How to Keep Track of Employee Hours
Tracking employee hours keeps your payroll accurate and your employees happy

It’s important to have an accurate account of employee hours, not only for their benefit but also for yours. Timely and precise data can make sure that you have timely processing for payroll as well as keep tabs on attendance. Since employees might work at different times, make sure you have everyone’s hours accounted for. But what’s the best way to keep track of employee hours? Keep reading to determine which practice works best for you and your company.

Signed Sheets

Perhaps the oldest form of tracking hours, sign-in and sign-out sheets let your employees write down their information. They sign their names in one column, the time they arrived in another, and the time they left in the third. Some sheets also make your employees tally their accumulated time, so you don’t have to. From there, you may need to manually enter the information into spreadsheets, which can affect productivity.

However, you might have employees who abuse the system and disobey the honor system. You might also have a hard time deciphering handwriting. In addition, without electronic time monitoring, you run the risk of dealing with pay disputes by employees. You also have to track down employees who forgot to sign in or out. The legal issues that come with the pen-and-paper approach can cause unnecessary headaches.

Manual Time Clocks

Instead of relying on employees to remember to use a sign-in sheet, some employers moved to manual time clocks. This option prevents employees from forging the sheets. Employees have cards they insert into a clock. Then they push a button on the top to print the time. The downside to this option is making sure employees remember to punch in and out. You also run the risk of employees punching in and out for each other if not supervised.

Mounted Card Swipes

An updated version of punch cards, mounted card swipes mean your employees must use ID badges to clock in and out. They might also need to enter unique codes they are assigned. Some other systems let employees scan fingerprints or retinas, which is a smart option if you worry about employees misplacing their IDs. On the other side, these are more expensive than traditional barcode scanners.

After employees scan their information, the data is automatically transferred to a computer. From there, the software application calculates employee attendance and hours worked. However, these systems are difficult and costly to upgrade and difficult to repair.

Software Time Clocks

When computers became popular, software helped almost everyone become more productive. Software time clocks reduce errors since the automated software receives the data. The entire process minimizes the chance of human error. You can easily track time off, scheduling, and compliance features with software applications.

The only mistakes with this type of system occur when employees forget to sign in or out. The software clocks remain one of the best ways to track time. This is an ideal system if you have employees that work traditional schedules from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

Mobile Tracker Apps

For this option, your employees need to have smartphones or mobile devices to access tracker apps. Employees can mark their time at any location, which comes in handy while working on construction sites. You must make sure, though, that they employees remain honest about their start and stop times. It’s best to either have a supervisor on site or provide this option to only employees you trust.

Some apps let you allocate certain tasks for employees. For instance, if your employee spends some of the day on an excavator at one job site but another part of the day using a forklift at another location, you can plug in that information. That way you know how to bill the client correctly.

Other apps let you track where employees perform tasks. They act like GPS and keep your employees accountable for their exact location at all times. One huge benefit of using mobile tracking apps is that they save information to the cloud. You no longer need to worry about transferring the information yourself or backing up the devices every few minutes. Some apps synch immediately, so you can access that data whenever you need it.

No matter what type of tracking system you use, it’s important to have an accurate account of the hours your employees work. Not only is this beneficial to your employees, but it helps when dealing with taxes and other governmental-based issues.

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