Timecard Improvement Project FAQ

What is the Timecard Improvement Project?

The goal of the Timecard Improvement Project is to identify, develop, and implement a computerized timekeeping solution that meets our needs.

What is “timekeeping”?

At its most basic, “timekeeping” is the act of keeping track of time. At Building Operations, we keep track of several attributes associated with time. Examples include:

  • How many labor hours we spend at work;
  • How many vacation hours and sick days we have;
  • How many overtime hours we have used and have banked, and;
  • Who is present at work and who isn’t.

The above are examples of time data that is very important to keep accurately. The current paper timecard system makes it hard to keep that time data accurately, which is the reason our processes need to change.

What’s wrong with paper timecards?

The fundamental issue with paper timecards is they are a manual process, meaning the important task of keeping accurate time data is done by hand. When a staff member has to submit a paper timecard, they do so filling out a card by hand. When it comes time to enter that timecard into our systems, it is done so by hand.

Having a manual timekeeping process compromises accuracy. It puts our time data at risk of:

  • Work Orders, work codes, hours, names and other information being written down incorrectly
  • Timecards being illegible
  • Timecards being lost

Paper timecards contribute to other problems as well, such as:

Unplanned Absences/Safety: because our paper timecard process takes time to enter data, we can’t use it to keep track of who’s here and who’s not on any given day. This could make it challenging for shop heads and managers to account for people during an emergency, creating a resourcing and safety challenge.

Lack of time Data transparency: it’s hard for staff to access their own time data, making it hard for them to keep track of their own information, and making it easy for errors to hide.

High administrative effort: the amount of human effort to sustain the current paper system is approx. 13 FTEs.  A single paper card is touched a minimum of 7 times…and we process 600+ cards per day.

Cost and storage of cards: paper timecards must be stored for 7 years, requiring storage space and administrative overhead. There is also a cost for blank cards, toner, and effort needed to pre-populate the cards with basic employee data.

Why is the Timecard Improvement Project be important to me?

Our current timekeeping processes are outdated. They’re based on paper timecards, which are prone to errors. Errors in our time data could create issues in pay and benefits, which is why we spend extra time and effort to ensure errors are corrected before staff are paid. Examples of those extra efforts include:

  • Some crew members having to keep track of what work orders to use for their labor hours
  • Clerks, supervisors, and administrators reading – and re-reading – every timecard to catch errors
  • Supervisors and managers having to track down individual crew members or information in order to correct errors
  • Payroll clerks having to re-enter data

Spending this extra effort can be frustrating; it’s time many of us could be spending with hands on tools, working with clients, and performing other work that directly supports Building Operations’ goals of operating and maintaining the spaces of campus.