Tips & Tricks

Virtual TimeClock Tips & Tricks - May 2013

I hope last month’s newsletter gave you some helpful ideas for using shift rules to manage employee overtime, which certainly seems to be a hot topic for many business owners. Speaking of hot, we just reached 100 degrees for the first time this season! We seem to have jumped from winter directly to summer here in California’s central valley.

There's definitely a learning curve when starting a new employee time clock system. That’s certainly to be expected, especially when employees have gotten used to writing their hours on a paper timesheet with no accountability. The transition is a little easier when coming from a mechanical punch clock because employees have already formed the habit of going to a central location to clock in and out. A common question we get from new users is "How do I make my employees remember to clock in and out?" The best reminder is repetition and reinforcement, but there are some tools built into Virtual TimeClock that may help during the transition period.

As promised, in this month’s ‘Tips & Tricks’ newsletter we’ll continue our discussion of shift rules by showing you how to use them to deal with missed punches and keep track of attendance for your salaried employees.

“I forgot to clock out.”
Setting an auto clock out with a reasonable grace period should take care of those forgotten clock outs by distracted workers at the end of a busy day. Here's how it works. Let's say you have a shift that ends at 6:00 PM and you have an auto clock out set with a 5 minute grace period. As long as the employee clocks out before 6:05 PM, the time clock will record the actual stop time. However, if the employee forgets to clock out, then they'll automatically be clocked out when the grace period is over, but their stop time will be recorded as their shift end time, which would be 6:00 PM. In other words, they've got 5 minutes past their shift to clock out or the time clock software will do it for them.

Here’s a quick Tip:
You can remove the restriction after your employees have gotten the hang of the new time clock software and are consistently remembering to clock out on their own.

“I forgot to clock in.”
Even though we don’t use shift rules to handle this scenario, here are a couple of ideas. One option is for the employee to clock in as soon as they remember. Since the employee’s start time is now later than it should be, they can add an entry note asking that their timecard be adjusted. This note will show on the employee timecard for whoever is reviewing them prior to payroll processing. A second option is for the employee not to clock in at all and send a message to their manager stating that they forgot to clock in and to please add a manual entry.

Here’s a quick Tip:
The employee’s manager will be alerted that they have a new message when they turn administration on.

Tracking Attendance for Salaried Employees
There are a number of reasons for having salaried employees use the time clock. We've talked about them before: take advantage of the in & board to improve intra-office communication, track time spent on various jobs in order to generate labor costing reports, or keep track of accrued and used time off. Some businesses want salaried employees just to clock in so they have a record of days worked. An easy way to handle this scenario is to set up a new shift with an auto clock out rule and assign it to the daily schedule for each salaried employee. All they have to do now is clock in and you'll have a record of their attendance without needing to use the time clock more than once a day.

Here’s a quick Tip:
Some other attendance tracking ideas for the time clock include time spent in learning labs, tutoring, volunteer work for non-profits, court mandated community service, and summer interns.

Next month we’ll discuss some of the more advanced security features available within Virtual TimeClock to give you assurance that employees are only punching the clock where and when you expect them to.

Until next month,

Jeff Morrow