsible for time tracking, it’s easier to have regular records. When you have mobile workers, an administrator can send push notifications or set reminders for workers to clock in or out. Using a kiosk clock allows workers to clock in and out on one device, or foremen or supervisors to clock in for employees, respectively.

Set Clear Guidelines

Your employees should all know how to track their time, which time to track, when to track it, and how to track it. If you switch to a new employee time tracking system, take time to hold a meeting and ensure each employee is clear on how the system works.

Explain That Time Tracking Is Mandatory

You might run into employees who resent having their time tracked, but the truth is, this is uncommon. Let them all know time tracking helps them as employees so they get the compensation they deserve, and the business as a whole. It’s not a penalty but, rather, another tool to help your business grow.

Do a Pilot Test and Be Open to Suggestions and Feedback

As with any new policy or procedure, there may be a few kinks to work out. Test out your new time tracking policy for a couple of weeks, and hold a meeting to get feedback. If your employees feel their opinions and thoughts matter, they’re more likely to be on board and support your efforts.

Make Time Tracking Simple

As important as employee time tracking is to your business, it doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. The fewer steps there are to doing it, the easier it will be for your employees to do it.

Use The Right Tools

Each business is unique, so your company should provide the right tools to enforce a robust time-tracking system. Whether you choose an old-fashioned wall-mount clock or mobile time tracking, choose the right tools for your company.

Automatic Vs. Manual Time Tracking System 

Tracking employee time can be done either automatically or manually. Traditionally, paper timesheets have been used for employees to write down their hours worked and hand them in.

While this system was used prolifically before technology, it was rife with associated problems like inaccurate times, buddy punching, or lost timesheets. Such potential for errors and inaccuracies bleeds into other company processes such as job costing, compliance, and reporting, just to name a few.

Today, most companies are using automated time-tracking systems to simplify their time-tracking and payroll processes. Using automated software gives you more accurate data in real-time, and a slew of other benefits like more accurate job costing, easier certified payroll, faster payroll, and more. 

The cost of manual time tracking is difficult to measure since you don’t know which data you’re getting incorrect. While automated time tracking does come with a cost, the amount you save from simplifying processes and eliminating inaccuracies more than compensates for the investment.

The complete guide to employee time tracking

How To Choose The Right Time-Tracking Software For You

Each business is unique, so it’s important to consider as many aspects of your time-tracking needs as possible, before deciding on which one to go with.

1. Types of Workers

Different workers will use time tracking in different ways, from different places. For example, if you have crews working at an outside jobsite, they would benefit from a mobile-time tracking app more than an office worker or administrator, who works from the office that may prefer a web time clock.

For crews that travel a lot, a mobile solution is ideal to help you track more than just the hours worked, but travel times, too, and for workers who frequently forget to clock in or out, Geofencing helps by sending them reminders when they enter or leave a designated work area.

2. Features

Time-tracking software ranges from a simple time-tracking tool on a website or mobile device, to complex project management software solutions that include time-tracking availability.

The features you need will depend on the kind of work you do, what your goals are with time tracking, how you will use the software, your budget, and more.

Ideally, your time-tracking solution will include features that make running your business easier such as integrations with payroll, managing paid time off (PTO), scheduling, and billing. Software is frequently upgraded to the latest version to include new features, so what might start as a simple time-tracking app, may evolve into a robust business management tool.

3. Location Tracking

Do you want GPS tracking? Some companies may not need GPS tracking while others might benefit by knowing where their workers are throughout the workday (such as companies that receive emergency service calls and need to find the nearest worker to send).

4. How Tech-Savvy Your Team Is

Time-tracking software is, after all, software. Some time-tracking apps are confusing and difficult to navigate, while others are made to be as simple as possible. Take into account the varying abilities of your employees when it comes to technology and ensure whichever solution you opt for, is one all of your crews can operate correctly.

5. Company Size

Different time-tracking solutions may be ideal for small- or mid-sized companies but not robust enough for larger enterprises. Conversely, complex, complicated project management software may be too much for smaller organizations.

6. Your Budget

Of course, budget is a key factor in choosing which time-tracking software to go with. You’ll have to determine how much time and money you’ll save by shifting to automated time tracking, to determine what your budget is when adopting one.

7. Government Rules/Regulations

If you work in a heavily regulated industry such as construction or medical care, your time-tracking software should not only help you stay compliant but do so in an uncomplicated way. With time-tracking software, you can keep an accurate paper trail in the case of audits or for certified payroll reporting.

Best Employee Time-Tracking Software For Small Businesses

When it comes to choosing the right employee time-tracking software for small businesses, it’s a little overwhelming to research all the options available. Here are a few options to help you track employee time.

1. Clockshark

ClockShark is designed to help your construction or field service business run smoothly by providing easy time tracking and labor costing. Your technicians can quickly clock in and out using our user-friendly mobile app while on the job. You get real-time visibility of where your crews are, who clocked in, and when. With ClockShark you have 100% accurate timesheets, every time. 

  • Mobile Time Tracking: Allow workers to clock in and out on their mobile devices, and choose which jobs and tasks they’re working on.

  • Web Punch Clock: If you have office workers, they can clock in, clock out, and check their schedules, from any computer.

  • Kiosk Clock: With Kiosk Time Clock, a single device such as a phone or tablet can be used at any jobsite - whether in the field or the office - for each worker to clock in, using their PIN. Biometric facial recognition ensures no buddy punching.

  • Crew Clock: Managers and foremen can use a Crew Timesheet App to clock their entire crews in and out for each work site. This way, employees don’t have to worry about it.

  • GPS Tracking: With the GPS feature, you’re able to know exactly where each employee was throughout the day with a breadcrumb trail. Plus each action on the ClockShark app receives a GPS stamp. When you know where your workers are, you are able to respond to emergency calls faster and more professionally.

  • Geofence: Set up Geofences so any time your employees enter or leave a predesignated location, they are reminded to clock in or out. No more forgetfulness.

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2. Buddy Punch

Buddy Punch is a simple time-tracking solution that allows employees to clock in from their desks or mobile devices. Buddy Punch gives you flexible ways to monitor overtime and time off, run reports, and more. 

3. Desktime

Desktime is a time-tracking software that allows workers to clock in and out via mobile or computer and can do so offline, too. You can use Desktime to create reports, schedule shifts, track projects, and more. 

4. Hubstaff

Hubstaff is a time- and productivity-tracking solution available on computers or mobile devices. You can track employees, projects, and team tasks and export your timesheet data into Excel, all in real time.

5. Paymo

Paymo is a complex time-tracking and project management solution that has a lot of useful tools. You can track employees’ times and use their collaboration tools to show workflows and improve communication between teams and workers. Gantt charts give you a visual representation of workflows.

Save Time And Money With Automated Time Tracking 

If you haven’t switched to using technology for your employee’s time, you’re likely losing more money than you think. ClockShark offers a free timesheet calculator for you to use and see for yourself, how much you’re actually spending on your payroll.

The shift to automated employee time tracking does not have to be complicated. If you are ready to take your business to the next level, learn more about how the ClockShark Time-Tracking Software can help you gain real-time visibility of your operations and streamline your business.

9,500+ companies use ClockShark to track employees and save time every month.

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