7 Trends in Employee Time and Attendance Tracking
6 min. Read
Last Updated: 01/16/2024
Table of Contents
The last few years have brought significant changes to businesses and workplaces, including considerable time and attendance trends and innovations. Now is a great time to take a closer look at your own time and attendance processes and consider innovative solutions that can have a positive impact on your business. Accurate time tracking can help mitigate data errors, reduce incorrect payments, empower employees, and limit time spent on related administrative tasks. Here are some of the latest time tracking trends and developments to watch in 2024.
1. Accounting for Remote and Flexible Work
Remote work and flextime, also known as a flexible work schedule, are workplace trends that boomed during the pandemic and have become long-term work setups for many businesses. Depending on the company, this could look like a shortened work week (four days a week, for example, instead of five), a compressed work week (four longer days for full-time compensation), flex time for on-site hours, and job-sharing, where two people share responsibility for one job.
Mobile time and attendance systems that make it easy for employees to manage their flexible work hours while allowing companies to accurately record work hours and manage regional and local differences in reporting requirements are essential for embracing today's modern workplace. Even with the latest technology, it's important to work with a professional who can help ensure there are no gaps between what the system can manage and the regulations that apply to your company.
If you plan to bring on gig or contract workers this year, your workforce management system should also be flexible enough to account for such workers who are often independent contractors.
2. Biometric Time Tracking
Today's robust timekeeping systems provide flexibility features and a range of punch-in options, no matter where team members are located. Biometric scanning captures an image of a biometric identifier (e.g., hand, finger, or face) that is converted into a template — a mathematical representation of the data used for employee identification. The enhanced functionality and sleek user interface of biometric technology provide a consistent punch experience, helping employers to capture actual time worked.
Using facial recognition software via a kiosk app lets employees access a shared device to clock in and out. Offline clocking and the ability to run for hours on an internal battery can make this an option for workers who travel or move between work sites. Enhanced functionality helps to provide a consistent punch experience, allowing employees to capture time worked on the tablet or smart device of their choosing.
Iris recognition technology continues to advance as a robust option in employee attendance tracking. This secure technology uses visible and near-infrared light to take a high-contrast photograph of a person's iris. It has a high degree of accuracy, making it advantageous over other time and attendance tracking systems.
3. Empowering Employees With Self-Service Technology
The emergence of internet-connected time tracking systems has ushered in the growth of employee self-service technology that enables workers to perform various time-related tasks independently. This could be anything from their ability to view, edit, and submit timecards to requesting time off and submitting pay adjustments. This trend of employee self-service can be beneficial for organizations with offsite, remote, and hybrid workforces where it might be harder to access physical resources and information. The result is a more informed and empowered workforce and HR and managerial teams less bogged down by routine employee requests or inquiries.
4. Integrating Time Tracking and Payroll on One Platform
The adoption of HR technology to optimize various business functions continues to rise. The 2023 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey found that one of the main areas HR leaders planned to use digital HR tools was time and attendance tracking.
Businesses choosing to move away from manual or paper-based time tracking processes to a more efficient system find that an integrated time and attendance and payroll system leverages the intelligent logic of automation to reach maximum efficiency. Self-service features can be much more effective when payroll, time and attendance, and HR information are available together through a single platform.
Employees can log into the system and quickly access information about payroll, available vacation and sick time, current tax deductions, and benefits. For HR staff and managers, they can more quickly access employee information on-demand, saving time and enabling them to make more informed decisions.
5. Informing Future Business Decisions With Time Intelligence
Another benefit to an integrated timekeeping solution is that it offers insight into time intelligence — a new way of thinking about time and attendance. Think about the number of hours employees work in your company each year. Are you able to account for all that time? And are you able to tie it to specific outcomes or projects? When you can connect to outcomes, you can use time and attendance technology to start making decisions in the future based on these insights.
Of course, this requires a company's time and attendance system to evolve beyond the physical aspects of punching in and out and timesheets and focus on tracking how you pay employees and labor costs. But the future may be about thinking of time and attendance as part of a workforce management solution — simplifying how companies manage employee hours, track job costs, and report on it. For instance, a comprehensive time tracking solution that integrates with payroll often can track the hours employees work and provide data for making informed decisions. Real-time analytics and reports (i.e., labor distribution and job tracking) can help businesses identify trends, optimize labor allocations, and proactively address potential cost overruns.
6. Managing Compliance Risk
Some regulatory requirements that a time and attendance system may be able to assist with include:
- Wage and hour laws
- Predictive scheduling laws where applicable
- Tracking various forms of leave, such as sick time, along with family or medical leave
- Affordable Care Act requirements
An advanced time and attendance system may also allow companies to capture the location and time remote workers work which may assist with certain regulatory requirements, such as appropriately applying state income tax if the employee is working in multiple locations.
7. Adopting Leading Time Tracking Features
The most sophisticated employee time tracking trends point toward features aimed at reducing errors, streamlining reporting, and providing useful real-time information. Look for the following key features and developments in employee monitoring trends.
Cloud-Based Time and Attendance System
An integrated cloud-based time tracking system can offer real-time access to data, providing employees with an advanced, user-friendly alternative to outdated or manual time-tracking processes. Automated systems often feature employee dashboards and flexible punch methods, including clocking in through mobile punches via smartphone or tablet. Some systems offer a range of additional, customizable online time-collection options — whether by badge, biometric finger scan and iris scanner, keypad, or web entry — that can help you reduce lost time and boost employee productivity.
Wi-Fi Enabled Time Clocks
As mentioned earlier, biometric iris technology continues to gain popularity due to its time-punch accuracy and ease of use for employees. 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 Wi-Fi or Power over Ethernet (PoE) through your business’s internet provider 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 weekly by the organizational unit or employee group, with pre-set capacity requirements per employee shift. Also, employees can communicate their availability to supervisors and receive email notifications of changes in real time, making things more manageable in planning and keeping commitments in their personal lives.
Employees can synchronize their work schedule to their personal calendar on their smartphone, tablet, or PC with calendar integration. This function gives employees a more customized approach to managing shifts and overtime schedules in the format they feel most comfortable using.
Time tracking innovations are at a point now where, in an emergency, an employee can easily modify their schedule and adjust it to their needs. Entering time has become simple, so 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 a kiosk app, that offers employee self-service features such as clocking in and out, requesting time off, and more. This app can be an ideal resource for people on the move. The enhanced functionality and sleek user interface provide a consistent punch experience, allowing employers to capture real time worked on their electronic devices such as tablets.
Mobile Time Sheets
Mobile timesheet software, downloaded as an app onto a mobile device, enables employees to access timesheets online. The data provided in this user-friendly method can help employers with payroll processing and recordkeeping and offers the ability to monitor employee attendance more closely.
Mileage Reimbursement Apps
Mileage reimbursement can also be carried out in a time and attendance system. For example, the Paychex Flex® mobile app allows employees to input data directly, eliminating the need for manual tracking for reimbursement purposes.
Take Advantage of the Latest Time Tracking Software Trends This Year
Understanding the latest trends in attendance software and taking a critical look at your time tracking method may play an essential role in hiring, labor costing, and job assignments — all of which require knowing employees' exact hours worked. As you research time and attendance systems, consider implementing a flexible and scalable solution to address your business needs.