Clock in clock out: Boosting Accountability & Efficiency at Work

employee time tracking system

In this article, we'll discuss why it's essential to clock in and out at work and provide tips on ensuring your employees are doing it correctly.

What is the clocking in and out system?

A clock in clock out system accurately calculates the total hours worked by employees, transforming those results into timesheets that employers can easily use to manage payroll. This efficient process makes life easier for both employees and employers alike.

For employers, clocking in and out is an effective way to track their employees' work hours. It also ensures that they are paid for all their work hours and can help prevent them from being overworked or underpaid.

It also helps employers save time and money by eliminating manual payroll processing, which could lead to costly errors and discrepancies.

Types of clocking in and out systems

Manual time clocks

Manual time clocks are simple, including punch cards, pens, paper logbooks, timesheet forms, and spreadsheets. Employees register the start and stop of their shifts by manually entering data into these methods. However, due to this method's susceptibility to human error and its openness for abuse in terms of "time theft, " it is becoming increasingly less popular than other options available today.

Related: Preventing Employee Theft: Comprehensive Strategies for Today's Businesses

Biometric time clocks

Biometric time clocks use employees' biometric data (fingerprints, faces, and irises) to clock them in and out. These terminals inhibit buddy punching - which allows one employee to falsely report the hours of another - as no third party can punch their colleague's card for them. Nevertheless, due to the confidential nature of this type of information, using a biometric clock may be prohibited by law, depending on your business location.

Time clock apps

Time clock apps allow employees to clock in and out from their smartphones or tablets, while employers can monitor employee attendance and total worked hours with a few simple clicks. This system is efficient, versatile, and cost-effective for all involved parties.

Time clock software systems

More than just a system to track time on the clock, these systems also offer digital employee scheduling, attendance tracking, and payroll processing. With all of these features under one roof, they are invaluable resources for any organization looking to keep its business running efficiently.

Employee scheduling and Time-tracking software!

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Best practices for tracking employee hours


To maximize your success when tracking employee hours, use these best practices as a guide:

Provide notifications

To ensure that your employees accurately track their hours, activate and implement any in-built notification capabilities within the digital software you're using. This is especially beneficial for those working from home or at job sites outside the office. Utilizing notifications will make it easier to stay on top of clocking times.

See real-time workers

To streamline your communication processes and stay organized, consider utilizing a program that reveals who's currently on the clock, who may be taking a break, or who clocked out for the day. This way, you can effectively reach out to employees with questions or tasks without bothering those not actively working. 

Avoid unexpected overtime

By taking advantage of a program that offers hour capping, you and your staff can prevent the unexpected buildup of overtime. You will be alerted when an employee is close to reaching their weekly limit, so they know it's time to clock out and go home for the day. This way, everyone can rest easy knowing no one is working overtime without authorization. 

Keep employees honest

If you're concerned about time theft or employees taking advantage of the system, a biometric time clock is an ideal solution to eliminate any discrepancies. With this type of device in place, your team won't be able to game the system since it requires personal identification for clocking in and out. Investing in this technology can save you money and provide peace of mind that all hours are being tracked accurately. 

Know when employees are late

Utilize the data from each employee's time sheets to understand which staff members are consistently punctual, typically early and occasionally late. Once identified, it is wise for management to meet with those who struggle to arrive on schedule to find a plan that suits both their needs and the business.

Ensure everyone tracks the time

To keep the whole company invested in following time-tracking habits, it is of utmost importance to set a good example and encourage managers to demonstrate these behaviors. This way, all employees will understand that this is an expected routine for everyone.

Offer training

Empower your employees with comprehensive training on using time-tracking software or device. By teaching them when they should be clocking in and out, they'll be equipped to use it properly - leading to more accurate record keeping.

Make it easy

To make the clocking in and out process as seamless as possible for your employees, consider placing a central computer or time clock right by the entryway of an office. Additionally, send reminders to those who must clock in remotely from their mobile device and allow them to remain logged into the program for easy access - this will save you and your employees valuable time!

Record daily

Ensure that your employees track their time daily for optimum precision. When the weekends, it might be complicated for them to recollect precisely how many hours they worked and when they took pauses or lunched. With day-by-day monitoring, you have confidence in the exactness of the data.

Review the data

Consistently reviewing your time data can be highly beneficial. If you recognize that staff members often spend extra hours beyond the regular shift, it could make sense to expand your team size. On the other hand, if they are typically sent home before the end of their shift, then downsizing may be appropriate.

Assign a manager

Managers should evaluate their team's timesheets or digital tracking time weekly to ensure the accuracy of the data and that employees are on schedule with completing their timesheets. This will assist your payroll staff in trusting the information they have, allowing them to quickly generate paychecks without having to sit down individually with each employee for clarification on discrepancies.

Use geo-tracking

If you're looking for a way to keep track of your employees' time and location, digital timesheet software with geo-fencing could be the perfect solution. Set up virtual boundaries around office locations so that when employees leave one area, they are automatically clocked out - ideal for those who often travel during the day and might otherwise forget to log their hours.

Assign breaks

Timesheet software makes it easier for employers to guarantee their employees' breaks, granting them the rest they need while ensuring that their time is still correctly tracked. For instance, when you set a specific lunch break of one hour for your team members and expect them to utilize this respite period fully, the timesheet program won't let workers clock back in until after that full duration has been spent.

When it comes to tracking your employees' daily work hours, you have a variety of traditional and digital solutions. Choose the most suitable clocking-in and out process for both your needs as well as the tasks that are expected from your staff.

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Rules for clocking in and out

By establishing guidelines for clocking in and out, employers can ensure that their employees know the expectations. The following set of rules serves as a blueprint that may be adjusted to one's needs:

  • Employees must clock in before the start of their shift and clock out when it finishes ensuring accurate time tracking.

  • Unless their manager approves, employees are not permitted to clock in any earlier than 5 minutes before the start of their shift.

  • Employees must be clocked out no later than 5 minutes after the end of their shift unless they have received permission from their manager to do otherwise.

  • All staff must ensure they clock out for their lunch break and back in once their respite has ended.

  • The supervisor is responsible for meticulously assessing and verifying employee timesheets. Any manual alterations must be accepted by the same individual as well.

  • It is strictly prohibited for any employee to clock in or out on behalf of another worker. This practice falls under the term “time theft” and will lead to disciplinary action if discovered.

  • Employees must receive their manager's authorization before working overtime.

  • Employees with a workweek of more than 40 hours are rewarded for their additional effort and dedication to the job, receiving 1.5 times their regular rate as overtime compensation.

  • Any breaches of the rules mentioned above may be penalized, with possible repercussions including verbal and written advisories, suspension, or dismissal.

What to consider when establishing a system for clocking in and out

Work location

When selecting a system for recording your employees' hours, it's crucial to consider where they will be working: whether in one place or at various sites. Companies with many different locations may find great success from digital systems which update information instantaneously. On the other hand, punch cards and biometric time clocks are best used by businesses whose staff work at only one spot.

For instance, cleaning personnel is often employed in multiple places, so businesses that offer such services can gain a great deal from an electronic timekeeping system. Employees may clock in and out through their mobile phones but must be present at the correct job location.

Conversely, those employed in a manufacturing facility are always at the same place of work and can therefore use biometric authentication technology like fingerprint scanning to calculate hours spent onsite.

Real-time updates

Your employees' attendance can be monitored instantly with real-time updates. A mobile app, for example, can send you an alert if one of your team members is 15 minutes late to their shift. With this knowledge, you will have the opportunity to reach out and see why they're running behind or start looking for a replacement before any further delays occur.

Additionally, having access to real-time data can be a great help when it comes to employee management. You'll better understand how your staff spends their time, making it easier to assign tasks according to each team member's skills.


An organized system for clocking in and out at work is a must for employers. It allows for better time tracking and management of employees, ensuring that the company's needs are met. Additionally, it serves as an effective way to monitor the attendance of each staff member and avoid any potential issues related to payroll accuracy or disciplinary matters.

With the proper framework in place, employers can ensure that their employees are clocking in and out as required, no matter the size of their business. It's essential to any successful organization and should not be overlooked.

By following these guidelines, businesses can ensure that their workforce is monitored accurately and efficiently. This will lead to a better understanding of employee hours worked and avoid discrepancies related to payroll or disciplinary matters. It's the key to running an efficient and compliant workplace.

Shiftbase offers an all-in-one-time tracking solutions for managers. With our time tracking software you can keep a clear overview and prevent errors. Hours worked can be tracked in various ways. This can be done through an hour registration form, time clock, or in the app!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Clocking in and out at work is an essential process for accurately tracking employee hours and ensuring compliance with labor regulations. There are several methods for clocking in and out, including:

    • Time clock terminals: These are physical devices located at the workplace that employees use to scan their ID cards or enter a PIN to record their arrival and departure times.

    • Time tracking software: This software can be installed on computers or accessed through a web browser and allows employees to clock in and out using their computer or mobile device.

    • Biometric time clocks: These systems use fingerprint, facial recognition, or retinal scans to verify employee identity and record their timekeeping records.

    • Mobile time clock apps: These apps allow employees to clock in and out from their smartphones or tablets, even when they are not at the workplace.

    The specific method used for clocking in and out will vary depending on the workplace's size, industry, and technology infrastructure. However, all methods should provide a secure and accurate record of employee hours.

  • Even though salaried employees are typically paid a fixed salary regardless of the number of hours worked, there are still several reasons why they should clock in and out:

    • Accuracy of payroll: Clocking in and out provides a clear record of employee hours, which is essential for ensuring accurate payroll processing. This prevents overpayments or underpayments and helps to maintain compliance with labor regulations.

    • Performance management: Timekeeping data can be used to assess employee productivity and identify areas for improvement. This information can be used to develop training programs and identify potential performance issues.

    • Preventing time theft: Clocking in and out helps to prevent time theft, which is the unauthorized use of company time for personal purposes. This can be a significant issue for businesses, as it can lead to lost productivity and increased costs.

    • Job costing: In some industries, such as construction or manufacturing, job costing is essential for tracking labor costs and pricing projects. Accurate timekeeping data is crucial for accurate job costing.

    • Compliance with labor laws: Many labor laws require employers to keep accurate records of employee hours. Clocking in and out helps to ensure that businesses are compliant with these laws.
Topic: Time Clock
Rinaily Bonifacio

Written by:

Rinaily Bonifacio

Rinaily is a renowned expert in the field of human resources with years of industry experience. With a passion for writing high-quality HR content, Rinaily brings a unique perspective to the challenges and opportunities of the modern workplace. As an experienced HR professional and content writer, She has contributed to leading publications in the field of HR.


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