How To Buy Time Clocks For Small Business, And Why [Updated for 2020]
This guide will help you choose the right time clock for your business.
6 Critical Reasons Why You Need an Employee Time Clock
- To stay compliant with workplace laws
- To reduce payroll errors
- To maximize labor resources
- To prevent employee time theft
- To minimize overtime
- To improve employee oversight
5 Key Findings About Employee Time Clocks for Small Business
- On January 1, 2020, the new overtime rule will take effect. The new salary threshold is $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year for a full-year worker). Complying with the new overtime law requires accurate employee timekeeping.
- Time theft can take as much as 7% from your gross annual payroll. (Source)
- Biometric time clocks reduce bottlenecks at shift start and end times.
- Mobile timekeeping with geofencing allows your managers to track your workforce wherever they are.
- Daily timesheet updates improve timekeeping accuracy. Employees who log their time at least once a day are 66 percent accurate, whereas people who log their time weekly are only 47 percent accurate, and people who complete their timesheet less than once a week are only 35 percent accurate. (Source)
Understanding 6 Time Clock Categories
- Card punch
- Key fob
- PIN entry
Let’s start at a high level and outline the categories of time clocks. Knowing what is available is the first step in understanding what you need.
Time clocks for small business come in a wide range of types and styles. Small businesses use them to track time and attendance data. Time clocks allow employees to “clock in” and “clock out”. Time clocks track employee starting and ending shift times. They also track start and end times for breaks and meals.
Time clocks are important for small business because they help keep accurate records. They also protect against potential lawsuits and payroll audits. Time clocks are essential in an automated system and can save more money than they cost.
Here’s a review of the types of time clocks for small business:
Card Punch Time and Attendance Clocks
What Is A Card Punch Time Clock?
Card punch technology is old-school. Card punch is an original hardware solution that got its start in the late 1800s. It requires employees to fill out a physical card and store it in a filing system.
To clock in, employees find their card, insert it into the clock, and receive a physical stamp of the time. There are many problems with this kind of system. We don’t need to review them here; they are out of date and inefficient by today’s standards.
If you have a punch card system it’s time to upgrade. If you don’t, we won’t explain any further because new technologies offer so much more. You don’t want a punch card system.
Let’s move on…
Biometric Time and Attendance Clocks
What Is a Biometric Time Clock?
A biometric time clock is a hardware device. The hardware uses biometrics to confirm an employee’s identity. Common biometrics include fingerprints, palm-prints, iris scans, facial recognition, and voice recognition.
Software powers a biometric clock and is usually very smart about keeping time stats. Biometric clocks automate the process of clocking in or out based on your most recent action.
They are often connected to an access point such as a door or gate. Activating the clock opens the door which helps avoid missed “punches.” Employees record entering and leaving an area, indicating their current status.
Biometrics are leading-edge technology and can be expensive. Yet, their efficient ability to confirm identity can offset the cost.
4 Important Ways a Biometric Time Clock Helps Your Company
Biometric time clocks are catching on with small business for many reasons.
- They are easy to set up and operate.
- One of the key advantages of a biometric time clock is that there are no passwords to forget or fobs to lose. Employees use their physical attributes to confirm their identity. The simple act of touching the device records the time and assigns it to that specific employee. This helps reduce errors and technical support requirements.
- Biometric clocks operate fast and can reduce bottlenecks at shift start and end times.
- Biometric clocks also help protect a small business from buddy punching. Clocks that need biometric input confirm the right person is clocking in. No more sharing a fob with a co-worker to punch in early.
The savings in buddy punching alone justifies the cost of a biometric clock. If you have a problem with buddy punching, a biometric clock is the best way to go.
What Are The Cons of Biometric Time Clocks?
There aren’t too many drawbacks to using biometric clocks. They are gaining popularity for good reasons.
One drawback is that biometrics demand employees interact with the physical hardware. Granted, this is a key selling point of biometric clocks. But if you have mobile employees, it won’t solve your entire problem.
Another thing to consider is the environment. Biometrics need clean hands and dust-free environments. If your employees work in dirty or abrasive conditions, consider a different solution…
Who Uses Biometric Time Clocks?
Biometric clocks are great for companies with clean environments.
Hospitality industries use biometrics to manage large staffs and frequent shift changes. This includes hotels, convention centers, and traditional office environments. Quick access and no need for fobs or cards makes clocking in and clocking out faster for large groups.
Biometrics are also gaining popularity in the healthcare and patient care industries. Biometrics help meet regulatory requirements. Biometrics can help assure qualified personnel are in the right place at the right time.
Hospitals use biometric time clocks to confirm identity. Concern for security and accuracy is a key factor for this type of workplace. Large numbers of employees and varying shift routines are also considerations for any hospital. If your company is a healthcare provider, TimeWorksTouch is a great option.
Web-based Time and Attendance Clocks
What Is a Web-based Time Clock?
Employees login through a secure web page. Each employee has a unique identity for login. Employees enter starting and ending times for their work period.
Web clocks usually run in the background while an employee works. Employees must start or stop the clock for breaks or end-of-work periods.
4 Ways a Web-based Time Clock Helps My Company
Web clocks have a lot of advantages for a small company.
- Web clocks are convenient because you can access them from any connected computer.
- Employees can clock in from home, on the road, at a remote location, or in multiple locations at the office.
- Web clocks are software-based and run in the cloud. Web clocks are available to large groups of employees at little incremental cost.
- Cloud-based web clocks provide centralized oversight. Managers can view statistics and run reports from a central login. This is true for many modern time and attendance clocks, but particularly so for web clocks.
The most popular advantage for a small business is mobility. Web clocks offer mobility options for distributed workgroups. If your company has employees working from home offices, the web clock solution is for you.
What Are The Cons Of Web-based Time Clocks?
One drawback of web-based time clocks is that employees sometimes forget to clock out. This is common for many kinds of time clocks, but a particular problem for web-based time clocks. Employees must build reminders into their routine to ensure accurate clock in/out times.
Another common drawback is identity confirmation. But this is an inherent problem in virtual commuting. Web-based time clocks can’t confirm identity. Small companies must trust that employees are reporting accurate work hours.
These are minor drawbacks to the convenience of web-based time and attendance. The low cost is a significant advantage.
Who Uses Web-based Time Clocks?
Small companies who have distributed workforces use web-based time and attendance.
Telecommuting companies with remote employees such as a software company use web-based clocks. Employees who work from home are able to clock in from their desktops. Decentralized workgroups include small manufacturing companies that rely on home-based employees.
The software company Automattic has over 230 employees working in 29 countries. Every one of them works from a home office. If your company is like Automattic, WebClock is a good solution for you.
Proximity-based Time and Attendance Clocks
What Is a Proximity Time Clock?
Employers assign a specific card or fob to each employee. These objects are sometimes called a “prox card.” Employees keep these identifiers on their person and use them to activate the time clock.
The prox card identifies the employee and logs them into the system. There may also be a manual button to confirm whether the employee is clocking in or out.
Proximity-based time clocks are convenient and quick.
4 Ways a Proximity Time Clock Helps My Company
Proximity time clocks are among the most popular of time and attendance hardware.
- They are convenient for small businesses with large groups of employees. They are fast and won’t hold up the line during rush hour.
- Proximity time clocks are very accurate. They are software-driven and record data by physical proximity to a unique device.
- Proximity clocks are easier to set up than you would imagine. They can be set up in many locations and provide centralized management.
- Proximity time clocks offer a higher level of security. Fobs and prox cards are unique to each employee. Employers can deactivate a card if a loss occurs. Deactivated cards cannot access the system, which prevents buddy punching or other fraud.
What Are The Cons of Proximity Time Clocks?
One of the drawbacks of proximity time clocks is the potential for buddy punching. Prox cards and fobs shared with other employees offer a quick way to punch in for a buddy.
Another drawback is prox card loss. When employees lose a fob or forget their card at home, the system fails. Card loss is an added expense that many companies pass on to the employee. Many systems allow for pin-based login when this occurs, which helps in cases of card loss.
Who Uses Proximity Time Clocks?
Small companies who have large workgroups or many access points to their business.
Fob-based clock systems allow many employees to clock in from any location at the office. Convenience makes it easy and quick to avoid bottlenecks.
Manufacturing companies use these systems to add security and fraud prevention. White collar office environments use proximity cards to measure attendance for salaried employees.
FlexClock is a great time clock for small businesses with security concerns.
Card Swipe Time and Attendance Clocks
What Is a Card Swipe Time Clock?
Employers assign a unique card to each employee. Employees use the cards to access the clock. Often there are buttons on the device to indicate clock in or clock out. Swipe clocks are easy to use and convenient.
How Does A Card Swipe Time Clock Help My Company?
Swipe card time clocks are effective for small companies. They use a convenient card that can double as a badge or be carried in a wallet or purse.
Swipe cards help assure security and provide accurate clock in and clock out data.
What Are The Cons of Card Swipe Time Clocks?
Drawbacks are like those of the prox cards. Misplaced or lost cards can cause disruption to the system. Magnetic strips can become dirty, damaged or worn.
These are minor drawbacks, each with simple solutions including replacement or simple cleaning.
Who Uses Card Swipe Time Clocks?
Like prox cards, swipe systems can provide small companies with a secure solution. A small company can use them to manage employees, track time, and collect accurate data.
Restaurants use swipe card technology to manage shift employees. The self-help nature of swipe cards allows employees to enter shifts at random times. Overlaps and shift changes are easy to manage and don’t form bottlenecks.
If your company is a restaurant with random shift changes, FlexClock is a good solution.
Key Code Time and Attendance Clocks
What Is a Key Code Time Clock?
Employers give employees a PIN to use for clock in and clock out. Employees enter the PIN to log into the system. Buttons indicate clock in or clock out.
3 Ways a Key Code Time Clock Helps My Company
- Using a key code based time and attendance system is an easy way to add security. Small business can take advantage of quick and convenient access while maintaining accuracy.
- Employers don’t have to worry about lost fobs or prox cards.
- As a small business, you won’t have to purchase fobs for employees. This is a saved expense for smaller businesses.
If cost is a consideration, PIN systems are something to look into.
What Are The Cons of Key-Code Time Clocks?
Employees forget PINs, which causes a complete breakdown of the system. There isn’t a backup if an employee forgets a PIN. This isn’t the end of the world; employers can reassign a PIN. But lost time and effort can add up if you have a forgetful crew.
PIN-based time and attendance can be a little slower than prox cards. Employees have to stop and enter data to access the system. This can slow down lines at shift changes. If you have large workgroups, try adding devices to speed up traffic.
Who Uses Key Code Time Clocks?
Many small businesses use key code systems for time and attendance tracking. The lower expense is appealing for companies on a budget.
Smaller restaurants, patient care facilities, and offices with small workgroups use key code time clocks.
Mobile Time and Attendance Clocks
What Is a Mobile Time Clock?
Mobile time and attendance is a fast-growing area of workforce management. It is inexpensive and easy to adopt.
Employees can use their own smartphones to access the system. Employers can access reports from anywhere.
6 Ways a Mobile Time Clock Helps My Company
Mobile timekeeping is all about remote convenience and accuracy.
- Small companies with remote and mobile workforces can track accurate time without restrictions.
- Managers can approve time cards on the run.
- GPS allows managers to confirm locations.
- Self-service gives employees more freedom to take part in management tasks like shift-trading.
- Software-only timekeeping makes mobile an inexpensive solution. Employees aren’t tied to a physical hardware station and can log in from anywhere. This is handy on construction projects, delivery assignments, and service visits.
- Mobile timekeeping allows your small business to track your workforce wherever they are.
What Are The Cons of Mobile Time Clocks?
The drawbacks of mobile time clocks for small business are inherent in mobile workforce management. It’s hard to say there is a specific drawback of using a mobile app to track time. Anytime you have employees out on the road, you are going to run into issues with security.
Buddy punching is always a concern. Mobile apps don’t always have a good answer to this persistent problem. GPS tracking provides a partial solution, assuring that the device is on site. This helps reduce buddy punching problems but doesn’t completely prevent them.
Who Uses Mobile Time Clocks?
Small businesses who have remote employees use mobile time clocks.
Construction companies with on-site crews use mobile time clocks. It’s easy to track a small group of employees on a remote project with mobile. Clock in, breaks, lunchtime, and clock out are all covered with mobile timekeeping.
Delivery companies can use mobile time clocks to manage delivery employees. Clocking in at the start of a delivery and then clocking out when finished can all happen on the road.
Small businesses who provide house calls can use mobile to streamline time tracking. Companies who perform service visits to remote locations can track time on location.
Small businesses with remote or mobile employees should consider TimeWorksPlus Mobile.
Where Do I Buy Time Clocks For Small Business?
SwipeClock Partners offer a wide range of affordable time clocks. Whether your small business needs biometric or mobile, we can provide a solution.
To contact a small business specialist at a SwipeClock Partner, call 801.590.2289. We can answer all your questions about time clocks for small business.
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