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Time Attendance Tracking - Save Your Sanity with Accurate Time Attendance Tracking

business employees employee clock

Of all the daily business processes that must happen consistently and accurately, time attendance tracking is the most hated and the most important. Remembering to log in and out of a time clock causes angst and agitation because this simple action seems so restrictive and unnecessary to most employees. Learning to accept this job requirement as important and beneficial is the first step to conveying why tracking is required, choosing the best methods, and having equal requirements for hourly and salaried employees.

For most small business owners, the accountant doubles as business coach concerning legal matters that pertain to the finances and employees. The first time an accountant asks to see the reports that back up the payroll expenses, the business owner gets a feel for the unmatched importance of solid records that would stand up to a dispute. When the attendance pattern of a certain employee goes unnoticed because records have not been kept, very few actions can be taken because there is no proof of a behavioral issue. The absence of records is noticed only when a problem arises. An employee that is arriving late, taking long lunch hours, and leaving early must be addressed, and time attendance tracking becomes crucial to handling the situation. While dismissal may not be required, awareness is essential for fairness throughout the staff and for the legal requirements associated with labor laws.

Depending on the business, there are different ways to track employee time and attendance including paper, spreadsheets, software, and time clocks. Having a large number of employees justifies the expense of a more sophisticated time clock and software combination system. Every person, who expects to be paid, must participate in time attendance tracking efforts for work, vacation, and sick time. Each of these categories is considered a business expense and directly impacts the productivity of other people. When attendance problems arise, the most advanced tracking tools are only as accurate as the data entered over the period of time in question. Having a report that reveals the pattern of missed days and inaccurate time logged removes all doubt that a situation must be addressed and behavior changed. The employee who does not see the value of tracking time will slowly drift far enough out of bounds to merit formal disciplinary action.

When salaried employees ask why they need to participate in time and attendance tracking, the answer is the same as for hourly employees. The semi-monthly paycheck may look the same, but the time that makes up those dollar amounts falls into three distinct categories that translate into productivity or downtime for the business. Whether evaluating the aggregate vacation time or the individual vacation time, corresponding workloads can be evaluated and adjusted. Legal requirements for tracking every hour paid exist to protect the employee and the business in case of a dispute. Hourly employees must be paid overtime for hours worked over 40 hours in a work week, and working off the clock is considered illegal. Tracking all work time is essential for knowing when to add additional staff and where the positions are most needed. Any falsifying of records will lead to poor business decisions. People who want to work off the clock are most likely not working during the business day, and that must be addressed to reduce the impact of idle workers on other people in the workplace. Monitor workflow and identify the areas where time is being overtly wasted but logged as work time. Employee time consumes the highest percentage of business revenue, and when it is wasted, the company suffers on both sides of the balance sheet.

During the initial interview with a potential employee set forth the expectation that all work, vacation, and sick time will be tracked accurately and consistently with no tolerance for non-compliance. Minimize the issues that can lead to corrective measures later. Documentation from time and attendance tracking is the best tool for addressing questions or concerns and monitoring the use of work time in the life of the business. Refer to the reports consistently and look for trends across a job category and at individual reports to aid in business decision making. Whatever is monitored and measured within the life of the business will be maintained as a healthy business practice.

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