If you abide by the traditional method of attendance management, then chances are you’re using a timesheet calculator to save you time and effort. But, this “tool” is holding you back. Let’s discuss how, and what you can do differently.
Doing payroll when you’re stuck with an antiquated method of time clock management can be a daunting, tedious task. If you’re not careful, it could quickly consume the better part of a few hours, and there’s very little you can do to shorten this process. In light of this, you may find yourself tempted to employ the help of a timesheet calculator. This tool, most of which are online-based, help to organize your employee attendance information concisely, perform the necessary calculations for you, and then keep everything well-structured for you to go through and copy down or download. But does it help as much as you think?
The primary issue with the timesheet calculator is that it relies very heavily on you committing the same amount of time to its use that you would have done performing the calculations on your own. Because of the internet-based existence, you’re also opening up to security issues or service problems. All-in-all, a timesheet calculator poses a huge risk to your productivity as a restaurant administrator, and this is something that you can’t allow to continue.
In this article, we address seven ways that a timesheet calculator is wasting you far more time than its saving. We take a look at things like the time it takes to enter and check the data, the unreliability of use, and things of that nature to help you see that this so-called 'tool' meant to make your life easier has, in reality, been doing no such thing. We will also suggest an alternative method of managing your attendance data that is more effective, efficient, and secure. If you’re ready, let’s get on the list!
The most prominent reason that a timesheet calculator doesn’t save you much, if any, time is because it still requires you to enter the data manually into the system. The major issue with performing these calculations on your own was never really the actual calculations, but the entering of the time clock data and making sure it was correct. It’s quick and painless to hit the add or subtract and equals button, which is the only step a timesheet calculator can remove.
The human error issue of traditional employee attendance management is still wholly intact with a timesheet calculator. Since you are still manually entering the data, and the data is still manually provided by employees who cannot be 100% accurate 100% of the time (we’ll get to some of these issues in a minute), the chance for some error in the data to arise is just as high as if you were manually performing the calculations yourself.
Since the timesheet calculator does not directly integrate with your actual time clock, there is no built-in way to manage and double check that employees take their breaks at the right time, and for the right length of time. Failure for this kind of compliance is, in direct violation of federal and state labor laws, meaning the potential risk associated with this kind of failure is enough that you should be more concerned about it. While you can 'check' with employees, their memory, or awareness, can be just as fleeting or error-prone as yours.
As much as the term 'buddy punching' sounds like a friendly fist-fight, it is a term used to describe instances where one employee punches another in or out of their shift to cover for them. It is a more common practice than you might expect and isn’t always inherently malicious in its intent. However, time-theft is time-theft (as we’ll discuss further in just a second), and should never be tolerated. Using a timesheet calculator in no way addresses this issue since it cannot detect who is doing the punching.
Buddy punching is just one kind of time-theft that a restaurant can experience. Depending on your type of time clock, employees can very easily tweak their in and out time to make it seem like they worked more hours, and are thus entitled to more pay than they did.
As we’ve mentioned and alluded to in other points, the total lack of integration of a timesheet calculator does elevate it from tedious to essentially pointless. Since it has no direct access to your time clock attendance data until you enter it into the system, the timesheet calculator cannot know whether or not the information is correct. Any time a human interacts with a piece of data that needs to undergo analysis, it introduces an opportunity for error. In this case, you’ve already got the employee interaction, so adding your own on top of it doubles the chance. Failure to correctly identify hours worked means that you run the risk of paying out too much or owing employees back pay for hours they worked that were not properly accounted for.
The other major issue you run into using a timesheet punch calculator is that it does not offer any concrete storage solution for the data you enter. While it is inherently designed to function as a calculator only, these same calculations can be conducted in Microsoft Excel, for example, and stored for future review such that, if any issues should arise, you can very easily and quickly go back to the spreadsheet for consultation. With a timesheet calculator, all you get is some basic math.
Now, it is worth pointing out that there is a solution to many of the issues described above. Converting your attendance management to a virtual time clock system is a great way to correct nearly all of these issues. In the case of a system like Zip Clock, there is even a biometric reader that uses the employee’s fingerprint as the only way to clock in and out. If you’re interested in learning more about this unique system, have a look on our blog for other articles on it.