reporting | 6 mins read

6 Must-Have Time Clock Features for Small Businesses

6 must have time clock features for small businesses
Michelle Jaco

By Michelle Jaco


Running your small business without a digital time clock to accurately track your employees' time and attendance is a major detriment, as failing to implement a strong method of timekeeping is going to hinder your business from thriving.

It's understandable if you've yet to make the change because finding the best time clock app for small business is not easy. With so many options to choose from, you'll need to know exactly what you need in order to make your final decision.

Some business owners may only be interested in apps that offer the most features. Whereas, others may be more concerned about costs and affordability.

When it comes to software solutions, the price can often determine the quality as the saying goes you get what you pay for. So, if you pay nothing, you'll likely get what you paid. That is not to say that products who offer free trial periods are not legitimate, but it's important to do your homework before committing to a contract.

Here's a list of features that your next time clock should possess.

One - Biometric Security

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It goes without saying that security should be your top priority when running a business. The purpose of security is to protect your monetary funds, as well as protect your business from theft, and theft comes in many forms.

It's a common tactic within many industries where they have employees who do not show up to work on time or come into work at all, but they are still getting paid as if their attendance was accurate. This is a result of buddy punching. This costs you and your business in terms of labor costs and well-being, which ultimately results in a failed business.

When looking for the best time clock app for small businesses, you need to search for one that uses biometric security. This will keep you safe from buddy-punching and will keep your employees more accountable for their hours worked in accordance with their assigned schedules.

In addition, a biometric time clock is more practical, as it's an easier system to utilize than the outdated method of hauling around an actual punch card that needs to be stamped for every punch in/out or a swipe card, all of which could be easily misplaced or forgotten elsewhere.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

Two - Performance Reporting

In order to better gauge how much your small business is sending in labor costs, you'll need to be able to track each employee's time log.

The best time clock needs to be able to alert you if your employees are regularly working overtime, or if your employees are working unscheduled hours, all of which adds up costing your business.

Performance reporting features can also help you stay ahead of any legal labor guidelines that you may unknowingly be in violation of. Staying in compliance with the help of a time clock will help you avoid any legal troubles.

Three - Time Punch Management

There comes a time when an employee forgets to punch in when they come to work or perhaps to forget when to clock in coming back from lunch. This is where time punch management comes in handy.

Your whole week will be negatively affected, payroll estimations will suffer, and you'll have to do a lot of manual calculating to amend any errors made.

The managerial role is simplified when it comes to time punch management because instead of having to input the updated hours into the timesheet then try to recalculate the punches, all of this can be done through the app by simply inputting the correct time and the software will automatically update the hours.

You can also identify time-punch violations before finalizing payroll by making sure you've factored in enough payments.

Four - Mobile Functionalities & Applications

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Perhaps it doesn't seem all that important whether or not the time clock company you're interested in offers mobile apps, but it absolutely makes a difference.

For example, you can look at employee punch in/out logs in real-time and view when labor violations are about to occur.

Mobile apps also give you the freedom to manage time-punches from any location in the world. This means that, even if you are not physically present in your restaurant, you can still observe how the business is functioning and if all employees are coming into work as scheduled.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

Five - Automatic Shift Replacement

The best time clock app should alert you whenever an employee misses a shift. This means that you can start looking for a replacement to cover that shift immediately you are notified, so as not to waste valuable time.

A good time clock app will also give you a list of the best employees to call in order to replace the now open shift, based on availability and time they have already logged on the week, so as not to go into overtime. The app should display all the necessary information for you to be able to make a good decision on who to call.

This information should include

  • Hours worked that week
  • Projected hours to overtime
  • Labor law violations met on the week (if any)
  • Best contact number
  • Current availability

Six - Break Notifications

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This could prove to be an ordeal, because the manager has the job of notifying employees when they should take a break. This can be especially troubling with minor workers, whose labor laws are specifically stringent toward.

If a minor work an excess of hours or does not take a meal break by a certain time, that means hefty fines for your small business to pay. It only makes the managerial role more difficult when failing to cover this area.

The best time clock app will automatically notify your employees when they should take a break, via a mobile device, so it also becomes their responsibility to be held accountable for their time. Management will also be notified as a reminder to ensure they have covered all bases, ultimately avoiding major labor law violations.

The Takeaway

In all fairness, you might think you're doing fine without a time-clock app. But in reality, you're wasting your precious time and the precious time of your employees. Time is the most valuable resource and it should never be wasted.

Choosing an app might be so confusing for you that you decide to stay away from them. But that's a mistake. A time-clock app will definitely boost the morale of your employees and free up some managerial time.

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