As more and more companies and small businesses move from the old manual punch clocks to web-based time clocks, the market has responded with dozens upon dozens of free time tracking software.
Time clock apps are gaining popularity primarily for the benefits they provide businesses as a whole, including management and employees. And the sheer number of free online time clock apps that are now available is staggering and committing to a single one can be overwhelming.
How do you determine which attendance software is the best for your company?
Here we have compiled a list of things that you should consider when making your decision.
Before you can make a decision on which time clock app is right for you, it is a good idea to get a sense of what your needs are first. In regards to employee time tracking, consider how you want to integrate it with your existing systems.
- What exactly do you want to track? Are you looking to track tasks, hours worked, or something else?
- Do you need to keep track of your employee’s locations?
- How many users will need to be on the system, and will you have to scale frequently?
- Do you need the free online time clock to integrate with other systems such as payroll management software?
- Are employees going to use their personal mobile devices for the time clock, or are they going to use a company device?
Let’s take a look at some of the features that a good web-based time clock should have.
An online time tracker app cannot assist you, as a manager, or your business if it cannot help reduce labor costs and increase payroll accuracy. Fortunately, there is some attendance software available with such capabilities.
Payroll accuracy is especially important if you want to decrease the likelihood of labor law violations and hefty fines or lawsuits. Make sure that the time clock app you choose has features that increase accuracy and reduce cost. This will help your business and employees maintain compliant with existing labor laws.
These features should include alarms and notifications for employee breaks and punch in/out reminders sent to the employee’s mobile device, as well as the manager’s.
Easy calculation and prominent display of employee hours is a must to avoid scheduling too much - or too little - over time.
Some time clocks, and even some free online time clocks, provide monitoring and visibility features.
Make sure that whatever application you choose allows you to view who is currently clocked in. This will allow you to determine if labor guidelines are being met and you are not in violation of mistakenly keeping employees longer than their designated shift time.
As much as we hate to acknowledge it, time theft is a real problem that maybe even our most valued employees are guilty of.
No one wants to suspect that employees are robbing them of time and money, but it happens more often than you might think. In fact, according to a study reported in Forbes, the average employee steals approximately 4.5 hours of time per week from their employer. That is approximately 6 full work weeks per year, costing businesses hundreds of billions of dollars a year worldwide.
That is a startling statistic. But before you start suspecting your employees of theft and other dishonest deeds, remember that some of this time “theft” is unintentional and can be attributed to the inaccuracy of current time clock systems - which is more likely the case.
To help eliminate employee time theft and other inaccuracies, make sure that the attendance software you choose has features that can help you find and eliminate intentional time theft and scheduling errors.
One feature to look for is the ability to compare scheduled and approved time with actual clocked in time. This allows you to see who might be trying to stretch the clock and keeps employees accountable.
As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” Or, in this case, you don’t get what you don’t pay for. Free online time clocks are free for a reason. They are often very limited in their functionality and scalability and some of them are free for only a trial period.
Most free online time clocks have limits on use and the number of employees you can have on the system, with some limiting you to only 3 employees at once. This obviously is not the ideal solution for most small and medium-sized businesses looking to grow.
If you need full functionality and scalability, your best bet is to invest in a full-featured online time clock that will ensure accurate time tracking of time punches and changing shifts, as well as eliminate waste and time theft.