Caught in the Act: How to Detect Time Theft in the Workplace

Caught in the Act: How to Detect Time Theft in the Workplace

Do you know businesses in the United States lose billions of dollars from employees stealing company time? A lot of employees commit time theft at their workplaces intentionally or unintentionally. Your employees tend to be distracted by several factors, such as tech devices and colleagues.

Statistics highlight that disengaged employees cost businesses a whopping $7.8 trillion in lost productivity every year. Employee monitoring has become more critical than ever for better workflow management at workplaces.

A recent report by Clockify reveals that 37% of employees say they get distracted by social media, and 41% believe they are distracted by internet browsing during working hours. This distraction can significantly impact your employees' productivity, resulting in reduced business revenue.

A combination of proper employee monitoring software and enforcement of time monitoring clouds can help employers decrease this costly expense by monitoring the activities of their employees.

Different Ways Employees Steal Company's Time

Here are some common ways employees may be stealing company time from your business:

  • Sleeping on the Job

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor highlights that full-time employees in the country tend to work 8.5 hours daily. Between these long working hours and other responsibilities, most employees may fall asleep, sometimes without realizing it.

  • Distractions from Internet

    Technology can be one of the most significant distracting factors, especially in the workplace. If you provide your employees with work computers, they might be abusing their usage. They tend to go outside their authorized use by shopping online, reading the news, watching Netflix, handling personal business, or browsing social media.

  • Extended Lunch Breaks

    Unscheduled and long lunch breaks are the primary forms of employees stealing your company's time. It may include smoke breaks, which can drastically affect the productivity of your employees.

  • Buddy Punching

    According to American Payroll Association, buddy punching is the most common form of employees stealing company time, costing employers $373 million yearly. This approach is used by employees to claim that they worked hours while they were not present fraudulently.

    Another report highlights that 16% of US workers aged 18+ admitted to participating in time clock fraud and buddy punching.

Prevent Time Theft in the Workplace with CleverControl

The owner of a design agency in Miami contacted CleverControl in 2022. Our client had suspicions that his employees were not as productive as they said. He decided to start monitoring the activities of his staff members.

The company's owner did not have an IT specialist on his team. He was looking to install user-friendly and uncomplicated employee monitoring software in his agency, so he could operate the software and monitor his employees' activities without hiring an IT specialist.

He searched for easy-to-use employee monitoring software and ended up with CleverControl. This solution provided all the required functionalities with an easy-to-use interface.

The owner installed CleverControl on all computers in the workplace to monitor everything his employees did during their working hours.

He discovered that one of his web designers spent most of her office time either working on her private commissions or visiting different online shopping websites.

These non-work-related activities of the employee did not go unnoticed with CleverControl.

The following CleverControl logs helped our client to find how his employee was stealing time from the company:

  • Visited Websites

    The visited website section of the CleverControl log contained multiple daily visits to Amazon, Shein, Macy's, Etsy, and other shopping websites.

  • Activity Summary

    The Activity Summary highlighted that the shopping category was of the top-3 categories of the sites visited by the employee.

  • Screenshots

    CleverControl had a lot of screenshots capturing the employee visiting different online shopping websites and social media platforms.

  • Social Media Activity

    CleverControl also captured multiple instances when an employee discussed the details of her project with her private client on WhatsApp. Along with spending time on her commissions, the employee spent a lot of time idly chatting with potential dates and friends on Facebook. The Activity Summary of CleverControl revealed that the designer spent about 1.5 hours a day on social media, idly chatting with friends.

  • User Activity

    The user activity log of CleverControl showed that the employee was significantly late to work without noticing the manager. In our client's office, the employer's computer was turned on at 10:00 and 10:19 on separate occasions. But the designer was supposed to start work at 9:00.

    The employee monitoring software also captured that the employee also used to abuse her lunch breaks. The set time for the office lunch break was 1 hour, while the designer's break took 1 hour and 20 minutes on average.

  • Screen Recording

    The agency owner scrupulously studied screen records from his employee's computer and found that she dedicated only 22 hours to her responsibilities out of 40 working hours per week. The employee's unproductive time reached approximately 71 out of 176 working hours over the past month.

    All this data-driven information helped our client identify that one of his employees was misbehaving in terms of the office code of conduct. So, he fired and sued his employee for stealing time at work. The owner was going to claim $2000 compensation against the employee for stealing company time.

    Our client (the owner of the design agency) was thrilled with the performance and efficiency of CleverControl. The owner admired how easy it was to set up the program without hiring a team of IT specialists. The client reviewed that after tracking employees' activities with CleverControl and firing one of his designers, he noticed a significant improvement in his employees' productivity.

    The site blocker functionality of CleverControl helped our client limit access to social media platforms, shopping, and entertainment websites on office computers. The owner was so pleased because he could not only get statistical reports about the workday of each employee but also monitor what they were doing in real time. The owner says he would love to continue using CleverControl to improve employees' productivity and prevent them from stealing time at work.

Notable Features of CleverControl

CleverControl is a comprehensive solution to maintain a work-life balance at the workplace and lead your team to success. Time theft is one of the biggest factors in reducing business revenue and employees' productivity.

With its following features, CleverControl helps you track the performance and daily activities of your employees without hurting their privacy:

  • Screenshots

    The screenshot functionality is handy if you need visual reports of your employees' activities. CleverControl takes snaps of employees' computer screens when they change windows or visit a new website. Using these features, one of our clients ensured his employee was involved in non-work-related activities.

  • Work-Time Tracking

    CleverControl can also serve as an intelligent employee attendance monitoring system. This solution collects the report when employees start and finish their workday. This functionality of CleverControl also helps employers identify how much their employees spend idling during lunch breaks.

  • Internet Use Tracking

    With CleverControl, you can monitor whether your employees use work-related websites or idling on shopping or entertainment websites. You can use this solution's website blocker functionality to limit your employees' access to social media platforms and unwanted websites.


Whether your employees are working on-premises or remotely, they will surely get distracted by several factors, intentionally or unintentionally. With comprehensive user reports, real-time monitoring, internet use tracking, and website blocker functionalities, CleverControl is one of the best employee monitoring software available on the market.

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