The Fourth Way: Time Theft
We’ve already covered a number of ways an automated time and attendance system can save you money over the manual alternatives. This time, let’s consider how you can get a better handle on the single largest expense most businesses face: labor costs, and how an automated time and attendance system will help you prevent time theft.
If you’re using a handwritten timekeeping system — and even more likely if you don’t have a time tracking system at all — whether you realize it or not you’ve almost certainly been the victim of “time theft.” The American Payroll Association has estimated that employers lose up to 10 minutes per day per employee due to late arrivals, early departures and long breaks or lunches. That translates into over a week lost per employee over the course of a year.
Multiply that by just a few employees, and you’re looking at a lot of time you’re paying for, but they’re not working.
Some time theft is unintentional. For instance: you use handwritten timesheets to track time, and at the end of the pay period employees simply fill in a full day’s work every day they were present, forgetting to note the instances when they came in a couple of minutes late, took little bit longer to run errands at lunch, or left a few minutes early.
Some time theft is deliberate. If you use a punch clock, for example, one employee could arrange with another to have the second clock her out, then the first employee could slip out early. This is called “buddy punching,” and a 2008 Nucleus Research study found 19% of employees admitted to buddy punching at least once in the previous year. (You know if that many admitted to it, there were at least that many more who did it but wouldn’t ‘fess up.)
Other studies have found that the simple act of tracking employee time can reduce time theft. If you don’t have any time tracking system at all, you will likely see an immediate improvement no matter what kind of system you institute.
However, if you’re already using some kind of manual time tracking, the greater accuracy and accountablity of an automated system — especially a biometric system — will give you even greater control. When employees clock in and out using any automated system, their exact arrival and departure times are recorded. No more accidental memory lapses about late arrivals, early departures or long lunches. When employees clock in and out using a biometric automated system, you know they had to be physically present at those times. No more buddy punching.
Either way, your time records are more accurate, and you’ll be spending less on “stolen” time.
When you’re ready to get a solid handle on your labor expenses, check out Acroprint’s automated time tracking solutions. Whether you’re interested in installed PC-based software or the security and convenience of a pay-as-you-go web service, all our solutions will help you more accurately track employee time and reduce instances of time theft.