Tracking hours has advanced a lot since the days of old-fashioned timecards and punch clocks. Surprisingly though, many companies are still using dated methods of tracking time, including manually logging hours and using spread sheets! Even if you have a digital system, you might be ready to switch to time tracking software that better fits your needs.

Either way, once you’ve made the decision to look into new time tracking options, you might find yourself overwhelmed by the options. While you may not need every bell and whistle out there, you will benefit by consider all of your options before committing to a time tracking system.

If you’re not sure where to start, the following ideas can help you make the best choice for your organization.

1. Flexible time tracking options

Accurately tracking time is difficult if you don’t have multiple ways for employees to punch in and out. This is even more important if you have remote workers, outside sales, multiple locations and jobsites. For this reason, you should look for time tracking software that includes flexible, mobile-friendly options. Ideally, your employees should be able to clock in and out using different methods and seamlessly capture their time. This includes the ability to clock in via text if cell or Wi-Fi service is limited.

Companies that have mobile workers and multiple jobsites, including construction companies, will want to prioritize these features.

2. Offline time tracking options

Your ability to track hours should not be reliant upon cell or internet service, especially if you are trying to track time for a remote workforce. Having a system that records punches while offline ensures the accuracy of your payroll data, reducing mistakes and the time it takes to correct them. Look for a system that stores offline punches and submits them when service is restored without requiring workers to take extra steps.

Companies that work in, or have workers visiting less developed areas will want to prioritize this feature.

3. Geofencing

Sometimes it’s important to limit workers ability to clock in unless they are at or near the jobsite. This prevents offsite punches and leads to more accountability in time tracking. If you use labor costs to create estimates, it can provide you with a more accurate snapshot. There is active geofencing which lets you tailor the area around a jobsite where clocking in is allowed. If a worker tries to clock in outside of this area, it will not be allowed. Other systems passively capture the general location of every punch, allowing you to see the area the punch occurred

Companies with multiple jobsites, a mobile workforce or accountability issues will benefit most from this feature.

4. Biometric time tracking options

Time and attendance systems may also have biometric log in options. This can include fingerprint, eye or face scans. While this might be more than your business needs, biometric time capturing does prevent time theft through buddy punches. It also significantly elevates the accuracy of labor costs. Most of the time, the data used to log the punch is encrypted and stored locally, but you’ll have to check with the provider for details if you choose a system with this option.

Companies concerned with time theft, security, or work environments where  touch-free options are necessary will benefit most from this feature.

5. PTO and expense tracking

If you work for a large organization or have highly mobile teams, managing things like time off requests and expense can be daunting. Fortunately, you can find time tracking solutions that streamlines these types of administrative tasks. The goal is to make it easy on everyone, from the managers approving the time off to the workers requesting it. And if you deal with lots of expense requests, look for a system that makes submitting expense requests and receipts quick and easy.

Companies of all sizes can benefit from this feature, especially those with outside sales team or multiple locations.

6. Simple set up and use

Change is difficult, so anything you switch to needs to be easy to set up and learn how to use. If it isn’t, people will make a lot of mistakes that have to be corrected. Since capturing time is directly related to payroll, mistakes can mean incorrect paychecks and unhappy workers. The time and attendance system you implement also needs to be simple for your admin staff to configure to your business needs. If it isn’t, it will be disruptive to your current payroll workflow.

All companies will benefit from a simple set up, but it’s especially important to large organizations, companies with well-established workflows and those using multiple systems for time, attendance and payroll.

7. Support and training

Will you have access to support and help during the onboarding process? Implementing new software and processes is difficult, but since time tracking impacts payroll, you don’t want to take any chances. Having support during the onboarding process, including helping train your staff on how to use the systems, will ensure a smooth transition. Unfortunately, most time tracking software has limited support, so ask up front before making any commitment.

All companies will benefit from support and training, but it’s critical for larger teams and those using multiple systems for time, attendance, and payroll.

After you find the best time and attendance system, you have to actually implement it into your current workflow. This includes getting everyone set up with the new system and trained on how to use it. You’ll need to consider the needs of workers and managers separately during this process. Just keep in mind, communication and training are vital to a successful transition, so give everyone enough time and information to be comfortable with the change.

If you aren’t sure how to make the switch, this article with tips on implementing new software will help guide you through the process.

The material presented here is educational in nature and is not intended to be, nor should be relied upon, as legal or financial advice. Please consult with an attorney or financial professional for advice.

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