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Time clock software (also known as timesheet software) automates the process of tracking employee in-time and out-time, attendance, schedules, and paid time off. These systems let businesses monitor employee time and analyse labour costs on a per-project basis.
Time clock solutions are typically offered as either stand-alone products (includes time tracking and attendance management functionality) or accounting software integrations (facilitates payroll calculations based on total time worked; incorporates this information into financial reports).
The benefits of time clock software
- Accurate payroll calculation via digital time tracking: Manual payroll management is inefficient and error-prone, requiring staff to collect employee time cards, calculate time worked by individual workers, and compute total payroll using hourly wages or salaries. Time clock software features digital time capturing for in- and out-time. This information is auto-populated on employee timesheets, minimising calculation errors and reducing associated time and effort.
- Effective time tracking for remote workers: For remote employees who shuffle between an office, their homes, or other locations, manual time tracking requires notable effort, is inefficient, and time consuming. Time clock software provides digital timesheets that automate the time-tracking process across multiple locations. Some products even feature automatic screen capturing, letting managers track engagement levels of their teams by estimating the percentage of time spent on non-work related activities such as social media and internet surfing.
- Efficient client management and staff scheduling: For client-facing businesses working on multiple projects for different clients, tracking time and revenue for each can be frustrating. With digital time capturing, time clock software provides real-time reports on time and revenue spent on each project. This information helps managers prioritise projects based on revenue and time required, and schedule staff accordingly.
Typical features of time clock software
- Employee scheduling: Schedule shifts based on employee availability and project priority. Schedules can be synced with employees' calendar of choice (e.g. Google Calendar, Outlook).
- Time and attendance management: Let employees mark/track their attendance and log specific in- and out-times, removing the need for manual calculation before entering data into your accounting/payroll system.
- Hourly employee tracking: Calculate total number of hours worked using clock-in and clock-out functionality. Users can log this information using biometric and other electronic time capturing methods.
- Sick leave tracking: Allow employees to submit sick leave requests, which are forwarded to managers for approval.
- Holiday/leave tracking: Provide an employee portal to record paid holidays and time-off requests, which are forwarded to managers for approval.
Considerations when purchasing time clock software
- Electronic time capturing: Businesses are constantly looking for ways to improve the accuracy of time capturing. One such method is electronic time capturing, which uses data-capture methods such as key cards and biometric devices to record in- and out-times. Electronic time capturing automates the entire process and eliminates "buddy punching". Different types of electronic time tracking devices are available, such as barcode badges, stripe badges, fingerprint readers, and proximity badges. Businesses that are using or planning to use one or more of these systems should evaluate time clock software that is compatible with such devices.
- Web-based mobile clocking and mobile apps: Increasing remote workforces among small businesses poses significant time tracking challenges. Web-based mobile time clock solutions help businesses address this challenge by letting employees clock in and out via their smartphones. Some products include GPS tracking, providing managers with real-time reports on the location of their team members. Businesses that work with mobile and remote workforces should look for time clock software that offers mobile access.
Relevant time clock software trends
- Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the time clock software market: The quest for more efficient and accurate time capturing methods is driving the adoption of AI in the time clock software space. AI technologies such as face recognition provide users with an effective and foolproof way to validate employee attendance. AI also helps businesses analyse large data sets from GPS devices and provides real-time time reports on the location of remote employees.
- Chatbots will drive automation in time clock software: The adoption of chatbots in small businesses is on the rise. Capterra research shows that 68% of small businesses are either using or plan to implement chatbots in 2020. Chatbots let businesses engage in real-time dialogue with employees to capture their current work status. For example, chatbots can ask employees about the project and tasks they are currently working on, and populate their responses in timesheets.