How is the attendance of employees in your company managed?
I think that a lot of large companies have already introduced IC cards or computer systems which manage employee attendance. However, there are a lot of small- and medium-sized companies which still use time-cards or paper attendance books in order to keep track of employee attendance.
However, not only does it take time to process the information with analog, paper-based attendance management systems, but it is also very easy for oversights and errors to occur.
The level of satisfaction by companies which have already introduced an attendance management system is very high. It has also become quite inexpensive in recent years to introduce devices or systems for attendance management purposes.
This article will introduce both the advantages and disadvantages of these kinds of time recording devices for attendance management systems.
Time recording via time-cards and attendance books might be outdated.
The method of inserting a time-card into a device to clock-in and out of work is a very basic attendance management system. It has been used for a long time and is still in use at lots of companies.
The advantages of this method include the fact that the time recorder itself can be installed at a low cost, as well as the fact that it is an old, familiar attendance management system which doesn’t use technology or internet. Those who are not technologically advanced can use it with ease.
Disadvantages of this system include the fact that total working hours have to all be calculated manually – thus making a huge workload for companies with lots of employees. A time-card can also be lost, and dishonest practices such as getting another employee to clock-in or out on your behalf is also possible with this method.
Besides time-cards, some companies also use handwritten or Excel file attendance books. Employees then submit these to the company at a specific date. The fact that they are handwritten and it costs nothing to run is a great advantage to the system, but the fact that the calculations at the end all have to be done manually is definitely a big drawback and disadvantage.
A summary of the latest time recording devices.
There have been lots of methods of recording time other than time-cards popping up in recent years. Attendance management systems have collaborated to allow lots of devices to do the job. Which device should your company use for attendance management?
IC card reader
This is a system where an employee has to swipe an IC card over a designated reader in order to clock-in and out. This system prevents the dishonest act of getting someone else to clock-in or out for you. Also, as the attendance information is automatically calculated, the workload for the person in charge is significantly decreased.
This is a biometric authentication system where an employee is identified via fingerprints or the veins on their finger. Compared to a paper time-card or an IC card, this system completely eliminates the opportunity for dishonest practices. It is also impossible to lose like a smartphone or an IC card, therefore being an investment and decreasing the burden for management.
Smartphone or Tablet
This is a system where an app is downloaded on to a smartphone or tablet for time recording purposes. Each and every employee is issued with an account with personal information to prevent dishonest practices. This system can also easily record quick exits from the building for business trips, etc. If the company is one where computers or smartphones can be borrowed, then the company could just prepare one tablet device purely for time recording purposes.
This groupware attendance management system allows employees to clock-in and out via launching a browser on their computer and logging in. If the company is one where computers can be borrowed, then the initial costs can be kept under control via this method. Also, there are lots of groupware services which involve attendance management systems, lots of which easily perform time recording, calculation and even payroll.
Advantages of the latest time recording devices
Those in charge who are thinking about introducing attendance management systems often hold concerns about using a device to manage the recording of time.
Response to concerns regarding the latest attendance management systems can be handled in a variety of ways. Here are the advantages of the aforementioned time recording devices.
IC card reading system
With regards to time recording via an IC card reading system, those in charge all say in unison, “IC cards cost too much!”, and “Card readers cost too much!”. However, there is actually no cost involved in incorporating IC cards.
It is possible for the company to lend a security card, or a staff identity IC card. Commuting IC cards powered by “FeliCa” can also be used, as can electronic money cards.
The number of smartphones and devices that “FeliCa” can be loaded on to is also always increasing. Therefore, there is no need to actually prepare a designated time recording IC card, as employees can link their own IC cards to the system.
While it is true that companies will need to prepare card readers for this system, only a few are needed – such as at the entrance of the company and on each of the floors.
While some initial cost is involved via this particular system, the amount of time saved by not having to input time management data, as well as the lack of running costs involved in purchasing time-cards, all make this particular system quite advantageous.
However, a disadvantage would be the fact that time cannot be recorded if an employee forgets their IC card. If the company uses an IC card that the employee has to use for commuting purposes, then errors can also be avoided.
Biometric time recording system
While this system isn’t widely used, it is the most effective in combating dishonest practices with regards to time recording.
With regards to fingerprint authentication, there are cases where smartphone biometric authentication cannot accurately prove the identity of a person. Similarly, time recording cannot be done if the person has a skin condition or an injury to their finger.
However, time recording methods which use the veins of the finger are not affected by conditions of the finger like fingerprint authentication – therefore allowing time to still be recorded.
Businesses such as restaurants and retail stores probably don’t have much need for employees to carry around devices such as smartphones or IC cards. Therefore, just holding up a finger for time recording purposes has to be a great advantage to this system.
Smartphones or Tablets
These days, almost everyone has a smartphone.
A time recording app has been introduced to meet the demand. I think there are probably some concerns over recording time via an app, such as people clocking-in from far away when they realize they are going to be late.
However, the latest time management apps connect with the GPS functions of the device. This has the great advantage of being able to limit how far away from their workplace an employee can clock-in or out from.
Also, with regards to irregular practices such as quick business trips out of the office – apps allow an employee to make such requests in advance. The destination for where time is recorded can then be confirmed with a manager.
Just one tablet inside the company can ensure that all employees can easily clock-in and out. This is ideal for companies with only a few employees, such as restaurants or retail stores.
A big advantage to time recording via a smartphone or tablet is that it can be handled by a wide range of people regardless of industry. This type of time recording device will no doubt increase in the future.
This may well be the most widely used time recording system. If the company is one which lends a computer to all employees, then time recording can easily be done via this computer.I think that lots of companies these days record time via a PC. However, it isn’t an exaggeration to say that it takes time to launch a designated browser, thus allowing errors to occur.
It is true to say that it takes unnecessary time to launch a designated time recording browser, particularly in times where the workload is heavy, or when a sudden business lunch comes up, etc.
Communication tools that can also be used as time recording services from within the office are increasing in popularity, such as “Chatwork” or “Slack”.
Companies may well consider introducing communication tools such as “Chatwork” which are already incorporated into the business. It is also probably a quite an easy method of recording time for the increasing number of remote workers.
This article has introduced the various kinds of attendance management devices. While the type of device may be the same, the details regarding the method of time recording can differ.
When considering what method to introduce, companies must first consider what type of business they are, and which kind of time recording method is most suitable for their business platform. It is also important to chose a method which is easy for all employees to use.
Finally, current issues such as wanting to decrease workload and cost with regards to time management should help a company in choosing the most suitable method for them.
While making the move from analog to digital is getting harder and harder, managers have to consider introducing time management systems in order to to decrease workload and make time recording easier to use for employees. Have you considered it?