Here’s a little riddle for you - which one of the following scenarios represents a real-life situation and which one is a corporate fairy tale?
- By 9 o’clock sharp all of your employees have entered the office. You glance around, and notice everyone sitting at their desks, enthusiastically typing away. You look at your watch and it’s 9:05.
- By 9:15 80% of your workforce has slowly filed into the office. You glance around and notice co-workers chatting away over a morning brew. The smell of breakfast bagels and machine coffee lingers as the noise starts to subside, until finally all computers are on and everyone is starting to work. You look at your watch and it’s 9:37.
The answer is easy.
But even if you find yourself thinking that the first scenario is unrealistic, it’s what you pay your employees to do.
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 remote employee monitoring using 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 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.
5 Ways Time Tracking Solutions can Help
Implementing remote employee monitoring might solve the majority of attendance-related issues 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, the 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.
Here are 5 ways time tracking solutions can boost the accuracy and convenience of attendance tracking for your teams:
1. Automatic Tracking
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.
You can also effectively cut out the risk of manual entry errors with automatic time tracking, which means employees making mistakes - as we’re all prone to do from time to time - doesn’t have to disrupt your accurate timekeeping.
When you rely on automatic time tracking, it doesn’t matter how your teams work.
It will account for:
- Flexible hours
- Remote and hybrid work models
- Lateness and early exits
At the end of the day, you will have an accurate figure for total hours worked - no ifs, buts, or maybes.
2. Accurate Timesheets
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.
3. Prompt Intervention
Sometimes you need to be able to react quickly to employee attendance issues.
If the manager is running late, you might need a colleague of theirs to step in and guide the ship for a moment or two so everyone understands what they should be doing. Or if you notice that a team member still hasn’t showed up to work 15 minutes into the work day, you can make a call to them without delaying any further.
That’s the benefit of automatic time tracking - you have real-time data which you can act on immediately. This makes it an invaluable tool for your HR team and allows for timely intervention when necessary.
4. Payroll Integration
Paying employees for every hour worked is in everyone’s interest, and it's much easier to get right when you implement automatic time tracking.
Many employee monitoring solutions seamlessly integrate with payroll apps and systems, or allow you to export timesheets so you can register payroll accurately.
This automated process will speed things up and eliminate the need for time-consuming manual data transfer, which can also lead to manual errors.
5. Data Analytics
Finally, with employee monitoring solutions you’ll generally have access to detailed data analytics and reporting features.
This means your HR team can draw up comprehensive performance reports based on the time data, factoring in attendance and analyzing trends. This can help them create protocols for PTO, work hours, and work on other issues that directly impact employee attendance.
Clocking Time with Confidence
The difference between employees’ recorded clock-ins and the actual start of their work might be slightly bigger than 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.