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The Best Time and Attendance Services of 2024

Updated Feb 14, 2024
Best for Scaling Businesses
  • Multiple plans and add-ons
  • Several hardware options
  • Project/task time tracking
  • Multiple plans and add-ons
  • Several hardware options
  • Project/task time tracking
Best for Employee Scheduling
  • Break planning
  • Shift trades & covers
  • Availability management
  • Break planning
  • Shift trades & covers
  • Availability management
Best for Restaurants & Retail
  • Mobile app that reduces time theft
  • Advanced shift scheduling
  • Team messaging features
  • Mobile app that reduces time theft
  • Advanced shift scheduling
  • Team messaging features
Best for Automation
Rippling Time and Attendance
  • Automated workflows
  • Custom alerts and notifications
  • Job and location tracking
  • Automated workflows
  • Custom alerts and notifications
  • Job and location tracking
Best for Employee Productivity
Time Doctor
  • Employee activity tracking
  • Quick setup
  • Screenshots available
  • Employee activity tracking
  • Quick setup
  • Screenshots available

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The best time and attendance systems are affordable, easy to navigate, mobile-friendly and compatible with your existing HR solutions, such as top payroll software. They offer valuable features such as multiple punch methods, employee scheduling, time-off tracking, geolocation tracking, job tracking, notifications and reports. To help you find the best time and attendance systems for small businesses, we examined many top options, scrutinizing price, features, ease of use, integration options and customer service.

 

What is a Time and Attendance System?

At its core, a time and attendance system can track employee hours. However, the best time and attendance systems come with a variety of punch-in options (e.g., swipe cards, barcodes, PINs, biometrics, mobile apps), as well as features for scheduling employees, managing employee time off, tracking employee GPS work locations, and monitoring specific jobs and projects. Many time and attendance systems can also integrate with third-party applications, allowing employee data to be automatically transferred between platforms, thus minimizing the risk of human error associated with manually recording and transferring employee hours.

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How We Decided

Our team spends weeks evaluating dozens of business solutions to identify the best options. To stay current, our research is regularly updated.

20

Considered

12

Researched

10

Selected

Compare Our Best Picks

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Our Top Picks for 2024
TimeClock Plus
Buddy Punch
When I Work
Rippling Time and Attendance
Time Doctor
QuickBooks Time
Paychex Flex Time and Attendance
OnTheClock
PurelyHR Time and Attendance
Justworks Hours
Rating (Out of 10)9.28.79.69.69.29.59.58.78.39.2
Best use case

Scaling businesses

Employee scheduling

Retail and restaurants

Automation

Employee productivity

Mobile workforces

Employee self-service

Startups

Customization

Ease of use

Starting price

Contact for quote

$2.99 per user per month + $19 monthly base fee

$2.50 per user per month

$8 per user per month

$7 per user per month

$8 per user per month + $20 monthly base fee

$59 per month (for up to 23 employees)

Free

$4.50 per user per month

$8 per user per month

Free trial

None

14 days

14 days

None

14 days

30 days

None

30 days

21 days

One month

Customer support

Tiered support, varies by plan

Email and webchat

Webchat and ticketing

Email and webchat

Email and webchat

Phone and webchat

Phone and webchat with a dedicated specialist

Phone, email and webchat

Phone, email and ticketing

Phone, email and webchat

Scheduling

Yes, on select plans

Yes, on select plans

Yes, included

No

Yes, on select plans

Yes, included

Yes

Yes, included

Yes, on select plans

Yes, included

Mobile app

Android and iOS

Android and iOS

Android and iOS

Android and iOS

Android

Android and iOS

Android and iOS

Android and iOS

None

Android and iOS

Review Link
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Our Reviews

TimeClock Plus: Best Time and Attendance System for Scaling Businesses

  • TimeClock Plus offers advanced biometric time clocks.
  • There are several service plans to choose from, which ensures you get a plan that is right for your business.
  • TimeClock Plus doesn’t list its pricing online.
Editor's Rating: 9.2/10
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Of the time and attendance systems we reviewed, TimeClock Plus offers the most flexibility in its plans and add-ons. The system works especially well for growing businesses with evolving needs. TimeClock Plus distinguishes itself with advanced hardware, which includes time clocks that scan your fingerprint or take your temperature. The platform offers a solid assortment of features and tools for basic time and attendance, scheduling and payroll prep.

TimeClock Plus’ dynamic scheduling tools are useful for building shift-based schedules in a number of ways. Managers can rely on demand-driven scheduling for peak periods, flex scheduling for real-time changes, and automatic scheduling to optimize team shifts. The software can even automate the shift bidding process for you to ensure fair and compliant shift bid scheduling. TimeClock Plus partners with Clair for seamless on-demand payments. This partnership is ideal for growing businesses that want to offer expanded employee benefits without affecting their payroll processes. 

TimeClock Plus offers three subscription levels, although you need to contact the company for specific pricing based on your needs. If you want to view workforce trends organized into digestible reporting, you can sign up for TCP’s new add-on feature, TCP Analytics. With access to this workforce data, employers can make better business decisions. Customers can also choose from several other add-ons, including a mobile app, time clock devices and, for some plans, 24/7 support. With its assortment of customizable plans and features, TimeClock Plus is a great option for businesses as they scale.

Buddy Punch: Best Time and Attendance System for Employee Scheduling

  • Buddy Punch offers mobile scheduling.
  • Buddy Punch integrates with popular payroll solutions.
  • Only enterprise plans get dedicated customer support.
Editor's Rating: 8.7/10
Visit Site

Buddy Punch is a simple and effective way to manage schedules and track attendance. Although the Standard plan offers somewhat limited scheduling features, the Pro and Enterprise plans both have extensive employee scheduling tools. These include scheduling templates, a drag-and-drop schedule builder, and recurring shift features to streamline the schedule-building process. Employees can set their availability and preferred work times in the software, and they can access shift trades and covers if they want to alter their schedules. Mobile scheduling is available as well. When employees are early, absent or late, the software can report on that for you.

We like that Buddy Punch offers multiple punch options, including a four-digit PIN, QR code, facial recognition and a username-and-password combination. Companies can use the optional webcam and device-lock features to ensure the correct person punches in and out for their shift. GPS tracking adds another layer of assurance by allowing employees to punch in only from a preapproved location or device. The software helps manage your team’s paid and unpaid time off by automatically calculating overtime, accrued vacation, sick days and time owed with customizable reports that ensure accuracy and transparency. We like that your employee hours can automatically transfer into payroll if you use Buddy Punch’s payroll system. It seamlessly integrates employee timesheets and payroll. Buddy Punch also offers you the flexibility to integrate with third-party payroll software if that suits your time and attendance needs better.

When I Work: Best Time and Attendance System for Restaurants & Retail

  • When I Work includes extensive scheduling tools that make swapping shifts easy.
  • The software offers mobile-first technology, which means it works well on all devices.
  • There is no phone support.
Editor's Rating: 9.6/10
Visit Site

Tracking hours and building schedules for retail and restaurant shift workers who rarely keep the same weekly schedule can be a time-consuming challenge for management. When I Work was designed to support shift-based workplaces with easy and effective tools for employee scheduling, time tracking and communication. When I Work may not have as many features and tools as some of the other time and attendance systems we reviewed, but that’s only because the company is focused on two key areas that are crucial to restaurants and retailers — scheduling and time tracking.

When I Work helps simplify time tracking measures. For example, it offers timesheet rounding features, so you can round employee hours to the nearest 5-, 6- or 15-minute interval. Although overtime management is especially difficult when you have hourly workers who frequently trade shifts throughout the pay period, When I Work’s overtime management software can help identify overtime before it happens and correct the issue as needed. Tracking your team’s attendance, breaks, overtime and time off is inherently connected to payroll. When I Work’s payroll integrations make it easy to export employee timesheets and process your payroll accurately. Smaller businesses with less than 50 employees also have the option to use When I Work’s new payroll software. This new functionality can be accessed on the same platform as its time-tracking features. The platform also partners with Clair to give employees access to part of their wages as soon as they clock out, which can be valuable for restaurant and retail workers who want their money on demand.

Rippling Time and Attendance: Best Time and Attendance System for Automation

Rippling Time and Attendance
  • Rippling automatically tracks time worked.
  • Rippling is a robust HR software platform that allows you to not only track time but also run payroll.
  • There is no free trial.
Editor's Rating: 9.6/10

Rippling is a robust and easy-to-use HR platform that helps managers make the most of their week. The custom workflows and automated tools streamline tasks such as employee onboarding, benefits administration, and time and attendance tracking. If you take advantage of Rippling’s internal ATS, you can seamlessly track your new hires, from recruitment all the way through their first day on the job. The platform allows workers to clock in and out for a shift in seconds through a mobile app, tablet kiosk or computer. This eliminates manual data entry, syncing issues and late approvals from supervisors. Rippling’s attendance software is secure thanks to reliable control features such as geolocation restrictions, camera-enabled clock-in, and unique QR codes to eliminate buddy punching and ensure that your employees are where they’re supposed to be during their shifts.

Rippling is an especially valuable tool for larger companies that benefit from automating repetitive tasks. Though setup can take up to four weeks, most businesses can expect to get their all-in-one system running efficiently in as little as two-and-a-half weeks. That may seem like a long process compared with similar providers, but taking the time to establish custom rules for automatic workflows pays dividends down the line, with enormous amounts of time saved in ensuring compliance, controlling costs and automatically adhering to a wide variety of federal, state and local labor laws.

Time Doctor: Best Time and Attendance System for Employee Productivity

Time Doctor
  • Time Doctor’s tools and services empower employee productivity.
  • The software offers ways to highlight star performers.
  • Time Doctor does not include any GPS tracking tools.
Editor's Rating: 9.2/10

Time Doctor does more than track time; it provides key details that your business can use to increase efficiency and encourage work-life balance within your organization. The platform is especially useful for independent contractors and companies with hybrid or remote employees, thanks to features such as daily and weekly summary email reports that make it easy to track the time spent on each project, client and task. Employees can access their time-use statistics to easily identify areas of improvement, moments of distraction, or justifications for a salary increase. Additionally, business leaders can use the Executive Dashboard to quickly compare team workflows and data, allowing them to make informed business decisions. The software is compatible with any internet-connected device and supports Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS and Chrome operating systems.

Employers can hold themselves and their teams accountable with automatic alerts when they spend too much time on unproductive websites and applications or don’t return to work on time after a scheduled break. Time Doctor provides multiple ways to track productivity: screenshots taken at preset intervals, monitoring program or website usage, and logging keyboard/mouse activity. If the tracked computer or device loses its internet connection, the system continues to record and syncs its information once the connection has been restored. While some employees may show resistance to this level of tracking, as much as 80 percent of the benefits of Time Doctor come from empowering individuals to work more effectively by showing them exactly how they’re using their time. What’s more, aspects like Time Doctor’s break tracking feature allow employers to control what type of break options each employee has, which is ideal for staying compliant with employee time off regulations.

QuickBooks Time: Best Time and Attendance System for Mobile Workforces

QuickBooks Time
  • QuickBooks Time offers GPS tracking and geofencing, as well as mobile timesheets.
  • You can track projects, tasks and time.
  • Unlike some competitors, QuickBooks Time charges a base fee in addition to the standard per-employee fee.
Editor's Rating: 9.5/10

QuickBooks Time looks and feels like it was designed to support hybrid and remote teams that perform their jobs across numerous work sites or client locations. Mobile-friendly features such as geofencing and GPS tracking help workers remember to clock in and out when they arrive or leave the job site for any reason. Managers can easily track the location of all clocked-in employees and receive regular updates on their locations during their shifts. The platform’s substantial list of timesaving features and tools can save managers significant time in monitoring their mobile employees’ hours each week.

QuickBooks Time’s GPS time tracker makes it easy for companies to track remote workers who have clocked in for their shifts. This helpful tool can be used to coordinate in real time, track fleet mileage, and remind workers to clock in and out when they arrive at or depart the job site for any reason. We also really like the Time Kiosk feature, which works as a secure digital punch clock for iPads and Android tablets. Managers can enable four-digit PIN login capabilities and a photo capture option to prevent buddy punching and time theft. QuickBooks Time also offers job tracking, which is ideal for mobile and contract workers.

We like that QuickBooks also offers the QuickBooks Workforce mobile app. Some of its automated features are geared toward helping mobile employees manage their own information on the go. For example, employees can view pay stubs and tax documents, track their time, and manage their PTO from one centralized hub. It is secured with single sign-on capabilities, and available on iOS and Android devices.

Paychex Flex Time and Attendance: Best Time and Attendance System for Employee Self-Service

Paychex Flex Time and Attendance
  • Paychex offers a comprehensive platform that allows you to manage all HR functions, including time and attendance.
  • A variety of biometric time clocks can be connected to the software.
  • Paycheck Flex Time and Paychex Flex Time Essentials pricing is not listed online.
Editor's Rating: 9.5/10

Paychex Flex Time is a robust HR platform that helps businesses streamline their people operations and related functions. The cloud-based time and attendance solutions fully integrate with the rest of its HR tools, and it has comprehensive mobile apps for on-the-go time, and attendance needs as well. With its recently enhanced employee mileage calculator, you can also track time and distance spent on employee trips. This cohesive system makes for a seamless experience to reduce errors while submitting data across devices, locations and services.

Paychex’s time and attendance software stands out for its extensive variety of time collection methods. Employees can track their time via web punch, mobile app, kiosk app with biometric face or iris verification, fingerprint verification, and an interactive voice response system. These options allow employees to clock in and out in a way that is convenient for them.

Other advanced features include complete scheduling with easy-to-use templates and tools to help managers build schedules around each employee’s availability. Employees who need some time off can easily swap their shifts with a co-worker or submit a time-off request. Since Paychex’s new time off management service can be directly integrated with Paychex Flex Time, your records and employee paychecks are updated accordingly when time off requests are approved. Employees can also set up alerts for schedule updates, shift swaps, and time-off request approvals. The software’s employee messaging feature is ideal for dispersed teams that need to communicate.

OnTheClock: Best Time and Attendance System for Smaller Growing Businesses

  • OnTheClock’s pricing is based on how many employees you have. As the number of employees grows, the per-employee fee goes down.
  • The service is completely free for businesses with just a couple of employees.
  • OnTheClock offers limited customer support on weekends.
Editor's Rating: 8.7/10
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OnTheClock’s combination of affordability, features and flexibility makes it a standout time and attendance solution for startups with evolving needs. Employees can easily track their time on a tablet, smartphone, computer or any other internet-connected device, which eliminates the need to purchase time clocks for your staff. Despite the platform’s relatively low cost, OnTheClock offers a selection of advanced features, including fingerprint clock-in and telephone support, that are not available with many higher-priced alternatives.

OnTheClock’s web-based time clock software doesn’t require the user to download any software, making it accessible from any device with an internet connection. For mobile users who prefer the convenience of an easy-access time clock, a mobile app is also available. Beyond basic time tracking, OnTheClock includes GPS tracking, messaging, advanced payroll calculations, scheduling, alerts and project costing for invoicing purposes. This combination of features for the price makes OnTheClock’s value difficult to beat. OnTheClock also offers a 30-day free trial, which is longer than average among the time and attendance systems we reviewed. Customer service is available by phone, email and web chat.

PurelyHR Time and Attendance: Best Time and Attendance System for Customization

PurelyHR Time and Attendance
  • PurelyHR offers highly flexible modular plans.
  • You can save 10 percent by paying annually instead of monthly.
  • PurelyHR does not offer a mobile app.
Editor's Rating: 8.3/10

PurelyHR is a highly customizable time and performance management system designed for small to midsize businesses. The flexible platform is built around six individually priced modules for time off, performance, certification tracking and more. Implementation takes just a few hours, with phone support for the time-off module and unlimited technical support for other modules.

The simple time clock dashboard makes it easy to track arrival and departure times, and you can implement IP restrictions to control the locations where employees can clock in. This module also includes helpful notifications for missed shifts, late punch-ins, early punch-outs and missing timecards. Businesses can easily set custom schedules, overtime rules, timecard approval processes and more with detailed reporting for specific locations, departments and individual workers.

The required Staff module functions as a unified people portal that stores your employee data. It has a customizable interface to support HR teams with onboarding tasks, document uploading, workforce reports and much more. Another unique feature is the Talent module, which helps you manage your team’s certifications, training requirements and professional licenses to ensure compliance across a variety of industries, including healthcare, education and professional services.

Justworks Hours: Best Time and Attendance System for Ease of Use

Justworks Hours
Justworks Hours logo
  • Justworks Hours can be implemented and configured across multiple offices, worksite locations and states.
  • Justworks Hours has a one-month free trial.
  • You must use Justworks’ PEO platform to be eligible to use Justworks Hours.
Editor's Rating: 9.2/10

Justworks Hours is a cloud-based time and attendance system that can easily be integrated into the Justworks professional employer organization (PEO) platform. Setting up a Justworks account only takes a few minutes. Once your employees are in the system, they’ll receive an invite code to join your account.We found the software to be intuitive and user-friendly, allowing employees to start tracking their hours right away through a web browser or mobile app. The software also works in offline mode. While the platform is easy to navigate, customer support is available by phone, email and web chat if you run into any issues.

Justworks Hours has all the standard features and tools needed to track employee time and attendance. For example, you can create and manage employee schedules, customize overtime and break rules, and track and manage employee time-off requests. We like that Justworks offers other useful features like geofencing and project tracking, so you know where and what employees are spending their time on. With features like expense management and payroll integrations, Justworks makes converting employee hours to paychecks an easy and streamlined process.

Pricing for Time and Attendance Systems

Time and attendance systems can be purchased as either an on-premise or cloud-based solution; however, small and midsize businesses often find cloud-based options best for time tracking.

These factors may affect your overall pricing for a timekeeping system:

  • The number of employees (users) you have
  • The number of administrators who use the system
  • The number of locations where you collect time
  • The range of features, such as scheduling in addition to timekeeping
  • Implementation and setup fees
  • Whether or not you want customized reports and interfaces
  • Whether or not you need single sign-on or other add-ons
  • Annual support fees (included in most online systems)
  • Hardware, such as a computer or tablet to serve as your time clock

Cost of Cloud-Based Systems

Most cloud-based time and attendance system providers and apps charge per user — that is, each person, employee, manager or administrator who uses the software. The average cost typically ranges between $2 and $20 per person per month, although some cloud-based time and attendance systems also charge an additional monthly base fee between $15 and $45.

Some time and attendance system providers offer volume discounts, which means the per-employee costs go down with more employees. Other providers offer discounts for annual subscribers.

Cost of On-Premise Systems

If you choose to purchase a system that you host onsite, you may pay an upfront fee of $99 or more, but you won’t incur monthly fees. Instead, you’ll pay a license fee for each computer and a setup fee to install and configure your timekeeping system. Setup fees range from $100 to $1,000 or more, depending on the vendor.

Cost of Hardware

Another cost to consider is the type of equipment you will need to track employee attendance. For example, you may be able to use the time and attendance software with a web-based device, or you may wish to integrate it with a physical punch-style time clock. Physical time clock devices range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on whether they have features such as facial recognition, thermal sensors and fingerprint scanners.

FYIDid you know

If you want to install your time clock app on a tablet, you’ll need to factor in the costs of tablets if you don’t currently own them.

Features of Time and Attendance Systems

Time and attendance systems include features that help businesses keep track of when employees work. Most also monitor employee time off, and some include employee scheduling and shift scheduling to make workforce planning easier. Look for these timekeeping features:

  • Clock-in and clock-out. Time and attendance systems should offer employees multiple ways to clock in and out. Some include a built-in time clock, while others allow employees to input time via a web browser, mobile app, phone, text message or social media platform.
  • Time clocks. Many timekeeping apps are compatible with swipe cards, PINs, barcodes and biometrics technology, such as fingerprint scanners, photo clock-in and facial scans. Other platforms use a virtual time clock app.
  • Mobile access. Cloud-based systems offer either a mobile app or a mobile-friendly website that you can set up on a computer or tablet. This method gives employees who work outside the office an easy way to clock in and out, and it lets you manage other aspects of their time, such as meal breaks and drive time.
  • GPS tracking. Most mobile apps use geolocation features, such as geofencing, to record the exact locations of employees’ time punches or to restrict the areas from which employees can clock in and out. GPS tracking can be especially valuable for monitoring mobile workforces.
  • Dashboard. Most time-tracking applications provide a dashboard that shows whether your employees are in the office, on PTO, on break or clocked out for the day.
  • Job trackers. Some time-tracking systems let employees log how long they work on specific client projects or job tasks. This is valuable to businesses that charge clients based on the time spent on a project or task, such as consulting businesses or law firms.
  • Time-off requests. The best time and attendance systems track employees’ time off, time-off requests and time-off approvals. Some systems streamline the process with online PTO accruals and request forms that managers can view and approve.
  • Scheduling. Most time and attendance software providers have employee scheduling tools built in or available for an extra charge. These tools allow the software to monitor whether employees clock in late or leave early. Some provide reminders.
  • Notifications and alerts. Some time clock apps send email or text alerts to managers when an employee arrives late, leaves early or is nearing overtime. Then managers can determine whether an employee who is nearing overtime should continue working or be sent home.
  • Reports. Most time and attendance software provides businesses with detailed reports about the hours employees are working, which helps managers determine staffing levels and scheduling needs. HR reports that can be printed or exported from time-tracking systems include performance management reports, financial reporting, activity reporting, attendance reporting, time-off summaries and leave reports.
  • Software compatibility. Most time and attendance software applications have built-in payroll software integration so you can easily sync with your payroll software or export data in a payroll-friendly format, which saves time and reduces errors.
  • Customer support. The level of customer support varies across time and attendance vendors. Most provide email, phone or chat support. For an extra cost, some set up your system for you and help you troubleshoot; others require a support contract.

Benefits of a Time and Attendance System

A time and attendance system can be a valuable solution for ensuring compliance and accuracy, reducing errors and legal disputes, and increasing HR efficiency.

Ensures Compliance

A time and attendance system provides employees with a means to consistently record their time worked. These systems track paid breaks and unpaid lunch hours, reduce timekeeping errors, and monitor where and when an employee is on the clock. They can help you stay compliant with employee overtime laws by automatically tracking OT, and they also help businesses comply with labor laws and regulations affecting time off, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Improves Accuracy

Automated timekeeping systems pay employees more accurately, removing guesswork from when someone started or ended their shift and minimizing errors. That reduces time theft, which affects three-quarters of businesses, according to research from the American Payroll Association.

FYIDid you know

Time fraud is a significant issue for businesses; almost half of U.S. employees have admitted to time theft. Time theft may cost employers as much as $11 billion per year.

Saves Time

Another benefit of a digital time and attendance system is that it reduces the time employees, managers, HR and payroll team members spend manually tracking time.

It can take about six minutes to complete each worker’s timecard, according to research from Sierra Workforce Solutions. For large organizations, those minutes add up to time that could be better spent elsewhere. A time and attendance system eliminates that burden from managers and staff, freeing them to work on more important tasks.

Reduces Disputes

Time and attendance software’s functionality reduces errors that may occur as a result of handwritten or manually keyed-in time sheets. An automated time-tracking program prevents timecard disputes and reassures employees that they’re being paid accurately.

Simplifies Clocking In and Out

Time and attendance systems make clocking in and out simple. Employees can typically do so using a computer time clock or phone app. Most systems also offer a mobile app, which gives remote and field workers an easy way to record their time.

Displays Valuable Data

Once your employees are logged in to the system, they can clock in and out, view their total hours worked each week, review their schedules, see how much time off they’ve accrued, and request time off.

Administrators and managers have additional controls to track employees’ attendance and hours, review labor data reports and approve or deny time-off requests. The system allows the data to be exported as a report or CSV file if you want to share it with other systems or users.

Time and Attendance FAQs

Consider the work employees do and how best to track that kind of work. For example, a plumbing business tracks work by job and also needs to track driving time. A café tracks workers in shifts. A manufacturing firm may track work on a line, where all workers start and stop at once. And in an office, work schedules rarely change, so your time tracking may focus more on time-off tracking.

Once you determine the kind of data you need to capture, choose a time and attendance system that’s easy for you to set up and for employees to use. A mobile app is best for field workers, whereas retail workers in your shop may find a kiosk easier.

Also, consider the kinds of output you need for your payroll system and reporting. For example, if you bill clients for workers’ time, you need a system that lets you assign work hours to clients, projects or tasks. It’s best to test out the timekeeping software to ensure it does what you need it to do. Most platforms offer free trials ranging from 14 to 30 days.

A biometric time and attendance system identifies employees using characteristics that are unique to them, such as their fingerprints or retinas. The software gathers that information to ensure the right person is using the time clock. The biometric tools that time keeping providers offer are similar to those at banks that may require your fingerprint, handprint or thumbprint as proof of identification.

A time and attendance system saves time for employees, managers and HR staff. Employees no longer have to write down each time they punch in, take a break or leave for the day. Instead, they clock in and out with the push of a button, so they don’t have to add up all the hours. Managers and HR staff no longer have to verify work-hour totals and enter the total hours into a spreadsheet or payroll system; time and attendance software can automate it all.

The best time clock depends on your company’s specific needs. Most time and attendance system providers list the time clocks that integrate best with their software. After choosing a system, you can examine the clocks those providers offer.

The best time clocks have the features and tools your business needs. Some time clocks only clock employees in and out, while others let you check schedules, review timecards, see time-off accruals, post employee messages, and let workers request time off.

Ensure that the time clock you choose offers the method you want employees to use to clock in and out, such as swipe cards or PINs. Additionally, if you want an especially secure option, such as biometric clock-ins, to prevent buddy punching, the time clock should allow employees to clock in and out using their fingerprint or facial scan.

Traditional time clocks cost hundreds of dollars in addition to the setup fees and annual service contracts. Newer cloud-based time and attendance software is priced per user and typically ranges between $2 and $20 per employee per month. Some vendors offer basic, free timekeeping systems in hopes that you’ll upgrade as your business grows.

Mobile time tracking is part of a time and attendance system that works through a mobile app or a mobile-optimized website to track and manage time for offsite workers, such as service providers or remote office employees. This option is especially valuable in today’s environment, in which many employees are working outside the office.

The system uses geolocation to record the exact locations of employees each time they clock in or out. Employers can then see those locations and make sure the employees are where they are supposed to be.

Geofencing lets employers set location boundaries that define where employees can clock in and out. For example, employers can set boundaries around a work site to ensure their workers are showing up each day or remind them to clock in when they arrive at the job site. Without this option, an employee, in theory, could clock in and out from home and never show up at the job site.

Some systems have added mobile tracking features that record the locations of offsite employees throughout the day. The system pings the mobile device every few minutes so employers can view a map of where their field employees worked throughout the day.

What to Expect in 2024

As the physical and digital worlds continue to merge in 2024, we anticipate the time and attendance industry to accommodate the workforce changes that are here to stay. Gone are the days of clunky punch cards and rigid schedules. In their place, are systems that embrace artificial intelligence (AI), flexibility, data insights, and employee self-service.

AI is a growing trend that will impact this industry over the next year and beyond. As AI becomes an integral part of time and attendance systems, the data it aggregates can be used to make informed decisions on staffing, scheduling and other labor needs. A relatively new functionality, AI chatbots can also play a key role in streamlining employee assistance.

Since hybrid and remote work will continue to be the norm in 2024, timekeeping solutions will adapt. Look for cloud-based platforms that seamlessly track hours across multiple locations and time zones. Employers that need to track employee locations for compliance or safety reasons will be happy to know that geofencing and geolocation capabilities are also becoming standard throughout the industry. 

We expect time and attendance technology to offer personalized and enhanced self-service features that allow employees to manage their own work schedules and time. Putting employee time management functionality in the hands of employees has become increasingly important as younger generations, like millennials and Gen Z, demand more flexibility and autonomy over how and when they work. Gamification will also take center stage, transforming data into engaging challenges and rewarding consistent performance.

In addition to these advancements, privacy concerns will remain paramount. Expect to see timekeeping solutions that anonymize data and empower employees to control what information they share. 

Skye Schooley
Senior Lead Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
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