As an employer, you expect your paid employees to work for their money. However, some workers take long personal time, some just make a habit of coming late to work while others spend a considerable amount of time on the internet.

These are all typical forms of time theft: when employees do other things apart from their assigned tasks within working hours. As simple as it sounds, it is difficult to know if employees are engaged in the theft of time and it can have an adverse effect on the productivity of a business.

Is time theft a crime?

Absolutely yes! Time theft is a crime. The organization pays the employee for their respective work/task and the time spends to work for the organization. It’s exactly not the employee’s personal time to spend on the business hours! It’s the business time that pays the employee for their corresponding hard work and time spent.

Tips to Avoid Employee Time Theft

Here are some of the tips and points to avoid employee time theft.

1. Set Rules

There are many ways to prevent time theft, but the first step is to have some rules against it. One of the ways of involving in time theft is by having someone else clock in or clock out on your behalf. This is known as buddy punching. It usually happens when a business is using a timesheet/card to clock in or out. To some employees, they are not committing any crime doing it and they consider it normal but it is time card fraud. If the company policy explicitly states the rules against time theft in their handbook with the punishment, then the employees would do away with it.

2. Regularly Train your Employees on Time Management

Training of employees on time management is essential. It is perfectly normal for employees to have a friend or two in a company to who they can talk to. In fact, a positive professional relationship at work is healthy for any business to grow. Nevertheless, employees who take too much personal time having chit-chat with a friend is stealing the company’s time. There should be regular training of employees on effective time management.

3. Automate Time and Attendance

It is easier to know when an employee is stealing a company’s time through time and attendance software. A small business with employees using biometric devices such as fingerprint and retinal scans to clock in is more likely to have an accurate time record than the one using a manual timesheet. This is because the biometric devices are automated which prevents time card fraud and makes it easy to import data directly into the payroll using online accounting software.

4. Follow Through on your Punishment and Reward

The company must follow through on employees’ discipline when they disregard the time theft policy. It is important to set the rules, but it would amount to nothing if the rules are not enforced. The punishment must be a warning, suspension, and termination in that order for perpetual-time thieves. Reward employees who finish their tasks promptly and abide by the rules. One type of incentive can be employee gifts from Successories to show appreciation for their hard work at your company. You must also set a good example, as the boss. If your employees see you using the internet for personal purposes during work hours or regularly come late to work, they would be inclined to do the same.

Employee Time Theft Punishments

Identifying the employee who steals time at work is difficult to identify. Here are some of the employee time theft punishments to take your business a long way!

  • Payment Shrinkage for the Time Theft Employee
  • Increase the oversight
  • Demote the Time Theft Employee
  • Take action on disciplinary.
  • Payment Shrinkage Time Theft Employee

As an employee stealing, office time is not right! It is also hard to identify. Some of the major employee time theft include checking their personal mail during business hours, online shopping, chatting with their friends and others, often roaming unnecessarily, and much more. Some employee time thefts are more difficult to recognize. While you notice an employee theft your time during office hours and being caught under your sight, make a spot punishment of docking or shrinking some amount on salary payment. This helps you to avoid employee time theft to a larger extent.

  • Increase the oversight

When you suspect any employee steals your time, you may warn the employee once and keep an eye-sight on the particular employee from often making them update their task. While doing so, it is easy for you to analyze the employee’s time theft and take the next action based on the employee’s performance.

  • Demote the Time Theft Employee

It’s your time! It is not right to steal your time! When you notice an employee stealing your time unnecessarily, you have the right to demote or suspend or even dismiss them. On the other hand, it is also your responsibility to promote and encourage the best performing employee by offering high pay and promotion. 

  • Take Action on Disciplinary

The employee time theft depends on their stolen time severity. As a business owner or MD or head of the department, you can take the right disciplinary action based on the employee’s time theft severity. This may include making them work and compensate for the stolen time, warning them, suspending them, or even dismissing the employee. But this should be done only based on the severity. It is not right to punish the employee to a greater extent if the stolen time is lesser.

Give Breaks and Lead by Example.

Employees need a break occasionally to function effectively. Even machines need servicing and they are only humans. Allow your employees to have lunch breaks, pay for overtime work and make flexible work arrangements. Cut the amount of time spent in meetings, do not waste your employees’ time. More importantly, always ensure you keep your employees busy by assigning tasks to them and do not overburden them with tasks that are impossible to perform within the given time.

Software to Prevent Employee Time Theft

At present, there is software to prevent and avoid employee time theft. Using the correct software to prevent and avoid employee time theft will make your business go long way. Some of the software to monitor what employees are doing like the web-based timesheet and internet security prevent employees from slacking off and stealing your business’ time.

The Bottom Line

Time theft is a serious crime, which says a lot about your management capacity and the general growth of your business. Handling your employees in the right way. Even this will help you to prevent all your time theft and improves your business management. Encourage and motivate the employees in more ways. It will increase your business productivity and also decreases employee time theft.

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