After much research and analysis, we recommend Stratustime from Nettime Solutions as our 2019 pick for the best time and attendance system for small businesses.
One of the biggest factors small businesses consider in a time and attendance system is its ease of use. Small business owners and employees typically have a lot on their plates, so they don't have time to struggle to use a key service or software. The time and attendance system they choose should be easy to implement and learn, and even simpler to use on an everyday basis.
That's part of the reason why Stratustime is such a solid timekeeping solution for small businesses. Because Stratustime is based in the cloud, there is no software to install or maintain it, and it's accessible online from anywhere. The only hardware that you may need is a timeclock, but it isn't required to use the system.
The interface is what makes Stratustime particularly appealing. For employees, the online dashboard is divided into six main sections: Actions, Schedules, Time Off, Messages, Timecard and Reports. Within these sections, employees can submit their weekly timecards; check their schedules by day, week or month; request time off; view a companywide vacation schedule; send and receive messages; review their previous timecards; and run reports on schedules and PTO accruals. The dashboard also includes small buttons that allow employees to quickly clock in and out.
For managers, the homepage provides a quick overview of the system. There is an "in and out" board, which shows who is currently working, the total number of hours someone worked during the week, and the most recent employees to clock in and out. The manager homepage also has a notifications bar that alerts supervisors to messages they have, employees who have forgotten to punch in or out, and PTO requests. This makes it easy to quickly see the tasks that need immediate attention. The homepage is customizable according to each manager's needs.
To understand how we selected our best picks, you can find our methodology and a comprehensive list of time and attendance systems on our best picks page.
Editor's note: Looking for information on time and attendance systems? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need:
Stratustime charges ongoing per-employee monthly fees, as well as one-time setup and implementation charges.
The base fee is $4 per month per employee. Included in the base fee are all the time and attendance tracking features, scheduling tools, employee self-service access, and various labor analytics.
Some of the more advanced tools have an additional cost. Among the features businesses may have to pay extra for – which range from 10 to 50 cents per employee per month – are PTO management, mobile access, automatic alerts, job forecasting, advanced reports and a point-tracking system, which records when employees are absent or late. Some of the representatives we spoke with, however, said that Stratustime often waives the additional costs for some of these tools.
In addition to the monthly fees, there is a one-time implementation charge. This price varies by the number of employees you have and how many tools you are having built into your system.
For a business with 20 to 25 employees, we were quoted implementation fees of $1,200 to $1,500. The implementation charge covers the cost of Stratustime customizing the system for your specific needs. This includes adding employees to the system, setting up PTO accrual information, and creating alerts for when employees forget to clock in or are nearing overtime. Managers and administrators receive special training sessions.
The only other cost you may incur is for physical timeclocks. The cost of the timeclocks varies greatly. The median price is about $2,500. However, you are not required to use a timeclock with the system. You are free to have employees use one of the other available methods to log their time.
One plus of Stratustime is that employees have five different ways to clock in and out and manage their time – timeclocks, a mobile-friendly website, computers, telephones and a web kiosk.
The timeclocks are cloud-based and can collect information via fingerprints, magnetic stripes, barcodes, proximity badges and touchscreens. Employees can also use the clocks to review their hours, check their schedules, request time off and check their accruals. The Stratustime web kiosk can be used in place of or in addition to a traditional timeclock. It can be set up on any computer or tablet and placed in areas of high employee traffic.
Employers that don't need a central location for punching in and out can have employees use their own computers. Employees can manage their time from any computer connected to the internet. They can log in to Stratustime's online portal to manage all their time and attendance needs.
Remote workers have several options for logging their time. The mobile website lets them manage their time via any smartphone or tablet. Employees can use the mobile website to clock in and out, transfer where their time is being allocated, submit their timecards, and request time off. Managers can use the mobile website to approve time off and review timesheets.
A benefit of the mobile-friendly site is that it uses geofencing to define the locations where employees can punch in and out, and geolocation to monitor exactly where employees start and end their shifts.
On-the-go employees can also clock in and out from any telephone. The IVR feature allows employees to call in from any phone to record their time, transfer their hours, submit timesheets and check PTO balances. With this option, employers can restrict access to the system based on caller ID.
Another positive of Stratustime is that it can handle all of a business's time-tracking needs, including scheduling and PTO management. The system tracks PTO accruals, allows employees to request time off, and lets managers approve or deny those requests. Additionally, employers can generate schedules for individual employees, departments or shifts. Besides designating when employees start and end their shifts, the visual scheduler lets managers add in when breaks and meals should be taken.
Other benefits of Stratustime include a job-tracking feature, which allows employees to log exactly how long they work on specific projects, and the ability to generate a wide range of labor and wage reports. The system also integrates with more than 60 payroll services.
In addition to the integrations, Stratustime is available on the same platform as Paychex, an online payroll service. Paychex owns Nettime Solutions and offers Stratustime on its payroll platform, along with a variety of other HR services and employee benefit options.
One downside of Stratustime is the implementation charges. However, while many of the other companies we analyzed don't have these fees, they also don't provide the same high level of service in setting up the system.
We were disappointed that Stratustime doesn't have its own mobile app. While the mobile-friendly website offers the same functionality, some users prefer the ease of a mobile app.
Another potential negative of Stratustime is that the company doesn't offer customer support on the weekends or a live chat tool to quickly get answers to your questions.
We were pleased with the customer service we received from Stratustime. To gauge what customers can expect from the support team, we called the company numerous times, posing as a new business owner interested in time and attendance systems.
For the most part, we receive prompt answers to our calls from helpful representatives who thoroughly answered all of our questions. We did have one instance where we were told a representative would have to call us back and never did. However, that incident was an anomaly, as we called more than half a dozen other times and always received immediate attention.
The representatives we spoke with answered all of our questions on how the system works, the features it includes and pricing. They also gave us a personalized demonstration of the system to show us how it operates. During this one-on-one demo, the sales rep walked us through every aspect of the system, step by step. She explained how all of the features work and showed us the system from the perspective of both the employee and the manager. We did not get this extra level of service from many of the other providers we examined.
The company offers support by phone and email from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.
Ready to choose a time and attendance system? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage: