Here’s a little riddle for you - which one of the following scenarios is a real-life everyday situation and which one is a corporate fairy tale?


  1. It’s 9 o’clock sharp and all of your employees are coming into the office, taking their designated seats, turning on their computers and all you can hear from that moment on is the sound of enthusiastic typing. You look at your watch and it’s 9:02.
  2. It’s 9 o’clock sharp and about 80% of your workforce is dragging themselves into the office. While catching up with their colleagues’ news, they’re turning the coffee machine on. The smell of breakfast bagels and morning coffee will keep lingering in the chatter-filled air for many minutes to come, until finally all the machines are running and the employees are starting to work. You look at your watch and it’s 9:37.


The answer is easy. But even if you found yourself thinking that situation A is slightly robotic and unnatural, you have to admit that, at the very least, you should have this tiny but significant piece of information on when your employees start their work. After all, you pay them to be in the office and do their jobs, right?


Now, we’re going to look at some reasons why tracking clock-ins is not as easy as it seems and how to overcome this difficulty with an employee time clock app such as Workpuls.

The Problem with Clock-Ins


By definition, a clock-in is the precise moment when an employee arrives at the office. But if you’ve ever tried to measure it and check to what extent your numbers reflected the actual situation, you might have noticed a couple of discrepancies, such as the one mentioned in our example scenario B.


So how can something so simple and straightforward be so intangible?


There are a couple of things contributing to the difficulty of accurately measuring clock-ins. The first one is our natural tendency to procrastinate. Whether it’s in the form of an extended chat with their colleagues, eating breakfast, drinking coffee or catching up on the news online, it seems very hard for employees to go straight to work immediately upon entering the office.


And the thing is - they’ve swiped their key cards or whatever it is you use to track attendance so, technically, their work day has started. But it could be half an hour before they actually get into the working mode.


Another potential problem is the so-called buddy-punching, which is just a workaround for being late. Colleagues just swipe each other’s cards or put each other’s names in the timesheet and that’s it. On paper, an employee might start their work day 20 minutes before they’re even physically there.

The Solution - Employee Time Clock App


Implementing a simple time track on your employees’ corporate computers might be able to solve much of this problem and provide you with the definitive answer to when your employees actually start working.


But what is time tracking software?


It’s a computer program that tracks computer activity and measures time that employees spend on different tasks and in different apps or websites. And what’s especially useful for the topic we’re on, employee time clock app can also make automatic attendance timesheets.


In this context, a clock-in is the precise time an employee turned on their computer and a clock-out is (surprise, surprise) when they turn their machines off to go home. More precisely, an hour keeping app tracks computer activity, so even if for some totally environmentally-unfriendly reason your employees keep their machines turned on at all times, time entry software will record the first activity in a given day as a clock-in and the last one as a clock-out.


With such accurate clock-ins based on computer activity, you’ve solved two problems - you can measure procrastination as the difference between coming to the office and starting to work, and you can eliminate buddy-punching. Unless, of course, employees are so devoted to each other that they’d be willing to quite literally do two jobs until their irresponsible colleague comes to work. Which is probably marginally rare.


What you ultimately end up getting from your employee time clock app are clear automatically-generated timesheets with everybody’s accurate clock-ins.


But even though this is valuable information, a word of advice - don’t have any unrealistic expectations. You might want to curb procrastination, but you can’t really expect workers to be maximally productive the second they step into the office. It’s reasonable to leave time for them to take their jackets off, say hi to their colleagues and make that much-needed first cup of coffee.

Conclusion


The difference between employees’ recorded clock-ins and the actual start of their work might be slightly bigger that you’d like it to be. While your expectations shouldn’t be too high so as to become unrealistic, tracking when your employees actually come to the office and, even more importantly, when they begin working with an employee time clock app can help you organize their workload and manage your company more successfully.


Workpuls Teramind ActivTrak Hubstaff DeskTime Time Doctor RescueTime Kickidler Veriato Work Examiner
OVERVIEW
Price $6/user/month $6/user/month $7.20/user/month $7/user/month $7/user/month $9.99/user/month $6/user/month $9.99/user/month $150/licence/year $60/licence (lifetime)
Free trial 7 days 7 days No 14 days 14 days 14 days 30 days 7 days Yes 30 days
Ease of use Very easy Difficult Very easy Easy Easy Very easy Very easy Very easy Very difficult Easy
TRACKING METHODS
Unlimited (tracker working 24/7)
Fixed (defined working hours)
Automatic (when computer is connected to a specified network)
Manual (start/stop)
Project based (track time only on projects)
GENERAL MONITORING FEATURES
Stealth mode
App and website usage
Real-time monitoring
Offline time tracking
Attendance
Activity levels
Keylogger
Geolocation
Remote desktop control
Website/activity blocking
SCREENSHOTS AND RECORDING
Screenshots
Screenshots on demand
Screen recording
PRODUCTIVITY FEATURES
Productivity trends
Websites and apps labeling
Category labeling
Productivity alerts
ADVANCED SECURITY FEATURES
User behavior analytics
Data loss prevention
Advanced file and web monitoring
REPORTING
Productivity reports
Team reports
Timelines
Email reports
Access management
PLATFORMS
Web
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app
Mobile app iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android Android
Browser extension Chrome Chrome Chrome
Other Citrix, VMware Chrome OS
OTHER
Support Phone, email, online Phone, email, online Phone, email, online Email, online Phone, email, online, in-person Online Phone, email, online Email, online, Viber, Whatsapp Phone, email, online, support ticket Phone, email, online
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Integrations comming soon
API
Deployment cloud, on-premise cloud, on-premise, AWS, Azure cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud on-premise cloud, on-premise on-premise
Kronos Humanity Timeclockplus Tsheets Wheniwork Deputy Replicon Jibble EbilityTimeTracker OnTheClock
OVERVIEW
Price (per month)Available upon requestFrom $2 per userAvailable upon requestFrom $6.40 per user + $16Free for up to 75 usersFrom $2.50 per userBasic plan: $30 for 5 users + $5 per additional userFrom $1.50 per employeeFrom $4 per user + $8From $2.20 per user
Free trial30 days14 daysYes14 days14 days14 days30 days
Ease of useDifficultEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasy
FEATURES
Timecard management
Scheduling
Shift Trading
Timesheets
Break time management
Real-time tracking
PTO Management
Payroll
Invoicing
Client billing
GPS tracking
Clock out reminders
Alerts
Manual time
PUNCH-IN METHODS
Web app
Mobile app
Time clock device
Time clock kiosk
Facial recognition
Fingerprint scanning
Geofencing
Group punch-in
REPORTING
Visual reports
Email reports
Time rounding
MANAGEMENT
Permissions
Manager approvals
Add time for others
Integrations
PLATFORMS
Web
Android app
iOS app
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app
OTHER
SupportPhone and onlinePhone and onlinePhone, chat and onlinePhone and chatEmail and onlineChat and phonePhone, email, chat and onlinePhone and onlinePhone, email, chat and onlinePhone and online
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Community forum
API
Workpuls Hubstaff Toggl TimeDoctor Harvest TimeCamp Timely Everhour Tick TMetric
OVERVIEW
Price (per month) $6 per user $5.83 per user $9 per user $9.99 per user $10.80 per user $5.25 per user $99 for 5 users $7 per user $19 for 10 projects $5 per user
Free trial 7 days 14 days 30 days 14 days 30 days Yes 14 days 14 days 30 days 30 days
Ease of use Very easy Difficult Difficult Very easy Easy Very easy Easy Difficult Very easy Difficult
TIME TRACKING METHODS
Manual
Start/stop buttons
Automatic time mapping
IN-DEPTH TASK AND PROJECT ANALYSIS
Screenshots
App and website usage
Activity levels coming soon
Real-time tracking
TASK AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Project adding
Project templates
Project status
Task assignment
Task priorities
Budgeting coming soon
Mark billable/non-billable hours
Payroll calculation
Invoicing
ALERTS
Idle time reminders
Deadline alerts coming soon
Budget alerts coming soon
REPORTING
Client login
Productivity analysis
Email reports coming soon
PLATFORMS
Web
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app coming soon
iOS app Beta
Android app
Browser extension Chrome Chrome, Firefox Chrome Chrome Chrome, Firefox Chrome Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge
OTHER
Support Phone and online Email and online Email and online Online Online, email and phone Email, online and support ticket Email and chat Email and chat Email Chat
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Integrations coming soon
API
On-premise hosting

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