There is a camp of construction folks that says tracking workers’ time with anything other than paper time cards is either a violation of everyone’s privacy, an evil display of micromanagement, or proof of a total lack of camaraderie and trust (or all three).
Others bemoan the cheating and lying and “misremembering” that comes with paper time tracking. However, they contend that not even a digital time tracking system could stop the cheats.
Why both of those arguments are flawed
When you start tracking time digitally (i.e. with an app) at your job sites, there may be one or two employees who compare it to Big Brother or say it shows a lack of trust. Soon enough those few grumblers will quiet down, and it’ll be worth it—for everyone. Here’s why.
Paper time cards waste time (and money).
Paper time cards are like an on-running joke you don’t know the punchline of until you give them up and see how much money you’ve been wasting.
It’s widely accepted that paper time cards are more “rough estimate” than fact. Simply filling them out takes minutes out of everyone’s week. Not to mention the hour-rounding (often in the workers’ favor) takes dollars—even hundreds of dollars—out of your coffers every pay period.
You deserve real data on when workers are working.
Running a business is a big job, and you deserve access to all business-related information you can get. It’s not about not trusting people—it’s about wanting real, accurate labor hours instead of rough guesstimates that will help you with bidding, budgeting and more.
When you hang up your shingle and open your business—or when you sustain one that was started before you—you create employment opportunities for people. Remember that when a worker (or someone else) tries to guilt trip you about tracking employees’ time.
It’s widely accepted that paper time cards are more “rough estimate” than fact.
Time tracking apps are like email, paper time cards are like snail mail.
Remember when email was bizarre and new, and seemed like nothing more than a novelty? Soon most people could be reached via email, besides your Aunt Grace and your old-school friend Mike, who only checked his once a month. And boy, was it easier than calling all the time or sending paper invites, or faxing (remember waiting for the beep and screech?). Finally, everyone has it and uses it—and we don’t know how we ever lived without it.
Labor tracking is headed the same way. With paper time cards, you find out a week or two weeks later who was there and who wasn’t (roughly). With a time clock app, you know today—now—who’s at your job sites. Depending on the app, you can also get lots of other real-time details, like cost codes, field notes, compliance sign-off, and more. It’s like coming out of a cave and into the light. It will grease the wheels of your business, helping you work smarter, and stay on top of the competition.
Workers will benefit.
No worker wants to see their paycheck shrink by even a few bucks. But, without such a monetary consequence, trust us: they’d be more than happy to give up the hassle of filling out timesheets. Why? Because it’s a pain trying to remember which day they left early to pick up their kid or were home sick with the flu. It’s a pain filling out a timesheet when you cannot remember, when you’re bone-tired. And it’s a pain for whoever has to pick them up, and whoever has to try to read them.
For workers who stay overtime often and tend to downplay it: now, they’ll get paid.
You’ll get accurate, un-cheated hours.
When you track with a time clock app, you need a PIN to clock in. If there’s another safeguard (i.e., the app snaps a picture of the user at clock-in), then it’s pretty easy to prevent buddy-punching. Finally, apps use a phone’s GPS capabilities to pinpoint where the worker clocked in. You’ll know they disable their GPS immediately if you’ stop receiving their location data.
You lay down the simple ground rules. They’d have to make an inordinate effort to break them (and risk losing their job). Technology does the rest.
So again, both those who say digital time tracking is an invasion of privacy and those who say cheating will still happen are making swiss cheese arguments, because they’re full of holes! You are not encroaching on privacy when you want to track anything to do with your business, and you will reduce hour-rounding (and overpaying on payroll) with digital time tracking.