How To Stop Employee Time Theft

How To Stop Employee Time Theft

Most employers would probably like to think that they can trust their employees and employees will be honest for the most part. However, we can never be entirely sure that the people working for us won’t take advantage if given the opportunity. Indeed, a study showed that 43% of employees who have filled in timesheets had exaggerated the length of time they worked. Studies have also shown that around $400 billion is lost every year in lost productivity in the United States, further highlighting the need to address the problem.

Employee time theft comes in several types, and not all of them are necessarily deliberate. Some of the most common include: 

  • Charging for time spent on personal tasks
  • Buddy punching is a practice that involves an employee’s co-worker punching in for them despite the employee not being at work. Buddy punching alone is thought to cost approximately $373 million alone every year
  • Employees deliberately adding extra time to their worksheets
  • Employees not clocking out for breaks
  • Field employees claiming to have been working but performing other tasks, or even staying at home instead
  • Accidentally overestimating time worked.

Time theft is a real problem for many companies, especially in times of uncertainty. However, one of the most significant difficulties companies face regarding employee theft is that it’s challenging to detect. Managers cannot monitor all employees at all times, especially where field workers are concerned, and honest errors can be particularly difficult to identify. However, you can take some steps to overcome the issue.

Establish Clear Policies

One way you can help overcome some of the issues is to put a deterrent in place. Your managers can let employees know that they’re aware of problems like buddy punching and that employees will be reprimanded if caught doing so. The act of bringing up the topic alone can avoid complacency among employees and deter them from punching in for friends. Make sure to be polite and respectful when reminding your employees about your policies, but also make sure that you’re firm. Acting on indiscretions will help to send the message that you will not tolerate time theft.  

Educate Management

Quite often, the signs of time theft are right in front of us, but we won’t spot them if we don’t know what we’re looking for. For example, what might appear to be a case of an employee working later than others could easily mean that they’re not being honest about their time sheet. After all, it’s a lot easier to be dishonest on your time sheets when there’s nobody around because they’ve already gone home for the day.

Educate Employees

In many cases, time theft might be down to misunderstandings that you can easily clear up with simple communication. You should also make it clear to employees when it’s reasonable for them to record to add time and when it isn’t. You can also educate your employees on the potential harm that time theft can cause businesses, potentially even placing their jobs and their colleagues’ jobs at risk.

Use Time Tracking Software

Software like the PK4 TimeTracker will help to ensure that time is tracked accurately and fairly. For example, the buddy punching system won’t work with time tracking software because employees have to be logged into their computers or on their own mobile devices to track time. The system also helps prevent forms from being filled in erroneously, while it also helps management see which tasks their employees have been working on.

Time tracking software will also help ensure time is recorded accurately for field workers. The time tracking app can record an employee’s location through GPS, so you know they were in the right place. The software is also easy for employees and managers to use, while reviewing and approving timesheets is also made simple, further helping to ensure accurately recorded time. 

Overall, time tracker software will help to empower teams to work better and be more productive. Time sheets will more accurately reflect work that has been done while also giving management access to helpful information such as how much time employees spent on particular tasks. Such information will help management see if time is being spent effectively, helping them make their teams more productive while also helping to reduce frustrations.

 

 

5 Tips To Stay Focused At The Office Or At Home :)

5 Tips To Stay Focused At The Office Or At Home :)

Some people thrive in a busy office, but not everyone is cut out for working in a distracting atmosphere. If you’re struggling to get things done at work, there are plenty of ways to be productive without chaining yourself to your desk and swearing off all social interaction.

The most precious commodity in today’s world is focus: holding undivided attention to the task at hand. But how do we get there when we’d much rather “focus” on Facebook or watching funny cat videos?

Don’t despair. We’ve prepared these 5 tips for focused work to help you slay your workday and make your colleagues jealous.

1. Race against yourself

Using a timer as a motivational tool is very powerful, especially if you’re a competitive person. Even if you don’t have external pressure to finish specific tasks, you can set mini-deadlines and use a time tracker to track the interval you’d like to stick to.

Parkinson’s law states that any task expands to fill the time we allow it. Most of us don’t even schedule our work, and wishful thinking won’t get things done. Strive to do quality work in the shortest time possible and you’ll surely enter a deep state of focus.

2. Leverage peer pressure

Most of us have an innate desire to please people, so we may as well use it to our advantage. Just like accountability partners and workout buddies can help us reach goals outside work, we can mimic the same peer pressure inside our office environment. If you hate working alone, spend time with a like-minded colleague who values efficiency and productivity.

Want to take social pressure to the next level? Tell your boss, manager, or coworker your plans to finish a certain project by the end of the day. Afraid this approach will get you into trouble? Good. You’ll work extra hard just to avoid embarrassing yourself in front of others.

3. Listen to focus-inducing music

If you’re working in an open space, you’re probably aware of this magical device called noise-canceling headphones. They might make you look a little silly, but they’re a good defense against that coworker who wants to hang out by the coffee machine for the millionth time. Unlike him, you might actually get some stuff done.

But since you’re already shutting out the outside world, why not go a step further and feed your brain some hypnotic waves? Binaural beats are proven to increase cognitive function, improve memory and strengthen neural connections. You can choose from plenty of playlists on YouTube and Spotify and feel your mind enter its zone of genius.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash  

  

4. Schedule uninterrupted time

The single biggest enemy of focus is interruption. Interruptions can come from your team, your phone or e-mail, and even yourself. Distractions and unforeseen situations will never stop occurring, but it’s in your power to make yourself unavailable.

Block uninterrupted time in your schedule and let your coworkers and even superiors know that you’ll be unable to respond during that specific time unless it’s a true emergency. Place your phone on airplane mode and out of sight. Shut your e-mail and notifications off. This might seem scary or selfish at first, but you’ll get a lot of work done, and you’ll barely be missed.

5. Use apps to block distractions

Okay, so you’ve taken care of other people distracting you. Now, you need to take care of your own interrupting behavior because, when it comes to focusing, even mindlessly clicking online for a few moments can ruin your state of flow.

Breaking deeply ingrained habits like picking up your phone or scrolling on social media to soothe yourself when you’re stressed or uncomfortable isn’t an easy thing to do. That’s why using apps that block those specific sites can be so beneficial. You can try FreedomFocusMe, or SelfControl, just to name a few.

Apps are an integral part of our life today. As your work gets more focused, you’ll want to have all your efforts on record. Our Time Tracker for Salesforce is a great way to keep track of the work that you’ve done.

Ultimately, the goal is to create a habit of efficiency. The longer you procrastinate on work, the less time you’ll have to truly disconnect, engage in meaningful conversations or even leave home early. Not to mention that you’ll feel so proud of everything you accomplished. Try these ideas for yourself, and may the “focus” be with you! 🙂

6 Tips For Maximizing Accountability And Trust In The Workplace

6 Tips For Maximizing Accountability And Trust In The Workplace

Are your employees committed, motivated and efficient? Or do you have to be that annoying boss constantly breathing down their neck?

Whether you like it or not, accountability is at the core of how things get done in the workplace. And if your team is lacking in accountability, you’ll have to fix it first thing. When people don’t care enough to take responsibility, this lousy attitude will spread to all aspects of your business.

But sometimes, a lack of accountability isn’t always the employee’s fault. It could be yours. Our 6 tips will help you identify where you can improve as a manager to have accountable, superstar employees.

1. Involve your employees in defining project goals

An intriguing study from Gallup states that more than half of employees don’t know what’s expected of them at work. Managers fail to clearly explain tasks and help employees set goals. And to make it worse, many employees don’t feel comfortable approaching their boss for help or assistance.

But if you create the kind of environment where you empower your team, the work atmosphere instantly changes. When setting goals for a project, ask your team if the goals are attainable and realistic and discuss a deadline that works for them and the company.

It’s easy for your team to stay accountable when they’ve been involved in the decision-making process.

2. Perfect your prioritization skills

Unclear priorities are just as bad as unclear tasks. When employees start pointing fingers, all accountability goes down the drain.

If you’re in a state of constantly putting out fires at work, you have to accept that you can’t do everything – and neither can your employees. So learn to focus on the most important things.

Work on your prioritization skills and allow more time than you normally would for important tasks because we often tend to grossly underestimate how long they take. Your team will stop feeling like they’re constantly behind, and this will boost their confidence and productivity levels.

3. Establish trust and empower your team

There’s nothing worse than a micromanaging boss. So don’t be that guy (or gal). Here’s how you can change your team management style for the better:

  • Balance your “constructive” criticism with praise
  • Acknowledge your own mistakes – hold yourself accountable
  • Lead by example

The best way to empower your team is to give them the freedom to solve problems in their own way. Allow for flexibility over their schedule, and you’ll have motivated employees that feel trusted and appreciated.

Especially during this time of widespread remote work, allowing your team to log work hours manually will encourage them to get things done on their own terms. You can do this, and much more, with our PK4 TimeTracker.

4. Leverage attendance and scheduling software

Another way to increase accountability in the workplace is through the use of attendance and scheduling software. Hold your employees accountable and make sure they arrive on time and work on what they’re supposed to be working.

Using a product like the PK4 TimeTracker can help you achieve this in a number of ways:

  • The Clock In (Kiosk mode) serves as a virtual time punching tool;
  • Workers with flexible schedules can log their hours within the time tracker app using the Check-In / Check-Out to mark the beginning and end of a work session;
  • As a team leader, you can easily manage your team’s project inside Time Tracker’s project management tool and approve or reject timesheets.

5. Keep an eye on your team and follow up frequently

Setting goals is exciting, but that’s just the beginning. Your role as a team leader will include checking with your team frequently.

Maybe you have a bad apple in your team – a toxic employee that’s bringing everybody down and hurting the team’s accountability. Or perhaps one of your employees is falling behind because of personal issues at home. It’s your duty to be aware of all these things.

Follow-up is essential to a project’s success, and many employees are happy to have their manager follow up on their tasks. It gives them a chance to ask questions or show off their progress.

6. Give honest feedback

If you’re the kind of manager who hates confrontation, you won’t like giving honest feedback to your employees. Because, inevitably, some of your employees will need some tough love.

But if you get over your nerves, you’ll soon learn that providing frequent and candid feedback will make you a better manager. Show your employees where they can improve, but try to focus on their strengths rather than their weaknesses.

Your team members will act more accountable if they feel like their boss genuinely cares about their success.

Accountability isn’t just about owning your mistakes. It’s about taking responsibility for your work, knowing your role in the company, and proactively striving to get better. The best way to inspire accountability within your team is to practice it yourself.