Should I Use a Mobile App to Track Employee Time and Attendance?
Enterprise solutions of all stripes, time and attendance solutions included, are adding mobile apps into their offerings. The seeming benefit for companies is clear – always on/always available employees. However, companies quickly realize there are real issues to sort out before relying on mobile apps for employees to complete needed tasks, even the task of time and attendance tracking.
The sticky legal issues
Each state has its own laws regarding whether a company can mandate employees to use their personal devices for work tasks or to download work-related apps onto their mobile devices. Many labor contracts also include specific restrictions. Companies can avoid these personal device restrictions by providing workers with company-owned mobile devices.
However, issuing company-owned mobile devices to all employees doesn’t eliminate many other challenges present when relying on employee mobile access; it only burdens the company with the direct and admin costs of buying and managing company-owned mobile devices.
Mobile punches undermine the accuracy of time and attendance data collected
The purpose of bringing on an automated time and attendance system is to reduce labor costs, in part by collecting accurate punches showing when people are actually working. Allowing workers to punch in and out using a mobile device undercuts the goal of data accuracy. The software will still accurately collect the date and time someone has tapped the mobile device to show they’ve started or stopped working. The vulnerability lies in that no one knows where the worker was at the time of the tap.
The trade-off between convenience for workers and lower initial costs for companies because they aren’t buying time clocks may not be worth it when compared against costs of mobile device misuse and difficulty in identifying and remediating any such misuse.
Companies can’t rely on mobile punches because mobile devices aren’t reliable
Everyone has seen the contrived scene in a movie where it just so happens that someone has lost mobile power or connectivity just at the moment it’s needed most.While that may be a tired plot device, it’s really not that rare of an occurrence. Everyone finds themselves with a mobile device that’s run out of battery power or can’t connect to the network. Then there are all the times that people seem to misplace or forget their phones altogether.
Companies looking for real-time time and attendance data collection can’t rely on employees always having their mobile devices with them when needed. That means these companies need policies and processes in place to handle a parallel track of manual data collection and system updates to accommodate missed punches. This is just another way that providing workers with no other real-time data collection options undermines the potential ROI the company can realize from its time and attendance solution.
Mobile workforces benefit from time and attendance mobile apps
Time and attendance mobile apps have their role to play. For workforces that are mobile, such as field techs or home care attendants, having a mobile app to punch in and out is a useful tool. Indeed, for these workers that never come into a central work office or environment, checking in and out with a mobile app may be their only option.
A company using the time and attendance mobile app for these workers will still have the other security and reliability issues to address. However, in this case, because mobile check-in is the only option – using the app provides real value here.
However, a company shouldn’t define “mobile worker” too broadly. Any worker that comes into a work environment will probably be able to use the reliable time clock installed on the wall. Even outdoor sites, like construction or agriculture sites, can use a ruggedized time clock that can operate on battery power and under extreme conditions.
Give your employees options for maximum time and attendance solution ROI
To ensure maximum data accuracy and user adherence, a company needs to offer its workers a variety of clock-in and out options. Installing the right time clock on your work premises, whether office, industrial or outdoor site, ensures that all workers have an easy, reliable means to punch-in and out in real-time.