Accurately tracking time on construction sites is crucial for running an efficient, productive, and compliant business. Investing in an automated time-tracking system designed specifically for construction can provide numerous benefits compared to paper-based time cards or makeshift spreadsheets. This article will explore key factors to consider when comparing employee time clock apps to meet the unique needs of construction firms.

Why is Time Tracking so Important to Construction Sites?

For construction companies managing complex projects across multiple sites with large crews, accurate and automated time tracking is absolutely essential. Here’s an in-depth look at why it should be a top priority:

Boost Productivity

Time tracking provides unparalleled visibility into how work time is being spent. By monitoring clock in/out times, breaks, hours worked by project, and related data, you can uncover a multitude of opportunities to enhance workforce productivity.

With detailed analytics from time tracking software, you can pinpoint the root causes of underperforming projects, inefficient processes, and unproductive employees. For example, you may find that a crew logs full hours at a site, but progress is lagging. The data shows they are splitting time between 3 different projects vs dedicating manpower to one job.

Access to real-time clock-in status and task data also enables transparency into current work. If you see a crew is onsite but logged hours for a different project task 2 hours ago, you know there is an issue. Accurate time tracking empowers management to correct course in a timely manner.

Streamlining manual, error-prone time-tracking processes provides yet another productivity boost. Automated software eliminates the tedious work of chasing down and collecting paper timesheets, manually entering data, double-checking for accuracy, and tracking down missing information. This frees up administrative staff to focus on more value-added tasks.

Increase Accuracy

Human error in time tracking inevitably leads to inaccurate payroll and job costing. Employees may accidentally log incorrect hours or intentionally fudge time sheets. Illegible handwriting can cause errors in interpreting paper time cards during data entry.

Automated construction time clock apps with built-in validation rules and tracking improve accuracy tremendously. Time tracking systems can require electronic sign-offs to prevent unapproved changes. The software can flag entries that look like accidental duplicates or overtime requiring authorization. GPS location tracking integrated clocks confirm employees are on the job site when clocked in.

With automated software reducing human error, the time data flowing into payroll is far more precise. This ensures employees are paid strictly for time worked without overpayments draining profits. Accurate job costing also depends on reliable time-tracking data.

Enforce Compliance

Construction firms must comply with a web of labor regulations, including prevailing wage, certified payroll, overtime rules, meal and rest break requirements, and more. Failure to comply exposes companies to hefty fines, lawsuits, and loss of government contracts.

Automated time-tracking software helps enforce compliance in real-time as data is captured. For example, the system can automatically clock employees out after 6 hours to force a meal break. Or block overtime hours unless a manager approves an override. The software can also output required certified payroll reports with a single click.

Paper processes rely on back office staff to monitor timesheets for compliance issues after submission. But automated software compliance rules prevent non-compliant data from ever being logged. This protects the company while also freeing up staff.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Time Clock

While any time clock beats paper, not all systems are created equal. Here are key capabilities to look for when selecting construction-focused time-tracking software and hardware:

Designed for Construction

Seeking out industry-specific solutions will provide the most relevant features to meet construction business needs. You want capabilities purpose-built for the unique environment of heavy equipment, remote sites, dispersed crews, and regulatory requirements.

For example, the ability to create dynamic crew schedules that adapt based on site location rather than fixed individual schedules. Or allowing both precise GPS tracking coordinates and address lookup for the clock in/out to accommodate remote areas.

Real-Time Visibility

Waiting until the end of the week to collect timesheets provides limited visibility. Look for real-time data access showing who is currently clocked in and where. Pinpointing issues as they occur allows for rapid response.

Dashboards and map views of current worker status are helpful for supervisors to monitor productivity. Alerts for unexpected clock outs, overtime, or missed breaks also improve real-time oversight.

Flexible Data Capture

In addition to time tracking, choosing software that can capture other types of data streamlines field reporting. Look for the ability to add photos, videos, voice notes, or documents to employee time logs.

This facilitates incident reporting, safety violations, equipment defects, material issues, and more. Digital data eliminates paper-based processes and provides documentation to support change orders or claims.

Payroll Integration

Payroll accuracy relies on error-free time data. Selecting software with built-in integration to your payroll system avoids manual entry and duplication of effort.

Data flows seamlessly from the time tracking software into paycheck calculation, increasing accuracy. Automatic transfer also prevents delays, resulting in expedited payroll processing.

Offline Accessibility

Spotty WiFi or cell signals are a construction reality. Choosing time-tracking software that allows offline data capture prevents gaps due to lost connections. Time and notes are cached locally until connections are restored.


Whether extreme weather, dust, mud or drops, construction site time clock hardware should withstand tough conditions. Search for rugged designs rated for water, dust, and shocks.

For mobile devices, look for military-grade drop protection and glove-friendly screens and buttons. Avoid consumer devices lacking hardy construction specs.

Getting the Most Out of Your Time Clock Software

Once you’ve implemented time tracking software, put its data to work optimizing your business:

Actionable Reporting

Time-tracking data analytics should provide actionable insights, not just totals. Evaluate software reporting on factors like:

  • Project cost tracking – Monitor budgets vs actuals to avoid overruns
  • Overtime analysis – Identify patterns driving OT for correction
  • Absenteeism tracking – Pinpoint problematic jobs/teams
  • Certified payroll – Ensure compliance with government contracts

Leverage dashboards and drill-down capabilities to uncover trends and issues needing attention.

Process Improvements

Time tracking data reveals bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Look for reporting and analysis on items like:

  • Delayed project starts/stops
  • Excessive unpaid time or absenteeism
  • Overallocated crews/staff
  • Multiple clock ins/outs indicating confusion

Address negative trends through training, supervision changes, policy updates, or assessments of site conditions affecting productivity.

Choose Time Tracking Software That’s Easy to Use

Given the nature of construction work, user adoption is the key to time-tracking software implementation success. Getting construction workers to embrace new technology can be challenging due to varying education levels, language barriers, tech comfort levels, and natural resistance to change.

Seeking out solutions with highly intuitive interfaces and simplified functions helps reduce barriers to adoption. Here are some key ease-of-use factors to prioritize:

Simple, Fast Clock In/Out

The process of clocking in and out should be lightning-fast and frictionless to keep work moving. 

Prioritize tapping icons over manual data entry. The goal is to tap in, and tap out to start and end shifts or breaks. This also prevents inaccurate time data entry on small mobile screens.

Seamless Photo Verification

To prevent buddy punching, photo capture provides proof of authorized user identity. But selfie snaps or ID photo requirements should take just seconds, not minutes. Positioning should be flexible versus forcing complex positioning.

Fast and easy ID photo snapshots thwart time theft without becoming a bottleneck to the clock in/out process.

Native Language Support

Providing system languages aligned with your workforce demographics, especially Spanish in the US, is critical. When workers can engage with the software in their native dialect, it reduces confusion and drives adoption.

Don’t make false assumptions about English fluency. Give equal prominence to language options and translations in your time-tracking platform.

Choosing Time Tracking Software for Construction 

Moving from paper to automated time tracking delivers game-changing data insights, unlocks productivity, improves payroll accuracy, and ensures compliance. However, competing construction demands leave little time for assessing technology options. This article provides a blueprint of must-have capabilities and ease-of-use factors to simplify the selection process.

Prioritizing purpose-built construction software, real-time visibility, flexible data capture, seamless integration, ruggedized on/off-site hardware, and user-friendly interfaces sets up success. Contact ExakTime today to learn how our time-tracking solutions achieve these goals while remaining affordable and quick to implement. Let our dedicated customer support team explain how ExakTime can solve your unique time-tracking challenges.


What are the main benefits of automating time tracking for construction?

Automated time tracking improves productivity through real-time data, increases payroll accuracy via error proofing and supports compliance through configurable rules and reporting. It also eliminates inefficient manual processes.

What time tracking features are most important for construction sites?

Key capabilities include flexible data capture like photos and notes; GPS-enabled mobile clocks; offline accessibility; durable hardware; construction-specific scheduling and reporting; integration with payroll software.

How can I get employees to actually use new time tracking technology?

Focus on ease of use through intuitive software, simple clock in/out options, native language support, photo verification vs manual entry, and hands-on training.