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stratustime Review: Best Time and Attendance System for Small Businesses

After conducting extensive research and analysis, we recommend stratustime as our 2017 pick for the best time and attendance system for small businesses. 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.

stratustime combines a wide range of time-tracking options and features with an easy-to-use interface and excellent customer support. It costs $4 per employee, per month. There is also an installation and implementation charge based on the number of employees you have.

stratustime from nettime solutions has the features businesses of any size would want in a time and attendance system. It tracks all of a business's time needs, including when employees come and go, when they take breaks, how long they work on certain projects, and how much paid time off (PTO) they've accrued.

Employees have five different ways to clock in and out and manage their time with stratustime:

  1. Traditional time clocks: The stratustime time clocks are cloud-based and can collect information via fingerprints, magnetic stripes, bar codes, proximity badges and touchscreens. The time clocks instantly transfer the time employees punch in and out into the software. Employees can also use the clocks to review hours, check schedules, request time off and check accrual balances
  2. Mobile-friendly website: The mobile website lets workers 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 time cards, and request time off. Managers can use the mobile website to approve time off and review time sheets. The mobile-friendly site uses geofencing to define the locations where employees can punch in and out and geolocation technology to monitor exactly where employees are starting and ending their shifts.
  3. Telephones: The IVR feature allows employees to call in from any phone to clock in and out, transfer their hours, submit time sheets, and check PTO balances. With this option, employers can restrict access to the system based on caller ID.
  4. Web kiosk: The stratustime web kiosk can be used in place of or in addition to a traditional time clock. The kiosk can be set up on any computer or tablet and be placed in areas of high employee traffic. With this setup, workers can quickly clock in and out. No extra hardware, software or employee training is required.
  5. Computers: Employees can also manage their time from any computer connected to the internet. Employees can log in to stratustime's online portal to manage all their time and attendance needs.

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:

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Besides recording the total hours employees work each day, the system has a job-tracking tool that logs how long employees work on specific projects. This can be valuable for employers, such as IT consultants or law firms, that bill clients based on the hours employees spend working on their tasks.

The system can also manage PTO. It tracks accruals, allows employees to request time off, and lets managers approve or deny those requests. In addition, employers can use stratustime to generate schedules for individual employees, departments or shifts. Besides designating when employees should start and end their shifts, the visual scheduler lets managers add in when breaks and meals should be taken. You can also click and drag schedules to copy them from employee to employee for quick assignment. 

stratustime manages your company’s paid time off. Besides tracking accruals, employees can also request time off within the system.

stratustime also allows employers to generate schedules for individual employees, departments or shifts, all via the online portal. Besides designating when employees should start and end their shifts, the visual scheduler lets managers add in when breaks and meals should be taken. You can also click and drag schedules to copy them from employee to employee for quick assignment. The stratustime scheduling tool was among the most robust we saw during our research.

In all, stratustime's time-tracking options are among the most comprehensive we found. While many other providers offer some of these tools, few provide all of what's included here.

The base fee for stratustime is $4 per month, per employee. Included in the base fee are all the time and attendance tracking features, the scheduling tools, employee self-service access, and a variety of labor analytics. There is a $50 minimum charge per month.

Some of the more advanced tools come with an additional cost. Among the features businesses may have to pay extra for – starting at 25 cents per employee, per month – are PTO management, mobile access, automatic alerts, job forecasting, advanced reports and a point-tracking system, which keeps records of when employees are absent or late. Although there is typically an extra charge for these features, several of the sales agents we spoke with when researching the system said they would include these tools for no added cost.

In addition to the monthly fees, there is a one-time implementation charge. We were quoted $1,000 for a business with 20 to 25 employees. That amount varies, however, based on each business' staffing levels.

The implementation charge covers the cost of having stratustime employees customize 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. In addition, managers and administrators receive special training sessions. Most of the other providers we examined did not offer this type of white-glove setup service.

The only other costs arise if you want to buy or rent the company's time clocks. Purchase costs for the clocks range from $1,900 to $2,800, depending on the model you choose. You can also rent the clocks for between $90 and $120 per month.

Since stratustime is cloud-based, there is no software to install or maintain it, and it can be accessed online from anywhere. The only hardware that you may need are time clocks; however, those aren't required to use the system.

Small businesses will appreciate how straightforward stratustime is to use. Besides the simplicity of clocking in and out, the system's online portal is just as easy to navigate. In addition, the interface was the best we found while analyzing time and attendance systems.

For employees, the online dashboard is divided into six main sections: Actions, Schedules, Time Off, Messages, Time Card and Reports. Within these sections, employees can submit their weekly time cards; check their schedules by day, week or month; request time off; view a companywide vacation schedule; send and receive messages; review previous time cards; and run reports on schedules and PTO accruals. 

The employee dashboard also includes small buttons that allow employees to quickly clock in and out. Out of all the systems we looked into, we liked the layout of stratustime's employee portal the best. Everything is clearly labeled with easy-to-understand icons.

The stratustime employee dashboard is easy to navigate with its large icons. Within the sections employees can submit their weekly time cards, check their schedules, request time off, review previous time cards and run reports.

The manager dashboard is a bit more sophisticated. The home page provides a quick overview. 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 home page 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.

We like that the home page can be completely customized according to what each manager finds most valuable. Many of the other services we looked into don't offer this level of personalization.

In addition to the home page, there are five main sections in the manager dashboard: Employees, Time Cards, Schedules, Time Off and Reports. These sections allow company leaders to see the hours each employee worked and PTO accruals, as well as approve or deny time-off requests, create schedules, and review, edit and approve time cards.

Additionally, managers can use the reports section to view data on things like projected wages, hours paid, weekly schedules and labor distributions. One nice feature is that you can have regularly reviewed reports automatically emailed to you. For example, if you like to look at your staff's schedule at the start of each week, the system will automatically generate the report and have it waiting in your inbox on Monday morning. This is a feature most of the other systems we examined don't offer.

The system also integrates with more than 60 payroll services. This allows you to easily transfer time and attendance data into your payroll without any added work.

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. This is a nice option for businesses that want all of their HR services on the same online platform.

We were extremely impressed with the level of customer service we received from stratustime. To gauge what customers can expect from the support team, we called the company multiple times posing as a new business owner interested in time and attendance systems.

During our initial call, we were immediately connected to a customer representative who answered all of our questions. In subsequent calls, we were a little disappointed when our calls were transferred to voicemail. However, we were pleasantly surprised that our calls were returned in a matter of minutes each time.

Each of the representatives we spoke with gave us thorough answers to all of our questions. They also emailed us additional information on the service as soon as our calls were complete. Some of the other providers we spoke to never offered to send us more detailed information, or, when we asked for it, said they had nothing to send.

We were also pleased that the representatives didn't try to pressure us into signing up for the system. Instead, they made us feel that they were comfortable spending the necessary time making sure we had all the details we wanted. Some of the other providers we spoke with were less responsive, especially after we indicated that we weren't planning to immediately make a final purchase decision. 

We also were given a personalized demonstration of the system to see how it operated. 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 worked 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 via phone and email from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday. Employees and managers also have access to a variety of help options, such as tutorials and videos, as well as a "walk me" feature, which assists users in real time while the system is being used.

Although nettime solutions isn't an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau, its parent company, PayChex, is. According to the BBB website, as of April 2017, there had not been any complaints filed against nettime solutions over the past three years. Most of the other time and attendance system providers we considered had at least some criticism levied against them with the BBB. Despite not being accredited, nettime solutions still has an A+ rating with the BBB.

Two of the biggest downsides with stratustime are price related. First, the $50 monthly minimum charge could be a problem for small businesses with fewer than 13 employees. Those with 12 staff members or fewer end up paying more per employee than the standard $4 per month.

Another potential negative is the implementation charges. Although many of the other companies we analyzed don't have these fees, they also failed to provide the same high level of service in setting up the system. If you don't feel comfortable with the one-time cost or the monthly minimum, we would encourage you to consider a provider that doesn't have these charges, such as uAttend, our pick for the best time and attendance system for small offices.

Other potential negatives of stratustime are that the company doesn't offer customer support on the weekends and that there isn't a live chat tool to quickly get answers to your questions.

Small Businesses
stratustime
Read Review
  • Clock In/Out Options
    Physical time clocks, mobile website, telephones, web kiosk and computers
  • Cost
    $4 per employee, per month
  • Free Trial
    No
  • PTO and Scheduling Tools
    Yes
Very Small Businesses
uAttend
Read Review
  • Clock In/Out Options
    Physical time clocks, computers, mobile app and telephones
  • Cost
    $18 per month for up to 9 employees
  • Free Trial
    No
  • PTO and Scheduling Tools
    Yes
Mobile Workforce
TSheets
Read Review
  • Clock In/Out Options
    Mobile app or website, computers, text, Twitter, telephones and kiosk
  • Cost
    $5 per employee, plus $20 base fee per month
  • Free Trial
    14-Days
  • PTO and Scheduling Tools
    Yes
Larger Employers
TimeClock Plus
Read Review
  • Clock In/Out Options
    Physical time clock, mobile app, computer and telephone
  • Cost
    Between $24 and $36 per employee, per year
  • Free Trial
    No
  • PTO and Scheduling Tools
    Yes

Ready to choose a time and attendance system? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

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: 

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Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.