If you’re looking for an efficient way to track employee hours, there are a number of good solutions. But which one is right for your business?
In this article, we discuss some of the best ways to track employee hours so you can choose an option that benefits your entire team.
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Why Track Employee Hours?
Businesses that pay their team members based on the total time worked each week must track employee hours.
If a business chooses not to do so, it won’t be able to ensure accurate payroll and will certainly run afoul of local, state, and federal labor laws (resulting in serious fines and legal issues).
Even if a business pays its team members a set salary, implementing some method to track employee hours can provide insight into:
- How individuals spend their time at work
- How to streamline the staffing process
- How to create a better schedule
- How to improve team productivity
The simple fact of knowing how your employees spend time while on the job can help you improve the way your team operates and keep your business on the road to success.
How To Track Employee Hours
1) Pen And Paper
For some businesses, pen and paper is still the most efficient way to track employee hours.
How can a process from before the Industrial Revolution still be a viable option more than 100 years later? For the simple reason that the pen-and-paper method doesn’t require any advanced technology to work.
All you need is a blank piece of paper and a writing utensil. Plus, training your team doesn’t distract everyone from more important matters.
The whole process takes only a few seconds and only requires three variables: employee name, date, and start time. You can train a new employee to do that in less time than it will actually take them to fill in the information.
The pen-and-paper method is also a great option if your business:
- Has only one or two employees
- Suffers from poor internet connectivity
- Can’t get good cell phone coverage
- Doesn’t need employee-facing computers to run smoothly
While pen and paper may not be the most secure, the most flexible, nor the most streamlined, method out there, it is still an effective way to track employee hours.
2) Stand-Alone Time Clock
Up until the last 15 years or so, the stand-alone time clock was the most common way to track employee hours in businesses large and small.
Designed to replace pen and paper — and be a bit faster and more secure — stand-alone time clocks now come in both analog and digital formats.
Either way, the process is the same:
- Team members create their own personalized time cards (usually by just writing their name at the top)
- They insert the time card into the machine (lining up the printhead with the in or out blank for the current day)
- The machine prints the respective time on the card
While this option is much easier for employees to use, it still comes with a lot of work for the managers or HR staff who use the numbers to run payroll.
They must collect the cards, transfer the data to another program (e.g., a spreadsheet or other accounting software), and then calculate all the necessary information.
With one or two employees, that may not take very long. But with five or more employees, cutting paychecks can take hours.
3) Computer Spreadsheet
Want a more modern way to track employee hours? Take the first steps into the digital age with a computer spreadsheet.
Computer spreadsheets eliminate some of the issues that plague the pen-and-paper method — indecipherable handwriting being the most egregious — but also introduce new issues to the process (e.g., forgetting to save the file after clocking in).
In terms of functionality and efficiency, most businesses in the 21st century use some form of computer spreadsheet to organize time worked for both exempt and nonexempt employees.
It doesn’t matter if those employees use the pen-and-paper method or a stand-alone time clock, their numbers usually end up on a spreadsheet.
Transferring the data from individual timesheets into a single spreadsheet makes it easier for management to calculate any number of variables, including:
Using a computer spreadsheet to track employee hours simplifies business recordkeeping by removing several of the early and labor-intensive steps in the process (i.e., employees record their time elsewhere and management transfers the numbers to a spreadsheet).
Tracking time with a computer spreadsheet is a step up from the pen-and-paper method, but it is still considered an unsecured and potentially inaccurate system.
It’s extremely easy for employees to make errors — and even engage in time theft — because the spreadsheet is, essentially, still a manual method of recording time.
4) Time Clock Software
If you’re looking for an efficient way to track employee hours, consider investing in time clock software. Doing so opens the door to even more beneficial features that promote productivity.
Software time clocks let employees clock their hours electronically (rather than manually). Once their numbers are in the system, the software automates the rest of the process and simplifies payroll dramatically.
Time clock software can be separated into two widely available choices:
- Baseline apps for minimal time tracking
- Task management software for complete organization and company efficiency
Baseline time clock software is a simple solution that helps eliminate human error. However, those programs lack a lot of the functionality that comes with more advanced task management software, like Inch.
A robust task management solution will help your business by streamlining tasks, allowing for easy communication, and simplifying the payroll process.
5) Track Employee Hours With A Mobile App
With the advent of cellular communication and mobile technology (e.g., laptops, smartphones, and tablets), tracking employee hours has never been easier.
This is especially useful for the modern mobile workforce that may not report to a central office every day.
With a mobile app like Inch, team members have access to a variety of time-tracking features, including clock-in/clock-out (to record total hours worked) and time-on-task.
Advanced apps even send notifications to remind employees to clock in and out or take breaks during their shifts.
The utility and flexibility that the mobile app provides make it one of the best and most effective ways to track employee hours.
6) GPS Clock-In
As efficient as mobile apps are for a variety of teams, they still require that the employee remember to start and stop the clock. This can be difficult for team members who move between multiple job sites in a single day.
GPS clock-in utilizes geofencing that allows you to set up boundaries around any number of locations you choose.
When a team member crosses into the boundary you’ve established, they’re prompted to start tracking their time. Similarly, when that team member crosses out of the boundary you’ve established, they’re prompted to stop tracking their time.
In some cases, you can even set the system to automatically start and stop work time based on proximity to the geofence.
7) Biometric Clock-In
Biometric time tracking uses unique body features like fingerprints, facial features, voice identification, and even gait recognition to verify employee identity.
Fingerprint and voice biometrics still require that employees interact with a time clock terminal of some sort, but facial and voice biometrics can be set up to automatically clock a person in or out based on where they are in the office.
8) URL Tracking
Another efficient and effective way to track employee hours is through uniform resource locator (URL) tracking.
URL tracking is especially useful if your employees perform the bulk of their work on a computer.
The algorithm can be used to find the total time worked as well as track time spent on work websites versus personal websites.
Track Employee Hours With Inch
The most efficient way to track employee hours is with Inch workforce management software. Inch is available anywhere, anytime, and on any device your team might use.
Such versatility and flexibility make tracking employee hours for in-office teams, distributed teams, remote teams, field service teams (and everything in-between) easier than ever before.
And that’s just the start of what Inch has to offer. You also get robust features, such as:
- Staff scheduling
- Task management
- Team communication
- Labor cost management
All of this together in one integrated suite of tools makes Inch the best solution to all your time tracking and workforce management needs.
For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit TryInch.com today.