Time theft in the workplace is a common and expensive problem across industries. And, if not addressed, it can cost employers time, money and customers. In fact, the American Payroll Association found that 75% of businesses in the United States are affected by time theft every year. Another study estimates that time theft costs U.S. employers more than $400 billion per year in lost productivity.
When employees are working remotely, it’s harder to detect and prevent all types of fraud. Time theft leads to lower productivity, which in turn leads to financial losses for the organization. Fortunately, there are steps that organizations can take to mitigate the risk of workplace time theft. Consider the following strategies:
- Establish rules and expectations — It’s critical to address time theft in company policies and clearly define behaviors and consequences. It’s best to measure performance on benchmarks, so ensure policies clarify what conduct is not acceptable.
- Check in regularly — Managers should regularly check in with remote employees, asking what they’re working on and how they’re feeling. If there are already standing meetings on the calendar, managers should stick to them and use them as additional ways to check on how employees are doing.
- Keep employees engaged — Support employees through both challenges and successes. It’s important to reward a job well done and recognize employees publicly. When employees feel appreciated, they are often more motivated and committed to working hard.
- Provide productivity resources — Employers should consider offering virtual time-management training or workshops, or simply ask employees to informally share their favorite productivity hacks with coworkers.
- Use tracking software, as needed — Depending on the nature of work, it might be appropriate to use time-tracking or monitoring software to keep tabs on employees.
Time theft is a nearly silent form of fraud that can happen to any organization. It’s important for employers to be aware of how it happens and take the necessary steps to prevent it, especially with remote workers. A combination of clear guidelines, tools and employee support can help companies lower their risk of time theft. Trust employees to do the right thing and keep them engaged to reduce the company’s overall risk.
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The content herein is provided for general information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or other advice or opinions on any matters. This information has been taken from sources which we believe to be reliable, but there is no guarantee as to its accuracy.