Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas covers small business topics for various websites.

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Time Does Matter When It Comes to Your Employees

Dave Thomas

December 05, 2012

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As a small business owner, is monitoring the time your employees work for you an issue?

If the answer is yes, what are you doing about it? If the answer is no, what solution or solutions have you found to handle this issue. Lastly, if the answer is you don’t monitor employee time at work, you may actually be in the minority these days.

In a day and age when many small business owners are battling to just stay financially solvent in a tough economic environment, monitoring the time their employees work for them is as important as ever. If workers are not putting in a full day of work, employers are not only losing money with customer demands likely not being met, but they are not getting what they paid for in the first place.

According to a Web survey from America Online and, the typical worker admits to wasting away 2.09 hours per day, not including lunch. Over a year’s time (and even after accounting for time employers figure on being wasted), that amounts to $759 billion on salaries for which companies obtain no apparent benefit.

When it comes to making sure your employees are meeting their responsibilities in the workplace, be it through electronic monitoring devices, check-in systems or the old-fashioned punch cards, how do you go about finding and installing the right answer?

Some things to note when looking for a system:

* Payroll priorities - If for no other reason, you need to track the time of employees to properly meet payroll requirements. If you have employees who travel to meet clients, make sure they are properly recording their time spent working, including travel time. Since laws vary from state to state, make sure employees (in-house and those who travel often) record time taken for lunches too. If you’re paying a worker to work 40 hours a week, you certainly want to be sure they are doing that. If they are to be offered overtime opportunities, the right time tracking system is needed to record extra hours so they are fairly compensated;

* Research - Not all employeetime trackingsystems are the same, so take the time to research a number of them, seeing which one fits best for your small business needs. Look for a program that you can run on a trial basis, allowing you to see what does and does not work. Check with other friendly small business owners to see what they use, allowing you to determine if a similar system would work for your company’s specific needs. You also may want to consider installing security cameras in highly trafficked areas such as lunch rooms and lobbies, allowing you to be aware of anyone wasting too much time at work. Lastly, do your homework on the different providers you are looking at, seeing which have a track record of dependability;

* System review - Whichever system you go with, make sure you review it from time to time so that it is properly working. For systems that are installed on an employee’s computer, review it to see that it is functioning properly, employees are signing on and off properly, and that everyone is playing by the same rules;

* Set the example - Lastly, what is the sense of having a time tracking system for your workers if not everyone plays by the same rules? While business owners certainly have some more leeway than the typical worker, keeping set hours for yourself certainly doesn’t hurt in providing a good example for others. Are you willing to monitor the hours you also work, or are you going to come and go as you please? Also make sure your various managers adhere to time tracking so those under them have no excuse to cut corners.

Authenticating the hours your employees spend on the job not only makes good sense, it can save you time down the road in determining which employees truly are playing by the rules.


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