Employee Attendance

The best employee attendance systems for your business

The best employee attendance systems for business: Pros and cons of different attendance machines

Human labor and commercial activities have fostered the evolution of employee attendance systems. With the rise of the digital era, manual tools have been successfully digitalized. Nowadays, firms use various systems to track employee attendance. 

attendance systems

Employee attendance system I: Punch clock and attendance sheet

Both punch clocks and attendance sheets are the traditional methods to record attendance. The former one requires HRs to mark down the relevant attendance information manually. The latter requires employees to insert the paper punch cards in the punch clock to mark attendance. 

punch clock
Source: IconTime.com, punch clock

Pros of punch clock and attendance sheet:

  • It is suitable for SMEs that have limited budgets and personnel as such attendance systems have low maintenance costs.  
  • Regarding the attendance sheets, HRs record attendance in person. Therefore, it may spur employees to be on time. 
  • Companies can keep physical records and evidence of attendance in case of future reference.

However, the cons of the punch clock and attendance sheet are salient. Is physical stuff good? Well, yes and no! 

  • Physical attendance records can’t be kept for a long time.
  • Employees may forget to mark their attendance. In other words, it adds extra workload for HRs to recheck it. 
  • Misconduct in attendance recording. For example, employees may help each other to clock in/out without physical presence. 

As you can see the disadvantages are too obvious. The only advantage is cost. Therefore, if your budget is sufficient, it isn’t a good idea to select punch clocks and attendance sheets!

Employee attendance system II: Electric attendance machine

Both card-based systems and biometric-based systems are common electric attendance machines. 

Regarding the RFID card, it requires employees to record attendance by tapping the card on the machine. After that, the electric attendance machine automatically stores the attendance information and forwards it to the company system. 

The biometric time system, on the other hand, is more advanced. It records attendance by detecting fingerprints, iris and facial recognition. Employees need to leave their biological features so that the machine can detect their identities. After that, it automates the process of clocking in and out. 

Card-based attendance machine
Card-based attendance machine
Fingerprint attendance machine
Fingerprint attendance machine
Facial recognition attendance machine
Facial recognition attendance machine

Pros of electric attendance machine:

  • Such a machine renders automation and flexibility in employee attendance recording. For instance, it can record overtime and absence for duty accurately. Thus each employee’s effort counts. 
  • It renders efficiency in employee attendance management as HRs don’t need to track attendance manually. 
  • It also simplifies attendance recording through tapping cards and importing biological features, which further improves efficiency.

Machines are good, but they are high maintenance!

  • Firms need to spend maintenance costs to ensure the regular operation of machines. It includes the cost of maintaining biometrics and programming of automated time and work hours. 
  • It simplifies the attendance recording process. Meanwhile, it creates another trouble. Regarding card-based machines, employees who forget to bring their cards fail to record their attendance. Likewise, biometric time systems rely strictly on biological features. If these features are changed due to human injury, the system may not detect them readily. 

Employee attendance system III:  Online attendance 

Employee attendance systems using QR codes are one of the means of relying on online attendance to complete attendance recording. Employees record their attendance by scanning the QR code and filling in the information. 

Attendance system using QR code
Attendance system using QR code

Pros of employee attendance system using QR code:

  • Easy setup. It only needs employee attendance excel and online QR code generators to set up the tracking systems. Employees scan QR codes at the entrance of the office.  After that, the system automatically exports information to excel form. 
  • Contactless attendance recording. A simple method to record attendance by scanning then enters information. Thus there is no need for employees to queue and mark their attendance in order. 
  • Cost-effective measure. It won’t cost a firm a lot to maintain the employee attendance system using QR codes. No need for the machines and other related equipment. 

Cons of QR code attendance system:

  • The quality of QR codes has affected employee attendance management. QR codes could be destroyed or expire, which would affect the process of attendance recording. 
  • Again, misconduct is likely to occur. Employees may help others that don’t present physically to mark attendance. 

Even though these attendance trackers are commonly used, they are subject to business scenarios.

The attendance systems mentioned in the former paragraphs are suitable in fixed work platforms. Field services, on the other hand, can’t use these systems to track attendance effectively. The issue in this industry has partially boosted the occurrence of a removable attendance tracker.  

Employee attendance system IV: employee attendance app

Mobile phones have come to become feasible attendance trackers for the field service. With smartphones, recording attendance has become more convenient, which further renders greater flexibility in employee attendance management.

Many businesses have developed various mobile apps to simplify the process of attendance recording. These apps, in general, have incorporated functions such as GPS location tracking, data synchronization, photo-taking, and automated work hour calculation and attendance reports. Employees enter the app and tap a couple of buttons to record their attendance. The system then forwards attendance information to HRs for attendance management. 

The function of customized watermarks and photo-taking, in particular, has visualized the process of marking attendance. In the past, attendance had been presented in text and numbers. However, such value-added features have enriched the attendance content. For field services, these features can present field workers’ attendance status vividly. 

attendance app
Source: Roubler, attendance app
Marki, watermark-based employee attendance app
Source: Marki, watermark-based employee attendance app

Pros of attendance app:

  • Greater flexibility. Employees can record attendance anywhere, anytime. It is also suitable for remote work mode. 
  • Multiple functionalities which HRs can benefit from these, and thus their workloads have been significantly eliminated. For example: 
    • Function 1: accurate GPS tracking enables HRs to track employees’ clock-in location and ensure their attendance status. 
    • Function 2: photo-taking and watermark displays become proof and evidence of attendance status, which helps HRs to track employees’ actual attendance. With the help of photos, it has eliminated the chance of misconduct. Employees may install location changers to manipulate the displayed location in their attendance apps. HRs might not know that as no evidence to track. Nevertheless, photo and watermark proof can prevent this from happening. 

Mobile apps are related to digital technology. Thus the cost is inevitable.

  • Companies need to pay maintenance expenses or subscription fees to ensure the regular operation of employee attendance apps. SMEs may consider it’s a high cost. 
  • A stable Internet connection is a prerequisite of employee attendance management. To complete data synchronization, it relies on the Internet. 

In conclusion, selecting suitable attendance systems depends on the company’s various factors.   

There is no perfect employee attendance tracking system. Before selecting an attendance system, companies should come up with the priority such as costs, functionality and business scenarios. 

Marki is dedicated to providing solutions for different field services, including security guard services, construction progress management and property management

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