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6 Trends in Employee Time and Attendance Tracking

  • HCM
  • Article
  • 6 min. Read
  • Last Updated: 01/18/2023


a female employee using a time and attendance tracking software to clock in on her smart watch

Table of Contents

Some businesses still employ ineffective or inefficient time and attendance methods, despite major technological developments. As a result, these companies' HR and payroll departments still may be at risk for making data entry errors, over- or underpaying employees, or using a sizable chunk of their time on administrative tasks that could be better used elsewhere.

It's for these reasons that it may be worthwhile to take a closer look at your time and attendance process, and consider solutions that can have a positive impact on your business. With accurate time tracking, you could mitigate data errors, reduce incorrect payments, and limit time spent on related administrative tasks.

Adopting Time Tracking Tools That Improve Accuracy and Streamline Tracking

Now is a great time to catch up on the latest employee time and attendance trends. Here are some key developments that can dramatically improve operations within your company.

Automated Time Trackers

The latest time tracking systems offer real-time access to data, providing employees with an advanced, user-friendly alternative to outdated or manual time-tracking processes. Automated systems feature employee dashboards and flexible punch methods, including the ability to clock in through mobile punches via a smartphone or tablet. Some systems offer a range of additional, customizable online time-collection options — whether by badge, biometric finger scan1 and iris scanner, keypad, or web entry — that can help you reduce lost time and boost employee productivity.

WiFi-Enabled Time Clocks

Biometric iris technology can ensure time-punch accuracy (with an optional image capture), promoting greater efficiency and accuracy. For instance, the Paychex Iris Time Clock is designed for today's dynamic workforce and easily supports businesses of all sizes. Its compact, modern design makes it easy to place in manufacturing and other environments where space may be limited. And the choice of WiFi or Power over Ethernet (PoE) makes it easy to install.

Advanced Scheduling Modules With Calendar Integration

Integrated scheduling can now take place using a time and attendance solution. This offers businesses greater visibility and flexibility in managing employee schedules. These schedules can be digitally monitored on a weekly basis, by organizational unit or employee group, with pre-set capacity requirements per employee shift. Also, employees can clearly communicate their availability to supervisors and receive email notifications of changes in real-time, making things easier in terms of planning and keeping commitments in their personal lives.

These features provide employees with the ability to toggle between Outlook2, Google™, or an Apple® calendar. This function gives employees a more customized approach to managing shifts and overtime schedules, and in the format they feel most comfortable using.

Time and attendance is at a point now where, in an emergency situation, an employee can easily modify their schedule and adjust it to their needs. And entering time has become simple to the point where an employee may only need to enter exceptions.

Facial Recognition Kiosk App

Some businesses are adopting a mobile punch option, using facial recognition software and kiosk app, that lets employees easily clock in and out. This app is an ideal resource for people on the move. The enhanced functionality and sleek user interface provides a consistent punch experience, allowing employers to capture real time worked on their mobile device.

Mobile Time Sheets

Mobile time sheet software, downloaded as an app onto a mobile device, enables employees to access time sheets online. The data provided in this user-friendly method can help employers with payroll processing, recordkeeping, and offers the ability to monitor attendance more closely.

Mileage Reimbursement Apps

Mileage reimbursement can also be accomplished in a time and attendance system. For example, the Paychex Flex® mobile app allows employees to input data directly, which eliminates the need for manual tracking for reimbursement purposes.

Allowing Flexible Scheduling

Flex time is a growing trend among employees and employers trying to recruit in a tight labor market. Some new mobile time and attendance systems make it easy for employees to manage their flexible worked hours, while companies can manage regional and local differences in reporting requirements. Even with the latest technology, it's important to work with a compliance professional who can help make sure there are no gaps between what the system can manage and the regulations that apply to your company.

Improving Business Management

Time intelligence is a new way of thinking about time and attendance, where time is an asset as real as money, or your people. Think about the number of hours each year that employees work in your company. Are you able to account for all that time? And are you able to tie it to specific outcomes? When you can connect to outcomes, you can use time and attendance to start making decisions in the future based on these insights.

Time and attendance systems have mostly evolved beyond the physical aspects of punching in and out and time sheets to tracking how you pay employees and job costing. But the future may be about thinking of time and attendance as more of a platform than an app. It's become simpler to collect data and report on it.

Flexibility for a Changing Workforce

In the future, your workforce management system will likely need to be flexible enough to handle more types of employees than before, including a large increase in gig or contract workers. Companies that successfully manage this shift will probably need to include HR and payroll in the sourcing and onboarding of these gig or contract workers.

It's a missed opportunity for some not to gather insights from these workers' data and to not be able to pay them accurately and quickly. These workers will have alternatives in the future, and companies that can't pay them on time and accurately may have a more difficult time attracting the best potential contract workers.

Managing Compliance Risk

Some regulatory issues that a new time and attendance system may be able to assist with include:

  • Applicable wage and hour laws;
  • Predictive scheduling;
  • Biometric information privacy;
  • Various forms of leave, such as sick time, along with family or medical leave; and
  • Affordable Care Act requirements.

An advanced time and attendance system may also allow companies to capture location and time worked from remote workers for regulatory purposes, such as appropriately applying state income tax if the employee is working in more than one location with different laws.

Getting Insight Into Labor Costs

Tools like online timekeeping solutions now fully integrate with payroll to ensure accuracy and eliminate instances of paying for time not worked. Electronic employee consent and acknowledgment can also be collected, which may eliminate the need to retain paper copies for each individual using the time and attendance system. If your company needs to clock time on site, a solution such as a time clock with biometric technology can mitigate behaviors like buddy punching.

Improved time tracking may also help with audits. Businesses may be overpaying contract workers today and not know it, because time sheets (usually manual) don't match up to payments and no one's checking.

Giving Managers Time To Be More Productive

Time and attendance systems can help automate repetitive tasks once taken care of by managers. In the future, you may be able to give managers more of their time back to spend on productive tasks, not fixing their employees' time sheets.

Improve Your Employee Productivity by Adopting the Latest Time Tracking Trends

Taking a critical look at your time tracking method is important, since time and attendance records are essential for making critical decisions about hiring needs, workforce reductions, or job assignments — all of which require knowing exact hours worked by employees. As you research time and attendance systems, consider implementing a solution that's flexible and scalable enough to address your business needs.


1During finger scan enrollment for Paychex Flex Time, unique points are referenced on an employee's finger and an algorithm converts these points into a mathematical template made up of 1s and 0s. It does not collect, store, or transmit an employee's fingerprint nor can it be reverse-engineered into one.

2Outlook is a trademark of the Microsoft group of companies

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* This content is for educational purposes only, is not intended to provide specific legal advice, and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice of a qualified attorney or other professional. The information may not reflect the most current legal developments, may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct, or up-to-date.

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