Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Reasons to use Web-Based Time Clock Technology

The newest workplace technology taking hold are web based time clocks because they offer a great alternative to traditional time clocks that require manual addition of hours and days worked. Many companies are using web based time clocks instead of paper time sheets as well. It’s been shown that web based time clocks have become one of the favored technologies for tracking attendance and time worked as well as employee productivity, and can be used for on-site or off-site employees.

To access the web based time clock, all your employees need is access to a computer, a user name, and a pass code to enter their information into the system. The technology is great for those employees who work remotely and make it easier for the employer to track those employees and their hours. Giving employees access to the time clock from any location relieves stress and commuting time because they don’t have to worry about not getting paid for the hours they’ve worked. The web based time clock calculates hours and helps eliminate human error that occurs when adding up hours worked. This can translate to money savings on the company’s bottom line.

Maximizing productivity and reducing operating costs is something any employer can embrace. There will certainly be an upfront cost for the web based time clock but you’ll find it will pay for itself in money and time savings. When you consider that web based time clocks calculate sick, vacation, comp time and other days off, you will free up hours in your human resources department.

Employees embrace the technology because it allows them to see their hours as they progress through the week. It also tracks vacation and sick time so they don’t have to check with the HR department to see if they have time left for vacations or sick time. Web based time clocks reduce workplace stress and this leads to higher productivity.

Your web based time clock can be configured to show employee requests for time off, vacations, or planned sick leave and you can track it in the system. The employer can also show the calendar so employees know what spots are open for time off. You should consider a web based time clock for your workplace when you’re putting together your wish list for new items in the budget year. Your employees will thank you and so will your bottom line.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Types Of Time Clocks and Time and Attendance Software

In today’s complicated business environment, every owner is looking for a way to track employee hours and other payroll data in a fast and efficient way. Some firms use a time clock system, while others prefer a computerized logging application. Regardless, the system should be intuitive for all users, and should be easy to operate. The key thing to remember is that time clock software is supposed to reduce your processing time for the relevant data. If it does not do that, then the system is not effective. Make sure any system you purchase is able to handle hours worked, as well as accrued vacation time, days off, sick days, holidays, and bonus hours. There are dozens of reputable firms that sell various kinds of time clock software at all price levels. Carefully assess your own situation before committing to a specific brand of time clock software.

One reason for having time clock software is to prevent time theft by employees. Comprehensive, mechanized time and attendance software systems can eliminate almost all cases of time theft. Recent studies have pointed out that in the U.S. alone, each worker wastes five minutes of company time per day, on average. At first sight, that does not seem like a terribly significant number. However, for large firms, the time loss comes out to millions of dollars in expense per year.

A quality time clock software program is the best way to face the current national crisis of time theft. Even though much time theft is intentional, a proper system can prevent it. One way the automated systems deter theft is by cracking down on bogus overtime figures. Nearly every time clock software product can go a long way toward eradicating employee time theft. If for no other reason, every business should have some type of automated time clock method up and running. Otherwise, a firm risks losing several millions of dollars per year in earned revenue.

The time clock software rounds data in such a way as to preclude theft. It also sets specific limits on the amount of overtime that can be posted to any account. On top of that, the systems prevent buddy-punching, which is a major source of employee theft.

Finally, every worthwhile time clock program should have a simple interface, so that your company can easily exchange data with your payroll provider. By implementing an effective time clock software protocol, your company will be well on its way to accurate information management.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Advantages of Biometric Time Clocks

Biometric time clocks are becoming the latest and greatest technology for tracking employee time and attendance. Not only does a biometric system allow companies to streamline the payroll process, but it also frees up the human resources department from tracking and correcting work hours logged.

Before deciding biometric is for you, however, there are several decisions you will need to make. The first is, how many employees will be using the block? Some models will be less expensive than others but you need to make certain that the time clock you’re getting can handle the number of employees you have.

What options do these time clocks offer for accessing and downloading the information for payroll processing? The biometric time clocks come with Ethernet, wireless or USB connections for use in downloading the data, but know there are several options available. Your IT department will be able to help you decide which is best.

Are you married to the current payroll processing software that your company currently uses or are you willing to learn a new application and software? Some biometric time clocks use software that is compatible with many other payroll processing applications such as those used by ADP, Paychex and other payroll service providers. If you don’t want to change, make certain you choose a time clock that is compatible. Keep in mind though that many of the biometric time clocks come with robust and very intuitive software so if you’re making a change, why not go all the way?

Many biometric time clocks use a fingerprint scanner but there are other versions that use a palm or vein scanner. You will need to decide which is best for your industry.

After you’ve talked with your IT department and the human resources staff you will have a better idea of what kind of time clock will be best for your company’s use.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How to Manage Employees Fairly

There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to managing employees. What motivates one employee may not work on another, and while you can’t completely change your personality to suit your employees you can adopt a management style to help you deal fairly with all employees under your supervision.

There are a few tips to help your employees excel in the workplace and to ensure that you are acting fairly and with their and your interest in mind.
  1. Ask your employees whether they feel they work best in collaborative settings or whether they feel they thrive in the sanctuary of their cubicles. If the later, look into allowing employees to work with headphones on so they can listen to music while they work.
  2. While many employees will push the boundaries of workplace etiquette, employees need to know they are expected to meet deadlines and perform the tasks which they have been assigned.  Be sure you allow for some creativity, but hold employees accountable as well.
  3. If you find that some of your employees need hand-holding to perform, attempt to offer that. For those employees who work best on their own, leave them to their tasks. For motivated employees, going to work is more than punching a time clock, it is a place at which they hope to forge their careers.
  4. Encourage workplace interaction outside of the mandatory staff meeting times. Let employees to linger around the water cooler, be flexible on lunch times, encourage collaboration between departments. As long as it falls within the realm of what is allowed through company policy, and as long as the work gets done, let employees interact.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask your employees for their input and their opinion. If you find you have to pass along new employee guidelines or changes in personnel regulations, don’t just drop a new manual on their desks. Take the time to explain the changes and answer their questions and concerns.
Being in a management or supervisory position is both challenging and rewarding. The bottom line is, however, that the key to your success is getting the best out of the employees that you manage. If you’re able to manage and motivate your team, you all thrive.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How to Decide on a Business Venture

There are many questions you need to ask yourself before making the leap into small business ownership. Whether you’re doing it to follow a dream or a passion, or simply because you’re done with punching the time clock, here are a few pointers on how to choose a business venture:

Know where your expertise lies. Once you know, it’s easier to decide the goods or services to offer, as well as who your target consumer group is. You will need to know where and how to reach these customers so that you can build a successful marketing plan to build and propel your business up and forward.

One way to succeed as a business owner is do something you love. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon of what is popular and in unless you honestly enjoy providing that good or service. If you see a product or service on the market and believe you have a way to make it better, jump on that idea and offer your new and improved spin on it.

Take your business seriously. Half-hearted efforts will get you nowhere and will cost you money in the long run. You will make money back if your business takes off, but without passion or interest in what you’re doing, you won’t have the motivation to register your business, pay taxes, and file as a business entity; all necessities for a small business to succeed.

Join networking groups and try to find a mentor. A mentor will be able to offer you advice and strategies to help your business thrive, while networking opens you up to business professionals who may be interesting in purchasing the goods you sell or utilizing the services you provide. Investors can also be found at networking events and through mentors, so don’t underestimate the power of getting connected!

Finally, be a time management guru. Starting your business while you’re still working a punching the time clock elsewhere means you will need to be frugal with your time and use it wisely to make every moment you are devoting to your new endeavor count. Additionally, you will still want to perform at full capacity at your current position until your new business takes off.

Monday, September 12, 2011

How to Stop Buddy Punching

Most everyone who has used a time clock is familiar with the idea of “buddy punching”. A way for one worker to punch in for another, ensuring hours are recorded for an otherwise absent employee, buddy punching is a problem for the workspace because it results in both employees stealing money from the employer. Even more distressing is the fact that this practice is wide spread and can cost U.S. businesses up to $200 per employee per year, according to economists.

There is good news however! Buddy punching is easier than ever to eliminate with the installation of a biometric time clock. These time clocks come in several brands and styles and can read everything from a fingerprint to a hand. This method of clocking in prevents someone else from clocking in for a friend, and creates a fair, more honest environment for everyone.

Even small companies can benefit from a biometric time clock. Not only do these clocks help stop buddy punching, but they make back the investment in them with the ease of use and peace of mind they bring. Newer devices are even able to store lots of information, including time, hours worked, holidays taken or owed, and various other data about that particular worker.

Many biometric time clocks are interactive and user-friendly. A worker can access their own work history, time sheet, and other information via the screen of the biometric time clock. While new technology can be threatening in the work environment, giving the employee access to their information allows employees to accept the device as well as helps human resources integrate cost-efficient technology into the department with little complaint.

Buddy punching is an easy problem to solve these days, so be sure you invest in a quality time clock to help you keep your business on track. Your employees, human resources, and ultimately yourself will be grateful for the ease that comes with one of these devices.

Monday, August 15, 2011

How to Simplify Your Business

Running a business can overtake your life. Every waking moment can be ruled by your business and entrepreneurs can easily become overwhelmed by daily management issues involving employees and company aspects. Effective tools to simplify your business as much as possible are key to avoiding this scenario.

The first place to focus is on management. Set specific criteria you are looking for in the hiring process, consider education level, pay and schedule needed. Have an online application form. This way you will be able to quickly weed out applicants who do not fit, saving you time. Another management time and money saver is to strengthen your supply relationships by using as few providers as possible. This will increase your purchasing power, offering you better leverage.

One more idea is to arrange for your human resource functions to be outsourced. Research shows such issues take up one-third of entrepreneurs' time. A huge benefit to outsourcing is the responsibility for missing tax payment deadlines or misfiling will fall on the shoulders of the outsourced company rather than your own. Finally, reduce the number of staff meetings you hold. Make meetings effective and concise to save your own time, as well as, getting your employees back to work.

Make use of technology. Scheduling is often the most time consuming issue for most business owners. To save time, use available software in order to assist you in scheduling employees. Some of these software packages will also assist in making payroll easier. Additionally, rather than micromanaging employees, many business owners are thankful to invest in time clocks. A time clock takes the babysitting out of employees, respecting their scheduled hours along with providing useful documentation.

Another overall area to simplify is your marketing. The first step in this is to find out how you are doing. Have comment cards or online surveys available to your customers for feedback. Then, utilize local business to build partnerships. Start with your own customers, suppliers and vendors who are also business owners. Another idea is to cut out the middle men and meet your consumers directly.

Finally, ensure that you allow yourself personal time. Make decisions on what you are comfortable outsourcing and what you only feel comfortable doing yourself. Set boundaries for yourself which will limit how much work time you allow yourself to attend to personal matters. This way, when you are not at work, you will be able to really focus on family or friends.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How to Make Changes to Time Clock Protocol

The time clock is often one of those unnoticed, yet important components of a work environment. Employees get used to the system after a short while and the clock becomes part of the daily routine for many workers. However, great car must be made when changing the time clock routine, as the slightest changes to this procedure can wreak havoc on morale, accounting systems, and the overall effectiveness of the human resources department. There are a few steps that will help make the transition from one protocol to another efficient as well as avoid upsetting and interrupting employees and the work cycle.

If changing the clock entirely, meet and discuss the new system with that company’s representatives. Show them your old system in detail so that the rep will better understand what you are up against in terms of clock protocol changes. Often, new systems are so similar to the old ones that very little discussion is needed, and extremely similar time clock systems may require little employee training. However, most time clock protocol change calls for at least some employee orientation, management meetings, and a written notice of the new policies.

Understandably, workers are extremely sensitive to mistakes in their paychecks. Be certain that even small changes in time clock protocol are explained to employees. For example, something as seemingly insignificant as switching to or from military time can seriously affect paycheck disbursement and cause confusion. So be clear about changes and outline everything, no matter how small it seems.

A good deal of the work on management’s part has to do with what the employees are used to. If they typically clock in when they arrive and leave, then asking everyone to, additionally, clock in and out for short breaks is a huge change. Be sure to build in a transition period for implementation of fresh protocols.

If possible, put on a demonstration so that every one of the company’s workers can attend a live session or meeting to have the new device demonstrated and the new procedure outlined in detail. Let everyone have a try at using the new clocks during the demo session and answer questions there.

By following these steps, you can minimize confusion over the new device and trouble shoot more effectively with the one or two people who may be lost. Keeping employees informed helps morale and will also help avoid major work interruptions when a new time clock is put in place.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Coping With Rising Costs

Credit: askmen.com
Business owners are always searching for ways to keep up with the rising costs of keeping the doors open, turning a profit, and keeping up employee morale. It's not always easy to meet all three, but it is essential for the entrepreneur to not only survive but thrive. There are several ways employers can effectively address the rising costs of doing business and we offer you a few to consider.

Two great ways to lower costs of doing business is networking and bartering. Networking events are a great way to meet new individuals who may offer lower prices on the goods and services you need. Additionally, many business owners are turning to bartering as a way to save cash for items that can't be bartered. Barter typically requires little or no cash and you may find ways to barter for rent, office furniture, printing or even professional services.

Try to make purchases in bulk or at wholesale stores. Buying bulk typically allows you to save over cost per piece prices. Shop around for prices from local bulk stores or through online wholesalers.

Consider renting or borrowing less-used pieces of office equipment. Do you host occasional training conferences for which you need a projector? Rent one for a week. Consider renting a copier or industrial strength printer when the need arises rather than paying an ongoing contract fee.

Plan ahead for big ticket purchases you know are looming. When you know you need to update, start checking sale ads, scour close out sales, garage sales or even message boards for going out of business sales.

Have you tried to negotiate a discount on the products and services you use on a regular basis? If you have a long term relationship with a supplier, chances are he or she might be willing to negotiate a better price as a way to keep you as a client.

When it comes to employee costs, consider installing a time clock - either virtual or physical - as a way to lower costs. If your employees can log into an online time keeping program you can save costs on time and payroll calculation at the end of the pay period. Virtual time clocks are a money saver in myriad ways.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How to Simplify Your Business

Feel like you're a slave to time clocks and other office gadgets? Tired of being late or behind schedule almost constantly? It might be time to look at simplifying your business, both for your sake as well as your company's!

Several, easy ways to simplify exist that don't cost a lot, many of them with minimal effort on your part. So stop putting out fires and head them off early with these simple tips:
  • Keep it simple. You don't have to change your whole life in one day. A little thing here and there adds up quickly.
  • Consider outsourcing. Many business outsource human resources, letting a larger, professional firm do what it does best and allowing the smaller business to focus on other functions. There is no need to lose sleep over this function, so unless you are an HR company, let go and let someone else do it.
  • Streamline your morning by writing down a short routine to condense need to be done items. Spend five minutes looking at email instead of thirty. Have your coffee and roll at home rather than wasting fifteen minutes of valuable work time waiting in a coffee shop line or cafeteria.
  • Avoid meetings! All-office meetings eat time, and many companies today are eliminating the face-to-face meetings that were so prevalent a decade ago.
  • Write down five things you want to accomplish that day. You'll find that what is written becomes finished. Psychologists call this the art of simplicity, and the simple act of writing tasks down helps the human mind to focus.
Simplify and get more done without feeling like you're racing the time clock or wasting the day. With these tips, you'll undoubtedly find more and more ways to not only simplify but feel more accomplished by the end of the day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Why Biometric Time Clocks Are Ideal

Biometric time clocks have arrived, and arrived in a big way. Yet while businesses are jumping on the bandwagon, getting rid of old punch card systems, and going biometric several misconceptions still exist about this amazing technology.

Much like any security system, biometrics are only as good as the people who implement it. In the case of biometric time clocks, the information, except in select cases, is not stored after the employee leaves the firm. Secondly, most of the devices do not read fingerprints, but hand physiology, shape, and temperature.

In other words, biometric time clocks are not a threat to personal privacy. What the devices do, in any case, is improve security for the company. From an employee's point of view, the machines are convenient, since the worker can merely place a hand under the scanner and get the green light for clearance. Office workers in sensitive settings are usually happy to know that their safety is uppermost in the mind of business owners.

Biometric hand punch technology and fingerprint machines save businesses significant amounts of money for various reasons. First, the clocks are extremely efficient data storage devices. If programmed correctly, they are error-free and easy to operate and employers no longer need to worry about "buddy punching." Also, hand geometry cannot be falsified. If a person cannot pass the biometric clock scan, he or she will not be permitted into the location, and an alarm of some kind will be triggered.

For the primary task of record keeping, biometric time clocks are ideal, as they do the job fast and efficiently. Records are stored either in the clock on site, or can easily be routed via Ethernet to any computer terminal at the company's headquarters, whether that site is next door or across an ocean.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tips for Making a Better Business Plan

As every entrepreneur knows, a business plan is crucial to success. Even if you've been in business for a while, if you haven't formulated a business plan there is no reason you can't start one now. A business plan is essentially a road map to your success. Think of it as a time clock to track the minutes you're spending to grow and market your business and the minutes you spend taking care of your current clients.

Your business plan doesn't have to be overly elaborate, but it should encompass the following points to make it viable and workable. Here are some items to incorporate into your business plan:

  1. An executive summary. This should be your "elevator pitch" for your business. If you had to sum up in a few sentences or less the hows and whats of your business it would be what your executive summary sounds like. Use this section to offer investors, or to remind yourself, of why you believe your business concept is a compelling one and how it will propel you toward success. 
  2. What is your business model? This is where you explain how your concept will generate money. 
  3. What is your sales model? In this section detail where your customer base will come from to support your growth. What is your customer demographic? How will you find potential customers? How will you market your business? What kind of pitch will you use to spread the word? What medium will you use to market your business? What is your budget for marketing? Do you have an idea in mind of how large your market is? 
  4. Analyze how many clients you will reach on a monthly basis and how much revenue they will generate for you. 
  5. Income and expense projections. How much will you need to bring in compared to what your expenses are to remain viable? 
  6. Will you need to hire employees that are able to perform tasks for which you are not experienced i.e., marketing, accounting, etc.

Regardless of whether you're looking for investor capital or to secure a bank loan, a business plan is a necessary part of a successful venture. Your business plan should also be a living document - one that you refer to frequently and update as needed.

Your business plan can help you not only retain current clients but can help you find new customers. Use your business plan to find new ways to build your business. If the information contained in your business plan has failed to meet the expectations and growth you originally hoped for take some time from your day-to-day business operation and revamp your plan to meet the needs of a growing and ever-changing market.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A History of Time Clocks

Modern time clock.
Time clocks have a beginning back in 1888, where a jeweler invented the world's very first time clock. It would be until later that time clocks took off, however, when the jeweler's brother, Harlow Bundy, marketed and sold the time clock via the Bundy Manufacturing Company.

The company soon became the International Time Recording Company, due to a high demand for time clocks. Much later, however, it would take on its final name, and well-known modern name, International Business Machines (IBM).

While time clocks from these olden times could vary in design they all shared one thing in common: they provided a means for businesses to track employee attendance and tardiness by providing them with a card that checked their arrival and departure times at the workplace.

Some older models of time clocks used dials or wheels, where an employee would have to dial their employee number and then punch their card. This method was easy for employees to abuse, however, which led to the next innovation: a sheet fed time clock. From the 50s to the 70s time clocks had employee time sheets that were used, eliminating wheels and dials and allowing for the rise of mechanical punch time clocks.

Though mechanical time clocks are still used today, during the 70s cards with magnetic strips that identified employees were invented and implemented in many different workplaces.

In the present day, the most advanced time clocks are called biometric time clocks and can actually scan a body part to clock an employee in or out. One of the more popular of these types of biometric time clocks are ones that are outfitted with fingerprint scanners, where the employee merely scans their fingerprint to clock in and out of work.