For businesses looking to collect staff time and attendance data, there are lots of options out there. However, companies with a mobile workforce will want a simple and portable system which meets their particular set of needs.
When you have staff working on different sites and on variable shift patterns the search for an effective clocking in system can be even more challenging. There are three popular choices for clocking in and out ‘on the go’ biometric fingerprint and facial recognition, portable RFID systems and phone clocking. Each has its own features and advantages – in this article we weigh up what RFID and phone clocking have to offer:
Portable RFID systems
From its beginnings as a wartime espionage tool, radio-frequency identification (RFID) went on to be developed in the 1970s in the USA for use in transportation, banking, security and the medical world. Now, the tracking of objects and people without manual data entry, has become ubiquitous – from tracking pets, retail stock and vehicles.
This technology has also been long used in time and attendance systems which offer RFID systems. Here, ‘proximity’ cards or fobs can be read without inserting it into a reader device – the employee needs only to pass by the reader. The card or fob is a passive transponder which comprises a microchip with unique information stored on it, and an antenna. When the cards or fobs pick up the signal from the clocking in terminal (reader) the information is passed over. The exchange of data between terminals and cards or fobs only occurs within a close radius (or proximity) of each other. The benefits for staff management are obvious.
The clear advantage of Portable RFID systems is that employees need only to be carrying their card or fob – they do not need to remember to clock in or out any other way. However, employers would need initially to invest on terminal readers, have them installed and issue workers with a card or fob. Once up and running though this option has proved to be efficient and time-saving.
Phone clocking is a simple way for clocking remote employees in and out of a job or activity. To clock in or out on the phone employees either access their free smartphone app or use a standard touch-tone phone to dial a dedicated number when arriving or leaving the site. They then perform a series of steps in response to voice prompts.
Managers can also use a smartphone app to see who’s clocked in right now, as well as look at employee timecards. Supervisors can clock in groups of employees if they are a gang leader or foreman.
The advantage of phone clocking is that it offers a simple method without needing a terminal reader or proximity cards to be issued. On the other hand, employees do need to remember to make the call or access the app in order to clock in and out.
Both the RFID system and Phone clocking options are especially suited to sectors such as cleaning, on-site maintenance companies and carers which include home or other site visits.
The uAttend time and attendance system offers both these options. It’s ideal for small and mobile businesses because it is scalable according to your changing needs. What’s more, if employees need to be in a specific place at the same time each week the uAttend system can also email you if things don’t quite go to plan – you can set up alert emails, for example for early or late clocking in and out, or if an employee forgets to take a required break.