Employees are the lifeblood of your company; their hard work ensures your business’s success. As the employer, it is your responsibility to pay employees correctly, but you do need help from employees, especially if they are paid hourly. One way employees might make this difficult is by not having accurate timesheets. Time theft may occur when employees are misrepresenting the amount of time they are working. This is frequently done unintentionally by employees, so it’s important for you as a business leader to understand and explain timekeeping expectations to your employees. Here are some of the common ways that inaccurate timekeeping occurs in the workplace: 

Early Clock-Ins 

One way inaccurate timekeeping may occur is when employees have a co-worker clock them in before they’ve reached the workplace. Though this only gives employees a handful of paid minutes where they aren’t working, those minutes can quickly add up over time and become costly. Help employees understand why they should not be clocking in or out for one another. 

Long Breaks 

Some employees may take a little longer than allowed on their break times figuring it’s not a big deal if they’re a little late. This can be damaging because it can leave you unexpectedly short staffed and hurt the productivity and morale of your teams. Make sure you employees understand how long their breaks should be and explain the importance of returning on time so the rest of the team doesn’t have to cover longer than necessary. 


There are many ways to get distracted while working, as I’m sure we all know. However, some employees may be indulging in distractions when they’re supposed to be working. The majority of these distractions come from technology in the form of social media, online shopping, or the news. Employees being distracted on the job will make their work lower quality and can even increase safety risks. You can’t expect employees to be producing work every minute of every day because they are human. Brief conversation with co-workers, a quick text from a spouse, and even quickly checking personal emails are all normal activities that may occur during the workday. Helping set appropriate expectations and minimizing workplace distractions can help keep everyone on track. 

What You Should Do 

In most cases, employees don’t realize the impact of inaccurate timekeeping. The first thing you should do is inform your employees of the effect their behavior has on your company. After that, create consequences for continuing behaviors and explain them to you employees. Simply having policies and conversation about appropriate behaviors is usually enough to prevent further issues. 

Setting expectation for clocking in and out will help your employees who may be unintentionally stealing time. On the other hand, make sure as the employer you are paying employees for any time they are working and you are not asking employees to work off the clock. Use this advice to reduce the amount of inaccurate timekeeping happening in your company.