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Learn how employees track their time at work.

Workplace Time Tracking Habits Revealed

New Research Gets to the Bottom of Employee Time Tracking Habits in 2017

Time tracking app vs. paper timesheets.

So much of what you do as a business owner is tracking numbers and mobilizing your workforce for success. With limited time on your hands, it’s no wonder employees are often in charge of tracking and reporting their hours. Unfortunately, employees who track time manually, as opposed to using time tracking software, are more likely to report their time inaccurately, which could end up costing you big.

In February 2017, TSheets commissioned PollFish to conduct a survey of 954 adults about their time tracking habits at work.* We wanted to know:

  • Who tracks time?
  • What are common time tracking habits?
  • How accurate are employee timesheets?
16% of employees who track time are salaried.

Who Tracks Time?

We were interested in talking to people who track time at work, so our survey weeded out those who do not. Of the 954 employees who we found do track time at work, we learned that 66 percent were hourly employees. Interestingly, 16 percent of employees who tracked their time were salaried.

A chart showing the different methods employees use to track time.

Time Tracking Tools

  • 25% Use a time tracking application
  • 25% Use paper or a spreadsheet
  • 14% Use a touch screen or kiosk
  • 10% Use a punch card
  • 7% Use biometrics
  • 7% Use a point of sale system
  • 3% Text or email hours
Manual punch time clock with paper timecard.

How Do Employees Track Time?

As outdated as paper timesheets and traditional punch clocks are, we know from experience that many companies are still looking for a modern, cloud-based, mobile time tracking system for their employees. As we suspected, the ways in which they clocked time varied, but a quarter of them did say they use some sort of time tracking app.

Still, manual time entry is all too common.

All that said, it’s shocking to find that 38 percent of employees who track time said they still use manual processes like paper time cards and traditional punch clocks. We suspect that this trend will change as more people discover the benefits of accurate time tracking.

Still want employees to punch in? Try an employee punch clock that won't let you down.

18% of employees say managers track their time for them.

How Crews and Groups of Employees Track Time

Crews and mobile workforces often start and end their job site workdays at the same time each day, and this was reflected in the data. Many people admitted to having a manager track their time, and 18 percent of our subjects say they have a manager track their hours for them. Meanwhile, 38 percent write in their own hours.

36% of employees submit hours weekly, 22% twice monthly, and 31% daily.

Weekly vs. Monthly and Daily Submissions

Every company operates differently, but when do people typically submit their hours for admin review? Our study found that 58 percent of our respondents said they submit their hours weekly or twice per month, and 31 percent said they submit time on a daily basis.

Half of employees admit to time theft.

Buddy Punching, Time Theft, and FLSA Violations

Nobody’s perfect. But we learned in our survey that the timesheets submitted by employees could be incredibly flawed. Of employees surveyed, 16 percent admitted to buddy punching (or clocking in for another employee), and two-thirds said they have to make corrections to timesheet errors occasionally or often. Half of them admit to time theft and a quarter of them to working off-the-clock. And if you’re not tracking those off-the-clock working hours, you could be violating the FLSA.

There are seven deadly FLSA sins. Which ones are you guilty of?


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*Methodology: In February 2017, TSheets commissioned PollFish to conduct a survey of 1,000 employees, aged 18+, about their time tracking habits.