Best time and attendance systems of 2019

Best time and attendance systems
Image credit: Pexels
(Image credit: Image Credit: Startupstockphotos / Pexels)
Best time and attendance systems

There are many different ways to manage employee time and attendance, but one thing is clear – the days of time cards for physically clocking in are over. However, while a number of electronic solutions exist, not all are fit for purpose and can end up causing problems for management and resentment from employees. 

Some time management software can get overloaded when multiple employees attempt to manage their vacations and sickness days. Other solutions use outdated technology that doesn't integrate with modern IT systems, and some time management software can suffer issues such as not being mobile-friendly, or even not being user-friendly at all. 

And yet time management is an essential part of a business with multiple staff members. Managers need to have a very clear idea of what employees are doing and that tasks are being carried out in a timely manner – and if not, the reasons for any delays. Additionally, employees need to know that they are being properly credited with the hours they work and both the benefits and entitlements that should apply.

Luckily, there are good time and attendance management platforms out there – the challenge is for business owners and IT managers to find them. To make that task easier, we'll list the best products currently available.

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Image credit: ebility

1. TimeTracker

Easy efficiency with timesheets

Low cost
Integrations available
Free trial

TimeTracker by ebillity is a time tracking solution for time management, payroll, and billing. The system runs from the cloud and can be accessed via the web or through apps for Android or iOS. It also creates automatic backups so you won't lose your data, even if you lose your internet connection.

The software itself aims to automate the process of time management, with easy clocking in and out via digital time cards that can be used from multiple locations. It can schedule breaks, and provides easy editing of timesheets with the ability to make changes before submission for payroll. Managers can also check employee locations with GPS tracking.

Of course, analytics are included, to allow managers and business owners to run reports to gauge efficiency and effectiveness.

There's also an option to cover billing and invoicing, which can automate expenses and integrate with Stripe for making payments. A number of integrations are available to support this, including QuickBooks, Xero, ADP Workforce, and Sage. There's also an option to support legal document services.

For the basic time management software there's a base fee of $8 per month plus $4 per user, though if you want to use the billing service there's an additional $4 charge to each fee. A free trial is available.

Image credit: Branch

2. Branch

Manage time across multiple locations

Reduce employee turnover
Single communications platform
Free tier

Branch is a time management platform built for enterprises aiming to reduce employee turnover, overtime costs, and reduce the amount of time required to manage employee shifts. It does this using a number of methods.

One is to provide employees with instant access to their earnings, so that they are always clear on how much they are going to be paid. This means that payment errors can be flagged more quickly, resulting in less time trying to discover the source of the problem, and causing less stress for staff members. Employees can also track their shifts and view schedules, while having the ability to change or swap shifts – all done through an app on their phone.

Another feature is the ability to manage employees over multiple locations, whether between departments or even different office buildings. Managers have access to employee details and can allocate the best workers with the right skills to where they are needed – and at the right time.

Branch also provides secure channels to simplify communications by using a single space. This means managers can contact each other directly on one channel, or employees on another. This reduces the need for store announcements, office emailing, and phone calls.

There's a free tier available for business users based at a single location. While this doesn't come with all the features of the enterprise version, it still covers all the basics. Pricing for a customized version for enterprise requires a quote.

Image credit: When I Work

3. When I Work

Free time management for small businesses

Geofenced clock in
Clock out reminders
Free for up to 75 users

When I Work is a platform that aims to simplify time management and payroll. As expected, it runs from the cloud, which allows easy access via a smartphone app for Android or iOS. And more interestingly, it comes with a few particularly nice features.

One of these is that while it facilitates clocking in and out via the app, When I Work geofences this to only work in a designated area so that an employee must be physically present to do so. It also provides notifications to employees if they forget to log out, and therefore helps prevent misunderstandings and mistakes that can affect payroll.

There's also a standard scheduling app to manage shifts, organize overtime, approve time off requests, and manage expenses. Then there is a communications platform built into this so that managers and employees can chat privately about scheduling and shift availability.

The app is free for any business with up to 75 users, and covers the basics of scheduling, availability, and communications. Paid plans are available for more users with more features, costing from between $1.50 to $2.25 per user per month, depending on the number of additional features required. Enterprise users looking for API access, SSO, and personalized options will need to call for a quote.

Image credit: Deputy

4. Deputy

Heavy-duty solution for distributed attendance

Facial recognition
Dynamic reports
Personal tasking

Deputy provides an all-in-one cloud software platform for the management of schedules and timesheets, payroll, POS, and communications. 

The online scheduling app allows multiple roles, departments, and even locations to be managed from a single dashboard. Drag and drop functionality allows new shifts and work patterns to be created simply and easily – alternatively, custom scheduling templates can be built to create automated shift patterns. Employees can be automatically notified of changes to shifts, and can swap shifts directly with others using the app.

Geolocation and/or facial recognition software can be used to ensure a safe and secure way for employees to sign in, and missed breaks that could cause compliance issues can be flagged. Dynamic reports can then be used to work to more efficient schedules and ensure department budgets stay on target. 

Personal tasking is also available as a feature, which allows managers to assign specific tasks to specific employees, who are then notified and can subsequently confirm when the tasks have been begun or completed within the Deputy communications platform, which also provides customized newsfeeds and posts.

Pricing works on a tiered structure, with the cheapest level at $2 per employee per month focused on basic time and attendance services, with the Premium tier offering all services costing $3 per employee per month. There is also a free trial available. 

Image credit: Replicon

5. Replicon Time and Attendance

Be productive with your shift planning

Distributed workforce
Covers employees and contractors
Chatbot for easy queries

Replicon Time and Attendance is one of a number of business productivity and efficiency software platforms offered by the company. It's primarily targeted at businesses with a distributed workforce that might otherwise be difficult to manage with a single system. This includes not just full-time and part-time workers, but also remote employees, contractors, and fieldworkers, all of which can be managed using a centralized cloud system.

The service can cover all aspects of time tracking, not least clock in/out, breaks, and activity tracking. It also deals with absence management, including a self-service option for time off, as well as shift assignments and scheduling plus availability. Everything can be brought together for payroll, even where pay and tax codes may vary, making it easier to manage team productivity and labor costs. 

Management can be achieved via a web interface, though employees can easily make requests for shift changes and raise queries via a mobile app. The communications platform also includes a chatbot to talk through availability and entitlement, as well as answer basic questions as required.

Replicon's Time and Attendance platform can integrate with QuickBooks, Sage, Xero, ADP, SAP, and Oracle, as well as Replicon's other productivity and efficiency software.

A free trial is available, though you'll need to contact a sales rep for pricing.

StratusTime

Image credit: StratusTime

(Image credit: StratusTime)

StratusTime

Cloud-based
For small businesses
Many integrations
No minimum contract

StratusTime is a cloud-based time and attendance management platform that aims to deliver accurate hours logging for wages and tim-keeping for small businesses.

There are a number of different ways for employees to login and clock in, from the traditional single-point kiosk, or from multiple point-of-service systems on the shop floor. Employees can also be tracked, as well as track their own hours and wages due so that any potential problems can be identified and addressed quickly and easily.

The system integrates with a large number of HR and payroll software packages, so it's easy to ensure that the system can collect and transfer data as and where it needs to. Payroll systems it works with includes Abra, ADP, Ascentis, Execupay, Pensoft, and Prime Pay.

The advantage is that manual data entry is kept at a minimum by ensuring that as much is automated as is possible.

Price per employee starts from $4 per month for basic features, with additional plans available for more advanced functionality. Even better is that there is no minimum contract length.