Businesses are dealing with a growing epidemic of time theft. Many modern businesses face the problem of time stealing, particularly those that rely heavily on remote employees who work from their homes without supervision.
Time theft at work is a common and costly problem. Time theft occurs when an employee is paid for the time they did not work.
Time fraud by employees is an issue that continues to impact many businesses. Many employers do not find out that employees have been stealing time for years. Due to increased internet access and a mobile workforce, preventing time theft is becoming even more challenging.
Your organization can suffer huge losses due to time theft. The longer it continues, the more money it costs. A study by the American Society of Employers reported that US companies lose at least 20% of every dollar they earn due to time theft.
What is Time Theft?
Time theft is often referred to as “time clock fraud”, “time stealing”, or “timesheet fraud”. Time fraud occurs when an employee gets paid for work they did not perform.
Employee time theft can occur in many ways; that’s why it is very hard to measure. It may occur in the following ways: Long breaks, Late starts, Early finishes, Personal activities on the job, Rounding timesheets, and many more.
There are a lot of time thieves who are creative in how they avoid tasks, and with today’s mobile workforce, it is certainly becoming more prevalent. It has been difficult for employers to identify and stop time fraud in the workplace.
Time theft can harm productivity so badly. Your entire team suffers from decreased productivity. The fact that someone else makes the same amount of money while doing less work and producing fewer results demotivates hard-working employees.
Types of Time Theft
There are many types of time theft, but the basic concept is that a person claims wages without earning them.
Time theft occurs when employees overextend their breaks on a regular basis. It is one of the common forms of time theft. The employee could overextend their break if they leave early for their break, return late from their break, or leave early and return late from their break. Over time, it can cost a lot.
Excessive Amount of Personal Time
The most difficult type of time theft to catch is excessive personal time. At the office, some employees may spend too much time checking social media, using their personal phones, answering personal emails, or going outside the office. If this sort of behavior occurs in excess, we can conclude that this employee is engaging in time theft.
There are times when an employee must take personal calls. It’s okay in this case. But when it’s done consistently, it is time theft.
Taking too much time to talk with colleagues is also a form of this time theft. Having a friendly office environment is great, but it can become problematic if nobody gets their work done.
Buddy punching is when employees ask their coworkers to punch their clock whenever they run late or leave early. They can still be paid for their shift even if they are not present. As a result, the system believes the employee has worked a full day when in reality, they have not.
Internet Time Theft
Internet time theft is the most common type of time theft. This occurs when an employee uses the internet excessively for non-work-related purposes. They may use it for shopping online, browsing irrelevant topics, playing games, or spending large amounts of time on social media.
It happens when an employee clocks into work late or clocks out too early but rounds up or down their time to make it appear as if they stayed late at work.
Buddy punching is similar to proxy attendance. It happens when an employee does not show up for work, but a coworker signs their attendance sheet in place of them.
7 Ways to Prevent Time Theft
Install Time Tracking Software
One of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent time theft is to integrate time tracking software. Companies that do not check and verify how much time their remote employees have worked are at risk of time theft.
In order to stop employees from doing personal things during their work time, time tracking software is important.
You can see how many hours your team spends working with time tracking software. Using this report, you can see if teams or individuals are regularly exceeding their capacity.
These tools are harder to manipulate. You can remove some tasks from their to-do list before they burn out. This ensures that workers are only paid for what they earn.
In addition, they also help you to manage employees’ attendance and timesheets.
Use timeTracko to prevent time theft
timeTracko is a time tracking app suitable for remote teams. It tracks the total time employees spend at work and monitors their performance.
You can track your employees’ online activity and manage their attendance and timesheets through this app. Once your employees click on the clock in button, it takes a screenshot of their PC. Furthermore, it tracks all apps and websites the employee visits during their work hours and prevents them from using unproductive websites and apps.
The best part of timeTracko is that it tracks employee activity even if they are not connected to the internet.
Build Employee Morale
The best way to discourage time theft is to invest in employee morale. Employee morale is very important for businesses because it directly affects productivity.
Boost employee morale in the workplace. The more morale there is in the office, the more engaged and productive employees will be.
Employees who truly like their workplace feel motivated to perform more efficiently and effectively. High-morale employees are motivated, engaged, and effective. It is more likely that they will work more hours and be more effective at work. Your employees will also feel more loyal to your organization and are less likely to steal time.
Establish a Clear Time Theft Policy
Establish a time-theft policy for your company to prevent time theft. After creating your policy, communicate it clearly to your team. Talk about the purpose behind this new policy and make sure everyone understands it. Simply sending an email and asking for an agreement is not enough.
Open Lines of Communication with Employees
Every successful team relies on effective communication. Employers must know how to communicate effectively to run a successful business. You can reduce time theft by communicating all your expectations and rules to your employees. A trust between employee and employer is fostered through open communication.
There must be strict rules on what is and is not permitted during working hours. If an employer makes it clear and straightforward for employees what is expected of them and what can and cannot be done during working hours, they will understand their boundaries.
Furthermore, employees should feel comfortable speaking with management about their problems rather than hiding them behind time theft.
Hold Regular Meetings
It is an appropriate way of dealing with issues such as time theft without directly accusing anyone. Staff meetings keep employees in the loop and let them know their responsibilities.
All the team members benefit from regular meetings. Morale and motivation at work are increased when all employees are involved in discussions and decisions.
The best way to prevent time theft is to improve employee accountability in the workplace. Workplace accountability is very important to ensure high-quality work. Accountability in the workplace allows each member of your team to carry their own weight without relying on others.
Set targets, monitor goals, and let employees know they belong to the team. Accountability removes all distractions, unproductive behaviors, and time spent on them. Your employees will value their work when you hold them accountable for their actions. Accountability can boost team members’ confidence and skills when implemented correctly.
Employers should understand that everyone needs a break from time to time. When your team is allowed to take occasional breaks and rest, they will function more efficiently and effectively.
You don’t have to schedule these breaks, but provide a bit of flexibility to take a break if they are feeling overwhelmed.
Your employees will not misuse time if they realize they can take a moment away from their work tasks to regroup and refocus.
Time Theft is one of the biggest concerns for business owners. It is morally wrong and costs companies a great deal of money. Employee time fraud can be very costly for your business. That’s why the implementation of your own company policies is a necessary step in preventing time theft.
Identify the causes of time theft and take preventative measures against it. There are many ways to eliminate employee time theft from your company. Implement them as soon as possible.
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