Here’s a little riddle for you - which one of the following scenarios is a real-life everyday situation and which one is a corporate fairy tale?
- It’s 9 o’clock sharp and all of your employees are coming into the office, taking their designated seats, turning on their computers and all you can hear from that moment on is the sound of enthusiastic typing. You look at your watch and it’s 9:02.
- It’s 9 o’clock sharp and about 80% of your workforce is dragging themselves into the office. While catching up with their colleagues’ news, they’re turning the coffee machine on. The smell of breakfast bagels and morning coffee will keep lingering in the chatter-filled air for many minutes to come, until finally all the machines are running and the employees are starting to work. You look at your watch and it’s 9:37.
The answer is easy. But even if you found yourself thinking that situation A is slightly robotic and unnatural, you have to admit that, at the very least, you should have this tiny but significant piece of information on when your employees start their work. After all, you pay them to be in the office and do their jobs, right?
Now, we’re going to look at some reasons why tracking clock-ins is not as easy as it seems and how to overcome this difficulty with an employee time clock app such as Insightful.
The Problem with Clock-Ins
By definition, a clock-in is the precise moment when an employee arrives at the office. But if you’ve ever tried to measure it and check to what extent your numbers reflected the actual situation, you might have noticed a couple of discrepancies, such as the one mentioned in our example scenario B.
So how can something so simple and straightforward be so intangible?
There are a couple of things contributing to the difficulty of accurately measuring clock-ins. The first one is our natural tendency to procrastinate. Whether it’s in the form of an extended chat with their colleagues, eating breakfast, drinking coffee or catching up on the news online, it seems very hard for employees to go straight to work immediately upon entering the office.
And the thing is - they’ve swiped their key cards or whatever it is you use to track attendance so, technically, their work day has started. But it could be half an hour before they actually get into the working mode.
Another potential problem is the so-called buddy-punching, which is just a workaround for being late. Colleagues just swipe each other’s cards or put each other’s names in the timesheet and that’s it. On paper, an employee might start their work day 20 minutes before they’re even physically there.
The Solution - Employee Time Clock App
Implementing a simple time track on your employees’ corporate computers might be able to solve much of this problem and provide you with the definitive answer to when your employees actually start working.
But what is time tracking software?
It’s a computer program that tracks computer activity and measures time that employees spend on different tasks and in different apps or websites. And what’s especially useful for the topic we’re on, employee time clock app can also make automatic attendance timesheets.
In this context, a clock-in is the precise time an employee turned on their computer and a clock-out is (surprise, surprise) when they turn their machines off to go home. More precisely, an hour keeping app tracks computer activity, so even if for some totally environmentally-unfriendly reason your employees keep their machines turned on at all times, time entry software will record the first activity in a given day as a clock-in and the last one as a clock-out.
With such accurate clock-ins based on computer activity, you’ve solved two problems - you can measure procrastination as the difference between coming to the office and starting to work, and you can eliminate buddy-punching. Unless, of course, employees are so devoted to each other that they’d be willing to quite literally do two jobs until their irresponsible colleague comes to work. Which is probably marginally rare.
What you ultimately end up getting from your employee time clock app are clear automatically-generated timesheets with everybody’s accurate clock-ins.
But even though this is valuable information, a word of advice - don’t have any unrealistic expectations. You might want to curb procrastination, but you can’t really expect workers to be maximally productive the second they step into the office. It’s reasonable to leave time for them to take their jackets off, say hi to their colleagues and make that much-needed first cup of coffee.
The difference between employees’ recorded clock-ins and the actual start of their work might be slightly bigger that you’d like it to be. While your expectations shouldn’t be too high so as to become unrealistic, tracking when your employees actually come to the office and, even more importantly, when they begin working with an employee time clock app can help you organize their workload and manage your company more successfully.