Payroll, Here Are Your Articles for Wednesday, November 25, 2020
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The Latest Innovations in Timekeeping


According to World Heritage Encyclopedia, the first time clock was created in 1888 by a New York-based jeweler named William Bundy. The mechanical device — called a "key recorder" — worked by printing (on a paper tape) the specific time the employee inserted a designated numbered key.

Since then, mechanical time clocks have come a long way. Notable progressions include punch or swipe clocks, which require employees to clock in and out at the terminal via paper cards or laminated badges. However, these systems are prone to fraud — including "buddy punching," which is when employees clock in and out for each other.

Such systems aren't cutting it anymore, especially with work-from-home arrangements reportedly growing 173% since 2005, mobility becoming an intrinsic aspect of employment and timekeeping laws getting more complex.

 Consequently, employers are shifting to more advanced models — such as biometric time clocks, web-based software, mobile applications, and time and scheduling solutions.

 Biometric time clocks

 A biometric time clock is the easiest way to thwart buddy punching, as it relies on fingerprint, palm, facial or iris scan to record employees' work time. The scans are unique to the employee, thereby making it difficult for employees to engage in time theft.

Web-based software

Web-based (or cloud-based) timekeeping software allows employees to clock in and out online from their desktop computer or laptop via their dedicated username and password. The software is ideal for employers with remote workers or those that want to:

  • Eliminate the use of physical time clocks.
  • Attach time limits to certain projects.
  • Integrate their timekeeping system with their HR or payroll software.

 Mobile applications

A mobile timekeeping app lets employees clock in and out from anywhere and from any device, including their smartphones. Mobile apps can also work offline. So even if there's no internet connection, the employee's work hours can still be recorded. The employee simply launches the app as normal, and their recorded time will sync to their account once there's an internet connection.

Mobile timekeeping apps can facilitate GPS tracking, which enables employers to track the location of their mobile workers. Further, both mobile and web-based timekeeping systems have self-service capabilities, which let employees view and manage their timekeeping data from a dashboard. 

Time and scheduling solutions

Scheduling and time tracking go hand in hand, which is why many timekeeping systems these days entail scheduling as well.

 An integrated time and scheduling tool allows you to:

  •  Create and edit work schedules.
  • Notify employees of their work shifts.
  • Establish alerts that will instantly inform you of scheduling conflicts.
  • Track employees' activity in real time.
  • Monitor employees' attendance.
  • Process employees' paid time off requests.
  • Track PTO accruals.
  • Record employees' work time — regardless of whether they're in the office, in the field or working remotely.
  • Generate customized time and scheduling reports.

When properly designed, implemented and utilized, these modern timekeeping systems can help you eradicate time theft, increase accuracy, reduce administrative burdens, control overtime expenses, improve compliance and enhance employee satisfaction.


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