What is a timeclock?
Time clocks are used in organizations to track the time employees spend on the job. The purpose of a time clock is to electronically track and record attendance to maintain payroll accuracy. Time clocks are usually used to record shifts, but they are equally helpful in tracking work hours and overtime. Employers, with the help of a time clock, can effectively monitor employee activity and calculate their work hours.
It is important to note that in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic when companies increasingly embraced and implemented work-from-home and remote working modules, many software companies started offering free employee time clocks with cloud-based technology that turned out to be helpful for employees in punching in and out of work and record their work hours swiftly. Additionally, it has helped employers as well to keep a record of timesheets, track attendance, monitor work, and export data for payroll and billing.
Broadly, we can segregate time clocks into five categories-
1. Punch Card Time Clock
One of the traditional time-card systems that used the punch method. In this, workers are given a paper time card that they are supposed to insert in a time-card machine upon arrival and while leaving from the workplace. The machine then records or stamps on the time card to indicate a start and end time. This isn't feasible for workplaces that employ remote workers or work profiles that require being on the field.
2. Bio-metric Time Clock
One of the most popular systems to clock clock-in and out time, not just in an office setup but also for security purposes in gated communities. In this, a hardware device uses biometric data like fingerprints, palm prints, facial recognition, etc to confirm a person's identity and records entry and exit time. It is one of the popular methods for managing attendance because the software is straightforward and requires minimal tech support. It also protects employers from issues like time theft or buddy punching (when a coworker punches the timecard for an employee who is not present).
3. Digital Time Clock
A digital time clock doesn't require a punchcard. Instead, a card with a magnetic strip is used in a machine. When the card is swiped through the machine, it tracks the punch-in date and time. One variation of a digital time clock is a touchpad. It doesn't require employees to hold onto a card at all. Employers generate unique IDs for workers to be keyed in a touchpad to record the punch in and punch out information.
4. Web-based Timeclock
Web-based time clocks let employees mark their attendance through a web browser on a computer. Usually, employees are provided with unique login credentials to record the start, end as well as break-time. This is again one of the most popular options in recent times as it is flexible and makes remote working easier.
5. Mobile Time Clock
A mobile time clock is one of the recent additions to workforce management. The trend for mobile time clock is picking up preference because of the flexibility it provides. With the help of a software solution, this allows organizations to let their employees mark attendance through a mobile device like a mobile phone or tablet. Some of the better mobile time clocks integrate with a GPS system and allow for location-specific tracking, preventing fraudulent clock-in times. A mobile time clock is a very good solution for industries like restaurants and retail that involves having a lot of delivery partners. It makes it easier to track their movement.
History of employee time clocks
The stories of the invention of some of the common products in recent times, like the computer or the airplane, are told in popular culture like folklore. Layers are added to keep the enthusiasm of the listeners intact. And then, there's this story about employee time clock, riveting and fascinating, but still lesser told. The story behind the employee time clock, dear reader, has highs and lows of an interesting business drama and a lot of layers as it unfolds. It is not just the invention that is gripping, but also the evolution of the working class as well as the working system that keeps you intrigued.
Have you ever wondered why a nine-to-five job is given preferential treatment? Or, why is there a fixed wage for every hour of work in most countries with an organized workforce? Because our ancestors have fought hard for it. Things like minimum wage, hourly calculation of work done, etc, which seem like a standard practice now, were brought through constant fights and revolutionary ideas. And, a part of that was the invention of a time recorder by Willard Legrand Bundy in 1888. That's right. That is a few decades after the industrial revolution -- that was a gradual process spanning decades (roughly mid 18th to mid-nineteenth century).
With the major population being organized across the world as a workforce, contributing to the growth of some of the vital industries like agriculture, textile, mechanized factories, etc, (led by the British), it was becoming imperative to come up with a system that recorded the manual output versus the earning. There were protests and fights to regularize everything.
Amidst the chaos, there was one person looking for a solution. Or, maybe he was just fascinated by a lot of things. That's the reason Willard Douglas Bundy, raised in Auburn, Cayuga County, New York in the mid-nineteenth century, could be called a serial entrepreneur of the time. First, he ran a flour and feed business, then he went on to open a restaurant. But then the American Civil War broke out and grocery seemed like the most important and viable option as a business. So, he ran that and followed it up with a couple of other businesses. But it was in 1868, after completing school, that he learned the trade and could open a jewelry store.
To draw customers, the jewelry store became his spot for experiments of fascinating stuff. For instance, the wondrous 3100-piece clock, popularly known as the Thousand Year Clock. He kept experimenting and patenting his products. That's the reason Bundy holds patents for multiple cash registers and calculating machines. But one of his major contributions and important inventions was the employee time clock -- patented and approved in 1888.
The machine recorded the clock-in and clock-out times of employees. This machine turned out to be so useful that when he founded the Bundy Manufacturing Recording Company of Binghamton, NY, along with his brother in 1890, there was no looking back. About 9000 pieces of the Willard's Workman's Time Recorder were produced and Bundy signed deals with establishments like the United States Postal Service and many other establishments.
A true entrepreneur, Bundy expanded his business. He merged with the other companies that had started making time recording machines to form the International Time Recorder Company (ITR) in 1900. With time and transitions, ITR would become Computing-Tabulating-Recording Co., and finally be rechristened as what is now known as IBM in 1911.
In order to create a more stabilized and organized system for the workers, the work on the employee time clock would continue. In 1979, Mark S. Ain created a microprocessor-based time clock that automatically recorded, totaled, and reported employee hours. Six years later, in 1985, he would launch a computer-based product.
With many more advancements in technology, it has transformed and transitioned into the present times as biometric time clocks, mobile time clock apps, and other options that make task management and time tracking easy.
Time tracking is important, but it can be a hassle.
There are so many different time clocks and software packages out there. Which one should you choose?
How does a employee time clock help a business?
Implementing a time tracking software system helps businesses in multi-fold ways. Some of the benefits include-
1. More Productivity
A time clock allows workers to record their progress and achieve goals in the required hours.
2. Increases Accountability
Time Tracking systems allow management to reward accountable and hard-working employees. It also lets them monitor low-performing ones.
3. Transparent Work Culture
Time Clock use enhances a work culture that is transparent across the board. That, in turn, helps in evaluating an individual worker's tasks increasing efficiency and productivity.
4. Improves Employee Scheduling
An optimized time tracking system allows employers to schedule and assign work in a systematic manner, which creates a balanced and equitable workspace.
Why use a free employee timeclock for your employees?
The manual method to track employees' work time spent is still prevalent in many small and mid-sized businesses. But gradually, businesses are adopting automated timekeeping systems to make work scheduling and tracking employees work hassle free. Some of the Best Free Time Clock helps in many ways-
- The contemporary time clocks integrate well with mobile devices. It collects and tracks punch-in and punch-out data, and notifies management of discrepancies.
- Time theft and buddy punching usually cost organizations a lot of money over a period of time. A system that regulates clocking in work time helps as a solution in eliminating practices like time theft and buddy punching while also ensuring compliance with labor laws.
- Since a time clock app streamlines time management, it helps save time, money, and valuable HR resources.
How to choose a free employee time-clock software for your business
When identifying the perfect time clock for your business, the management needs to take into account the problem areas that are plaguing the organization. The most common issues that affect a work culture are time theft by employees and buddy punching. Consistent latecomers are also a problem. And in the current times, when remote working has become standard practice, monitoring an employee's time has become a tricky affair.
Before choosing the punching software, it is important to take these factors into consideration. For example, a biometric time clock helps in preventing buddy punching as it uses fingerprints or facial recognition to verify a person's identity.
It is also important to note the convenience that a particular software brings for the HR or the payroll team. If it is not making their work easier and they still have to spend a lot of time verifying timesheets, it's better to pass such a system and look for a better one. For instance, an app that doesn't calculate the work hours of an on-field employee may put additional pressure on HR to track those hours of that particular employee.
It is imperative to find a solution that resolves all the difficulties that an organization is dealing with.
How do you keep track of your employee's time?
How do you keep track of your employee's time?
Conclusion To Free Employee Time Clocks
To sum it up, a free employee time clock app is an important part of any business and helps in regulating a lot of things for both employees and employers.
- Time clock software records an employee's attendance, the number of hours worked, etc. in an efficient manner.
- Time tracking helps in paying employees accurately for the hours worked and better task management.
- A time clock system ensures goals are met in the stipulated time, which increases the efficiency of employees and in turn profitability of a company.
- Time clock app also streamlines reporting and invoicing.
- Most modern time clocks include time trackers, timesheets, and project management, which makes work organizing work easier.
- A time tracking solution also ensures accountability and transparency among the workforce.
How do you keep track of your employee's time?
Employees don’t always clock in and out on time. They’re busy, they forget, or they just need a reminder to do what they need to do.