Automated time and attendance systems offer a greater choice of clocking-in systems than ever before – from web clocking, to phone clocking to biometric terminals. While greater choice is always welcome, it can be a challenge to decide between the many options available for keeping track of staff.
Ever since Bundy patented his first mechanical time clock in 1890, businesses have made use of clocking-in methods to keep track of the hours worked by employees. Technological advances have allowed ever more sophisticated ways of gathering time and attendance data from workers. In response to the complexity of multiple sites, growing workforces and variable patterns of working, the latest clocking-in options now offer greater efficiency, and safeguards against time fraud.
Already adopted worldwide by governments (India has probably the largest biometric identity implementation in the world – Aadhaar), in healthcare, banking and security, the use of biometric technology is forecast to become one of the fastest-growing segments of the technology sector – no wonder it is now being adopted in workforce management in a variety of sectors from construction, distribution, healthcare to retail.
Biometric clocking-in terminals use an employee’s facial, or other unique biometric data such as fingerprints to recognise them and clock them in or out. The terminals then gather the data and make it available to managers via the firm’s account on a cloud-based system – so it’s easily accessible by authorised staff from any internet-enabled device and from anywhere. The clocking-in data can easily be exported to payroll software such as Sage or a payroll bureau for accurate wage payments. The use of biometric clocking-in has become attractive due its distinct advantages over other methods.
The benefits of biometric clocking include:
- Prevention of time fraud or ‘buddy clocking’
- More secure access to your premises
- No lost, forgotten or damaged swipe cards
- Accurate fire evacuation reporting
- Reduced attendance disputes
- Reduction on overhead costs of administering a paper or card based system
UK businesses looking at using an efficient biometric clocking-in system can choose from a range of options – two principal biometric features on offer are facial and fingerprint recognition.
Biometric fingerprint vs facial recognition clocking
Fingerprint clocking in – an employee’s fingerprint can be easily scanned in to set them up on the system, creating unique codes related to their fingerprint. When the employee clocks in using their fingerprint the system compares the print to the stored code. In this way the fingerprints themselves aren’t stored which means there are no personal privacy issues.
Facial recognition – when an employee’s face is scanned-in, algorithms are calculated, usually referencing the key points of a person’s face and turning them into a unique code. Again, when the employee clocks-in, this time by facial recognition, the system compares their face to the stored algorithm. Facial recognition terminals do not require any physical contact by the employee when clocking-in.
It’s natural that your staff may at first have concerns about how their biometric data may be used. It’s a good idea to talk to them and explain how the new biometric time and attendance system works and to reassure them about any personal privacy or security concerns. The use of biometrics is a technology with which they will be becoming increasingly familiar, such as using to unlock their smartphones to airport security.
Whether you opt for biometric fingerprint or facial recognition, you’ll be helping your business to control time theft, manage secure access and save money due to increased efficiency.