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Cheating the Time Tracking System: What To Do If You Catch Your Employees Doing It

Maria Petit

With most businesses going remote or hybrid, time theft has become a huge problem in today’s workplaces. Employees often find ways to cheat the time tracking system to get more hours than they have worked. This can lead to the company’s lost revenue, and even be considered fraud! 

Yet, since we are experts on the matter who have spent quite a time perfecting a time-tracking tool and employee management, don’t fret! We are helping you out with this blog post. Today, we will discuss what time theft is and how to stop it. We will also provide tips on how to prevent your employees from cheating the time tracking system in the first place!

Before the creation of time-tracking tools, employees were already looking for ways (and succeeding) to cheat time at work. This has been an ongoing issue in the workplace for as long as time itself! The most common way to cheat time, even before time-tracking tools were implemented, was through taking long lunch breaks or coffee breaks.

While some of these might seem like harmless activities, they can add up to big losses for the company. Time theft costs businesses billions of dollars every year! Only in the U.S, according to California Restaurants Association, 95% of companies suffer from some level of time theft. Time theft can cost up to 7% of the annual payroll, which translates into $70,000!!!!

This is a huge problem for any business, as time theft not only leads to lost revenue but can also lead to decreased morale among employees. After all, if some employees are cheating the system, it’s not fair to those who are working hard and playing by the rules. 

Most Common Ways to Cheat Time-Tracking Tools and How To Prevent It

There are many ways employees can cheat time-tracking tools. Let’s review some of them!

Buddy Punching

Buddy punching, the act of one employee covering for another by marking them as “present” during office hours, is a common form of time theft in the workplace. Not only does buddy punching cost companies money, but it also creates an unfair and unbalanced work environment. 

And, not only does this mean that the company is paying for hours that the employee didn’t work, but it also means that the time-tracking system is not accurate. This can lead to big problems down the line, as the company won’t be able to properly track employee productivity. 

Fortunately, some steps can be taken to prevent buddy punching:

  • One solution is to implement a digital time-tracking tool that requires employees to clock in using biometric data, such as fingerprints or face scans. 
  • You can also use GPS tracking to track employee locations. This way, you can be sure that employees only clock in when they are at the office or job site. 

These options can eliminate buddy punching and ensure accurate recording of employee time. On top of this, managers can actively monitor attendance patterns and address any discrepancies on time. 

By addressing and preventing buddy punching through modern technology solutions, businesses can create a fair and productive work environment!

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Automating Mouse Movement

In today’s world, time-tracking tools are getting more and more sophisticated. Yet, some clever employees have found a way to cheat the system by automating their mouse movement!

What does this mean? Essentially, they use a tool to move their mouse around the screen even when they’re not working, so it looks like they’re active when they’re not. 

This can be a big problem, as it means that the company is paying for hours that the employee isn’t working. Fortunately, some steps can be taken to prevent this type of time theft: 

  1. First, managers should regularly monitor employee activity and look for any suspicious patterns. If an employee’s mouse is moving around even when they’re not working, this is a red flag that they might be trying to cheat the system. 
  2. Another solution is to use a tool that tracks employee activity and flags any suspicious behavior. This can help managers catch time cheaters before they cost the company money! 

You may be wondering which tool is the best and that one is Monitask

Monitask is a valuable tool for preventing time theft in the workplace. The software allows employers to track employee hours and attendance, giving an accurate record of when each employee is present at work. 

Monitask also offers features such as activity tracking, allowing managers to see exactly how employees spend their time during the workday

This level of oversight can deter employees from cheating on their timesheets or taking extended breaks without approval. In addition, Monitask’s time-tracking capabilities allow for more efficient payroll processing and can help prevent overpaying employees for hours they didn’t work. 

Overall, implementing Monitask can have a positive impact on a company’s bottom line and ensure that employees are held accountable for their time at work. Get your Monitask subscription to prevent time cheaters from tricking the system!

Hiding Idle Time

Hiding idle time is another common form of time theft. Essentially, employees will try to hide the fact that they’re not working by keeping their computer screens open even when they’re not working. 

This can be a big problem because it means that the company is paying for hours that the employee isn’t working. Fortunately, some steps can be taken to prevent this type of time theft: 

  • Managers should regularly monitor employee activity and look for any suspicious patterns. If an employee’s computer screen is open even when they’re not working, this is a red flag that they might be trying to cheat the system. 
  • Another way to combat this issue is to require employees to use a password-protected screensaver. That way, if an employee steps away from their desk, their screen will automatically lock and they’ll need to enter a password to unlock it. This will prevent employees from being able to hide idle time.

A Second Monitor

If an employee has a second monitor, they can open up a movie or show on one screen while continuing to appear to work on the other. This is another form of time theft that can be difficult to catch. 

Again, managers should be on the lookout for any suspicious patterns in employee behavior. If an employee suddenly starts changing passwords or using different usernames, this could be a sign that they’re trying to hide something. 

Predicting Screenshots

It’s also important to be aware that sometimes tracking software takes screenshots of employee activity. This means they can’t simply leave their computers on and go do something else because the screenshot will show that they’re not working. 

Some employees may try to get around this by using a program that blocks or hides the screenshot function. It’s essential to be aware of this possibility and to monitor employee activity for any signs that this is happening. 

If you notice that an employee’s screenshots are frequently blank or have strange patterns, this could be a sign that they’re trying to cheat the system 

However, you can prevent this from happening by switching to Monitask as in this software, you can set screenshots at random intervals, so employees will never know when they’re being monitored! Monitask only monitors when employees clock in. No spying, just transparency!

Use of AI

In recent years, some employees have turned to artificial intelligence to game the system and cheat time tracking tools. They use AI-powered software to mimic their behavior and make it appear as though they are actively using their computers during work hours, when in reality they may be taking extended breaks or even leaving early. 

However, there are ways to prevent this type of cheating:

  • One option is investing in more advanced time-tracking software that can detect abnormal patterns and alert managers. 
  • Another solution is implementing random spot checks with employees’ supervisors, ensuring that everyone is being fair and accountable for their time at work. 

It’s important to remember that employees have a shared responsibility in maintaining fair and ethical work practices, and proactive steps like these can help create a positive work culture for everyone.

Yes, there is a number of ways employees can cheat time tracking software. It’s important to be aware of these methods and to take steps to prevent them from happening. Yet, it is also important to take into account some other guidelines.

Don’t Ignore Minor Infractions

If you catch an employee cheating the time tracking system, it’s important to take action. Ignoring minor infractions can lead to bigger problems down the road. 

It’s also important to be consistent in how you handle time-tracking violations. If you let one employee off with a warning, you need to do the same for all other employees. Otherwise, you risk creating a hostile work environment. 

Consider the Consequences

Before taking any disciplinary action, it’s important to consider the consequences. Firing an employee for time theft can be difficult and may not be the best course of action. Instead, consider giving the employee a warning or placing them on probation. 

It’s also important to ensure that you have enough evidence to support your claims. If you don’t have concrete evidence, it may be difficult to take disciplinary action. 

Clear Time Theft Policies

Clear theft policies should be clearly written and communicated to all employees. Employees should know what is considered time theft and what the consequences are for violating the policy. 

Time theft policies should also be regularly reviewed and updated as needed. As new methods of time theft are discovered, the policy should be updated to reflect this. 

Enforcing time theft can be difficult to catch and even harder to prove. Yet, it’s important to take steps to prevent time theft from happening. By being aware of the methods that employees use to cheat the system, you can take steps to prevent it. 

However, our expert advice also takes into account what can you do, not technically speaking, to prevent time cheaters:

Set Clear Expectations from the Beginning

If you allow any ambiguity about what is expected of employees in terms of time tracking. Set clear expectations from the very beginning and be sure to communicate them to all employees. 

If you have a time tracking system in place, make sure that everyone understands how it works and how to use it properly. If there are any questions, take the time to clear them up thoroughly. 

Time theft often occurs when employees feel like they’re being micromanaged. If employees feel like they’re being constantly watched and monitored, they may be more likely to cheat the system. 

Instead of micromanaging, try to give employees more autonomy. Let them know that you trust them to do their job and that you don’t need to be constantly checking on them!

Show Trust in Your Staff

Showing trust in your staff is one of the most effective ways to prevent time cheating. By creating a culture where employees feel that their work is valued and trusted, they are less likely to feel the need to try and cheat their hours. 

Showing trust in your staff not only helps prevent time cheating, but it fosters a healthier and more productive workplace 

Providing autonomy to your staff and trusting them to carry out their responsibilities allows them to take ownership of their work and reduces the temptation to cut corners. 

Final Considerations

If you suspect that an employee is cheating the time tracking system, it’s important to take action. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse. Be sure to document any incidents, keep track of any evidence, and consult with HR or a lawyer before taking any disciplinary action. 

Time theft is a serious issue, but it can be prevented by creating a culture of trust, open communication, and respect. By taking these steps, you can create a workplace where employees feel valued and motivated to do their best work. 

Happy clear and honest time tracking!

-The Monitask Team

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