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Clocking in and out: a Guide to Time Clocks

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A company can choose from a wide variety of employee time clocks to suit its HR needs to help track their employees clocking in and out on the job. Standard punch clocks are inexpensive but are often, open to fraud and error, enabling workers to punch in and out for each other, and leading to input errors with manually collected cards.

Networked systems using time and attendance tracking software can integrate with employee time and attendance terminals, and automatically send employee work attendance information to payroll, making the process faster and more accurate, and lowering administrative costs.

Modern time clocks are also rugged and durable, able to withstand virtually any type of work environment. Since they are cloud hosted, longevity is never in question and maintenance is much easier than with the time clocks of old.

Mining Data for Performance Issues

The networked and centralized system can also provide valuable intelligence to an HR manager. For example, a pattern of absenteeism and late arrivals revealed in employee stats can lead to warnings and perhaps a check to see if there are personal issues that can be addressed through informal or professional help.

Or the HR manager, noticing employees working a lot of overtime hours, might schedule a time-management course. And HR’s work would be backed by the system’s automatic notifications, letting an employee know, for example, if they’ve forgotten to take a lunch break or are working hours outside those allowed by their union contract.

A Higher Level of Authentication

Some of these time and attendance tracking systems work with PIN keyboard entry or badges that have magnetic stripes, barcodes or proximity sensors. While better than paper punch systems, these solutions still don’t entirely solve the problem of buddy punching, since badges and PIN numbers can be shared.

A higher level of authentication is provided by biometric systems, which scan a unique biological feature of an individual to determine identity, including a fingerprint, handprint or iris. Besides preventing fraud, such a system can also provide an extra level of security for restricted areas in a building.

A Work Shifting Solution

HR has to meet the needs of an evolving workplace, where more employees are allowed flexible hours and “work shifting” – working away from the office at, say, the employee’s home. Add mobile workforces and companies that need people to work at different locations, and then a networked multi-location time in/out solution makes sense.

Some of the systems allow employees to remotely clocking in and clocking out via the Internet and their smartphones and computers. Others will let them use their phones to navigate an interactive voice response system, connected to the time and attendance software.

Managing Time Off With Your Time Clocks

The best time clock solution should make it easy for HR administrators to track and manage employee time and attendance and time-off requests. In a matter of seconds, they should be able to review and approve vacation requests, sick leave, personal leave, and more.

The system should also track and automatically produce reports and calendars showing which employees are taking time off and when.

Self Service for Employees

From the employee’s point of view, the time and attendance system should enable them to easily ask for paid time off, to track their schedule and to know how many vacation days they have left in a period. No need for memos, email, interoffice mail or verbal requests.

Check out our Blog for more information on how a time and attendance terminal can help your business.

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Biometric Usage: Growing concerns over the privacy and security of biometrics are driving government regulations surrounding the definition of personal data and how to protect it. These regulations vary from country to country, state-to-state, and in some cases city by city. Most often the governing regulations are dictated based on the location where the information is being collected. It is important to understand the local regulations in the geographic areas in which you operate. If you are uncertain regarding your regulatory obligations, we encourage you to consult with your legal counsel.