Tracking employee hours is a fundamental aspect of workforce management. Whether a startup or an enterprise, every business requires effective methods to keep track of work hours and pay. It is the only way to ensure your payroll processing is accurate and you comply with labor laws.
When you have a comprehensive employee time tracking system in place, it helps managers understand how employees manage their time and fosters accountability within the workforce.
This article explores the best way to track employee hours, the benefits of tracking work hours, and key considerations when selecting an app to track work hours.
Table of Contents
8 best ways to track employee hours
1. Pen & paper-based employee hour tracking
Pen and paper-based employee hour tracking refers to manual time and attendance keeping on paper forms or using time cards. Manual methods are the simplest way to keep track of work hours and pay and are also straightforward and low-cost.
However, this method is prone to human error, which leads to inaccuracies and potential payroll disputes. Also, some employees can intentionally inflate their work hours, increasing costs. Additionally, maintaining and organizing physical records takes time and effort.
2. Manual Excel timesheets
Microsoft Excel timesheets remain one of the most widely used manual time and attendance-keeping methods. Employees enter their clock-in and clock-out times into a spreadsheet, and managers use the data to determine total hours worked and overtime.
While Excel timesheets are more organized than pen and paper, employees still need to enter data, making them prone to errors manually. Manual Excel timesheets could be more efficient and convenient for businesses with large workforces. Also, tracking changes or revisions can be challenging when working.
3. Mobile Apps
Another best way to track employee hours is the use of mobile applications. Many free and paid mobile apps are available to track clock-in and out times. Premium time and attendance software like Truein offers accompanying mobile apps that can be installed on workers’ smartphones.
Using the mobile app to track work hours offers flexibility, allowing employees to record their hours from anywhere. Also, smartphones have built-in GPS sensors that enable an employee time tracking system to offer features such as GPS-enabled geofencing.
Truein app to track work hours utilizes AI algorithms and offers features like face recognition that prevent buddy punching.
4. Biometric Clock-In (Fingerprint)
Biometric time tracking methods, such as fingerprint recognition, offer high accuracy and security over manual methods. Fingerprint biometric time punching machines use unique biometric data (e.g., fingerprint) to clock in and out.
The use of biometric solutions is an efficient way to track work hours. It prevents buddy bunching, ensuring that the person clocking in is the authorized employee. Biometric clock-in methods are especially effective for organizations that prioritize security and accuracy.
5. Browser plug-ins and URL tracking
For industries such as IT, data processing, and HR administration that employ remote workers primarily using computers, browser plug-ins, and URL tracking tools are the best ways to track employee hours. Employers can use these tools to monitor the websites and applications employees access during work hours.
It helps monitor and track work hours and ensures that employees are focused on productive tasks rather than non-work-related activities. However, this method is not a complete time and attendance tracking solution because employees can step away from their computers without logging out and still get paid for the hours not worked.
6. Time-tracking software
It would help to have time-tracking software like Truein for complete time and attendance tracking. Such an app to track work hours comes with comprehensive features in addition to clock in/out.
A time tracking software is a complete suite of tools that include scheduling, project tracking, reporting, leave management, and integrations with other business tools.
Truein is a cloud app that automates attendance tracking, significantly reducing errors and providing detailed insights into employee productivity. It is an ideal employee time tracking system, especially beneficial for businesses with larger workforces or complex attendance requirements.
Whether you have full-time employees or a contractual workforce, Truein is the best way to track employee hours.
7. Using a time clock station or kiosk
Time clock stations or kiosks are physical devices at the workplace where employees can punch in and out using a card or badge. It can be a good way to track employee hours especially for industries with a high volume of on-site employees, such as IT services, construction, etc.
These devices maintain a physical record of attendance and offer convenience, but they require initial investment in hardware and are usually high maintenance.
Also most time clock stations or kiosk are hardware oriented ie requires biometric or cards to register in and out times which has several shortcomings. Biometrics might not function properly, workers may indulge in buddy punching, etc
An alternate solution is Truein’s kiosk app which eliminates such issues with automated, face-recognition based technology that captures attendance accurately and provides insights in far greater detail.
High level data such as number of staff working at any point of time, their location details, leave data, hours their clock in/out time, etc. can be directly accessed from the dashboard which can be utilized for shift management and improving workforce productivity.
8. Physical time clocks or punch-in tools
Physical time clocks are similar to kiosk stations but have a basic functionality. Badge and magnetic stripe readers are punch-in tools that offer a low-cost time-tracking solution. However, the choice of physical time clocks and punch-in tools is restrictive and does not possess advanced features of modern time-tracking solutions such as Truein.
Each of these employee time-tracking systems has pros and cons, and the best way to track employee hours depends on the specific needs and preferences of the organization.
Benefits of Keeping Track of Work Hours
1. Ensures payroll accuracy
Accurate time tracking is the fundamental requirement for payroll accuracy. When you meticulously keep track of work hours, HR has access to precise data for calculating salaries and wages.
This accuracy reduces the risk of overpayments or underpayments, a significant reason for employee dissatisfaction. It can also lead to potential legal issues, so accurate work hours tracking is essential, as it mitigates the risks involved.
Additionally, accurate payroll processing enhances employees’ trust in the company when they receive their earnings promptly and accurately.
2. Ensures compliance with labor laws and time-off policies
Accurate time tracking is also crucial for compliance with labor laws and adherence to time-off policies. A company must adhere to the provisions related to overtime, break times, and required rest periods.
With accurate work hours tracking, organizations can ensure they are meeting these legal requirements. It is also essential to manage time-off policies, such as vacation days and paid time off (PTO), preventing unauthorized time-off.
3. Improves understanding of where employee time goes
Tracking employee hours gives you valuable insights into how workers allocate their work hours. This insight can be particularly beneficial for project management, resource allocation, and workforce optimization. Managers can identify tasks and projects’ time requirements and the areas where productivity improvements are required.
4. Encourage accountability
Keeping track of work hours and pay encourages accountability among workers as they know they are being monitored and recorded. They are more likely to adhere to their work schedules and responsibilities.
Time tracking also helps identify patterns of attendance and punctuality, allowing managers to recognize employees who consistently meet their work commitments. Conversely, it also helps identify absenteeism.
What to Look for When Buying a Tool for Tracking Employee Hours?
The choice of an app to track work hours can be daunting when there are so many solutions. Your focus must be on the most critical factors that decide the robustness and use of an employee time-tracking system.
Here are the features to look for:
1. Multi-device support:
It is essential to choose a solution that supports multiple devices, such as smartphones, desktops, and physical time clocks, to accommodate various work scenarios, such as remote work sites and distributed workforce.
2. Manager-friendly features:
Any app to track work hours you choose must allow managers to monitor and analyze employee hours, generate insightful reports, and manage schedules efficiently. It should also have customizable policies such as overtime rules, break duration, and holiday pay to suit the needs of different types of workers – full-time, part-time, temporary, and casual.
3. Employee-friendly settings:
The tools included in the time tracking software should be user-friendly for employees. They should be able to clock in and out and access their time records easily. The app must also be easy to install.
4. Easy integrations:
Before deciding on software, ensure it integrates seamlessly with other software, such as payroll and HR systems, that your business uses to streamline processes.
How Truein Can Help with Tracking Employee Hours?
Truein is a modern, efficient, and accurate time and attendance solution with comprehensive features such as facial recognition, GPS tracking, shift scheduling, reporting, and seamless integration with payroll software.
Its AI-backed algorithm ensures reliable and compliant time tracking. With facial recognition, businesses can prevent buddy punching, improve accountability, and enhance workforce management.
The choice of the best way to track employee hours depends on the size of the workforce your business employs. A comprehensive employee time tracking system like Truein ensures payroll accuracy, complies with labor laws, gain insights into workforce productivity, and encourages accountability in the workplace.
Truein’s advanced features and integration capabilities align with every organization’s needs, ensuring efficient and reliable time tracking.
1. Which businesses should use a kiosk to track employee hours?
Such time-tracking solutions suit businesses with on-site employees working at a dedicated physical location. They offer a more secure and easily accessible way to clock in and out for such companies.
2. What should you look for in an employee time-tracking app?
The app to track the work hours you pick should offer comprehensive features apart from accuracy; it should also provide custom policies, integration capabilities, advanced reporting options, and user-friendliness for both employees and managers.