Time and attendance recording is the key function in any workforce management system. The workers work for pay and payrolls are prepared on the basis of time and attendance records. Accurate time and attendance records not only save employers from losing money on excess payments but also instill employee confidence in the payroll system.
Originally, time clocks installed at factory gates recorded in and out times on paper-based time cards of each employee. These time cards were collected by the payroll office and transcribed into time sheets. The time sheets were then summarized and the totals were used to prepare pay sheets. The whole exercise was a time-consuming and costly exercise. It was also prone to errors at several stages.
With advances in technology, new methods of recording time and attendance have appeared. These methods eliminate the time spent on preparing payrolls. They also enable more accurate recording and computations, and produce real-time reports for managers.
We take a look at the emerging scenario of time and attendance tracking and management.
Modern Time and Attendance Recording Devices
Time clocks these days work with computers so that time-consuming manual transcriptions and computations are eliminated. They might come as standalone time clocks that can be installed in locations not suitable for computers, and the data recorded in the clocks can be transferred to computers later. With an Ethernet connection, even online data transfer is possible.
The time clocks could work in combination with modern time recording devices like the following:
Biometric Finger Print Readers can eliminate the cost of employee badges, which can get damaged or stolen. They also eliminate the practice of buddy punching where another employee punches the badge of a buddy.
RFID Card Readers can read employee cards without the need for swiping. These cards and readers do not degrade with each use as is the case with swiping systems.
Barcode Readers that are used in tracking products and invoices can also be used to track time spent on individual jobs where an employee handles several jobs or tasks.
Web Based Timekeeping systems allow employees to punch their times from their desktops or other convenient points.
Cell Phone Web Browsers are ideal for employees on the road. They can access the Internet using WAP and punch in the times they spent on each job while traveling.
The devices listed above are only a sampling. More refined devices are either already available or are coming into the market. These devices seek to make time and attendance recording-related tasks easier, or to overcome problems of existing devices.
Technology advances have also made it possible to monitor employee time and attendance remotely in real-time. Managers can review the record of any employee from anywhere and at any time.
At the employee end, it is now possible to track accrued vacations, sick days or banked time, without requests to the payroll office.
Time and attendance recording processes have progressed much with advances in technology. Time clocks that can be connected to computers online or offline; times can be punched in using biometric and radio frequency id devices; Web-based systems can enable desktop, and even mobile (for employees on the road), time recording. These developments have made time and attendance recording scenario a completely different one these days.