Time And Attendance Software | 13 mins read

Time and Attendance Software Definitions, Importance, Best of 2021

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Lauren Christiansen

By Lauren Christiansen

What is Time and Attendance Software?

One of the top responsibilities of any HR team is to monitor employee time. Traditional or manual ways of tracking time are tedious and ripe for human error. Thankfully, modern technologies eliminate the need for time cards, timesheets, and the honor code. With time tracking software and apps, a small business can easily keep track of employee hours. But what exactly are mobile time tracking and attendance software?

Time and attendance software is a technology that enables businesses to record employee hours and streamline payroll processes. Organizations utilize clock software to optimize cash flow management and eliminate waste.

Time clock software also helps to maintain compliance with state and federal labor/tax laws. This is particularly helpful in the restaurant industry, where scheduling is complex and younger employees can only work a certain number of hours per month.

While each software solution and time clock app vary, they all perform a specific set of functions. These include -

  • Track employees' hours
  • Tracks paid wages
  • Automates and streamlines payroll
  • Ensures compliance with regulations
  • Pay correct employee compensation for overtime
  • Minimizes accounting errors
  • Breaks processes down into powerful graphs and visuals
  • Integrates with other platforms
  • Eliminates time theft

The Value of Time and Attendance Software

Not every organization operates on the 8-5 p.m. schedule. Restaurants and call centers are sometimes open all night. Big box stores, gas stations, and even some fitness centers are open for longer hours than they once were.

To cover all shifts and maintain compliance, managers need to optimize scheduling and accurately track hours. Larger enterprises and fast food chains especially need to streamline time tracking because of how many franchises and team members there are. Thankfully, time and attendance software is there to help. Here are the top reasons why a time attendance system is so valuable in the workplace.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

1. Time and Attendance Software Automates Scheduling

Employee scheduling is a complex job, particularly when it's done manually or through timesheet templates in Excel. A few hours after a manager creates the perfect schedule, a team member comes in with a time-off request. Then, the supervisor has to rework the entire schedule. This is frustrating, time-consuming, and undoable for large businesses or restaurant chains.

Attendance tracking platforms streamline scheduling from start to finish. Employees can easily swap shifts and input requests. An alert is sent to management, who then approves or disapproves any changes. This saves the HR department a lot of time and resources so they can focus on more important tasks. It also improves employee morale because everyone has greater autonomy over the schedule.

2. Time and Attendance Software Eliminates Employee Time Theft

Before there was an automated way to track hours, it was much easier to buddy punch. Buddy punching occurs when a worker clocks in for a colleague who is not actually at work. As high labor costs already eat into razor-thin profit margins, time theft and fraud only increase expenses.

With facial recognition software and fingerprint scanners, restaurants can eliminate buddy punching once and for all. For example, biometric time clocks utilize a human trait to verify an individual, such as a portion of the face or fingerprint. This ensures the person who clocks in is who he/she claims to be.

Other software systems integrate with card readers and time entry platforms. Organizations only need an internet connection, mobile apps, and perhaps a scanner to accurately track employee time and eliminate buddy punching.

  • Restaurant theft occurs in the form of time, food, alcohol, cash, equipment, and supplies
  • Internal inventory theft is responsible for 75% of inventory shortages
  • 75% of employees steal from their place of work at least once in their lifetime
  • Buddy punching and frequent breaks are the two biggest causes of time theft in the restaurant industry

3. Time and Attendance Software Saves Money

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Inaccurate payments waste millions of dollars in labor costs. With a time clock app, businesses can optimize scheduling to decrease overtime payments. They can also automate any accruals for PTO and benefits so the HR team has more time to focus on other tasks.

Because any inaccurate punch-in data is sent to management, payroll is much more accurate. Organizations can easily budget and calculate labor costs and predict employee time and attendance bottlenecks.

Finally, management can align expertise with jobs to schedule each team member to a shift that suits him/her best. This will increase profits and improve the quality of customer service. It also improves employee satisfaction levels.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

4. Time and Attendance Software Ensures Compliance

Compliance is a major concern in the business world. One little violation results in litigation, fines, and a ruined reputation. A clock system will streamline scheduling, track punch-in data, help run payroll, and optimize accrual procedures. This will ensure an organization maintains compliance with the FLSA, or Fair Labor Standards Act.

5. Time and Attendance Software Enables Reporting

Each employee time clock app stores all labor-related data in one place. With a few clicks of a button, management can generate reports that summarize data sets and provide analysis. The restaurant industry and small businesses utilize these reports to extract real-time insights that help improve decision-making.

For example, a supervisor can forecast absenteeism, calculate the labor costs of one employee, and monitor performance. He can then make proactively talk to a tardy team member or reward responsible personnel to improve morale. It's much easier to know who to promote, who to discipline, and where to cut back to improve profit margins.

Ways to Track Time and Attendance

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Businesses aren't required to invest in a mobile time clock app or other automated time clocks. Some diners and small businesses still use traditional methods to track time and monitor work hours. Regardless of the method a business uses, every system must ensure timely payroll processing, compliance with labor laws, and enforcement of attendance policies.

A system should be easy to use and intuitive. The less paperwork, the better off one is. Business owners must perform the proper research and understand company and employee needs before they decide on a system. Read ahead for the top ways to track time and attendance.

1. Track Time with a Mobile Time System

A mobile time clock is best for businesses that employ a lot of remote workers. This software solution integrates all clock-ins and labor-related data with payroll software. It improves accuracy in payments and ensures team members can clock in off-site.

GPS integration is one clock feature that is particularly useful in the era of remote work. Businesses can know exactly where team members are when they punch in. No more taking sick days while surfing in Hawaii.

2. Track Time with a Wall Mount Card Swipe

Some companies use wall-mounted card swipes as an employee time clock. These devices are an updated version of the traditional punch card system. Rather than use a time card to clock in, workers swipe an ID card that has a barcode on it.

All punch-in data is immediately sent to a computer system, which calculates employees' time for the next pay period. The downside is that ID cards can easily be lost. Furthermore, wall mount time clocks don't always prevent buddy punching, as a team member may use a coworker's card to clock in.

3. Track Time with an Automated System

Accurate time tracking is critical in the business world. To avoid non-compliance, businesses should use an automated employee time tracking device. This will reduce errors, ensure accurate payments, and mitigate any potential litigation.

Automated solutions include everything from wall mount card swipes to mobile apps to biometric time clocks to time clock apps. Traditional methods such as paper time clocks are not an example of an automated system.

4. Utilize a Self-Service Solution to Track Time

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It's much easier to track employee time when team members are able to do the work themselves. Any automated solution that integrates with mobile phones enables off-site employees to clock in from any location.

Workers can send in requests to management, switch shifts, or check their benefits. Any inaccurate inputs are sent to the HR team, who can quickly resolve the issue. This saves time for management, streamlines HR tasks, and ensures accuracy in payroll.

5. Invest in a Cloud-Based System to Track Time

A traditional time clock is usually pricey, depending on the amount of hardware required. To save money on labor costs, businesses continue to invest in cloud-based software solutions. The Cloud usually stores more data and offers better security measures.

Cloud-based customer support is always available, and there is typically a free trial along with a money-back guarantee. It's much easier to track employee work hours, input approvals, and maintain compliance.

Top 3 Tips to Limit Employee Absenteeism and Time Attendance

Absenteeism is a major problem that impacts everything from morale to labor costs. When there are lax policies on sick days, other team members take advantage. The ones who work hard and don't call in have to cover for the missing individuals, which is frustrating. This decreases morale and efficiency, which results in high turnover.

Employers will then need to spend more money and time hiring new team members. This is expensive and a blow to operational efficiency. In the restaurant industry, it's almost impossible to cover for an absent worker. There are only so many servers and hostesses and cooks who can do a missing person's job. Absenteeism also hurts the quality of customer service.

Because absenteeism is so detrimental, restaurants and small businesses need to do everything to minimize it. Read ahead for the top tips.

1. Optimize Time Attendance with a Wellness Program

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Businesses that offer a wellness program have a much lower rate of absenteeism than those that don't. A wellness program improves employee health, decreases health care expenses, and improves morale. It also enhances the company culture, which can increase productivity and collaboration. A wellness program can eliminate employee stress and the unhealthy habits that go along with it, such as sickness or depression.

2. Improve Time Attendance with Better Benefits

Businesses that offer good benefits demonstrate that they value employees and their contributions in the workplace. Some companies even offer unlimited vacation days, which may seem risky to most business owners.

However, studies show that few employees abuse such measures. Because workers know an employer values them, they tend to work harder and show up when scheduled. They respect coworkers and management and don't want to burden them with extra work.

Incentives such as paid time off or a work-from-home option go a long way to boost morale and eliminate chronic absenteeism.

3. Improve Time Attendance by Offering Flexible Hours

Exhaustion and burnout are serious problems in the United States. With 40 plus hour work weeks and minimum vacation time, many employees are anxious and depressed. This hurts productivity and the relationship between management and subordinates. Restaurants or small businesses that offer flexible work hours, more breaks, and work-from-home options have more productive employees.

5 Top Time and Attendance Software

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With the many time clock options available, it's hard to know which one is best. Businesses should pick the tool that streamlines operations, minimizes overpayments, and decreases labor costs.

Larger companies will need a solution with more features, while smaller companies might go with something a little more functional. Employers who have remote teams need a self-service system that integrates with mobile phones. While most software solutions have commonalities, some are better than others. Here are the top 5 time and attendance software solutions.

1. Time and Attendance Software Zip Schedules

ZipSchedules streamlines scheduling, forecasts employee needs, manages time off, and enables users to generate customized schedule templates. It allows workers to clock in from any location, which is perfect for remote teams. Its interface is easy to use and intuitive and is functional on both IOS Android and the iPhone.

Management can create schedules in minutes, instantly communicate with team members, and optimize labor budgets. Employees can access their schedules at any time and send in time-off requests. ZipSchedules is affordable, provides quality customer support, and offers a free trial. It is a great solution for any type of business, including the restaurant industry.

  • Fixed shift - Schedule that is set in stone
  • Rotating shift - Runs 2 to 3 shift per day, 7 days per week
  • Split shift - Divide a worker's day into 2-3 parts
  • Swing Schedule - Begins in late afternoon and ends late at night
  • Overtime shift - Any hours worked past regular hours

2. Time and Attendance Software Connectteam

Connectteam automates and streamlines time tracking and payroll. It is somewhat affordable and has an intuitive dashboard. Setup is fairly easy, and customer service is available to help. Features include scheduling, task management, employee training, and time tracking.

There is a 14-day free trial for those who are on the fence. Connectteam is an acceptable option for both small and large businesses. However, Connecteam does not specialize in remote teams that need further monitoring, as ZipSchedules does.

3. Time and Attendance Software - Clockify

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Clockify is a fairly inexpensive option that offers access to a variety of features. It's a good choice for billing freelancers and enterprises that need to manage timesheets. Users need to pay more to incorporate the timesheet reminder or bulk editing features.

It has an interface that is fairly easy to use, with an option to print reports. Clockify allows businesses to add unlimited users rather than pay per user, which helps to save money. While easy to use, Zipschedules has a more intuitive interface and a broader array of features.

4. Time and Attendance Software - Harvest

Harvest is more expensive than other time apps, at about $12 per user. While most customers approve of the software, they also say that it is not easy to navigate. It's best for small and mid-sized organizations that require cost tracking and invoicing. It enables 1 user and 2 user projects. Harvest integrates with Mac and IOS. ZipSchedules is much easier to navigate, offers a better array of features, and integrates with IOS android.

5. Time and Attendance Software - Timely

Timely is best for individuals or small teams who need a time tracker. It is not a good solution for larger enterprises or restaurants with multiple locations. It is a little harder to navigate and offers no free plan, which is a big downside. However, it is fairly affordable and can export data into a PDF or Excel.

This attendance solution also enables personal monitoring of data that is not available to the admins. Phone and email support are available for help. ZipSchedules is a much better option for restaurants, small businesses, and large companies who need to streamline payroll and scheduling.

Key Takeaways of Time Attendance Software

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In conclusion, here is what to know about time clock apps -

  • Automated tracking software improves scheduling, minimizes time theft, saves money on labor costs, helps maintain compliance, and streamlines reporting.
  • Businesses can track employee time with a management system, a wall mount card swipe, an automated solution, a cloud-based solution, and a system that integrates with other attendance systems.
  • The top tips to limit absenteeism include offering a wellness plan, providing vacation days and PTO, and offering flexible hours. This will improve morale, lower the turnover rate, and increase productivity.
  • ZipSchedules is the top time attendance solution and scheduling software solution. Other management solutions include Connectteam, Clockify, Harvest, and Timely.

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