Blog: I just want a simple time clock solution!

“I just want a Simple Time Clock Solution”

This is something I hear often from small business owners and it is completely understandable. Why would you want to make anything more complicated?

Transitioning from time sheets to an electronic time clock offers many advantages but there are some surprises for the uninitiated.

“I just want the start and finish times” potential buyers often say… and this is where the problem starts.

Often, potential new buyers are using paper time sheets and while these may be inaccurate and difficult to process they at least record employee attendance in nice rounded times. That is to say that employees usually write the start and finish time exactly on the hour, half hour or quarter hour.

By comparison, a simple time clock or bundy clock will capture the exact start time. This is when the employee actually clocks IN rather than their actual start time. At the end of the working day it is likely that the employees will clock OUT sometime after their nominal finish time which can also cause problems for the simple time clock. This is because simple time clocks just calculate the number of hours between the clock IN and the clock OUT times. This is not useful and can lead to a significant over payments to employees or the necessity for payroll staff to adjust the recorded times.

The next problem that can be encountered is employee lunch breaks. Using the start and finish time as the basis for the number of hours worked will include the employees lunch which, in most cases is 30 minutes. The simple time clock will therefore add 30 minutes to each employee’s work day. That is unless the employees clock in and out for lunch – which adds another rounding issue for those two clock events.

So, in considering just a few of the basic requirements a “simple time clock” would appear to equate to an inaccurate time clock and no actual improvement on a manual system.

I guess if we look behind what a potential time clock buyer is really saying when they indicate they want a simple time clock. They probably mean they want an inexpensive time clock. There seems to be for many, a connection between simplicity and lower price. Perhaps they feel it’s like buying a new car, if you limit the optional extras it’s less expensive.

When you purchase a car however, you don’t get to choose on those elements which are necessary for proper functionality- you can’t get it without brakes or lights or wheels. The whole thing is regulated to a high degree to make sure that the product is fit for intended purpose.

You can however, buy a time clock at a cheaper rate which does not have the basic functionality required to properly calculate payroll hours. You can, in other words buy a time clock which is not fit for purpose. What may be optional extras to the buyer may actual be necessary components.

So, my advice to time clock buyers is always to be clear on what problems you are trying to overcome and open to exploring the available solutions with an experienced time & attendance consultant rather than simply buying a cheap product directly from a website.