Employee time theft is one of the most common forms of theft in the workplace. In fact, according to epaysystems, time theft is estimated to cost U.S. employers more than $400 billion in lost productivity every year. Many employers may not even know that it is going on or who is doing it. Time theft is when an employee is dishonest with their time cards, punches in a co-worker that is not present and/or does not perform actual working duties while being on the clock. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this type of time theft from occurring and it could just help improve your company’s production.
What is time theft?
Although we may never know the reason to why time theft occurs, we do know that it is costing small businesses a lot of money. A report by CNBC states it is costing U.S. businesses $50 billion annually. We will first start off with the simple reasoning of an individual that is working remotely. Instead of being honest and calculating their accurate hours, they rather put additional hours on their timecard to make it appear they did more work so they avoid getting into trouble. We can all agree that it is not fun sitting down with your boss to talk about why you underperformed, but if this is not a consistent problem then why risk losing your job by lying on your timesheet.
Another obvious reason is when an employee may simply want to leave early or take a longer lunch break. This employee is still being paid for the time they are not working. This actually leads to the example when employees punch in fellow employees who are not present. This is still time theft and it should be stopped.
Those who do this may not look at it as time theft from the company, but we disagree here at OnTheClock. A person is getting paid for time they are not working or they aren’t even at work for that matter. What is the difference between this and reaching your hand into an employer’s register and taking your daily pays’ worth? To us we look at it as being equivalent and unethical.
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How time theft could be affecting your business
So you’re going through your company's finances and notice that your production level is not where it should be. You start thinking about ideas how to improve this although you were positive that the system you implemented was working to meet your goals. You may think about hiring additional personnel, laying off some employees if you can’t afford them or invest more money into man hours to come up with a new game plan.
What you may not realize is that your system was effective and working great until your employees started practicing the habits of time theft. Did you know according to softwareadvice, one-quarter of workers say they report more hours than actually worked 76% to 100% of the time? This whole time you thought you had all hands on deck and everyone was on the clock working while you were accomplishing your side of the company’s tasks. Now, you find yourself hanging onto every dollar possible because you are worried and concerned about your company's financial future.
How to stop time theft
There are a few options that can be used to prevent time theft. First, you can do it the old fashion way and stand by the punch clock and document exactly who is clocking in and who is not. This can take precious and valuable time away from what you need to do during the day to operate a successful business.
Secondly, you could take time throughout the day each week to walk through the company and make tallies of who is working when they should and who isn’t. Remember, once again you would be taking valuable time that is worth money just to make sure employees are being honest. This can be such a headache for you and actually cost you money because you cannot give 100% on your time while being on the clock.
Lastly, you could invest in an employee time clock tracking system that does not involve any messy installations for a very low cost. This software has features such as geo fencing which allows you to set up a perimeter around your company or any specific designation of your choice that it will not allow an employee to punch in or out unless he or she is inside the geo fencing boundaries. Also, you could use a thumbprint reading device that syncs with the online time clock system. These web-based time clocks can also be downloaded as an app onto mobile phones which allows the employee to quickly punch in and out with a click of a button rather than standing in a long line for a traditional punch clock. This allows your employees to get straight to work and not waste any time.
Other perks of using an employee time clock tracking system is that you can conveniently see everyone who is clocked in or out and their times by just looking at a page under your account. This feature can save you time and offer the benefit of having a peace of mind knowing your employees aren’t stealing time anymore. Each employee can be assigned a username and password that helps prevent time theft. You can also have it set up to automatically deduct lunch breaks and setup reminders to be sent to the employees to clock in or clock out to assure there is no more time theft.
The conclusion to preventing time theft
At the end of the day we can all agree that it would be nice to not worry about employees being dishonest with their time and costing the company money. OnTheClock has done a great job of creating a web-based time clock for employers to use and allow accurate time tracking, convenience of knowing who is actually punched in or out, improve a company’s bottom line by preventing buddy punching and relieving stress for our fellow business owners who have more important things to do rather than worrying about employees stealing time. Put money back into your pocket, eliminate time theft and improve your company’s production by using an online time clock system.