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3 Types Of Time Theft And A Quick Guide Of How to Make Them Stop

Time theft is an easy business loss to underestimate. Imagine that you have an employee who takes an extra 5-10 minutes on each of their break, totalling up to about 15 minutes a day. At $10 per hour, 15 minutes is about $2.50 of paid time. It may not sound like a lot of money, but it adds up. In a week, that $2.50 becomes $12.50, and in a year it totals $650. That’s just for one employee. Imagine if you have 10 employees all taking an extra 15 minutes each day. Now you’re looking at $6,500 per year in employee theft!

No one wants to waste $6,500 per year. That’s bad business! So how can you stop these little 15 minutes from adding up? First, you have to know what employee theft looks like.

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3 types of time theft you need to know

1. Time clock theft

When an employee lies about what time they work, this constitutes time clock theft. This can happen in a few ways:

  • Some people will have one of their coworkers clock-in for them when they are running late.
  • Others will “forget” to clock-in and then lie about when they actually started.
  • One particularly tricky way people do this is by clocking-in before they are ready to go out on the floor. They are in the building, but they haven’t put their uniform on yet and aren’t working when they should be.

Any of these options is considered time theft. They are being paid for time that they are not working.

Graphic How Solink Helps Copy 1
Solink gives you access to your cameras anywhere, anytime. You can pop your head in as if you were in your store, giving you total visibility into everything that’s going on. Watch transactions, check cameras, and track staff from your phone. Solink makes it easier to manage all your locations from one spot.
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2. Extended breaks

Extended breaks are pretty simple, it’s when a person takes a longer break than they should. It’s the most common type of time theft, and as you can see from the example above, it can be costly over time. An extra five minutes here or ten minutes there adds up, and then you’re left with the bill.

3. Excessive personal time

Excessive personal time is the hardest type of time theft to catch. Checking social media, using a personal cellphone, and running errands shouldn't happen at work. This type of time theft also includes staff taking too much time to chat with their coworkers. It's great that your staff gets along, but it can become a problem if people aren’t getting their work done.

Why does time theft happen?

Time theft is often the response of an employee who feels underappreciated in their job. They feel pressured to work harder but gain nothing from their extra effort. Longer breaks or chatting with friends makes the employee feel like they are recouping a bit of their loss.

There’s always a chain of command in a business. You’ve got the head office objectives that get sent down to the managers. Those managers are responsible for getting the employees to make the vision come to life. When the expectations are set too high, it becomes difficult for those on the bottom of the food chain to keep up. If your employees feel overwhelmed and underappreciated, they might start to slack off.

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How do you stop time theft?

Ready to put an end to time theft? Here are four things you can do to stop time theft from happening in your business.

1. Check your existing company policies.

When was the last time you actually reviewed your theft policy? It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Well, it’s time to look at what you’re actually asking of your employees. Consider if there are any improvements that you can make by asking yourself:

  • What does your current policy outline?
  • Is all the information still relevant?
  • What would you like to change?
  • Confirm that your policies follow employment standards.

If your employees feel like your policies are unfair or impossible to follow, you're going to have a low rate of compliance. Comparing your policy to industry standards and employment regulations is a critical step. It's easy to do and can make an enormous difference in your company's morale.

2. Use tech to enhance accountability.

If you aren’t using a punch clock, you can install one to make sure your employees are getting back to work on time. You can also use your camera systems to make sure the right person is clocking in at the right time.

Graphic How Solink Helps Copy 1
Solink helps you search through your footage in less time. Use the Region Select feature to highlight your punch clock. You’ll be able to skip through every time someone used it. Match those clips up with the punch clock records and you’ll be able to see if it doesn’t match up.

3. Keep your organizational structure transparent.

Confused employees can become a problem for your business. Without knowing who they report to or what's expected, they won’t know how to act. Be open and honest with your employees about their roles and responsibilities. Make sure you go over the structure if any changes take place.

4. Set realistic expectations of your staff.

There’s a huge difference between encouraging your staff and overworking them. You want to make sure that the staff--including the managers--are facing realistic goals. Unrealistic expectations lead to breaks getting cut or excessive overtime assigned. If extra work becomes the new norm, your staff may begin to look for ways to make up their lost time.

You can find more information on employee theft here. You can also find a free downloadable poster that outlines all the types of employee theft here. Post it in your staff room to make your staff aware.

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