Keeping accurate records of work hours is crucial in the construction industry. With tight project budgets and deadlines, construction firms need to closely monitor labor costs and productivity. An advanced time tracking solution like ExakTime can optimize work hour tracking for construction companies.
Proper work time tracking provides vital data to help construction business owners oversee projects efficiently. It enables firms to only pay for billable time worked, avoid budget overruns from labor overages, and gain detailed reporting insights to improve labor and resource scheduling and planning.
Understanding the Importance of Tracking Work Hours
Tracking employee work time serves many essential purposes for construction firms:
Accurate Payroll and Labor Costs
With detailed data on billable hours worked across projects and tasks, companies can process accurate payroll. This ensures employees are paid correctly for time worked and prevents overpayment. Detailed working hours data also enables firms to allocate labor costs precisely to specific projects.
Having concrete records of hours worked, overtime, and time off is indispensable for guaranteeing precise payroll. Construction businesses cannot accurately calculate earnings and distribute paychecks to workers without clear documentation of work time.
Robust time tracking also provides the necessary data to properly assign labor expenses to individual jobs. Rather than allocating labor arbitrarily or averaging costs across projects, companies can pinpoint how many working hours were devoted to Project A versus Project B.
Compliance with Regulations
Construction companies must comply with federal, state, and local labor laws around pay, breaks, overtime, prevailing wage, certified payroll, worker classification, and more.
For example, federal overtime rules require payment of 1.5 times the hourly rates for hours worked over 40 per week. Certain states have daily overtime regulations as well. Companies must maintain thorough time logs to demonstrate overtime was paid properly or that workers are exempt.
Prevailing wage projects necessitate keeping detailed documentation like worker classifications, wages paid, and daily working hours per trade. These records must be furnished to regulators upon request.
Robust time tracking provides auditable data to demonstrate compliance during labor law audits and avoid stiff fines or revoked contracts. Simple time tracking tools also proactively assist with compliance by flagging issues like overtime.
Tracking detailed work hours by project, task, and individual team member enables high-level analysis of workforce productivity. Business owners can examine weekly reports to identify top performers, optimize crews, and uncover inefficiencies.
For example, the total hours logged by Carpenter A on a kitchen remodel project can be compared to Carpenter B on the same project. If Carpenter A took 25 hours and Carpenter B took 40 hours, management can dig into the variance and determine if there is a skill gap that needs to be addressed.
Likewise, productivity benchmarks can be established over time for tasks like framing, drywall installation, plumbing, electrical work, and more. As a new project progresses, current hours worked can be compared against benchmarks to ascertain if productivity is as expected. Issues like inadequate training or improper resource allocation could then be rectified.
Granular data on time spent on projects facilitates project management. The time tracked on a daily basis can be compared to the project plan and budget to identify potential overages early. Corrective action can then be taken to keep projects on schedule and under budget.
For example, if framing is taking longer than originally planned, the project manager can bring in additional framing crews to get back on track. Or, alternate methods can be explored if the project is already over budget.
Having clear visibility into labor hour expenditures versus plans allows project leadership to make informed decisions to keep costs in check. Without accurate work hours tracking, overruns can spiral out of control.
Theft and Time Abuse Prevention
Complete records of employee work hours also deter and uncover time theft or buddy punching. Features like GPS location data, geofencing, and facial photo capture prevent and detect fraud.
If an employee’s timestamp shows they punched in from 50 miles away, that is a clear red flag of potential time theft. And photo ID capture builds definitive proof of who is actually working versus an accomplice punching in on their behalf.
Implementing robust validation and auditing capabilities closes loopholes that allow dishonest employees to get paid for work not performed. This protects a company’s bottom line.
Thorough employee monitoring is indispensable for construction firms to operate efficiently, control costs, meet deadlines, and remain compliant.
Proven Strategies for Efficient Work Hour Tracking
Construction companies should implement work hour tracking processes using these proven best practices:
Choose a Specialized Construction Time Tracking Software
Look for time tracking software designed specifically for the construction industry, like ExakTime, for important features like location tracking, equipment logging, schedule management, and more. Avoid using basic general workforce time clocks not tailored to construction.
General employee timesheet apps lack key capabilities construction firms rely on like prevailing wage tracking, reminders for meal breaks, integration with leading job costing software, and the ability to log job site photos. Opting for a specialty solution saves having to cobble together disparate systems.
Automate Data Collection
Select tools that enable easy automated collection of work hours data directly from the field instead of manual processes. Capabilities like mobile app punch in/out, GPS and geofencing, and photo ID capture reduce administration while improving accuracy.
Automation also deters time theft. If team members know their locations and photos are recorded at every punch, they are less likely to attempt punching in from home while out running errands.
Use Role-Based Permissions
Set up your employee timesheet app with permissions so employees can only access features appropriate for their role. Workers should be able to punch in/out and perhaps view their own timesheets. Managers may edit timesheets or run reports in addition to basic punch capabilities. Locking down permissions limits opportunities for fraud like approving one’s own time entries. Audit logs should track all modifications to timesheets.
Configure Useful Alerts
Leverage automated notifications like overtime alerts, missed punch alerts, or unapproved timecard alerts through email, SMS, or mobile app. Alerts prompt timely corrections and supervision.
For example, an overtime alert reminds the project manager that anyone working over 50 hours this week requires their written authorization. Missed punch alerts allow field supervisors to promptly follow up with crews to fill in any missing times.
Perform Regular Audits
Audit time tracker weekly reports regularly to catch any missed punches, incorrect project cost codes, or other errors. Also, verify occasional flagrant outliers like excessive overtime for a single employee. Audits serve as a control function to ensure that simple time tracking processes are functioning as intended and employees comply with policies. A weekly auditor review of random crews’ timesheets is recommended.
Track Supporting Details
Log additional details like cost codes, prevailing wage classifications, equipment used, field notes, and more to get richer insights from the time data.
Photos attached to timesheets provide visual confirmation work is occurring where expected. Detailed equipment tracking helps determine utilization rates. Field logs capture site events, weather, safety incidents, deliveries, and more.
Integrate with Payroll and Accounting
Choose a time tracking app with integration capabilities. Automated syncing of hours data to payroll, job costing, and project management software saves significant administrative time.
Rather than manually compiling hours from various sources, integrations automatically transfer reliable time data seamlessly to downstream functions. Integrations also reduce errors from manual re-entry.
Provide training to employees on the proper use of your time tracking apps and processes. Periodic refresher training ensures continued compliance.
Cover topics like how to punch in/out on timesheet apps, resolve missed punches, lock timesheets, approve hours, restrictions on overtime, required break times, and more based on your policies. Document training completion for new hires and retain records. Classroom-based or online training courses may supplement hands-on field training.
Maintain Time Tracking Policies
Document and enforce policies for clocking in/out, locking timesheets, approvals, overtime, and more. This keeps everyone on the same page.
Policies provide clear guidance on topics like required approval for OT, designating primary vs secondary cost codes, proximity for geo-fencing, consequences for repeated missed punches, and acceptable reasons for edits.
Update published policies annually and have employees attest to reading and complying with policies. Signed attestations provide further proof employees were informed of expectations.
Essential Tools to Assist in Tracking Work Hours
Construction firms should utilize these vital tools to optimize work hour tracking:
Time Tracking Software
Specialized time and attendance software like ExakTime streamlines data collection and detailed reporting. Key features of employee timesheet apps include punch-in/out, GPS location, reminders, overtime alerts, and more. Integrations with payroll, HR, and accounting systems enable efficient data sharing.
Robust software eliminates cumbersome manual processes involving paper timesheets. The centralized application acts as a system of record for reliable hours data and documentation. Advanced solutions provide both simplicity for employees and powerful functionality for administrators. Capabilities like photo ID capture, geofencing, offline access, and job costing integration provide end-to-end construction-focused tracking of billable time.
Look for an intuitive, easy-to-use platform requiring minimal training. But ensure comprehensive construction capabilities are still present behind the simple interface. Employee monitoring software, in the form of mobile apps or web apps, should act as an organizational hub for optimized time and attendance processes.
Easy-to-use mobile apps allow field employees to punch in and out via smartphone. Mobile apps improve accuracy over paper timesheets prone to errors and late filings. Digital clock events better reflect actual hours worked versus scribbling down hours at the end of a shift based on memory. Mobile time tracking apps typically support offline usage for areas with poor connectivity.
Geofencing and GPS Tracking
Location-based capabilities verify workers are starting and ending shifts at the expected worksite using GPS coordinates and geofenced boundaries. This deters time theft.
If an employee lives 30 miles from the job site but punches in from a location 10 miles away, geospatial tracking would flag this discrepancy for review. Supervisors can follow up to determine if the employee failed to report to the site.
Notifications and Alerts
Custom notifications keep supervisors informed of issues like missed clock-ins, excessive overtime, or unapproved timesheets that require attention. Configurable business rules determine what scenarios trigger alerts, who receives notifications, and the delivery method (text, email, in-app). Timely notifications facilitate rapid response.
Key Tips to Overcome Challenges in Work Hours Tracking
Construction companies should keep these tips in mind to overcome common work tracking obstacles:
Simplify Employee Time Tracking
Look for time tracker apps with intuitive interfaces requiring minimal training. The easier a solution is to use, the higher the adoption will be.
It should take seconds per day for field crews to track time through a basic mobile app. Opt for tools prioritizing simplicity to minimize resistance from employees who see tracking as a hassle.
Standardize Cost Codes
Maintain standardized cost codes across projects and update them regularly. This avoids confusion when employees assign their time.
Establish a master list of cost codes in the chart of accounts. Tie codes to projects and tasks during project setup. Updates to codes cascade across projects enterprise-wide.
Leverage features like auto-approval workflows based on rules to reduce the manual approval burden for supervisors. For example, exempt employee timesheets above 40 hours auto-approve but non-exempt overtime requires manual authorization. Or timesheets punching in/out from expected locations auto-approve.
Plan for Connectivity Issues
Implement offline modes in time tracking apps to allow field crews and remote teams to still punch in/out when internet connectivity is unstable. Hours sync when a connection is restored. Store punch transactions locally until connectivity allows syncing to the central system. This prevents lost punches that undermine tracking accuracy.
Perform Timesheet Audits
Conduct occasional thorough reviews of random timesheets looking for any policy violations, errors, or time theft. A weekly manager audit of 5% of timesheets reinforces compliance through visibility. Employees will take care knowing their timesheets can be reviewed.
Act Quickly on Errors
Address any timesheet errors, missed punches, or even time card fraud in a timely manner while details are still fresh. This maintains payroll accuracy. Missed punch alerts notify managers to correct same-day. Timesheet approval workflows only allow payment when timesheets are error-free.
How ExakTime Can Help Construction Firms Keep Track of Work Hours
ExakTime delivers robust time tracking tools tailored specifically for construction firms. The software is designed to meet the unique needs of contractors through powerful functionality that automates and simplifies time management.
With ExakTime, construction businesses can tap into capabilities like mobile punch-in/out powered by GPS location validation. This provides air-tight proof of your crews’ presence on site when clocking in and out.
Your field teams will appreciate ExakTime’s simplicity, with easy-to-use mobile apps requiring minimal training. At the same time, the software delivers advanced features in the background like geofencing, reminders, and notifications to prevent missed punches and timesheet errors.
By leveraging a specialty solution designed for construction, rather than forcing a generic time clock to fit, companies can eliminate frustration while gaining access to data-driven insights and weekly reports on labor productivity and costs.
Contact our customer support team to learn more about maximizing efficiency, controlling project costs, and maintaining compliance with ExakTime’s construction-grade timekeeping. Or, explore our website to learn more and dive into different blogs like how to bid construction jobs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Main Reasons Construction Companies Track Time?
The key reasons construction firms keep track of work hours are to maintain accurate payroll, allocate job costs correctly, remain compliant with labor regulations, optimize workforce productivity, and prevent time theft.
How Can Construction Firms Improve Time-Tracking Accuracy?
Strategies like automated data collection, regular audits, simplified software, training, and timely correction of errors help construction companies enhance the accuracy of tracked time.
How Do Time Tracking Apps Help with Job Costing?
Time tracking apps integrate with job costing software to seamlessly allocate labor hours to specific projects and tasks. This provides precise job cost data.