I was cruising up the interstate blindfolded the other day. Don’t worry. I wasn’t driving. My family insisted that I wear the blindfold as they took me out to eat for my birthday. It was cool. The blindfold had built-in earbuds, so I relaxed to Mandolin Orange on the way. When my wife is driving, I prefer the blindfold. But a small business owner with remote employees never wants to be blind to what’s happening 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.
One 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.
Another 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 how to ensure your employees are on the job site when clocking in and out.