How to Prevent Time Theft in the Workplace



Time theft in the workplace costs U.S. employers droves of dollars in lost costs annually and getting a handle on that time theft can save employers between two and five percent of their payroll costs. Don't simply allow these lost costs in your own organization. Take these five simple improvements to prevent time theft in the workplace. 

Implement Biometrics
While automated time systems are commonplace in workplaces, an innovative and surprisingly effective improvement on automated time is biometrics. A simple retinal scan or fingerprint can eliminate buddy punching and keep employees more accountable for their hours at work. With biometrics, organizations are no longer at the mercy of lost time cards or access badges. Instead, by relying on an identification system already on the employee's body, employers can save costs associated with lost key cards and prevent false time punches. Biometric timekeeping isn't some futuristic solution, it's accessible and cost-effective for businesses today. 

Talk about Time Theft
One of the biggest barriers to reining in time theft in the workplace is the lack of conversation between employees and management about it. While employees may realize that spending a half hour on Facebook or taking an extra fifteen minutes at lunch is frowned upon, they may not realize how devastating that time abuse is to the business. Managers should make a point to discuss time theft and its effects on their business. Remind employees during monthly meetings about company attendance policies and create an open dialogue about time abuse in the workplace. By keeping it in the forefront of employee's minds, employers can ensure that the message is clear. 


Keep Them Honest

Full access to the Internet is tempting for even busy managers. Employees who have full Internet access may start by looking for work-specific tasks but slowly wander to Facebook, Reddit, or Pinterest. Monitoring online activity and preventing access to commonly abused sites can prevent "cyber loafing" in the workplace. Work with IT or your cloud-based service provider to prevent online temptation. Block commonly abused sites and monitor daily Internet use to prevent time theft. 


Be Clear

Clarity is key when it comes to time theft in the workplace. Employees may understand that it is a problem but with no ramifications, they may not understand how it affects them. Employers need to develop a clear set of policies that address what constitutes time abuse and what punishments will result from consistent flouting of the policies. A clear policy on attendance and time theft is essential to curbing time abuse in the workplace. 


Use What You Have

If you're already using an automated time system, you may not be using it to it's full capability. Employees can use automated time systems for clocking out for breaks, lunches, and time off. By programming employee schedules into automated time systems, employers can easily flag when employees are consistently late or taking long breaks. Delve into what you currently have to find out what additional features can be implemented to curb employee time theft. 


Time theft in the workplace is a serious issue but thankfully, one that can be addressed with some information and additional checks and balances. By relying more fully on automated time systems and implementing biometric programs, employers can curb blatant time abuse. Opening up discussion with employees and creating a clear policy gives employees a stern message with ramifications for constant time theft.