Date icon09 September 2019

With so many digital time and attendance solutions now available, there’s no need to spend precious resources manually managing your workplace and workforce. But, if your business is ready to digitise time and attendance, the range of system terminals can present you with another decision to make - which type of input hardware is right for you?

Here’s an overview of the various input methodologies your time and attendance system could include, plus what to look for depending on your industry or business sector.

Types of input for automated time and attendance systems

Input hardware for time and attendance solutions provide the physical points at which your employees will effectively ‘clock in’ and ‘clock out’ with their registered company identification. The type of hardware you choose will obviously dictate what type of ID your employees will need to provide to automatically time stamp their working hours and/or access the premises. If you already have a media in circulation, this too could be used on secondary systems such as time and attendance hardware.

Some of the main types of input terminal for time and attendance systems include the following, from longest established to newest to market:

Barcode input terminals

Hardware that reads barcodes works when your employees swipe barcode ID cards through a reader slot.

Magnetic stripe input terminals

Also known as Mag-stripe terminals, this type of input hardware scans the black magnetic strip on an ID card when it’s swiped through the reader.

Proximity input terminals

These input terminals read ID badges or cards when they are held close to the reader, though not necessarily in direct contact.

Biometric input terminals

Negating the need for an ID card or badge, biometric terminals read individual characteristics such as fingerprints and match them against data stored in the system to identify each employee.

Features to look for in a time and attendance system

No matter what kind of business your organisation is in, there are several key features of time and attendance hardware and software that will give you optimum functionality and return on investment.

Automated clock in and clock out

Despite providing a digital platform within which to record working hours, some time and attendance solutions still require employees to enter their shift times manually. Attendance data may be collated and stored digitally and in one place, but the fact that employees can enter a time arbitrarily rather than log an automated time stamp can leave you open to inaccurate records, so make sure your chosen system features automated clock in and clock out.

Ease of configuration and management

Both time and attendance input hardware and the software supporting it should be easy to configure and use on a day-to-day basis. Look for solutions with quick and simple reader technology, and software with an intuitive dashboard-style interface, so all important attendance data can be viewed in one place and at a glance.

Ability to identify and differentiate payable hours

As your HR team will be well aware, there’s more to managing payroll than simply logging the hours each employee spends at work. Depending on your organisational set up, there may be overtime hours or flexi-time to factor in, as well as holiday and breaktimes. Every company is different, so ensure that you can programme your system to accurately record total payable hours for each employee.

Choosing the best option for your business situation

Beyond the essential features that make any business’s time and attendance solution more beneficial, much of the functionality to look for will depend on your organisation and what it needs from the technology.

For example, if your business has multiple branches or your employees regularly travel to third party or partner premises, opt for a system that enables you to set up time and attendance logging in remote locations of your choice. The best software allows you to create geographic clock in zones that record an employee’s attendance when their smartphone is within range.

Or, if it’s likely that your organisation will need input hardware that recognises more than one type of ID – say biometric and proximity – ensure you invest in a time and attendance system that can be easily and economically upgraded or adapted.

Seek the advice of the time and attendance specialists

Making the right choice when it comes to time and attendance input hardware and supporting software needn’t be guesswork. We can help you find a solution that will optimise your workplace administration in a way that compliments your operational practices, so give our friendly team a call today.    

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – LYNDEN JONES

Lynden Jones - Managing Director

Lynden joined Touchstar ATC (formally Feedback Data) in a sales role for Access Control in 2010.  Prior to joining the company, Lynden held both Production and Account Manager roles, gaining wide technical and commercial experience within the electronics market.  

In 2013 Lynden was promoted to Sales Director and in 2017 he took overall responsibility of the business as Managing Director. As well as running Touchstar ATC, Lynden still remains extremely active in the sales and key account management aspects of the business. When not involved in the business, Lynden is a keen performance car enthusiast