Q: Do you need new time and attendance software?
A: If you are still using paper timesheets or a traditional punch timeclock, your business can absolutely benefit from a digital time and attendance system. First off, it significantly reduces your chances for time-related errors with your payroll. Most of these systems integrate with payroll services, automatically inserting all of the time data into your payroll program. No one has to take the time punches and re-enter them into the payroll software – this is when errors are most likely.
Time and attendance systems offer businesses so much more than just the ability to track when their employees come and go for the day. Being able to create schedules and manage all PTO issues from the same system is valuable. This type of system lets you store and manage all of your time-related data and needs in the same platform. You will always know where to go to handle any time or attendance task.
Q: How do you evaluate time and attendance ROI?
A: Moving from paper timesheets or punch cards to an electronic time and attendance system could save your business thousands of dollars each year. While there is an added cost of using the system, typically $2 to $10 per employee per month, the savings you get in return can far outweigh those expenses.
According to Sierra Workforce Solutions, businesses can save money in multiple ways by using a digital time and attendance system. One way is by cutting out lost time due to inaccurate clock-in and clock-out times. For example, while an employee might be leaving work for the day at 4:50 p.m., they may put down that they left at 5 p.m. While they may have taken 40 minutes for lunch one day, they may write down that they took a 30-minute lunch break. Time and attendance systems eliminate this type of punch rounding and ensure that employees are only paid for time they are actually at work.
It also eliminates the need for someone on staff to correlate all the timecards and transfer that data into the payroll system. This frees up those employees to work on other tasks. In addition, removing humans from this task cuts down on potential payroll errors.
To determine the exact return on investment, Sierra uses a specific formula. It takes the time of adding up timecards (using a previous study's results of six minutes per card) plus the savings in time theft (the previous study's results say the average employee steals four hours and five minutes per week) plus human error mistakes, which it estimates to be 0.25%.
With these numbers, Sierra estimates that a business with 100 employees will save nearly $5,000 per month, or close to $60,000 per year. You can see more details on the calculations here.
Q: What should you expect time and attendance systems to do?
A: You should expect your time and attendance system to handle all of your time-tracking needs. There are so many time and attendance solutions on the market that, whatever your business requires in terms of time tracking, there is an option out there for you.
At the very least, you want a timekeeping solution that offers multiple ways to clock in and out, gives remote workers the ability to punch in and out from wherever they are, and integrates with the payroll software you use.
Other aspects of a time and attendance system that your business may benefit from are the abilities to generate and assign employee schedules, manage all PTO issues (including tracking accruals and handling the request and approval process), logging how long employees work on specific projects, and monitoring the locations your remote employees are clocking in and out from each day.
Q: How does an employee time clock work?
A: There are several different types of employee time clocks, but they essentially work the same in that they provide a record of when an employee is working.
For traditional punch clocks, an employee takes a paper timecard and inserts it into the time clock, and it records on the card what time the employee clocked in or out.
Digital time clocks have the same function, but instead of recording the times on a paper timecard, they record the times directly into the time and attendance software. This saves you the hassle of manually entering all of the times from a paper timecard into your time and attendance or payroll software.
Digital time clocks offer several different ways for employees to record their time, such as via PIN, swipe card or biometrics, like fingerprint and facial scans.
Computers and mobile devices can also be used for employee time clocks.
Q: To what extent is employee time tracking integrated with payroll and HR?
A: Employee time tracking is very much integrated with payroll, especially when it comes to employees who are paid by the hour. To properly pay your employees, you need to know how many hours they work. While you could take their word for it, a time and attendance system ensures you aren't paying them for time they weren't actually working.
The best time and attendance systems integrate with your payroll and HR software. This way, the time records for each employee automatically transfer into your payroll and HR software without you doing anything. Not only does this save time, but it cuts down on errors from transferring the information from one program to another.
Q: Why is it important to clock in and out at work?
A: There is a lot of value to having employees clock in and out. The biggest benefit is to ensure you aren't paying employees for time they aren't working. A digital time and attendance system gives employers precise details on when an employee is working and when they aren't. While paying for a few extra minutes here and there might not seem like a lot, it all adds up in the long run.
Using a biometric time clock, which makes employees punch in and out with a fingerprint or retinal scan, also prevents buddy punching – ensuring employees are clocking in themselves, not having someone else do it for them. If not curbed, buddy punching can cost your business not only in money for time not worked, but also in lost productivity.
In addition, clock-in and clock-out records give employers a better handle on their staffing levels. You can compare who is working when with the times your business is the busiest to ensure you have the right number of people on the clock.
Q: How are time and attendance managed with a PEO?
A: PEOs manage time and attendance similarly to how businesses manage it themselves. The main difference is that the program they use to track time and attendance lives on the same platform as all the other HR functions, like payroll and benefits administration. Having all of your HR services housed on the same platform ensures greater efficiency. Businesses also have this option when they use an HR software platform, rather than individual time and attendance and payroll solutions.
For example, when an employee records their time for the day, that data automatically populates in the payroll program. Instead of employees manually entering that info in the payroll software, which could lead to errors, the info is instantly and correctly transferred. This helps ensure employees are accurately paid.
Q: Why is important to document employee time and attendance?
A: For employers, a time and attendance solution can save money, it improves team productivity and helps with legal compliance. Having an accurate log of when employees are – and aren't – working ensures that each staff member is on-site when they're supposed to be and that they're only being paid for the hours they work. Having a record of the hours that employees have worked helps employers manage their staffing levels optimally so they are not under or overstaffed.
Time and attendance can also serve as proof that employers are following the appropriate employment and labor laws, for example, adhering to minimum and maximum attendance laws, paying overtime, and permitting legally required breaks.
Q: What is a reasonable attendance policy?
A: The right attendance policy for your business will be unique to you and your employees. Some organizations may need strict attendance policies to function properly, while others may be able to offer flexible work schedules.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average full-time worker misses almost three days per year. In some industries, such as service occupations, the absence rate is higher. When drafting your company's attendance policy, consider the industry and company culture as well as the demands of the business.
For example, one employer may find it acceptable for an employee to be 30 minutes late to their shift, whereas for another company, such as a manufacturer, an unauthorized absence may require disciplinary action.
Once you've created your company's attendance policy, you should meet with your employees to review the policy and ensure they understand what is expected of them.
What is the best time clock app?
The best time clock app for your business depends on the features you're looking for and what your business needs. The best time and attendance systems have mobile apps with geotechnology, and come with features like biometrics, PTO management, job tracking, alerts, labor reports, integrations and in-and-out boards.
After careful consideration, our choice as the best time and attendance system for small businesses is Stratustime from Nettime Solutions. However, smaller businesses may prefer uAttend, and larger employers may be better suited using TimeClock Plus. Businesses with a mobile workforce may want to look into TSheets.
What is the best free time tracking software?
There are several free time tracking software options on the market, with a few top-reviewed options being Avaza, Clockify and Freedcamp. Be advised that you get what you pay (or don't pay) for with any software – free time tracking software often comes with reduced capabilities. For example, it may have limited features, or it may lag in user speed. The good news is that most free time tracking options let you upgrade to a paid plan once you are ready for more advanced features.