Chronoblog
Category: Chronotek Tips
Converting Time – Hours to Minutes

Businesses go through this every month, every 15 days, every two weeks, every week,  and I have even heard from a few businesses that do this every day!  The task consumes a ton of time and you didn’t envision it in your dreams of small business ownership. Worse yet, your ability to enjoy and grow your business is diminished by this task.  It’s the task of processing payroll. I’m specifically referring to the head-pounding practice of using handwritten time cards and then converting time to calculate payroll hours.

Payroll companies require labor hours in a decimal format.  Converting time from hours and minutes to the decimal format needed for payroll, requires us to use a 60-base number, not the usual 100-based math we are used to.  It is not easy and can lead to costly errors. For example, 5 hours and 35 minutes is not 5.35 hours. Do the math.  5.35 hours is actually 5 hours and 21 minutes.  The calculation is .35 x 60 = 21 minutes or 21/60= .35. I talked to a business owner recently who had an employee complain about her hours. She thought she was shorted. She was right. The owner made the mistake I just outlined. She took the example of 5 hours and 35 minutes and submitted 5.35 hours to her payroll company;  for every shift for every day for 2 weeks.

A common practice for admins who calculate hand written time cards is to round hours (not recommended), so that converting time  is easier.  Know your state laws.  This may not be legal.

To show this in the terms we know let’s look at the basic time conversion (see the last row in the chart):

  • 15 minutes is a quarter of an hour, .25
  • 30 minutes is a half of an hour, .50
  • 45 minutes is three quarters of an hour, .75
  • 60 minutes is one hour, 1.00

 

Converting Time Chart

Feel free to print the chart as a reference when you are faced with the challenge of converting time manually.  If you are a small business owner who must manually convert time for payroll hours calculations you might consider letting a timekeeping system do that for you.  Chronotek can also calculate Overtime, even for semi-monthly and the special California Overtime rules.  When a system does the work it will not matter how often you do payroll and the risk of error is greatly reduced.  Free up your time. Eliminate your payroll headache and revitalize the small business dream you once had. We believe that you will also save money when you stop using handwritten timesheets.

Stay tuned and stay in touch by following us on Facebook.

3 Mistakes That Will Stunt Your Business Growth

business growthColin Powell said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” We talk to a lot of small business owners. We learn about their business needs, how they best use our system and the steps they took to build a successful business. They also share their missteps along the way. Today we want to share the 3 mistakes that will stunt your business growth that we’ve learned from our customers.

  1. Treating your business like a job. You started your business with a dream. Now it may seem more like another job. You get up each day and put out fires and fail to take action on the things that make the dream happen – things like new customer acquisition, market studies, team building, innovative labor management strategies, b2b networking, etc. We recently chatted with a customer who has grown his business in one year from 0 to 25 employees, and acquired 30 customers. How did he do it? He attends a lot of business networking events and meets other business owners. He said if he has a prospect he wants to meet, he can always make a connection with someone who knows someone, who knows the prospect, that can arrange a meeting. Take time every day to work “on” your business instead of always working “in” your business. Get your dream back.
  2. Forgetting who’s the boss. It’s not easy to manage employees, especially remote employees. You want to trust them. You may want them to like you. Most importantly, you want them to be on the jobsite on time and working hard to serve your customer. Unfortunately, that’s not always how it is. We have talked about “Trust, but verify” before. Remote employees need an accountability system to insure that your work is getting done, and you are paying accurate time. Some employees will buck any type of accountability and make your implementation efforts very difficult. The best small business owners are fair and firm. They lay out clear expectations that are fair, and have no problems being firm when employees fail to meet them. It’s a big key to small business growth.
  3. Having a “know-it-all’ versus a “learn-it-all” attitude. This is a play from Microsoft’s playbook over the last 4 years under new leadership. Microsoft was headed towards irrelevance as new competition like Apple, Google and Amazon took the lead. Their new CEO, Satya Nadella, turned things around with his “learn-it-all” philosophy. He says that companies need to keep an open mind, and that “learn-it-all” companies will always beat the “know-it-alls” in the end. We have customers tell us the same thing. They constantly read business books, trade journals, watch videos to learn new solutions to old problems, and gather feedback from their customers. They never stop being a student. It’s dangerous when your mind is closed and you don’t think you can learn anything more, even if it’s from your competitors.

Perhaps you have other ideas that can stunt your business growth. Or maybe you have a great tip or two that have helped your business grow. We’d love to hear about your experiences. Email us at Support@Chronotek.net.

Stay tuned and stay in touch by following us on Facebook.

5 Ideas To Help Manage Your Remote, Hourly Employees

5-ideas-to-help-manage-your-remote-hourly-employeesThe buzz of the New Year has come and gone and the melody of Auld Lang Syne is a faint whisper in our memories.  Before we get too far into the year, and maybe while you still have your resolutions posted on the mirror, we wanted to recommend 5 ChronoTips to make your life simpler.  These are ideas that will give your business a head start and a dynamic edge going into the New Year.

  1. Time cards always have the right job, and you know employees are on site when they clock-in from a Linked phone from the jobsite.  It’s quick and easy to associate the site phone to the job.  This is an absolute must-do if your employees are using site landline phones.
  2. Make employees think twice about buddy punching and enable Random Voice Verification.
  3. Use our new mobile app to clock in and out.  If employees use cell phones to clock-in and they have smartphones, our mobile app is a better solution. GPS tracks, messaging, time cards and schedules give you and your employees increased communication abilities and access to personal schedules and worked hours.
  4. Empower your supervisors with the new mobile app. Smartphones are really smart. Our app can show your supervisor who is clocked in, where, what time, if employees clocked in/out at the job or not, no-shows and late employees.  Supervisors can also message employees and add employees and jobs from the field.
  5. Stop no-shows, keep your customers happy, and get a good night’s sleep by using our scheduling and late alert tools. Get notified by text or email when you’re employees don’t clock into scheduled jobs.

Our telephony and app-based timekeeping system is a comprehensive employee management tool that can do more than just capture accurate time of your employees. Be sure to fully maximize its functionality to minimize the struggles that come with managing remote, hourly employees.  Please let us know if we can help you implement these suggestions.

Stay tuned and stay in touch by subscribing to this blog or follow us on Facebook.

The ‘Magnificent 7’ of 2016

happy-new-yearWe want to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year and thank you for making 2016 another blessed year for Chronotek. Many great small businesses across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico helped us celebrate our 20th year as their chosen timekeeping and remote employee management system. As we look forward to 2017, we wanted to reflect on 2016 and scour our blog posts for the 7 best and most helpful articles of the year.

As you enjoy some downtime this coming holiday weekend, use the ideas presented in the posts to plan and set your company goals for 2017. Some of the selections are part of a series. We encourage you to read the entire series if you have time between naps and football games.

The Magnificent 7 list is in chronological order:

  1. In the Building A Business series we shared our experiences in building a successful, long term company and how our lessons learned can help you. The post, Focus On Service Done Well, is well, self-explanatory.
  2. You should probably just read the entire series, because we think another article from Building A Business makes the magnificent 7 list. The Golden Rule details how the most valuable asset of a service-based business is its employees and suggests ways that a company can reward and keep its best workers.
  3. All small businesses love a tax deduction. In Tax Deduction or Tax Expense we illustrate how our automated timekeeping system is an investment that pays for itself.
  4. We released a new mobile app this year and yes, we wrote a series about it. If you only read one post in the series, make it this one on how your Employees Love It!
  5. But we can’t omit your supervisors and how the new mobile app is Making SUPERvisors!
  6. GPS technology is a great tool if you have off-site hourly employees. But it’s just one piece of a puzzle. In GPS Technology Is More Than A Game we explain how to best use our GPS tools for your remote staff.
  7. Our new Weekly Labor Cost Report was released to help you identify and Plug Your Labor Leaks. Labor is the most expensive capital layout for a service business and your business will drown if these costs aren’t monitored.

We pray that your 2017 is great and we are blessed to be a part of it. Stay tuned and stay in touch by following us on Facebook.

Problem Solving: Accurate Time Tracking

blog-accurate-timekeepingWhat time today did your remote, off-site hourly employees arrive at work?  If you use handwritten timesheets, that question uncovers a problem, because you don’t truly know the answer.  We strive to be a small business resource to help solve employee management problems. In this new series, Problem Solving, we will address common issues that companies face when managing remote, hourly workers.

Our first post today will deal with the most basic, fundamental problem that small businesses encounter when they hire hourly, remote employees – and that’s accurate time tracking. Workers out in the field, with little or no supervision can be problematic. What time did they arrive to the job site? What time did they leave? How long did it take them to get to the next location? If using handwritten timesheets, you are putting 100% trust in your employees to accurately record their time and we’ve written before that you could be 30% off in your judgment. This is a potentially huge payroll problem.

An easy and efficient way to solve this problem is with an automated timekeeping system.  Employees simply use a smartphone app, or make a quick toll-free call to clock in and out, and our system records the times…accurately!  Time cards are created on-line and are accessible with a click.  No more driving around to collect handwritten timesheets or waiting on employees to fax or email them in.  Process the hours for an accurate payroll in minutes.

With this one essential problem solved, you will have more time and more money to leverage into greater opportunities for your business. Or take a vacation.

Stay tuned in to our Problem Solving series by following us on Facebook or Twitter.

Celebrating with our NEW! Chronotek App

Launch the fireworks! Toss the confetti! Start the music! We’re still celebrating our 20th birthday and we’re doing it in Chronotek style with something great for customers of our telephone timekeeping system. It’s better than any door prize or party favor; it’s the release of our brand new mobile app!

We’ve been beta testing the new app with a few of our customers and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

Reinhard Grab, owner of ServiceMaster Advanced Cleaning, LLC in Summerville, South Carolina said, “I love the simplicity of the new Chronotek mobile app. The simplicity is like art. It’s beautiful and intuitive and has uncluttered functionality. It’s so easy for employees to use.”

Bruce Jeffers, owner of Classic City Solutions in Winterville, Georgia had this to say, “The new app works great. It gives me access to valuable data that my managers and I need out in the field.  I love Chronotek!” We love you, too, Bruce!

Manuel Silva, Operations Supervisor with nanoCLEAN Decontamination Services, LLC in Quincy, Massachusetts said, “The new Chronotek app gives me a lot of great information. The Workforce Stats page tells me who is and isn’t clocked in, who was late, and who wasn’t at the job when they clocked in. I can edit time cards from the new app. It’s very helpful.”

MTC shot_237x97

We think that you will agree. The power, functionality and usability of the new Chronotek app reinvents the reality of mobile workforce management.

 

  • Would you like to send a group text message to all of your employees? Done.
  • View one quick and easy stats page showing who’s late, who’s a no-show, who wasn’t at the job when they clocked in/out and who denied the request for GPS tracking? It’s all there!
  • Add jobs and employees from the app? Absolutely!
  • Edit time cards while the doctor makes you wait for your appointment? You bet!
  • See a list of your employees’ actual hours worked and their future schedules for the week? That’s pretty handy for preventing overtime before it happens and the new app has it!

We want to tell you so much more about it. Our next post will go into deeper detail on how your employees can use the app. Then subsequent posts will highlight the supervisor and administrator functions. Be first to the party. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with all new posts.

But for now, go to your app store and download the new app. Download it free from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

 

 

New OT Rule Makes Automated Timekeeping a Necessity

The federal government has given small business owners another reason to closely monitor and track their employees’ hours.  A new rule in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) beginning December 1, 2016 will raise the salary threshold of workers for which overtime must be paid.

In 2004 the Department of Labor 1required businesses to pay salaried workers overtime if they made less than $23,660 a year, making those workers non-exempt from overtime pay.   The new rule will almost double this threshold to $47,476, resulting in more salaried workers eligible for overtime pay.  Employees with salaries less than the new rate of $46,476 must be paid time-and-a-half overtime for every hour over 40.

An article in USA Today outlines ways companies might respond to this change.  They could continue to pay the same salary and start paying OT.  Or they could raise employees’ salaries to $47,476 to avoid OT.  Another strategy is that employees could be instructed not to work overtime, and part-time workers brought in to cover the workload.  Other businesses may cut the base pay of workers and pay OT in an attempt to keep paychecks at the same level.  Finally, salaried workers could be converted to hourly.

However you slice it, small businesses will need to accurately and efficiently monitor and track the hours of their employees.  We’ve explained before why handwritten time cards are a bad idea.  If your small business isn’t using an automated system to gather employee hours, now is the time to start.  For over 20 years we have provided business with a proven solution to control labor hours with our app-based and telephone timekeeping system.

Click here to start your free 30 day trial and get ahead of the December 1 deadline.

 

Tax Expense or Tax Deduction

You might remember from a previous blog post we analyzed the financial ramifications of a daily Red Bull habit, and the even more monetarily crippling practice of using handwritten time cards to track the time of remote employees.  In that post we made an assumption that your 15 employees are twice as honest as the national average and you lose only $2600 a year in inaccurate time card reporting.  With tax season still lingering on our minds let’s evaluate the potential tax ramifications with that situation.

Today we want to use the previous post as a basis to explore the difference in a tax expense and a tax deduction.  In that example, the $2600 that you spent in unearned wages also comes with payroll tax expenses.  According to this MIT article, you must add to the $2600 payroll expenses for Social Security/FICA (currently 6.2% on the first $90,000 of salary), Unemployment/FUTA (6.2% on $7,000 of salary) and Medicare (1.45% with no salary cap).  Workers compensation for the service industry could be an extra 5-8%.  So, the real total number is more like $3000.  These are unearned, undeserved, wasted dollars.  There’s a plethora of other consequences of time theft: poor work quality, a culture of dishonesty, low company moral, etc.  But we are just focusing on the dollars today.  Wouldn’t it be more fun to pop the top off a convertible, hit a long country road, load up Dire Straits “Money for Nothing”, and toss $100 bills into the wind?  At least you’re choosing to blow the money.

But in a sense you are inadvertently choosing to blow money too if you’re still using handwritten time cards.

Now let’s look at the tax deduction side of this.  Invest in our telephone and app-based timekeeping solution to get accurate, automated time cards that will eliminate the $3000 waste.  In our previous post we estimated the cost for your 15 employees on our system to be $2100 annually.  That’s $900 back in your pocket.  But it’s really more, because of the business tax deduction you are allowed for the expense.  This puts another $500 back on your side of the ledger which brings the real cost of our system to approximately $1600 annually.

Invest $1600, save $3000.

It is like you just got paid to use our system!  You’re up $1400 in tax-free money. That’s an 87.5% return on your investment.  Much better than your CD.

Now you can reinvest this $1400 in another tax deduction, maybe Red Bulls for your employees in the break room.  Using an automated timekeeping system makes great business sense, and investing in your employees is always a fantastic idea too.  Tax season can be better for everyone!

 

#4 Enjoy Your Spring – No More Handwritten Timesheets

You steal a glance out your window and notice that it’s a beautiful Spring evening.  A walk and fresh air would be great, but there’s no way. Your desk is littered with handwritten timesheets. And tomorrow is pay day!  Do you even have Donnie’s timesheet?

In this last installment of Spring Cleaning For Small Businesses we’re going to show you how to break free of your office so that you can get outside to smell the roses.

We’ve talked before about the need to automate and centralize the time collection process of your remote employees.  Chronotek is the answer!  So why not go all in and make payroll a squeaky clean and easy process?

Chronotek has a Payroll Snapshot report that accurately calculates overtime for any pay period including the pesky semi-monthly. This report also has California OT settings! Imagine your life not having to do those manual OT calculations any longer. Go ahead, take a minute.

Now for even better news. This report integrates seamlessly with desktop QuickBooks! Just click and in less than the time it takes to steep a cup of green tea your online time cards will be in QuickBooks ready for you to cut checks.

Spring cleaning feels good, doesn’t it?  You know where your employees are now; time cards are nice and tidy with Shift Lock, and payroll day can be a breeze instead of a burden with our Payroll Snapshot and QuickBooks Integration.

Reclaim your life and enjoy your Spring this year! It’s amazing out there!

 

#1 Spring Cleaning for Small Businesses

The arrival of Spring is such a welcome sight. The world bursts with colors as trees regenerate, flowers bloom, and the green landscape rolls in. We open the windows to let in the crisp breeze and we fire up the grills in the evening with the extra daylight. And for many people, it means Spring cleaning.

Businesses need to do Spring cleaning as well and evaluate policies, procedures and strategies. The very practices that got businesses to where they are now may not get them to the next level in their growth. Or even worse, current activities could be tarnishing the bottom line.

For companies with a remote workforce, our telephone timekeeping system  is a breath of fresh air. In our new series, Spring Cleaning for Small Businesses, we will introduce strategies to help you track, manage and report on your off-site employees. These ideas will clear the clutter in your daily remote workforce management practices as well as save you time and money. Some of the topics that we will discuss are: how to keep job budgets on track; save time editing time cards; prevent time theft by insuring that employees are on the job; and simplifying the payroll process.

Keep posted on this new series by subscribing to this blog or by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Building a Business: Change Happens

In this last installment of our Building a Business series we’re going to talk about change. Change is inevitable. In our second post of this series, Focus on Service Done Well, we discussed staying committed to your core purpose as a small business. This laser-like focus doesn’t imply that your business won’t undergo or implement changes.  Instead, these changes should serve and bolster your core purpose.  Your service and product line will evolve.  Technologies emerge.  Sony didn’t stick with the Betamax.  And some people probably complained.

That’s the topic of this post.  Well-planned and strategic change is often vital to your business’s survival and success.  And not all of your customers will be pleased.  But just as you can’t allow customers to force you off track into services you don’t need, you can’t let these same customers prevent you from making necessary changes.  And you can’t roll out a change and yet still continue with the old way, thus duplicating your efforts, just to pacify  these customers.  You must cut, allow the bleeding and subsequent healing.  This healing comes as you educate your customers on the benefits of the new way and how to best handle this change.  Document, inform,  offer webinars, do face to face training if necessary and receive their feedback.

When you implement a change it will be the byproduct of much thought, research and strategic planning, and a decision that it was essential to your core focus.  And ultimately, the change would be beneficial to your customers.  But the reality is that most changes will be met with some critical reception.  Expect it, and move forward with confidence tempered with empathy for your clients.

Our core purpose has always been to help our clients succeed by providing a proven way to control labor costs and increase their customer satisfaction.  While our features and tools to accomplish this purpose may change and evolve over time, our core purpose does not.

We know this is the end of the first quarter, however, it is never too late.  We wish you the best year ever and hope that our Building a Business series has been helpful. We welcome you to comment and like us on Facebook.  Also, please give us a call and let us help you build a great business.

 

Building a Business: The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule states, “do to others what you would have them do to you.” Notice that it doesn’t say “don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you.” Therefore, “do to others” implies an active engagement of treating others in the way that you want to be treated.  And most people want to be treated well.

How does the Golden Rule relate to our blog series on how to build a business?

As a service business with a remote hourly workforce, your employees are the building blocks of your business and it’s vital to lay a solid foundation. You want employees who work hard, are loyal and honest, dependable, committed and reliable. You want good employees who will stay with you for a long time. The alternative, a high turnover rate, can be crippling. We have had janitorial business owners tell us that 200% employee turnover annually is a conservative number!  That’s a vicious and constant churning of time and dollars to recruit and train new staff, pay overtime to existing staff to compensate and suffer through lower productivity.

It’s much more efficient and profitable to retain your good employees and limit the turnover. We have learned that this can be achieved by following the Golden Rule. Treat employees well to give them a reason to want to stay.

The best way to create and cultivate an efficient and long term workforce is to lead with the same type of qualities that you’re wanting from your workforce.  Build loyalty by being loyal. Develop trust by being trustworthy. Gain generosity by being generous.

How does this look from an employer’s perspective?

Chronotek has a “perk” system to reward and honor employees. These perks are designed to make each staff member feel special and valued, like a VIP.  Many are gifts, while others are special privileges.  A culture of trust and loyalty has developed.  An atmosphere of high expectations and high rewards has emerged.  And these high expectations don’t just come down from the top. It’s intrinsic amongst the staff.  Everyone feels an ownership stake. As a result, the turnover is minimal to zero.

The Chronotek model may be unique, but the basic principle of the Golden Rule can be applied in any business. Treat employees well. Reward their good behaviors. Create a culture that they can’t find anywhere else. Our telephone timekeeping system can help set apart your employees that should be rewarded. Do you have employees that have never been late to a scheduled job? Give them a $5 Starbucks gift card occasionally. What about employees who are consistently on target with job budgets? Give them a paid day or half a day off once a quarter. These employees will learn that you value them and word will get out to other employees that you are an employer who can be trusted to notice and appreciate hard work.

You may think that the Golden Rule strategy is too expensive to implement, but it’s probably more profitable than constantly dealing with a 200% turnover. And it would certainly simplify your management processes to have a more stable and consistent workforce. What is peace of mind worth?  It is not too late to try it in 2016.  You may enjoy it, and your employees will think you are golden.

 

Building a Business: Choosing Vendor Partners

A small business depends upon successful relationships with quality vendor partners.  How a small business chooses its vendors is of upmost importance.  It’s like drafting a player for your team.

Seek out the most reputable vendor partners who provide the optimal solution and offer the best possible customer support.  If feasible, test-drive the services on a free trial period.  Determine that the company is committed to its product and service, as well as to your success.   Your company is as great as its weakest link.  Your quarterback may be awesome, but if he has a horrible offensive left tackle, your team (and QB) will suffer. Your standards for vendor selection should be as high as your internal standards.  Choose the best.   If there’s a tie between 2 or 3 great candidates, let price be your tie breaker.  Then, and only then, should price come into consideration.

Many companies will make the mistake of using price as the primary determining factor in selecting a vendor partner.  While price is important, it’s not paramount. The cheapest uniform supplier may provide apparel that’s dirty and late, and sales people may be inaccessible when you need to contact them. The most expensive vendor might wrap their deliveries in perfume scented paper and include chocolate mints, but do you really care and want to pay for it?  We have learned in 20 years of operating a telephone timekeeping company for small businesses with remote employees that price isn’t the highest determining factor in selecting a vendor partner. The cheapest vendor might prove to be your weakest link. We have often switched to a more expensive vendor because of better service.

Relationships should be built with your vendor partners. Remember that if you chose correctly, this vendor is on your team and committed to your success. You and your vendor will work together. It’s a partnership. It should not be an adversarial relationship.  When issues arise (and they will), you need the confidence that your vendor is working to help solve the problems as if it’s their very own business.

Ultimately, we consider ourselves as vendor partners with our clients.  Our part is to capture accurate time of the hard-to-manage off-site employees.  We have written before that we are not your vendor, but your vendor partner.  We want to be your partner, your teammate, your helpmate.  As a small business owner seek out professional relationships with businesses who feel the same. Together with your vendor partners you will build your business by providing a strong service to help your clients with their needs.

And you both win together.

 

Building a Business: Focus on Service Done Well

I saw this situation unfold just the other day in my own backyard.  Two brothers were playing ball next door and the older, more experienced one wound up and threw a perfect pitch to his father.  I knew that he was the star pitcher on his travel team. Then the younger brother says ‘me too’ and tosses a pitch that sailed over his father’s head. The younger brother was disappointed, yet the father didn’t look surprised. However, the world seems filled with companies with this  ‘me too’ syndrome; companies that think that they can do just as well as the experts in the field and then seem surprised when they fail.  Truly successful businesses fill a need with a service they do with excellence.

Like with any expertise, it takes knowledge, hard work, and extreme dedication to be the best.  Chronotek is considered an expert in timekeeping and remote employee management.  There are other companies that have their expertise in HR, payroll, and staffing.  As a consumer I would expect their service to be the best.  A phenomenon has been happening though.  Companies are trying to diversify into other areas outside of their core focus, which dilutes the quality of the product or service.  According to Peter Bloom, writing in the Washington Business Journal, diversification can be deadly.  He says, “… a company that diversifies without appropriate strategic considerations risks duplicating its systems, increasing overhead cost, distracting company leadership, and potentially even competing against itself.”

Sometimes companies feel pressured to diversify because their clients demand certain services that the company doesn’t offer.  Fear of losing one or two clients will throw the company off track.  Or a company may have venture capitalist partners pushing for higher and higher profits, and the company has to scramble for more revenue streams.  But it’s imperative for the small business owner, the expert in the field, to identify what “upgrades” fit their business model and which ones do not.  We have heard from many of our clients who first tried “me too” companies that offered multiple services and timekeeping was an “add-on”.  You know how that ended, because now they are our clients.  Other customers have left us for these type of companies only to eventually come back to us.

A small business needs to continually evaluate its mission or core purpose.  S. Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-Fil-A, strategically chose his company name to constantly remind him of his core business-chicken sandwiches made from the best part of the chicken, the breast fillet. He also modified the spelling of fillet to end in a capital “A” to symbolize, Grade A, the best.1     The Chick-Fil-A sandwich has been the cornerstone of his business for over 50 years and the menu has expanded very little in that time.

Why did you start?  Who are you trying to help?  Does diversifying and offering more services and products enhance or detract from your core purpose?   The greatest way to preserve your profits is to stick to what you do best in order to serve your customers with excellence. Purpose first, and profits will follow.  Or stated another way, keep focused on your vision and the provision will come.

Our core purpose has always been to help our clients succeed by providing a proven way to control labor costs and increase their customer satisfaction.  Diversification is ONLY an option if it strengthens this core and serves our clients better.

Your clients and venture capitalists may demand more services, but they wouldn’t be happy if chasing after these add-ons had a negative impact on the quality of your existing services and products.  This type of chase could damage your credibility. You know your business best. Don’t be pressured.  Build a client base that understands and appreciates your pursuit of excellence and commitment to the core purpose that serves them best.  Let the ‘me-too’ companies be the jack of all trades and master of none.

You can be the All-Star.

  1. How Did You Do It, Truett? S. Truett. Cathy

 

Building a Business: Great Companies Help People

Many businesses enter the new year with goals to improve their practices and bolster their bottom line. So how is it going?  In this new series, we want to help by sharing a few things we’ve learned in our 20 years of growing a successful telephone timekeeping business.

We believe that great companies are those created out of a desire to help people.  They may not have planned to be companies at all.  They started because someone saw a need and had an idea to fill the need to help people.  We agree with Zig Ziglar who said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” Apple wanted to build a computer simple enough for everyone to use. Henry Ford wanted to build a better and cheaper car for the multitude.   And more than likely your company got started for a similar reason.

Chronotek was started 20 years ago because our owner wanted to help his entrepreneurial family manage remote employees across the many industries they served.  They struggled every pay period with employees who submitted falsely reported, inaccurate timecards and didn’t show to scheduled jobs.  The struggles are as real today as they were then for small businesses with a remote workforce.  He put his computer education and business experience to work and designed one of, if not the first, web-based timekeeping solutions to help his family and other small businesses.

Today Chronotek is an efficiently run, privately-owned and debt-free company.   We are committed to help our customer’s succeed by providing accurate timekeeping and the innovative tools to manage a remote workforce.  It is our privilege to serve thousands of companies in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico across all industries-janitorial, house cleaning, construction, landscaping, painting, security guards, pool companies, home health, greenhouses, etc.

You might have a similar story, yet are fighting for a breakthrough. We believe that we have gained some insight on how to build a great company that people can trust to help them, and in this next blog series we want to share these thoughts.  We take great effort not to get off track, and we are fortunate to still have the focus of helping people.   So stay tuned as we share from 20 years of doing the hard work.  Hopefully our experiences will help you build a great company.

 

Reference for Cell Email Addresses (Email to SMS): Setup for Text Alert Destinations

Many of our clients set up their Chronotek accounts to get alerts when employees clock in or out, or when they are late to a scheduled job.  We send these alerts from our email address to theirs, and can send them as text messages as well.  Sending messages from email to text requires a cell ‘email address’.   The technical term for text delivery this way is “email to SMS”.  SMS stands for “Short Message Service”.

We put together a quick reference for setting up new text alert destinations for your managers and supervisors.  Outside of our system, these formats work in your personal email ‘To:’ section to send email messages to someone as text messages.  It can be easier, if you are already sitting at your computer, to access your email account and pop off a quick text message, rather than having to pick up your phone to type out a message. To send an email to someone as a text message,  the proper format for your friend’s cell phone provider must be used.

Our phone and app-based timekeeping solution can send these alerts to multiple destinations.  Separate with a semicolon (;) just like in sending through email.

Some of our most popular providers’ formats:

Cell Provider Cell Email Address
AT&T XXXYYYZZZZ@txt.att.net
Boost XXXYYYZZZZ@myboostmobile.com
Cricket XXXYYYZZZZ@sms.mycricket.com
Metro PCS XXXYYYZZZZ@mymetropcs.com
Sprint XXXYYYZZZZ@messaging.sprintpcs.com
T Mobile XXXYYYZZZZ@tmomail.net
Verizon XXXYYYZZZZ@vtext.com
Virgin Mobile XXXYYYZZZZ@vmobl.com

 

 

The expanded list of Text Messaging Email Addresses:

Cell Provider Cell Email Address
ACS   Alaska XXXYYYZZZZ@msg.acsalaska.com
Alltel XXXYYYZZZZ@message.alltel.com
Ameritech XXXYYYZZZZ@paging.acswireless.com
Arch XXXYYYZZZZ@archwireless.net
AT&T XXXYYYZZZZ@txt.att.net
Bell   Canada XXXYYYZZZZ@txt.bellmobility.ca
Blue   Sky Frog XXXYYYZZZZ@blueskyfrog.com
Boost XXXYYYZZZZ@myboostmobile.com
Carolina   West XXXYYYZZZZ@cwwsms.com
Cellular   One XXXYYYZZZZ@mobile.celloneusa.com
Cellular   South XXXYYYZZZZ@csouth1.com
Cincinnati   Bell XXXYYYZZZZ@gocbw.com
Cingular same as AT&T
Claro XXXYYYZZZZ@clarotorpedo.com.br
Comviq XXXYYYZZZZ@sms.comviq.se
Cricket XXXYYYZZZZ@sms.mycricket.com
Edge XXXYYYZZZZ@sms.edgewireless.com
Einstein   PCS XXXYYYZZZZ@einsteinsms.com
Fido XXXYYYZZZZ@fido.ca
Immix XXXYYYZZZZ@immixmail.com
Metro   PCS XXXYYYZZZZ@mymetropcs.com
Mobile   One XXXYYYZZZZ@m1.com.sg
Ntelos XXXYYYZZZZ@pcs.ntelos.com
Optus XXXYYYZZZZ@optusmobile.com.au
Qwest XXXYYYZZZZ@qwestmp.com
Rogers XXXYYYZZZZ@pcs.rogers.com
Sasktel XXXYYYZZZZ@pcs.sasktelmobility.com
Smart XXXYYYZZZZ@mysmart.mymobile.ph
Southern   Linc  XXXYYYZZZZ@page.southernlinc.com
Sprint XXXYYYZZZZ@messaging.sprintpcs.com
SunCom XXXYYYZZZZ@tms.suncom.com
Sure   West XXXYYYZZZZ@mobile.surewest.com
T   Mobile XXXYYYZZZZ@tmomail.net
TBayTel XXXYYYZZZZ@tbayteltxt.net
Telenor XXXYYYZZZZ@mobilpost.no
Telus XXXYYYZZZZ@msg.telus.com
Tim XXXYYYZZZZ@timnet.com
Unicel XXXYYYZZZZ@utext.com
V   Mobile CA XXXYYYZZZZ@vmobile.ca
Verizon XXXYYYZZZZ@vtext.com
Virgin   Mobile XXXYYYZZZZ@vmobl.com
Vodafone XXXYYYZZZZ@vodafone.net
WellCom XXXYYYZZZZ@sms.welcome2well.com

***Where XXXYYYZZZZ is enter the 10 digit phone number without spaces or punctuation.

If this information is helpful, feel free to bookmark this blog page for future reference.

 

 

Managing Remote Employees: Automated Job Budgets

Spreadsheets are powerful, but lifeless. A spreadsheet can have fabulous pivot tables, line charts and colored graphs to provide vital information as long as human hands are entering the data…and keep entering the data.  The information spreadsheets provide to assist with business decisions is only good if the data is current.  For a small business owner with hourly employees who use handwritten timesheets, maintaining job budgets on a spreadsheet is nearly impossible.  Yet it’s worse for a company whose only mode for tracking success or failure is whether or not he has any money left in the bank at the end of the month.   There’s a better way to monitor hours worked at jobs than tedious drudgery or sheer luck.

In this third installment of our Managing Remote Employees series we would like to suggest the best business practice on tracking job budgets.  It begins with using a phone and app-based timekeeping solution that automates the employee time collection process.  Employees need a simple way to clock in and out whether it is with a phone call or by using the app.  With either method, automated time cards are created by the system to bring life to the data evaluation process.

With our timekeeping solution, the best method to track actual job site hours worked is with our Budget Manager.  It provides a small business owner with vital up-to-date information on worked hours compared to the budget numbers.  Of course, too many employee hours could indicate several things: the job was underestimated, employees are padding their time cards, or they are working too slow.  But too few hours might mean that employees aren’t spending enough time on the job and the quality is poor.  Either way, a small business owner needs help.  She needs current information to make important management decisions.

For each job, create a budget for the contracted hours.  Then without any more effort, our timekeeping solution will crunch the numbers and quickly report actual hours versus budgeted hours for each job.  Create  job budgets for the entire year and then monitor the hours by week or month.  Know in dynamic, digital color-coded clarity via the Budget Dashboard if your budgets are on track, where they are headed, and if necessary make on-the-spot future scheduling changes to bring the budget back in line.  No need to wait to enter the daily timecard data into a spreadsheet to know how your jobs are doing.  The Budget Manager information is automated, live and predictive.

Breathe life into your management processes. Each morning instead of stretching your hands to do a morning full of data entry, simply log into your dynamic Budget Dashboard and welcome the new day with the current information you need to make the decisions when they need to be made. That is the power of using budgets in an automated phone and app-based timekeeping system.

Please check back with us for our next installment of Managing Remote Employees when we give smart tips on how to prepare for payroll.  Or make it easy on yourself to stay updated by subscribing to this blog and following us on Twitter.

 

Managing Remote Employees: Location, Location, Location

Location, location, location resounds in our second installment on Managing Remote Employees.   Yes, you can have confidence that your employees are really on the job site when they say they are.   Location tracking is one of the many benefits that a telephone and app-based timekeeping solution like ours can give you that handwritten time sheets cannot.  Johnny may write on his time sheet that he cleaned the building from 5-9pm, but he may have been in Bob’s Bar and Burgers an hour away by 6:30.

We work hard to provide the best tech-management tools to assist businesses with remote employees.  So how can you use technology to create automated time cards and be sure that employees are really on the job site?  We offer 6 smart tips:

  1.  Require employees to use job site landline phones to clock in and out if possible. The caller IDs of the phones used to clock in and out are noted on each automated timecard.   Question the employee about any phone number reported that’s not a job site phone.  You can also prevent the use of any phone number that appears on your account that you don’t want employees to use.
  2. Link job site phones to the jobs to ensure timecards are created from calls on site.   This essentially ties a phone number to a job preventing employees from clocking in with another phone.
  3. Use our smartphone app if landline phones are not available. The app is a great way for employees to clock in and out and it provides a very accurate GPS location track at the time of the punch in and out.
  4. Employees who don’t have smartphones can opt-in to GPS tracking that we get from their cell carriers.  We can currently get location tracks from the following carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, US Cellular, Boost, (Canada) TELUS.
  5. Some customers want to retain the ability to use our voice features, such as Random Voice Verification and our Integrated Voice Messaging system which are not available on the mobile app, but they want the benefit of the accurate GPS tracks provided by our app.   So we have recently released our Dialer App.  For a description of the Dialer App, click here for the Google Play Store and here for iTunes. The Dialer App is essentially a speed dial into the normal toll free that your employees already use.  Once dialed in, your employee will still enter his employee code and job code, but the location track comes from the smartphone itself, and not the cell carrier.  The result is a very accurate location track. (Normal call charges apply).
  6. Enter addresses for all of your job sites and our Clock Locations screen reports if your employee was ‘on the job’ or ‘not on the job’. This information is based on the landline phone used, or the cell phone GPS track we received from the cell carrier, or the track we received from the device itself if the Mobile App or Dialer App is used.  For a great visual the map link shows the location of the track compared to the job site location.

Managing remote employees is always a challenge and while you can’t put it on autopilot, current technology does offer ways to simplify the task.  Steve Jobs said, “It’s not a faith in technology. It’s faith in people.”  We agree that technology is ever-changing.  From our perspective the accountability that technology provides gives you faith in people as the honest employees stand out.

Stay tuned for our next installment in the ‘Managing Remote Employees’ series in which we offer advice on how to make sure employees aren’t spending too much or too little time on your jobs.

 

Managing Remote Employees: Prevent Buddy Punching

One of the biggest issues that a small business owner with remote employees faces is not knowing what’s going on out in the field.   Is your employee really on the job when he says he is?   What if his co-worker buddy backs him up?  If he’s not on the job, but says he is, you are paying for unworked, unearned time that can undermine your bottom line.

You hope to hire hardworking and honest employees, but as we have quoted before, “You can expect what you inspect.”   And when your off-site employees are working together, there can be a cause for concern.  If your company is still using handwritten timesheets to keep up with employee hours, it’s as simple as an employee putting down hours for a shift that he really didn’t work and his buddy covering for him.  Or if using an automated system an employee can give his access code to his buddy and ask him to clock in for him at the job site.

Either way, it’s time theft.  It’s costly.   It’s unnecessary.

Our telephone timekeeping system offers some smart solutions to prevent buddy punching and helps to ensure that all hours reported are earned.

A popular management tool is our Random Voice Verification (RVV).  When calling to clock in and out, our system can randomly prompt your employee to state his name, and we record it for you to play back.  You can compare the random voice check against a voice file we made the first time your employee clocked in.  This layer of accountability when punching in/out lets your employee know that you are inspecting.

Another solution when you suspect that a particular team or crew may be buddy punching for each other is to use our alert system.   Set up the system to send a text or email alert to a supervisor when employees check in and out.  When the supervisor gets an alert, he can call the employees on their cell phones.  When one answers, he can ask the employee to hand the phone to the other employee.  One of our customers actually got a check-in alert and then drove to the job site to find that an employee was not there although she was clocked in.

A third idea is to use the Mobile App while physically monitoring the job site one night. Watch who arrives at the job site and then use the app to view which employees get clocked in.  See if an employee clocks in who wasn’t on site.

Finally, use our integrated voice message system.  Plan for a night when you will leave a voice message to a suspected employee that he will hear when he clocks into a job.  The message might say, “John, this is your supervisor, Jill.  As soon as you clock in and get this message, please call me from the job site phone.”   Or for an ultimate test, be on site and tell John in the message to meet you at the back door immediately.

By implementing these strategies systematically and routinely you should be able to flush out problem employees quickly and let the remaining know that time theft is not tolerated.   Check back soon for the next installment in our Managing Remote Employees series in which we will discuss more ways on how to ensure your employees are on the job site when clocking in and out.

 

Effective Alerts for Remote Employees

The Minimum Effective Dose (MED) is a medical term that is becoming used in non-medical environments.  It means applying the smallest dose possible to achieve the desired result; and anything beyond that is wasteful.  If a cup of water will extinguish a tiny fire it’s overkill, and a waste of resources, to dump a five gallon bucket of water on the flame.  MED is relevant in the remote employee telephone timekeeping world as well.

One of the most valuable tools to help manage remote employees is email or text alerts sent to supervisors.  Companies can set up two types of alerts:

  1. All check-in and check-out alerts. These alerts are sent every time an employee clocks in or out.
  2. Late or no-show alerts.   These alerts are based on schedules and are ONLY sent when an employee is a no-show.

There is an effective way to handle alerts.  It’s the MED of alert management. 

All check-in/out alerts are beneficial when monitoring new or “problem” employees.  A supervisor receives the alert and then calls the employee on his cell phone, “I see that you just checked in.  Is everything going ok?”  The employee now knows that eyes are on him.    But if these alerts are applied to all employees they can become overwhelming, even a nuisance.  A company with 20 employees that work 2 jobs every night would trigger 80 alerts each night.  Make it 40 alerts if you don’t set the check-out alerts.  That many alerts will eventually become ineffective, not to mention unnecessarily disruptive.  The last thing you want is a supervisor turning off all alerts.    And why do you need these alerts for Susie?  She’s been a solid, faithful employee for 6 years.

On the other hand, create job schedules with late alerts to receive alerts only when employees are a no-show.  These are the alerts that really mean something.  They indicate that action must be taken to get the job covered. These alerts are the Minimum Effective Dose and their effectiveness must be preserved by limiting unnecessary alerts. If all check-in/out alerts are used for every employee, then these very important late alerts will get lost in a sea of texts or emails.

Any alert received should be actionable.  A strategically used check-in/out alert means that the supervisor will randomly follow up with the new or problem employee until the issue is resolved; after which the alert should be stopped.  A no-show alert gets a supervisor’s attention so he can get the job covered.  And yes, set late alerts for Susie’s schedule too.

Don’t pour a bucket of water on the problem when a wisely employed cup will do.  Go for the Minimum Effective Dose.  Using alerts effectively will help cure the headaches of managing remote workers.

 

Fall Into Better Business Practices

Fall is here and with it comes a refreshing sense of relief and revival. The summer heat has passed, the busyness of vacations is over, and the kids are back in school. It is a time when many business owners consider better business practices to carry into the new year.

A new approach to tracking remote workers with a web-based and telephone timekeeping system can save companies both time and money.  Here are  “Fall Four-Ward Strategies” for companies with remote employees.

  1. Chronotek Mobile – now an App.  Our app has been released on the Google Play Store and the App Store. It’s a great tool for your employees to use to check their schedules and view their time cards. No more printing and emailing schedules or requests by employees for their hours. Give them the power to access this secure information and recapture your valuable time needed to prospect for new business. Chronotek Mobile is also a great management tool for supervisors.
  2.  QuickBooks Integration.   Are you still manually entering time into QuickBooks for payroll?  Save time and use our QuickBooks Interface (API) to seamlessly export time card data from our system to the employee timesheet section of QuickBooks. Implement this one change in your business practices and you’ll have more time to enjoy the seasons change.
  3.  Budget Planning Tool.  Get started on the right foot with new projects and clients by using our dynamic new Budget Planning Tool. Create a budget of hours for the season or term and see employee hours calculated against the budget with live, color-coded charts that display the status. Know easily and quickly when budgets go off course and make quick scheduling corrections with the fully integrated Schedule Manager. This tool can keep your budgets on track to preserve your profitability and also help you discern overtime. Chances are budgets gone awry indicate employee overtime.
  4.  Over 40 Check Report.  With the Affordable Care Act (ACA)  looming in 2015, businesses with fifty full-time equivalent employees will have to provide health insurance coverage or pay a penalty. It is imperative to closely monitoring employee hours to keep them under 30 hours per week. Check employee weekly hours (ranging from the most to the least) with the Over 40 Check Report. It is impossible to monitor this with handwritten timesheets.  According to a national study, employers lose 10 minutes a day due to employee theft.  That’s almost an hour a week, which could be the difference between 29 and the statutory 30-hour full-time status.

Walt Disney said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”    The man knew a thing or two about building a business (wink).   Start on a fresh new path this fall by trying these 4 great business practices and see how they can transform your business.

Budgets 103: Control with Integrated Scheduling

We believe that budgets are the target and that schedules are the plan to hit the target.

An airplane has a landing destination, but there is a control in place, called the pilot, that brings the plane in.  She will make adjustments along the way in speed and altitude to keep the aircraft on course.

Schedules are your control to ensure that your budgets land on target.

In this budget session we want to offer 3 reasons why integrated scheduling  gives you the edge in budget planning.

  1. Life happens. You started with a budget plan, but then employees started working the plan. Things got a little off course.  Chronotek plots each budget progress on the Budget Dashboard. The cautionary yellow and red colors on our charts advise you when actual hours are coming in too low or high suggesting scheduling changes.   Control the destiny by changing the schedule.  Use the integrated Scheduler button on the budget screen to access Schedule Manager and quickly make these changes. This will protect your budgets throughout the intervals.
  2. 1000 foot view.  Chronotek gives you the airplane window shot of each job incorporating the actuals, and schedules with the budget.  As employee actual hours compile against the budget, and the future schedules get calculated in, Chronotek predicts where the budget will land at each interval along the way through to the end of the term.  See where adjustments need to be made and quickly make them with the Integrated Schedule option.
  3. Empower your supervisors. They may not have access to the budget screens but they can see the budget numbers and interval variances for each job on the Schedule Manager screen. This equips them to make necessary scheduling changes along the way.

Your profitability on each job is too important to leave to chance. Seize the power of predictive technology by creating a budget plan with integrated schedules and control every budget.

Pilot your budget to a smooth landing.

Best Business Practices

A sirloin steak may be good, but we all know that a filet mignon is best. Business practices can also be categorized as good and best.

We often hear that small businesses with remote hourly workers pay a set number of hours for a job instead of actual time. If the owner of a janitorial company knows that a building takes 3 hours a night to clean, he’s only paying 3 hours. It’s a strategy to limit payroll expenses. It may not be a bad practice, but is it the best? It may be costing more than it’s saving.

An employee doesn’t have the incentive to stay on the job more than 3 hours even though circumstances may require it. As the 3 hour mark approaches he is motivated to rush and cut corners leaving the quality subpar. Once a week or so the window blinds need to be thoroughly cleaned, but this may not happen if the worker is pushed for time. Will cleaners making minimum wage or just above it spend extra time on a job when they aren’t getting paid for it? This is a threat to the owner. To maintain quality control and keep his customers happy he will need to spend time doing frequent spot inspections on the work.

On the flip side, a job may only take 2 hours 51 minutes to thoroughly do. The owner is paying 9 minutes extra each night. That’s 45 minutes a week on an everyday contract. That’s 45 minutes closer to 40 hours that’s unearned. Or maybe you are feeling the effects of Obamacare and 29 hours is the number you are fighting. Either way, that’s 39 hours a year. A full week or more of unearned pay. And this math is assuming 1 job for each employee. Double it if an employee cleans 2 sites a night.

But what happens to work quality if you utilize telephone timekeeping to capture accurate time and that’s what you pay? The employee isn’t motivated to rush his work. He will spend time making sure that it’s done right. If you find that the job is routinely taking more than 3 hours, but the quality is top notch, then you may need to reassess the contract. Have another one of your best workers clean that site for a week. Evaluate her time on the job relative to performance against the first employee.

If the job is taking less than 3 hours but the workmanship quality is excellent, then you are making more money on the contract and you don’t have to spend as much time doing spot inspections.  Give your employee a bonus.

So, on one hand you keep things simple and try to limit payroll by paying a fixed amount of hours per job, yet you have to strictly monitor those sites for quality control. Your employees aren’t incentivized to do thorough work and this leads to increased management efforts. On the other hand, you pay actual time captured by a technologically advanced timekeeping system and your workers don’t cut corners. The result should be higher quality workmanship and less oversight needed by management. Management time is valued higher than employee time.

One method may be good, but one is definitely best.

What Features Does Chronotek Provide For Large Companies?

Here at the Chronoblog we have spent a lot of time talking about how our system scales perfectly for small businesses.  We always feel that one of the best things our product helps customers accomplish is to keep fixed costs low, by providing a system that grows as your company grows- there are no big leaps in cost or barriers to expansion.

With this focus on our ability to fit the growth needs of our customers, sometimes its easy to miss some of the excellent features we provide for large customers from the moment you register.  In fact, some of our happiest customers are large, multi state companies who first joined Chronotek because of the wide range of customization options we offer.  Lets review a few of these “big picture” features:

Cross-Country Timekeeping Made Easy: Chronotek makes it easy to manage clock-ins across multiple time zones.  The web interface makes it easy to assign different jobs to particular time zones, and our Licensed Caller-ID ensures that employees clock in for those jobs at the correct locations.  It has never been easier to manage your timekeeping needs- from coast to coast.

Easy User/Role Administration: Chronotek provides simple tools to manage access for various users.  Large companies who need to allow various managers to access the Chronotek account can easily do so.  At the same time, it is easy to place limits on what these additional users can view and change.  Many companies use these tools to allow regional managers access and control over their areas, while still maintaining a central monitoring account to easily keep tabs on the entire company.  For more information on setting up these features, our Support team will be happy to assist you.

Integration With Other Business Tools: We recognize that today’s businesses often employ a variety of software tools to automate their payroll processes.  Thats why Chronotek is an industry leader in our ability to integrate with other tools.  We integrate with ADP, Paychex, Compupay, and support automated FTP exports as well. We are always adding support for new products- if your payroll tool isn’t listed, talk to our Support team!

Scalable Pricing Options: Perhaps our most compelling opportunity for larger customers is our excellent scaled pricing system.  Chronotek helps large companies save even more money on their timekeeping expenses by giving lower per-call prices for higher volume accounts.  Our Pricing Calculator makes it easy to see how much you can save.

These are just the beginning of the rich features we offer for our large customers.  As always, our excellent support staff is ready to assist you with any questions you may have- call, email, or simply comment on this post for more information.

Can Chronotek Work With Payphones?

Every so often, we get questions about customers using payphones to clock into the Chronotek system.  Some industries only have access to payphones at their jobsites, and ask us about using them with Chronotek.  While we are always looking to help our customers make Chronotek as efficient and convenient to use as possible, unfortunately a relic of telecommunications legislation makes using payphones extremely difficult.

In 1996, Congress passed the Telecommunications Act.  Part of this law allowed payphone providers to charge 1-800 numbers a “market rate” for calls made from their payphones.  What this means is that anytime Chronotek received a call from a payphone, the phone company charged us $0.62.  Because we only charge $0.12 a call from our customers, these phone company charges meant that we would lose $0.50 everytime someone calls to clock in using a payphone.

The Telecommunications Act did allow the operators of 1-800 numbers to block all calls from payphones, to protect themselves from these $0.62 charges.  This means that we pay a small monthly fee to prevent all incoming payphone calls.

As you can imagine, this has been the source of some frustration for us.  We have confirmed an alternative method for customers who only have access to payphones at their jobsites.  If you think this might describe your company, please contact us and our Support Team will be happy to assist you with your specific needs.

Is Your Internet Browser “Spoiled Milk?”

One of our most important goals at Chronotek is ensuring that all users receive an excellent user experience.  This broad goal encompasses providing the greatest ease of use, speed, and functionality all packed into a beautiful and simple package.  Our programming team is constantly analyzing the entire system to make sure these goals are being met.  One component we cannot control is your internet browser.

When Chronotek was first designed, we made the decision to create it as a “Web Based Application”.  What this means is that the entire program is accessed through your web browser, rather than being stored on your personal computer.  This model has a long list of benefits- chiefly lower costs to you, better management of upgrades and maintenance, and better security and backup of your data.

The one limitation of this model is in the web browser itself.  See, internet browsers are just as varied and diverse as the cars you see out on the road.  You have the sleek, shiny and brand new models (like the latest release of Firefox, or even Google’s upstart Chrome), the dependable economy model (the newest release of Internet Explorer, or IE8), and…. the aging and broken down clunker, otherwise known as Internet Explorer 6.  IE 6 was released over 9 years ago, and just like a car, after 9 years it has started to show its age.  The newest and best websites don’t show up correctly in IE6,  and applications like Chronotek don’t work as fast as they can in the newer browsers.

Thats why we were so excited to see this ad over at Microsoft Australia that compared IE 6 to spoiled milk.  If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out- it does a great job of explaining the shortcomings of such an outdated browser.  Additionally, you may have noticed some major web services such as Youtube completely eliminating support for IE6.  This means that those services will not even work in Internet Explorer 6 very soon.

So why does all this matter to us here at Chronotek? Remember that our goal is to deliver an excellent experience for all of our customers, and that our user’s Internet browser is the one variable that isn’t in our hands- it’s in yours.  That’s why we encourage all our customers still using IE 6 to switch to a newer browser.  It is as simple as clicking on one of the links above (Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Chrome), and following the instructions at those websites.  We are confident that a newer browser will not only improve your Chronotek experience, but make the rest of your internet browsing faster and easier as well.

Land your next job!

Tell prospective customers that you manage your employees with a  telephone timekeeping system.

Telephone Timekeeping is a tool in your marketing portfolio – is it the Chronotek Advantage.  Customers value a well-managed business.

  • Why is it important to your customers that you have the Chronotek Employee Management System?
  • Vacation Time on the job is one of the largest influences on quality in the service industry. Chronotek helps you know you are delivering the best quality to your customers.
  • Every second  counts

The Chronotek Advantage - Land that job

…Because the Chronotek system shows your employees clocking in and out, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week;  who is working, where they are working, and when they arrived and left.

So make a marketing portfolio – a folder with your company logo, your mission statement, your bid forms, and….the Chronotek Advantage literature.

Who uses Chronotek telephone timekeeping?

  • Industries who need to track actual time worked. – Telephone timekeeping is highly accurate. No more dispensing, collecting and adding of timecards. No more uncontrolled overtime and time card “padding” from hourly employees that can easily squeeze the profit out of anyone’s budget.
  • Companies who need to track people from remote sites. – Chronotek is a licensed provider of caller id, providing the location from land-line calls. You can know employees are at the jobsite. (Track work time, sales calls, student hours, and more!)
  • Seasonal industries who track employees only part of the time. – Chronotek is a pay-per-use system. You pay only for the months that you use the service. And no start-up fees! No hidden charges.
  • Companies who need to improve supervisor/employee communication. –  Supervisors can leave voice messages for employees with the Chronotek Integrated Voicemail. Employees are required to listen to the message at the next check in or out. At no extra charge!
  • Managers who need to know their jobs are covered. – Also at no extra charge, the Chronotek system can send supervisors text message alerts when employees don’t show up to scheduled jobs, or every time employees clock in or out.

Can Chronotek help your business?  Try it Free for 30-days www.chronotek.net

Chronotek – the industry leading pioneer in telephone timekeeping

ChronoTek specializes in telephone time clock Web-based software for tracking employee time and attendance. Founded in 1995, ChronoTek serves clients nationwide, in Canada and Puerto Rico by providing telephone time clock software for accurately tracking employee time and attendance from any phone that can call a toll free number. ChronoTek is a licensed and legal provider of patented caller ID technology that enables companies to see the phone number from which employees call, and site location if calling from a land line. Call 1-800-586-2945 or visit www.chronotek.net for more information.

Caller-ID Technology Licensed by Sandata Technologies, Inc. under U.S. Patent Nos.
5,646,839; 5,255,183 & 5,963,912

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