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How to stop people from milking the time clock

At one point or another, most managers have to deal with the issue of their employees milking the time clock. This phrase refers to employees who waste time until their allotted hours for the day are up, or it could mean putting in overtime for extra pay when it is really not necessary.

This can be a problem for employers for a number of reasons. First of all, it is not productive. If employees are putting off work because they don't feel like it, not as much gets done. Second, it results in lost money. You are paying employees for their time, when they are not really working.

The following are some ideas for increasing productivity in your employees if milking the time clock has become a problem in your company:

- Monitor hours. Keep a close eye on those employees who are clocking out early or staying late. If people are leaving early consistently, it may indicate that they don't have enough to keep them busy. And if you have employees who are putting in overtime but don't have a heavy workload, you may want to step in. Letting employees know they are being monitored will also help to reduce wasted time.
- Use an electronic time clock. Even in this technologically advanced day and age, not all employers use electronic or computer based time clocks. By having clock in and clock out times electronically recorded, employees won't be able to round up or down, or take off an hour early and then put in a full days' work.
- Require that overtime be approved. Some employees who need extra money will sometimes put in overtime, even though it is not necessary. Employers are obligated to pay their hourly workers overtime (time and a half) when more than 40 hours a week are put in. This can really add up. Sometimes overtime is necessary, but if you are finding that the workload doesn't match the overtime, it may be time to step in and say something.
- Know what your employees are doing. It's not a bad idea to make sure you know who is doing what in terms of work. That way, if you know an employee doesn't have enough to work on, or if their work load is winding down, you can assign more and prevent them milking the time clock. Or, keep track how long a delivery should take. If an employee is gone for 2 hours delivering something that should have only taken an hour, you know something is up.
- Create an atmosphere conducive to productivity. While you should trust employees, it is best to create an atmosphere that minimizes distractions. Make sure everyone has their own workspace. If your employees use a computer, remove games or limit internet sites that can be visited. This will help cut down on the things employees are tempted to do while at work that wastes time.
- Offer incentives. Offering incentives or other motivational tools for being productive and getting work done is a good way to keep employees from milking the time clock.

Milking the time clock at work results in not only a loss of money, but a loss of productivity as well. You can stop people from milking the time clock at work by keeping track of employees, monitoring overtime, and rewarding good behavior.

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