How Employee Time Tracking Catered to my Business
"A little over a year ago, I had the distinct pleasure of planning a fabulous brunch at the Maui vacation home of a well-known celebrity. It was to be a lush scene, featuring all the bounties of the island. And so, overlooking the ocean, tables were set upon the veranda, each elegantly draped and dotted with dozens of yellow hibiscus. From the luscious pineapple to the Kona coffee and guava and papaya juices flowing at the Mimosa bar to the line-caught ahi poke, macadamia-crusted opah and slow-roasted Kalua pig, it was truly a feast for all the senses. It was a dream gig – until the morning of – when sheets of rain put a damper on things. The tenting crew earned their money that day. My staff, however … well, that is another story.
The home was secluded and therefore, not the easiest venue to access. Parking was sparse and loading was difficult. And the rain added another element to our logistics nightmare. I needed everyone on their A game, but alas, island time struck again. There was my barback who overslept, one too many of my waitstaff who having obviously been overserved the night before, spent more time pounding coffee in the driveway than prepping the buffet in the kitchen, and a host of others who underestimated the storm and showed up unfashionably late.
Eventually the rain tapered, the guests indulged and the party wrapped up nicely. As was the case following each and every event, my staff was expected to drop off a copy of the “party report” at the office. These would include hours for each employee and contractor, as well as their individual rates, including meal breaks and overtime. Thing is, that party report never surfaced. Some combination of bad weather, car trouble and a million other all-too-familiar excuses flooded in. I wish I could say it had been the first time that had happened, but alas, it was more common than not. My payroll administrator would then begin the frustrating, time-consuming, money-wasting process of calling each and every person who worked that party. Reported hours were typically in the form of inaccurate estimations, as was the case with the party in question. Tardiness was a problem, but lying about it was even worse. Rather than engage in a battle of accusations, I knew I needed to find a employee time tracking solution. I was venting to a Catering colleague in Los Angeles and she turned me onto the idea of a mobile employee time tracking app.
Like many small business owners in this industry, I don’t have the luxury of sending a supervisor to each event location to perform employee time tracking on site. But even my larger scales competitors, who do have that capability, are seeking better accountability for their mobile employees. I signed up for a 30 day trial of Timesheet Mobile and began implementing their cloud-based employee time tracking solution, which I immediately found to be super reliable. No more paper party reports, no need for extra trips to/from the office and no more distracted employees jotting down their hours and mileage on Post Its … which ultimately end up lost under a seat or left at a venue.
First off, finding an employee time tracking system that covered all the bases by allowing employees to use any mobile device (flip phones or smartphones) to clock in and out, was key. They either called in and got prompted with a menu of steps, or used a free app to punch in. All hours worked (scheduled shifts, make up shifts, switched shifts, overtime, etc), along with tasks and mileage, were accurately accounted for. Servers were no longer calling in to question their hours on payday, as reports of their cumulative hours were automatically generated for them. Having a employee time tracking system that auto-calculated billing time according to the services performed by my staff was a dream! Our bartenders, chefs, rental crew, etc. punched in/out according to the job they were doing and each task had a different billable rate.
Secondly, I sought out and immediately loved the GPS employee time tracking and geofencing feature. And although there are a sea of employee time tracking companies and devices out there, I found only one with geofence technology, letting me know whether or not the work clock was started while an employee was on site. For me, these features continue to be invaluable for keeping track of staff working all over town. And an alert system to remind employees if they forget to punch in and out … well, that’s just icing on the cake!
Lastly, implementing a employee time tracking system that works seamlessly with Quickbooks Online has dramatically simplified my payroll process and eliminated overtime costs.
My days of employee tracking are behind me and the payroll guessing game is over. I’m planning more parties, entertaining more clients and spending just a little more time with my toes in the sand!"
Bonnie Alaniz is the Head Chef and Catering Director at Milagros Paia in Maui, HI. She also runs her own Event Planning business, serving up fresh ideas and locally-sourced cuisine. When she is not working, you can find her at the Farmer's Market, walking the beach or visiting her old stomping grounds back on the mainland in Los Angeles. Bonnie did the research and found that, with a host of unique features, Timesheet MobileTM (www.timesheetmobile.com) sets itself apart from other systems and makes her job(s) that much more enjoyable.