Many time and attendance solutions highlight the “benefit” that users can log in via a web-based time clock. At first glance, a web clock seems like a good option. The company can avoid the expense of buying time clocks. People know how to click on software, so the training load must be low. In reality, relying on web clocks to collect time and attendance data invites a host of problems.
Web clocks are inefficient and costly for most work environments
For office staff who each have an individual workstation, punching in and out on a web clock is relatively easy. Sure, it’s one more application they have to log into, but it’s not such a heavy burden. They already have a desktop, so there are no new hardware expenses.
However, web clocks don’t work well in any other work environment. Workplaces where employees don’t sit in front of their own computers, such as those in healthcare, manufacturing, and construction, have to set up a small number of desktop workstations where workers can punch in and out. For these companies, there’s no avoiding some hardware expense. Only by purchasing computers instead of time clocks, the company is spending money on hardware that’s not optimized to handle large numbers of employees punching in and out.
Every time a different employee needs to use the web clock, the previous employee who clocked in on that computer needs to log out. The logging in and out means it takes each employee much longer to punch in and out on the web clock than it would for them to swipe a badge by or place a finger on a time clock. That means unhappy workers wait in line to punch in and out and may have to arrive early or stay late to do so. If not, the wait time to clock in and out is cutting into work time.
The web clock provides a bad user experience and reduces productivity.
Web clocks only provide unreliable data collection
Time clocks are connected to the Internet, just like the web clock. The big difference between them is that the time clock can still collect time and attendance data even when it’s offline. The web-based clock can’t. If there’s a network issue that knocks workers’ computers offline, they can no longer click in or out on the web-based software.
In contrast, workers can still use a time clock even when it’s offline. As long as the time clock has power, whether from electricity or battery power, it can collect the time and attendance data. If the terminal’s internet connection is temporarily lost, that just means the worker data collected at the time clock won’t get sent to the payroll and HR systems that use it until the internet connection is restored.
Web clocks make time theft easy
Time theft leads to bloated labor costs. Employees can steal time by logging in early or logging out late when they aren’t working. Because workers access web clocks via the Internet, they can access the web clock from any computer with an internet connection. Many web clocks can’t verify that the worker was clicking in or out from a computer at work.
Nor can most web clocks verify who was actually doing the clicking. Buddy punching, the act of having one employee clock in or out for a fellow employee, costs U.S. employers hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
Time clocks require more than just a login and password to punch in and out. Workers typically need something else, like their employee badge or thumbprint, to use the time clock. Some time clocks also have cameras that take a picture of the person doing the punching. These security measures enable time clocks to eliminate the opportunity for workers to steal time.
Time clocks are the smart investment
Time clocks are designed to achieve one goal: accurately and reliably capture workers’ time and attendance information. That’s why they have the features and functions that make using them easy and efficient. The inadequacies of web clocks undermine your business goals in automating the collection of your time and attendance. The higher value alternative is to select the right time clock that can maximize the value of your HR management software.