The do’s and don’ts of time theft: Eradicating the billion-dollar productivity drain

Time theft dos and donts

Time theft – when employees are paid for hours they did not work – costs companies $400 billion each year in lost productivity. A recent survey of shift workers from Software Advice found that 43 percent of hourly workers have exaggerated the amount of time they work, with a quarter of respondents doing this 76 to 100 percent of the time. Meanwhile, the American Payroll Association estimates that 75 percent of businesses are affected by time theft – which can add an extra 7 percent to payroll costs.

There are many ways that time theft is conducted within a business – people could enter inaccurate hours worked on timesheets, clock in to shifts early or late, “steal” time by conducting personal activities while working, or conduct “buddy punching” – when a colleague clocks into a shift on behalf of the employee.

That’s not to say that all employees are maliciously working to skirt the system – in many cases, time theft occurs because the processes and systems established to track time are not easy-to-use and intuitive for the employee, or are not configured to the specific needs of the company’s senior executives.

But how can you ensure your business doesn’t fall victim to a productivity and revenue black hole due to time theft? Here are five do’s and don’ts to avoid time theft.

1. Do eliminate manual processes. In an era where cloud and mobile are mainstream, surprisingly there are still many organizations that rely on paper- or Excel-based systems to track time. Businesses often use spreadsheets for ways not intended – leading to data inaccuracy, productivity inefficiencies and financial loss. An automated time and attendance solution can eliminate these challenges while more effectively scaling across a geographically dispersed workforce.

2. Don’t make it easy for “buddy punching” to occur. For shift workers in industries such as retail, construction, manufacturing and many others, traditional time clocks are used for people to punch in and out of shifts. But these hard-wired can be cumbersome to set up and maintain, and cannot adjust to evolving wage and hour regulations. Today, technologies such as Replicon CloudClock can turn any mobile device into a time clock. By downloading the CloudClock app, businesses have a way to immediately start tracking time, with a photo audit capability built-in to eliminate buddy punching.

3. Do provide real-time visibility. A lack of insight into employees’ hours can result in inefficient scheduling, leaving some people on the bench while others are overworked. Companies lose money everyday by not fully utilizing their staff. Make sure that supervisors can easily view and approve timesheets and time off requests and balances, and set schedules that minimize unnecessary overtime payments.

4. Don’t forget about the past. The benefit of an automated time and attendance solution is its ability to access historical data to better forecast for future projects – and know if too much time is being on a particular activity. By giving managers both historical and current data, they can review time worked by their teams. This means managers can take any necessary action if employees seem to be taking too long to work on a task – or are inadvertently “padding” their time.

5. Do have a highly intuitive and flexible system. While most solutions in the market have standard, out-of-the-box timesheet templates, many companies have specific requirements from the system – whether it’s integrating with existing systems, specific time entry codes or other configurations. For example, the US Department of Agriculture needed to integrate its federally mandated payroll system with its time tracking and client billing solution. It’s critical that any timesheet system introduced is centered around the needs of its users.

While every business may not have a rampant time theft issue, chances are there is some degree of time theft taking place – which becomes more acute as companies employ a more diversified workforce. It’s by investing in the right solutions that businesses can reduce this issue and save thousands of dollars each year.

Avatar
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisette Paras
Get started today.
Set up a free trial based on your business needs. Start Free Trial

Global Compliance Desk – Karnataka, India

India: Karnataka Government Permits Shops To Remain Open 24/7  On January 2, 2021, the Government of Karnataka issued a notification that allows all shops and commercial establishments in Karnataka, having…Read More

4 Ways Replicon’s Data-Driven Analytics Can Improve Your Timesheets & Save Resources, Time, and Money

Accurate time tracking is vital to your company’s operation, not only for the purposes of meeting project goals and staying on budget, but also for the valuable data it generates…Read More

Want Real Solutions That Help You Manage Expense Tracking in Real-Time? We’ve Got Them.

A comprehensive expense tracker can provide your organization with clear insights into how corporate time and dollars are being spent and help you identify unnecessary costs, strains, time-wasting activities, and…Read More

6 steps for fast-tracking profitability in your consulting practice

Advice aimed at entrepreneurs and small businesses tends to be heavily product-oriented, but in reality the majority of US small businesses fall under the “Professional, Scientific, Technical, and Other Services”…Read More

Consulting firms: 4 ways to improve billing & get paid on time

At the end of the day, your consulting firm relies on the assumption that a good percentage of clients will honor their payments promptly and accurately. In the professional services…Read More

5 Ways to Improve Service Delivery in Your Organization

In a highly competitive market, service-based businesses need to capitalize on any opportunity to set themselves apart from their (often very similar) competitors. While implementation, system details, and service management…Read More
  • Polaris
  • Time & Project Insights
  • Time & Projects Solutions
  • Replicon Products
  • Replicon Users
  • Cloud
  • Corporate
  • Professional Services Management
  • Shared Services Management
  • Time and Attendance Management
  • Customer Feature
  • Time Intelligence
  • Industry News
  • Global Compliance Updates