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| June 28, 2024

The Secret of Accurate Time Tracking: Real-Time Reporting

To thrive in this ever-evolving competitive construction landscape, contractors need to develop strategies that make their businesses competitive for project opportunities and profitable once those opportunities are won.

One common approach involves investing in construction time tracking software, which gives contractors access to real-time reporting and unique time tracking insights to maximize their productivity while reducing labor costs.

According to a recent report released by The Centre for Economics and Business Research, 62% of firms that use real-time [time tracking] data have created long-lasting efficiencies in their processes.

Real-time reporting gives contractors access to the most up to date information so that they can make quick-second decisions that’ll prevent costly mistakes. But understanding the data, and how to interpret what’s provided, can be tricky especially if you’re just getting into this digital phenomenon. We’re here to help. We’re going to examine what real-time reporting is, how to collect it and how to apply it effectively.

Key Takeaways:

  • Contractors can use real-time reporting to assess project information at the time it’s collected to make the most informed decisions possible.
  • Real-time reporting offers valuable insights into when workers clock in and out, where they’re located and how much overtime they accrue.
  • Time tracking software gives employers real-time reporting data that reduces common payroll issues like lack of oversight, timekeeping errors and stolen time.
  • Some time tracking software can integrate with payroll software — allowing employers to calculate accurate payroll and submit payroll reports in a fraction of the time.
  • WorkMax is a time tracking software that’s built for the construction industry. Its users receive real-time project insights, enhanced timekeeping capabilities, the ability to track assets and can create digital forms to optimize their document storage.

What is Real-Time Reporting?

Real-time reporting involves assessing project information at the time it’s collected to make the most informed decisions. Typically, the data is collected via some type of construction time tracking app that gathers:

  • Clock ins
  • Clock outs
  • Task switches
  • Break times
  • Lunch hours
  • End-of-day forms

The information is automatically updated in the software so that construction owners, construction foremen, project managers and whoever else is involved in the project can view the status changes from their mobile device even if they’re at a different jobsite or in the office.

Once the data is in the software, with just the click of a button, a report can be run immediately, giving you insights into labor hours and progress.

A major advantage to real-time reporting is that you can adjust quickly as the project requires, which saves time, reduces costly mistakes and increases productivity.

Why Does Real-Time Reporting Matter in Construction?

To stay on time and on budget, contractors are expected to adjust to project demands and quickly make the best decisions. Real-time reporting gives contractors access to crucial data at each step of the project, allowing them to analyze their current approach and adjust as needed to avoid potential delays.

Let’s say a contractor has recently implemented a new drywall-installing process. With real-time reporting they can take productivity information from this new process and compare it to the old process to measure exactly how much efficiency improved.

In other words, real-time reporting gives contractors the freedom to try something new, assess its performance simultaneously and tune it to best fit their operations.

Additionally, real-time reporting is useful for time tracking because it allows contractors to:

  • Establish exactly how long their workers have been on site
  • Review the type of work they’ve performed
  • Determine how long it took workers to complete each step of the project

These insights allow contractors to precisely measure productivity and labor costs and adapt their approach to the project accordingly.

How Does Real-Time Reporting Impact Time Tracking and Payroll?

Accurate time tracking and precise payroll are crucial when trying to stay ‘in the black’ with projects. In construction, it can be challenging to track when and where employees are working and what tasks they are performing. That’s because, oftentimes, contractors are working on several projects at the same time, each of which is completely different with its own unique timeline.

Some specific skilled workers may even be switching up trades depending on the job. This means that contractors have to keep tabs on employees’ varying pay rates and diversified shifts.

With all of these changes in mind, payroll and time tracking can get lost in the shuffle, leading to inflated labor costs. However, real-time reporting gives contractors visibility into:

  • When workers clock in and out
  • Where workers are located
  • The amount of overtime they accrue

This gives them the ability to control labor costs throughout the project’s lifecycle, instead of finding all the costly mistakes at just milestone reviews.

It also helps them avoid common payroll and time tracking issues like buddy punching or time stealing.

How Can Time Tracking Software Help You Receive Accurate Real-Time Reporting Insights?

Traditionally, employees clock in and out in person with a timecard at a punch clock. While this may seem like a simple process, there are several major downsides:

  • Lack of oversight: Short of watching every employee clock in and out, an employer’s ability to oversee timecard punching is limited — leading to inaccurate timekeeping or issues maintaining payroll compliance.
  • Timekeeping errors: Identifying timekeeping errors can be a time-consuming process that delays payroll processing.
  • Stolen time: Employees can easily forget to clock in or out, and this manual time keeping system can also lead to buddy punching.

What is Buddy Punching, and How Does It Impact Construction Payroll?

Using a construction time tracking software with real-time reporting is one of the most effective ways to curb buddy punching because it gives contractors the tools to identify and fix timesheet inconsistencies.

For example, time tracking software uses biometrics, or identifiers that are unique to each employee. Consider facial recognition, which authenticates an employee’s identity before permitting them to clock in and out.

Many time tracking software also offer GPS features that allow employers to determine where employees are located when they clock in and out.

Additionally, some software provide geofencing capabilities, enabling employers to set a perimeter around a designated area and receive notifications when employees enter and leave it.

This saves contractors money and gives them a more accurate representation of labor costs. Contractors can also collect precise productivity data they can use when planning future projects.

With this accurate information on the front end, they can provide potential clients with more precise labor costs, leading to more project opportunities.

How Do Time Tracking Errors Affect Payroll?

U.S. employers have said they have to correct errors on 80% of the timesheets employees submit1 and that many of these errors were caused by the fact employees forgot to clock in and out and couldn’t remember the hours they had worked.

With time tracking software, employees can clock in and out from their mobile devices. Employers can also send automated notifications to remind employees to clock in and out at specific intervals and when they leave certain locations, such as a jobsite. This helps employers process payroll faster.

How Can Construction Time Tracking Software Help Maintain Timekeeping Compliance?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 established several guidelines employers must follow, including paying workers 150% of their normal rate when their work week exceeded 40 hours.

The real-time reporting capabilities of a time tracking software allow employers to easily adhere to these guidelines, see when their workers are taking mandated breaks and ensure they are clocking back in on time.

They can also send workers notifications to remind them to take their mandated breaks and clock back in afterward.

What’s Beneficial About Time Tracking and Payroll Software Integrations?

You can gain even more valuable insights into your operations if your time tracking software integrates with a payroll software or service. This integration seamlessly connects your time tracking data to your payroll for precise automated calculations.

By integrating your time tracking and payroll, you can identify areas of improvement, reduce unnecessary labor costs and save time processing payroll.

For example, WorkMax, a construction-specific time tracking software, integrates with Payroll4Construction — a leading construction payroll service — to save time and eliminate errors while maintaining payroll compliance.

WorkMax seamless syncs data from its timesheets, such as hours worked and employee name, into Payroll4Construction’s payroll system to reduce payroll errors, manual data entry and save time when processing payroll.

Why is WorkMax the Right Time Tracking Software for You?

There are a number of time tracking software available for purchase, but selecting one with industry-specific features and real-time reporting capabilities gives you a system that reflects your work and your needs.

As you look for the best fitting software, remember to see how field data is collected, note where it goes and how often the project dashboard is updated. If, for example, a progress report can only be run once a day then you won’t be able to make decisions as quickly and the software may not be as useful.

One such time tracking app to keep in mind is WorkMax which gives you the tools to control costs and boost productivity, including:

  • Real-time project insights
  • Precise timekeeping capabilities
  • The ability to track assets so you always know the location of your equipment
  • Create digital forms to eliminate clutter and organize key documentation

If you’re ready to take the next steps in your time tracking journey, contact a WorkMax specialist today!

1– The Ultimate List of Time and Attendance Statistics | QuickBooks Time. https://quickbooks.intuit.com/time-tracking/resources/time-attendance-stats/