Let me ask you a question – why is time tracking important to you and your business? If I had to guess, I would say it’s important to know how time is spent actually working because it affects productivity and provides insight. But most of all, knowing how your employees spend their time greatly affects the bottom line.
But why is time tracking so hard? Well, if you’re using pen and paper to write down all your activities and how much time was spent on them, you’re opening yourself up to a colossal amount of mistakes. If you don’t do it immediately, you have to guess what time you started and when you finished. And the likelihood of errors, payroll mistakes, and buddy punching is very real. But there is a solution, it’s time to make the switch to an online time tracking solution.
As many companies are already making the switch to digital solutions to track time effectively, we are looking at the benefits of a clock in and out app and then break down the best practices for using a clock in and out app in this guide.
Benefits of a Clock In and Out App
Time tracking is hard, that much has been established. Digital solutions make it that much easier. Below we dive into the many benefits of a clock in and out app. Remember, time tracking shouldn’t be complicated but often it is because of the hours you need to pour into to ensure accurate payroll and timesheet management.
If you’re not yet ready to make the switch, read on the many benefits you will gain when you start using a clock in and out app.
Prevent Buddy Punching
Simply put, when an employee can use a clock in and out app, it eliminates the ability for someone else to do it for them. Considering that the American Payroll Association reported 75% of businesses in the United States alone are directly affected by time theft each year, curbing buddy punching with a clock in and out app is crucial and easily the most beneficial feature to managers.
Learn more about time theft in this detailed guide so you can better recognize why it happens, how it happens, and how you can prevent it.
No Rounding Up
An app for employees to clock in and out doesn’t round up minutes or seconds when it comes to how long an employee worked. It’s not about a minute here or there, instead, it’s all down to the actual second.
Low Error Rates
A clock in and out app doesn’t eliminate all mistakes but it sure does lower the likelihood. The IRS says that 33% of employers make some form of payroll errors, and the American Payroll Association goes on to say that these errors range between 1-8% of total payroll.
Using the right app for employees to clock in and out will automate and organize the entire process of confirming timesheets, so you don’t spend all your time combing through Excel sheet after Excel sheet.
Quickly React to Overtime
As soon as an employee goes into overtime, you can be alerted and can help sort it out. Sometimes it’s as simple as an employee forgetting to clock out. But in any case, it’s always beneficial to be a step ahead.
It’s not as spooky as it sounds! Using an app for employees to clock in and out tags a GPS location stamp when they clock in and out so that you always know where they were when they did so. This eliminates any unnecessary detours or unwanted stoppages so you pay the employee for the work they do on the site instead of the other way around.
You can immediately see how many hours you need to pay at any given moment. You don’t have to wait until the end of the day, week, or month.
Manage Absence/Time-off Requests
From the admin dashboard, you can easily see employee absences so you can take care of it as soon as it happens. Plus, Employees can request time off straight from the app and you can approve or deny the request straight away.
Add Additional Information
Each time an employee clocks in, they can add additional information if necessary – such as the client’s name, the type of job, material usage, etc.
The above reasons for why you should be using a clock in and out app is crucial as it truly highlights how much time you can save and how many errors can be avoided, not to mention how everything is more streamlined. Below we dive into the best practices for using a clock in and out app so you’re ready from day one.
10 Best Practices For Using A Clock In And Out App
In the first section, we broke down the benefits of using a clock in and out app – regardless of the industry or size of your company. Below we share the most common best practices to keep in mind when you start using a clock in and out app.
1. Walk the Walk
It all starts from the top down, your employees want to see you using the clock in and out app as well. When everyone is following the same policies, everyone wins and no one feels scrutinized. Plus, it makes it easier to train employees on how to use it if you are using it yourself.
2. Make It As Automated As Possible
Look at all the hours and review how much more time your employees can have for more urgent tasks by eliminating mundane tasks. Pre-program timesheets or allow for duplicate time logs if they work similar hours frequently.
3. Hourly VS Salary
Be consistent and have clear rules on who and what positions track time, how and why. If you’re a law firm, all salary and hourly works need to clock in and out based on how clients are billed and their performance. Whereas a restaurant doesn’t want salary employees to log time as they are often out on the floor doing multiple tasks at once.
4. Track Time Daily
Don’t manually input your hours at the end of the week – you can’t remember what time you clocked in and out every day, how long you were with a client, and so on. I mean, do you remember what you had for lunch last Wednesday? Probably not. Be vigilant! Clock in as soon as you get to the office and are hard at work, yes, after you had your morning coffee! And clock out when you pack up for the day. This way no mistakes happen and you don’t have to second guess!
5. Keep the Categories Simple
Keep things simple and straightforward. Enable categories like “Meetings”, “Working From Home”, “On-Site”, or “Employee Training”. It should be crystal clear and easy for employees to track time. Keep categories consistent across the board and make sure the channels of communication are open just in case your employee needs something. Ask your employees if they think a category should be added or removed.
6. Ensure Employees Know Why You’re Using A Clock In and Out App
More often than not, employees feel like they’re being watched by management through time tracking. However, that’s not the case! Managers track time so they know where time is spent so that they can estimate work scopes much better. And so clients are charged accordingly. And to have a firm handle on deskless employees. Whatever the reason, make sure your team knows about it.
7. Share Data
Let your employees and fellow employees know how hours are being used. It can help with the recruitment process, how HR handles their daily tasks, how clients are billed, how the workflow can be improved, and so on. Being transparent is key to building trust.
8. Use Descriptions or Notes Sparingly
Sometimes it can be helpful to add a description or note to your working hours, but only if the situation calls for it. You don’t need a rundown of every day!
9. Tracking Every Little Thing Is Not Necessary
When a ton of details and precision are required, the likelihood of incomplete data and mistakes is much higher – especially if you haven’t explained why your team needs to do it (i.e. point number six!) Here’s the thing, if it takes you more than 15 minutes then you need to enter this as its own time entry.
Think about it like this: a bathroom break doesn’t need to get tracked, instead you just add it to the project or task time. Additionally, a 30-minute lunch break doesn’t need to be tracked, simply tag it as a break!
10. Tags Can Be a Big Help
Most clock in and out apps allow you to add tags to each project, they’re basically keywords that make it easy when you need to filter reports or just to have a clear idea of what is being worked on. For example, a tag can be Break, Customer, Project Name, Location, Training, and so on. This also shows you how much time is spent on such an activity.
This is super helpful as it can make it easier to send invoices and allows you to map out how long certain tasks take so you can be better prepared for the next time, like training.
The Bottom Line For A Clock In And Out App
One crucial takeaway we need to mention here, if you are still using pen and paper, you’re stuck in the past. A vast majority of businesses have already made the switch, and it’s a lot easier than you think.