When we look at old movies where employees are knocking off work, we often see them punch a time clock – an antiquated piece of technology that many have assumed had gone the way of the dodo. However, reports suggest some 78 million workers still punch in and out of work each day, representing just shy of 60 percent of the nation’s hourly workers. But surely there’s a better way?
Enter time management software, which does away with the actual punch clock, the “sign in/sign out” paper, or takes the place of that complicated shift spreadsheet you’ve struggled with all these years. These programs, like the Swipeclock system Abel HR uses, not only track employee attendance, but also manages schedules, calculates paid time off (PTO), and could even be your best tool for corporate planning (think hiring and firing!) In addition, you can run reports with a few clicks of the button as opposed to sifting and sorting through your rickety old filing cabinet.
Below, we outline seven of the major perks associated with time management software and build the case for you to ditch the old in favor of the new.
As we touched on above, the old way of tracking time was cumbersome, confusing, and ripe for errors. In fact, one study suggests that a whopping 43 percent of employees admitted that they exaggerated their hours, a finding that the American Payroll Association says can eat up as much as 7 percent of a company’s gross annual profits! However, when you use an automated system, the number of employees bucking the system falls to just around 3 percent. The automated systems report to managers when employees clock in and clock out, so managers can keep an eye for strange or inaccurate “punches” – making employees more likely to be honest.
Tracking when employees punch in and out, particularly if you use a paper system, is cumbersome and ripe for inaccuracies (particularly if workers can make changes in the moment with just a flick of the pencil). If you use a software system, however, employees can’t alter their time sheet and should they need to, they’d have to jump through a few hoops to get the job done (which really weeds out those that are trying to game the system). Moreover, should a discrepancy occur, you can quickly and easily mine the data and clear up the issue.
In one study, a whopping 75 percent of US companies lost money on their payroll as a result of “buddy punching,” whereby the employee has a friend write in their time sheet or punch their clock. However, if you use an automated system that requires employees to punch in a unique pin or even uses biometric data such as a fingerprint or retina scanner, you can very quickly eliminate the issue of buddy punching and ensure improved accuracy in your timesheet data
Easy does it
Punching a card or writing times down in a timesheet can prove tricky if you have employees who aren’t at their site of work – or close to the actual time clock when in the building. However, if you use a time tracking system, employees can log on at their computer station or even from a mobile device. This technology has proved especially helpful with employees increasingly working remotely and even when the world does go “back to normal,” it could still be incredibly helpful for your workers who work at multiple sites or who are out in the field and would find it cumbersome (and a waste of company time!) to return to the office to simply punch a clock. Further, some systems are so advanced that they can use GPS tracking to verify that your employee is where they say they are and can even determine the time spent at a particular site so that you can ensure accuracy.
When you use an online tracking system, one of the biggest perks is that it collects data all in one spot and makes it accessible to all. With an automated system, your employees can quickly and easily check their PTO balance and even send requests for time off – meaning that you or your HR rep don’t have to field a series of piecemeal requests that can easily get lost in your inbox. Further, with the scheduling all laid out before you, you can see if you have adequate staffing coverage to grant that PTO request or see what switches or shuffles can be made to make it work.
Run the report
Want to know which employees are pulling the longest hours or if your employees are spending way too much time on a particular facet of their job? Time tracking software can not only store data but can perform in-depth analyses on trends and patterns with just a few clicks of the keyboard so that you can make changes accordingly, such as adding new employees to departments that pull consistent overtime or providing training to help make employees more efficient in a certain aspect of their job. Conversely, the tracking software can also help you to see if a particular employee is chronically late, which can come in handy when it comes to performance review time.
If you use a punch clock system, your accounting or payroll department has to comb through the cards, count the hours, and manually compute wages all by hand – a inconvenient process that includes several opportunities for errors. With the addition of time tracking software, managers can review and approve hours, then send it off to payroll, where wages can be automatically calculated, and checks can be processed. In short, it will significantly limit the back-and-forth communication between managers, bosses, and the payroll department, while also improving accuracy and creating a paper trail that can prove crucial should you ever be audited.