From fibbing on time sheets to using work time for play time, the concept of time theft is one of the biggest issues to employers and human resource departments alike. Whenever an employee is on the clock and not working, your employee is committing time theft. It’s nearly impossible to detect, as it takes many forms. The consequences often affects your company’s bottom line, but by then it’s too late. The Kentucky CPA Journal estimates that a collective $400 billion is lost in productivity each year. So, what can be done? Here are some answers to help your company’s battle with time theft.

Automated attendance system

An automated attendance system can allow you to carefully and fully track your employees break time. There are many quality time tracking software systems available, including XactTime, Genesis and DayTrack. These systems can allow small business owners to be alerted to anomalies in their employees’ work time. They also produce handy reports that can aid in scheduling.

Biometric data collection

While employees can trade badges and passwords, they can’t fudge a fingerprint, facial recognition, or a retina scan. A biometric system may cost a lot up front, but it’ll quickly become the gift that keeps on giving.


Battling time theft through communication is the most difficult to execute, but arguably the most effective from a morale perspective. We all know a happy worker is a productive worker. Communication between management and labor becomes tantamount to a company’s success. The Synerion company points out, “One of the biggest barriers to reining in time theft in the workplace is the lack of conversation between employees and management about it.” Time theft, scheduling and the effects on the company’s bottom line should be discussed, as it brings accountability and time management into play. Clarity about company policies regarding cyber-loafing, which is time spent on social media, gaming, etc., should also enter these conversations. However, a space should be created wherein theses topics can be communicated with employers without the morale-busting, authoritarian attitude.


This article was written by Christopher Millard for CBS Small Business Pulse

  1. This is an important topic. ‘Time theft’ is too often an invisible drain on a company’s top and bottom lines. Open, honest dialogue about it between management and staff is a great suggestion. It’s important for people to know that taking the occasional break is fine – but that work is the priority. Having accurate, comprehensive and unbiased reporting on time spent on online ‘distractions,’ for example, can help management identify outliers from the norm within their organization, and quietly and effectively address them. Mike Tierney, CEO –

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