Published On: Wed, May 15th, 2019

Three Methods of Keeping Track of Employee Time

Every small and medium business struggles with back-office work, especially in keeping track of employee hours. Unfortunately, if employees’ timesheets are not managed correctly, the company may lose money, or even face labor lawsuits filed by disgruntled employees. Incorrect documentation of employee hours can also cause payroll concerns and tax reporting problems for the company. It is therefore essential to ensure that employee work hours are tracked accurately.

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Reducing time theft by accurate tracking

Incidents of time theft will cause employees to lose confidence in the business, which in turn negatively impacts the relationship between employees and the employer. Most importantly, time theft has a direct effect to the company’s bottomline.

The traditional methods of keeping track of employee hours are the following:

  • An analogue method which consists of a pen and paper or a shared spreadsheet
  • Punch machines and time clocks
  • Attendance software

Each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages. This article will take a closer look at which option best resolves the problem of time theft.

Tracking employee hours manually

Very few companies today rely on using pen and paper to track employee hours. However, for some small and medium businesses that have just started operating, there is no other alternative to this outdated method. Usually, once the operation begins to stabilize, the company can switch to a more advanced solution.

The pen and paper method is simple and inexpensive. In theory, it should work just as well as any digital approach, but the process becomes hugely limiting as the business expands and grows. Some of the problems that may arise include:

  • Employer unable to monitor if employees are tracking their time correctly or not
  • Errors in reading handwriting which leads to errors in payroll
  • Payout disputes can cause legal problems for the company

In general, a pen and paper method used for keeping track of employee hours is only useful for micro businesses.

Time clocks or punch cards

A hardware-based time clock can help eliminate errors in reporting. But despite the advancement, there are disadvantages to this method as well:

  • Time clocks vary in their features and level of sophistication. The simplest of machines are still prone to abuse and can be difficult to maintain.
  • Most time clocks have hardware that is not easy to upgrade and will eventually become outdated.

Although some time clocks come with additional features like PIN entry, fingerprint biometrics, and hand scanners, these features can be expensive and limiting.

Software and applications for tracking employee attendance and time

The latest solution used by businesses today is software available through a mobile time clock app and computers. These solutions feature compatibility with computers and can be integrated with POS machines for remote business locations. These apps come with a variety of features such as fingerprint biometrics and face recognition for enhanced accuracy and security. Another option is time tracking with screenshots.

Providers of these types of digital timekeeping and payroll solutions can scale the subscription up or down depending on the requirements of the business. Another advantage is the cloud-based operation which means that your company can stay up to date especially with Department of Labor (DOL) regulations.

Author: Jayce Redford

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- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.


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