For contractors managing dispersed projects across multiple job sites, tracking employee hours has traditionally been an operational thorn in their side. Paper-based timesheets are manual, inefficient, and prone to errors or manipulation.

Spreadsheets are similarly time-consuming for managers and introduce mistakes when rekeyed. Yet precisely recording and analyzing how work time is allocated is critical for running a high-performance, profitable construction firm.

Implementing purpose-built employee time tracking software is the proven solution to transform how contractors oversee labor. Robust time tracking apps now allow builders to optimize staffing, prevent payroll errors, control costs, enhance compliance, and gain data-driven insights into field productivity.

This comprehensive guide dives into how construction firms can track employee hours. It explores how modern solutions can revolutionize workforce oversight for contractors through automation and integration.

The Definition and Importance of Construction Time Tracking

Construction time tracking refers to the systematic recording and monitoring of hours worked by employees, contractors, and other stakeholders involved in construction projects.

Tracking employee time is a crucial element in construction project management, ensuring that resources are allocated efficiently and that projects stay on schedule and within budget.

The importance of tracking time in the construction industry cannot be overstated. It provides project managers and stakeholders with real-time data on labor costs, progress, and potential delays. This information enables them to make informed decisions, allocate resources appropriately, and mitigate issues as they arise.

Tracking hours accurately also plays a significant role in compliance with labor laws and regulations, minimizing disputes, and providing a transparent record of work hours completed. It enhances accountability, fosters better project planning, and ultimately leads to successful project outcomes.

In today’s construction industry, where efficiency and cost control are paramount, effective employee time tracking is a cornerstone of project success.

Why Construction Firms Need Reliable Time Tracking

Construction firms rely on reliable employee time tracking for several critical reasons. Firstly, the ability to accurately track time is essential for fair and timely payroll, ensuring that workers are compensated correctly and disputes are minimized.

Secondly, employee time tracking helps in compliance with labor laws and regulations, reducing the risk of legal issues and fines. It provides a transparent record of hours worked, time spent on breaks, and overtime, which is essential in industries subject to strict labor standards.

Moreover, keeping track of employee hours allows construction firms to monitor project progress effectively. With precise data on time spent on various tasks, project managers can make informed decisions, allocate resources efficiently, and identify potential delays before they become major issues.

It also promotes accountability among the workforce, encouraging punctuality and discouraging time theft. In an industry where labor costs, task management, and project timelines are critical factors, reliable employee time tracking is a linchpin of success, contributing to both cost savings and improved project management.

The Evolution from Paper Timesheets to Automated Tracking

The evolution from paper timesheets to automated time clock software represents a monumental shift in the way construction businesses manage their workforce and record hours worked.

In the past, paper timesheets and punch time clocks were the norm, requiring manual entry and calculation, making them slow and prone to errors. These methods lacked the efficiency and precision required to track time in today’s fast-paced work environments.

The transition to automated time clock tools has revolutionized the process. Digital solutions have streamlined the way businesses track employee hours, reducing errors and saving time. Basic digital spreadsheets improved the situation by eliminating physical time clocks and manual calculations, but they still required manual data entry and lacked robust security features.

However, the modern workforce now benefits from advanced time clock apps, specifically tailored for various industries like construction. These solutions digitize data collection from the field, offering real-time insights and efficient processing. They often include features such as location verification, activity tracking, and integration with payroll systems.

This evolution has not only enhanced accuracy but also transformed workforce management, making it more efficient, secure, and adaptable to the demands of today’s construction businesses.

Options for Deploying Construction Time Tracking Software

The options for deploying technology to track employee hours have evolved significantly to meet the diverse needs of the construction industry. Firms can choose from a variety of methods and features to track hours efficiently:

  1. Web-Based Software: Ideal for office staff, it offers browser access from any device, allowing for centralized control and easy management of time-related data.
  2. Smartphone/Tablet Time Clock Apps: These mobile apps empower field teams with remote access, making clocking in and out convenient while providing real-time data updates.
  3. Job Site Kiosks: On-site clocking time clock tools facilitate tracking employee time right at the construction site, eliminating the need for back-and-forth office visits.
  4. GPS, Geofencing, & Photo Verification: These features confirm worker identity and location, enhancing security and accountability.
  5. Activity Assignment: It allows firms to tie hours to specific projects and cost codes, aiding project management and budgeting labor costs.
  6. Offline Mode: This feature enables workers to log hours in time clock tools without constant connectivity, keeping track even in remote areas.

The optimal choice of features and approach depends on a construction firm’s specific requirements, available resources, and the roles of employees. Cloud-based platforms offer the flexibility to tailor robust time tracking solutions to suit the unique demands of construction projects.

The Transformative Business Benefits of Automated Time Tracking

Automating the capture and analysis of field employee hours brings a host of game-changing benefits to construction operations. These innovative solutions are reshaping the industry and delivering undeniable advantages. Here’s a deeper look into these transformative benefits:

Streamlined, Error-Free Payroll Processing

Automated time tracking seamlessly integrates with payroll systems such as QuickBooks. This direct integration eliminates the need for manual data re-entry, minimizing costly errors and speeding up the compensation process. The result is not only greater efficiency but also enhanced payroll accuracy.

Powerful Employee Scheduling, Forecasting, and Resource Planning

Real-time visibility into workforce allocation empowers managers to make informed decisions about staffing, sequencing, and schedules. Historical data provides the insights needed for precise cost projections, allowing construction firms to better plan and allocate resources.

Simplified Compliance and Reporting

Construction projects often involve various compliance requirements, from prevailing wage standards to union regulations. Automated time tracking generates the necessary reports and documentation, ensuring full compliance across projects while saving valuable time and resources.

Improved Field Productivity and Accountability

Linking daily work hours to project budgets and milestones keeps teams on track and accountable. GPS tracking confirms attendance and on-site time, while managers gain access to critical productivity metrics.

Granular Cost and Budget Tracking

Associating worker hours with specific jobs, phases, and activities enables precise cost accounting. Construction companies can compare budgeted costs to actuals with remarkable accuracy, down to the hour.

Controls Over Labor Costs

Access to real-time data on overtime, wage rates, idle time, and more empowers proactive cost management. Automated overtime alerts provide an extra layer of oversight, helping construction firms stay within budget and avoid overtime pay.

In an industry where efficiency, accuracy, and compliance are paramount, an automated time tracker is not just a convenience but a strategic imperative. These systems revolutionize construction operations, providing the tools needed to thrive in a competitive and demanding market.

Why Construction Firms Now Need Integrated Time Tracking Software

In today’s dynamic construction landscape, the adoption of an integrated method of tracking employee time is no longer a choice but a strategic necessity. This transition towards comprehensive time management solutions ushers in a host of benefits that are nothing short of indispensable to construction operations:

Pinpoint Payroll Errors and Compliance Risks

Manual payroll calculations have a notorious reputation for generating wage errors, resulting in employees receiving incorrect or even unlawful pay. Time tracking software with payroll integrations automatically calculates hours, ensuring compliance through automated location and work verification. The provision of detailed error reports empowers early corrections, effectively mitigating compliance risks.

Eliminate Time Theft and Unauthorized Overtime

Hidden drains on construction budgets often take the form of intentional buddy punching, excessive rest breaks, and unnecessary overtime. Integrated employee time clock systems step in to validate worker identity, location, and schedules, making it straightforward to identify and rectify these issues.

Support Accurate Job Costing, Bidding, and Analysis

The invaluable feature of linking specific work hours to individual projects facilitates precise cost accounting and data-driven bid projections. By harnessing historical data analysis, construction firms gain a competitive edge, equipping them for future bidding strategies.

Keep Projects on Track with Real-time Tracking

Real-time tracking equips supervisors with insights into field progress, allowing for comparisons with project schedules. This visibility enables prompt intervention in the event of lags in project milestones, thus averting costly overruns.

Meet Strict Deadlines Around Certified Payroll

Integrated systems create automated payroll reports, often mandated for government contracts. Furthermore, the seamless submission of these reports to relevant agencies adds an extra layer of convenience.

Optimize Staff Productivity Levels

Activity-based time tracking software empowers construction firms to establish productivity benchmarks. Teams or trades falling below these benchmarks can receive coaching for improvement or better resource allocation, significantly enhancing overall project efficiency.

Integrated time tracking, once considered a luxury, has now assumed the status of a strategic necessity for construction firms in their pursuit of enhanced efficiency, pinpoint accuracy, and stringent cost control in today’s fiercely competitive market.

Best Practices for Rolling Out Construction Time Tracking

The effective implementation of construction time tracking is paramount for streamlining operations and ensuring project success. To guarantee a seamless transition and harness the full potential of time tracking, consider the following best practices:

Involve Stakeholders in Software Selection

Engaging field managers and supervisors in the software selection process can help in  gaining their buy-in. It’s essential to evaluate potential solutions in alignment with your specific requirements and existing processes to ensure a smooth fit within your organization.

Train Employees on Proper Usage

Consider hands-on training for all staff interacting with the system, from top executives to field crews. Training sessions should cover not only system usage but also compliance aspects, ensuring that everyone is well-versed in best practices. 

Start with a Limited Pilot Program

Before rolling out a full-scale implementation, consider launching a smaller pilot program, focusing on high-ROI areas like payroll and job costing. The insights and feedback gathered during this initial phase are invaluable for fine-tuning the broader rollout.

Perform Regular Audits and Analytics Reviews

Periodic audits of time tracking usage and compliance are essential to maintaining accuracy and efficiency. Dive into reports and metrics to uncover new ways to enhance productivity and cost savings across the entire organization.

Recognize Contributors to Build Engagement

Identify and publicly recognize the managers and crews who rapidly adopt the new tools and procedures. Acknowledging their contributions fosters engagement and sets a positive example for the rest of the organization.

Continuously Optimize Processes

Establish robust feedback channels to identify opportunities for improvements in time tracking. Set measurable goals relating to adoption rates, error reduction, and report usage. These benchmarks will ensure that your processes remain up to date and drive continuous gains.

The implementation of construction time tracking is a pivotal step toward enhancing efficiency, accuracy, and cost control in the construction industry. By adhering to these best practices, you can ensure a seamless and successful transition that empowers your organization to thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

Overcoming Common Hurdles to Broader Construction Time Tracking Adoption

Expanding the adoption of construction time tracking is a pivotal step toward enhancing efficiency and cost control. However, this transformation often encounters common hurdles that necessitate effective solutions:

1. Perceived Technology Resistance

It’s not uncommon for some construction crews to exhibit resistance to new technology, particularly if they are accustomed to traditional paper processes. To overcome this, a hands-on training approach is crucial. Begin by introducing simple mobile tools that gradually ease the transition and encourage buy-in.

2. Remote Locations with Limited Connectivity

Construction often occurs in remote areas with sporadic or limited internet access. This can pose challenges for time tracking. To address this issue, support offline modes that allow employees to record hours when offline. Implement data synchronization processes to update records once connectivity is reestablished. In cases of persistent challenges,.rugged time clocks may be a feasible alternative.

3. Integration with Legacy Backend Systems

Legacy IT systems may lack APIs for seamless integration. Evaluate opportunities for modernization and prioritize integrating with the highest-value systems first.

4. Inconsistent Usage Across the Organization

To ensure consistent adoption, enforce training mandates, hold managers accountable, set clear goals, and recognize those who embrace the new tracking methods. Require time tracking on all projects to standardize practices.

5. Justifying Costs for Smaller Contractors

Smaller contractors may have concerns about costs. Highlight potential savings from increased productivity, enhanced payroll accuracy, risk reduction, and improved estimating accuracy to justify the investment in the long run.

Overcoming these common challenges is essential for the broader adoption of construction time tracking, leading to more streamlined operations and increased efficiency.

Key Recommendations and Takeaways for Construction Time Tracking

Efficient construction time tracking is pivotal to the success of any project. Here are some key recommendations and takeaways for implementing effective time tracking in the construction industry:

  1. Prioritize Automation: Invest in automated time clock tools to streamline processes. Automation not only saves time but also reduces the likelihood of errors associated with manual data entry.
  2. Choose Purpose-Built Solutions: Opt for time tracking software designed specifically for the construction industry. Generic software may not meet the unique needs and requirements of the field.
  3. Change Management: Plan and budget for change management activities. Ensure that all employees, from office staff to field workers, embrace and effectively use the new time clocks.
  4. Data Analysis: Develop expertise in time data analysis. Analyzing this data can reveal insights into productivity, efficiency, and areas for improvement across the organization.
  5. Integration: Integrate time tracking data with other systems such as project management and payroll. This maximizes the value of the data and reduces duplicate data entry.
  6. Cultural Shift: Leverage time insights to drive cultural changes focused on accountability, productivity, and data-driven decision-making. Encourage a culture where time management is a shared responsibility.
  7. Embrace Technology: Outdated manual methods are no longer sufficient to meet the demands of the modern construction environment. Transitioning to purpose-built time tracking technology is imperative to maintain a competitive edge.

By adhering to these recommendations, construction firms can unlock substantial gains in workforce efficiency, cost control, and compliance. With technology on their side, they can navigate the complexities of modern construction projects and achieve successful outcomes.

Next Steps

Construction firms today face immense pressure to optimize limited labor resources across dispersed projects, reduce overhead costs, and avoid regulatory violations. Transitioning to integrated, automation-centric time tracking software is a proven strategy to gain control over these challenges while improving competitiveness.

Robust solutions now allow builders to unlock game-changing visibility into workforce efficiency, productivity, and costs. The analytics and integration capabilities provided by advanced systems enable contractors at all tiers and trades to shift to data-driven decision-making and continuous optimization around field teams.

The research indicates now is the time for construction companies to take steps toward modern timekeeping by:

  • Documenting current processes and pain points around time tracking
  • Exploring integrated solutions purpose-built for the construction industry’s needs
  • Planning training, change management, and pilot activities
  • Building consensus around requirements with stakeholders
  • Developing an implementation roadmap focused on maximizing ROI
  • Budgeting for software, training, and integration resources

With a smart technology strategy and deployment approach focused on driving adoption, contractors can transition to a new era of workforce management excellence. The bottom line and competitive benefits will quickly outweigh the investment required.

Streamlined Time Tracking Solutions from ExakTime

ExakTime offers industry-leading automated time tracking solutions designed specifically for construction industry needs. Its configurable mobile and web-based platforms integrate seamlessly with popular payroll, accounting, and project management systems.

Advanced features like GPS-enabled geofencing, photo verification, and biometrics prevent time theft and ensure compliance. Real-time syncing of field data to back office systems eliminates lag and errors. Powerful reporting provides insights to optimize labor utilization and job costing.

Trusted by thousands of contractors in the US and Canada since 1999,, ExakTime’s construction-tailored solutions make time tracking easy for managers and field teams. The cloud-based software scales to firms of all sizes and is accessible from any device. Contact ExakTime today for a personalized demo.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most impactful capabilities offered by advanced construction time tracking systems?

Top features to evaluate include mobile access, GPS tracking, photo verification, robust integrations, certified payroll reporting, activity tracking, data analytics, custom reports, offline modes, equipment logging, and PTO administration features.

What does successful change management look like for time tracking adoption?

Critical success factors include stakeholder involvement, hands-on training for all roles, pilot testing, usage incentives, manager accountability, goal setting, audits, continuous optimization, staff recognition, and feedback channels. Ongoing training and support are key as well.

How can time tracking integration reduce payroll errors and compliance risks?

By automatically syncing field-verified hours into payroll systems, manual calculation errors are eliminated. Location tracking also reduces risks around time theft, wage/hour violations, and improper classifications. Exception reports spotlight red flags early.