Managing field workers and mobile employees can be a daunting task for construction companies. Numerous job locations, tracking subcontractors, and documenting billable hours are all employer responsibilities. How can a company manage its workforce efficiently and productively to maximize bottom-line results? Cloud-based time and attendance solutions may be the answer.
Accurate time and attendance records are the single most important element to effective time and attendance management. Unfortunately, construction industry dynamics pose some challenges to accurate recordkeeping. Most rely on hourly workers and subcontractors, so accurate time tracking is critical. Cost codes, shift changes, overtime, and breaks all invite missteps and errors.
Payroll processing can be laborious and quite costly if timekeeping mistakes are made. Many companies still rely on manual timekeeping, which is time-consuming and prone to errors. Antelope Sales & Service Inc. of Farmington, New Mexico, realized that in order to accurately track employees’ time, they needed to upgrade to a cloud-based system.
“Our workers used to clock in by texting me when they left for a jobsite at 2 a.m.,” says Phelia Smith, Antelope’s office manager. “The next day I’d manually enter everyone’s time into our system. We needed a better way to track time records than texting in the middle of the night.”
Aside from the need to be accurate, tracking hourly workers is the law. Compliance will only grow in complexity, with new rules and regulations to follow. For example, the Affordable Care Act is just one of the many areas that will require employers to accurately track employee hours for healthcare benefits. Utilizing a solution to accurately track worked hours and produce reports to comply with these regulations will save time, money, and frustration.
It’s enough of a challenge to manage your own employees, but managing multiple subcontractors on top of that only adds to the headache. With larger construction firms using dozens of subcontractors at a time, lost revenue can quickly add up due to inaccurate records and time card mistakes.
One solution is to set up subcontractors as individual departments within the cloud-based time and attendance solution. Using unique department IDs, subcontractors can record and track their time using smartphones or other mobile devices. This allows general contractor firms to have an automatic and accurate record of each subcontractor’s worked hours for each job.
When it comes time to do payroll, owners can easily track how much time a subcontractor is spending on the job and whether his or her time is being used efficiently.
Cloud-based time and attendance systems offer many advantages to accurately track time and process payroll. For employers, they allow managers and administrators to access employee time records at any time and from anywhere. One Lathem customer, concerned about taking vacation because of monthly payroll processing duties, decided to take his job on the road, and chose PayClock® Online, Lathem’s cloud-based time and attendance system that helps managers easily process payroll anytime, anywhere. Charles Toeran, operations manager at NIC Law Enforcement Supply, says, “We don’t even need to be in an office to complete payroll. PayClock Online allowed me to run payroll in an RV while camping with my family.”
Construction companies can also set up time clocks at jobsites that can be networked with cloud-based time and attendance systems. Biometric time clocks at these sites, such as 3D face recognition, eliminate the possibility of buddy punching—when workers clock in and out for each other. And some systems use GPS tracking to indicate and map the location where an employee clocks in and out.
For workers, nothing can be easier than recording time using smart phones, tablets, or laptops. Their time data is sent directly to the web-based time and attendance system in real time for easy processing, editing, or reconciliation. Because the data is stored online and the system is hosted in the cloud, there’s no desktop software to install or maintain. For security, data is encrypted with the same technology that banks use, and information is backed up daily.
To solve their time-tracking challenges, Antelope Sales & Service Inc. also chose PayClock Online, primarily to let workers clock in and out from smartphones and web-enabled devices. They can still use a physical time clock when they need to. The switch greatly reduced the time and effort it takes to process payroll.
Further, cloud solutions are affordable, allowing you to pay as you go only for the number of employees that are actively using the system. And technical support and system upgrades are included automatically.
Today, a time and attendance solution should make life simple. Period. An automated cloud-based system is easy to install and integrates with major payroll systems such as ADP, QuickBooks, PayChex, and others.
Time tracking remains one of the most critical factors in running a successful construction business. Effectively managing labor costs significantly impacts the bottom line, so getting equipped with the right tools, like a cloud-based time and attendance solution, can make a huge difference when it comes to returns. Don’t leave money on the table. Take advantage of the solutions available today, and increase your company’s efficiency and profits. ■
For More Information:
Scott Mulka manages marketing for Lathem, a leading provider of durable and affordable time and attendance products for small business. More than 400,000 companies worldwide use a Lathem time clock solution every day to help manage their business. You can reach Scott at
Modern Contractor Solutions, October 2013
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