Realizing the Elusive Goal of Automatic Time Clocking with Strict Privacy Controls

Every day, millions of contract and temp workers turn in their time cards to finance departments. Some employers deploy a more elaborate on-site time-card processing machines. Needless to say, this approach does not scale very easily. Another new class of time-clocking solutions are emerging where employees clock in and clock out manually on a time card app on their mobile phone or on their computers. This process still involves significant manual interaction on the part of the employee and is therefore prone to errors and inaccuracy. For e.g. Employees may forget to clock in or clock out when they go to lunch or in the evening when they get off, there by leading to unintended errors that easily can end up costing organizations millions of dollars.

Today, with the combination of smartphones, text messaging & cloud-hosted Software-as-a-Service platforms, it is possible to put together a mobile time clock solution to address this problem. Tracking employees via their cell phone (with proper consent) during work hours is one proven solution where the location of every employee at any given time is known. A time card app could be running in the background on the employees phones. When an employee enters certain job sites (geo-zones), they are automatically clocked in and when they exit the site, they are clocked out. The employee is essentially hands off and their hours are accurately recorded and processed. This “zero-touch” approach to time clocking enables organizations to be more efficient and manage their time clocked expenses automatically. It also relieves their employees of constantly clocking in and clocking out and instead spend their time doing their jobs in the field. It is clearly a win-win situation for employers and employees.

The issue of employee privacy needs to be addressed in the context of employees being tracked through their cell phones. Permission based tracking where employees agree to be tracked only during work hours should be put in place for a zero-touch solution to work seamlessly. The employees can themselves trigger the automatic time clocking every morning and then turn it off at the end of the day. All reports are then effortlessly generated for the back office to process and payroll to function.

Organizations need to evaluate these types of zero-touch mobile time clock solutions to enable them to streamline their payroll expenses especially for their employees (especially the contract workforce) which is often out in the field.