Original Article by TechSling Weblog:
Full Disclosure, my name is Dean Mathews, I am the founder of OnTheClock an online Employee time tracking system. We build time clock systems to help small businesses monitor employees worked hours.
The first few months of managing a Startup can be the most stressful and exciting of a founder’s life. It’s breathtaking to watch your vision take shape before your eyes — from your growing staff to your expanding list of customers.
However, with any growth comes growing pains. As your company becomes more established, you can’t enjoy the same relaxed attitude you had when you and your partner were the only members on staff. You need to think about building your infrastructure and making sure your employees are happy and productive.
One step that any startup needs to take into consideration as it grows is employee time tracking. A simple, digital solution can reduce hours of stress from your week and keep your employees honest. Here are four reasons why every startup needs a reliable punch clock tool.
Many Startups Offer Work from Home as a Perk
Most startups are unable to offer the same salary as giants like Google, GE, or Microsoft, and they certainly can’t offer the same job security if they’re just getting off the ground. This has lead many organizations to offer work from home options to potential employees as selling points for taking a lower paying job. Along with other perks like casual attire and company lunches, employees can work down the street or across the world, as long as they’re completing their assignments.
Working from home is a steadily growing perk. According to a survey by Gallup of 15,000 adults, 43% of Americans worked remotely at least some of the time in 2016. This is a significant increase from 38% in 2012. While that number alone is impressive, further context in the report shows just how popular remote work has become:
- In the past four years, the number of people who work remotely one or two days per week shrank from 34% to 25%.
- The number of people who work remotely four or five days per week rose from 24% to 31%.
Four years ago, remote work might have been used as a last resort for families who needed to take care of sick kids. However, it’s becoming an increasingly popular full-time option. Employees are more likely to drop by the office once per week than actually spend 40 hours in the building.
With employees scattered across town and managers unsure when they clock in and clock out, investing in an employee time clock for small business is a must. This allows team leaders to know when employees punch in and keep an eye on their remote performance.
Startups Can Scale With Remote Labor
Remote work isn’t just for startups. In 2015, Citigroup announced a new hot-desk policy where employees don’t have assigned seats and can choose where they work each day. Citi was able to move into a smaller office space and only needed 150 desks for 200 employees — knowing that a large number would punch in remotely each day. This allows the company to save on expensive Manhattan rent prices, along with the costs of utilities, office supplies, and other miscellaneous building care costs.
Citi is following in the footsteps of the PricewaterhouseCoopers and American Express corporate offices. The Atlantic reported that GlaxoSmithKline will save $10 million annually with a similar arrangement.
While the average startup is unlikely to save a million dollars with remote workers, it can easily add contractors or remote labor without having to make space for them. A startup could easily rent a coworking space or ask employees to clock in and clock out from their homes until it makes financial sense to open an office. With an online time clock, startup founders can continue growing and scaling their production rates without growing costs.
Employees Can Abuse Flexible Work Hours
Remote work often comes with flextime, an additional perk used to recruit talent to young startups. With flextime, an employee who lives in England can clock in at three am Eastern Time to work for a company based in New York. Even employees who work in the same city can choose when they work and when they leave. In fact, BenefitsPro reported that 33 percent of companies now offer some sort of flexible work hours for employees, a number that is expected to grow as remote work also increases.
In theory, employees come into the office when they’re the most productive and punch out whenever they finish their work. However, this isn’t always the case, and many startup managers struggle with flextime abuse.
One employee might say they’re going to arrive at eleven am and work until eight, knowing they can leave the office around seven once everyone else is gone. Similarly, an employee can leave at three, claiming they arrived before seven am, knowing there’s no employee time clock there to monitor them. Remote employees can follow the same process, knowing no one will know whether they did their work or not.
With our employee time tracking software, startup founders no longer have to worry about this kind of abuse. Employees can’t adjust their hours or lie about their time worked, because the punch clock will record the actual time they clocked in and out.
Managers Can Spend More Time Strategizing
No one wants to work for a micromanager and no one wants to be a micromanager, but startup workers are often placed in those situations when employees abuse flextime systems. If startup managers suspect remote or flexible employees of abuse, their time gets diverted toward manual employee time clock management and ensuring those workers are filling their contractual obligations. Instead of moving the company forward, they’re stuck working as glorified nannies, checking on employees and making sure they stay focused and punch out when they should.
When young startups begin growing, an operations manager or HR contractor will typically manage payroll and hours through Google Docs, spreadsheets and employee emails. Before they know it, they’re overwhelmed with endless sheets with employee records and find themselves losing track of everyone on the team.
Not only is operating employee time tracking through Google Sheets and emails unreliable, it also makes it easy for employees to falsely record their hours. There’s nothing to stop early morning employees from setting their clock-in time a few minutes early before the boss gets in or saying they clocked out later than they did. Technically this constitutes stealing company time, something that most startup founders can’t afford to lose.
Imagine if that manager didn’t have to spend several hours per week monitoring employee hours because they used an employee time clock for small business. There are so many ways they could spend their time helping the company beyond watching the staff.
Some managers worry that installing an online time clock system will hurt the casual atmosphere and culture of their startup. However, the benefits to productivity and increased trust from knowing employees are working when they should can actually help a startup’s office environment. As long as your employees aren’t abusing your policies and trying to steal time from your company, they should have nothing to complain about with your new digital punch clock.
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