10 Best Practices for Using a Clock In and Out App

Expert Tips
Rea Regan May 11, 2022 13 min read

It’s easy to switch from pen and paper to a clock-in clock-out app, that is of course once you know what to expect and how to best prepare. Let’s go through it together– with an in-depth overview of the benefits and how to utilize time clock systems to the maximum.

Quick Guide

    Knowing where and how your employees are spending their time during work hours can provide real insight into your bottom line.

    Although this is a super easy concept to comprehend, so why is the actual action of time tracking so difficult to master? Well, if you’re using pen and paper to write down your daily activities and the amount of time that was spent on each of them, you’re opening yourself up to a colossal amount of mistakes. But, never mind that, because if you’re not on it 24/7 and unable to jot everything down immediately, you’ll have to guess the time you clock in and clock out.

    The likelihood of errors, payroll mistakes, and buddy punching from this, is all too real. But there is a solution, it’s time to make the switch to an online time tracking solution.

    As many companies are making the switch to digital solutions to effectively track time, we are looking at the benefits of a time tracking software from real feedback, as well as the best practices for using it, in this guide.

    Benefits of Clock-In Clock-Out Apps

    Time tracking is hard, that much has been established. Digital solutions make it that much easier. Below we dive into the many benefits of a clock in and out app. Remember, time tracking shouldn’t be complicated but often it is because of the hours you need to pour into to ensure accurate payroll and timesheet management.

    If you’re not yet ready to make the switch, read on the many benefits you will gain when you start using a clock in and out app.

    Prevent Buddy Punching

    Simply put, when an employee can use a clock in and out app, it eliminates the ability for someone else to do it for them. Considering that the American Payroll Association reported 75% of businesses in the United States alone are directly affected by time theft each year, curbing buddy punching with a clock in and out app is crucial and easily the most beneficial feature to managers. 

    Learn more about time theft in this detailed guide so you can better recognize why it happens, how it happens, and how you can prevent it.

    No Rounding Up

    An app for employees to clock in and out doesn’t round up minutes or seconds when it comes to how long an employee worked. It’s not about a minute here or there, instead, it’s all down to the actual second.

    Low Error Rates

    A clock in and out app doesn’t eliminate all mistakes but it sure does lower the likelihood. The IRS says that 33% of employers make some form of payroll errors, and the American Payroll Association goes on to say that these errors range between 1-8% of total payroll.

    It’s Automatic

    Using the right app for employees to clock in and out will automate and organize the entire process of confirming timesheets, so you don’t spend all your time combing through Excel sheet after Excel sheet. Also, the best apps have instant integrations with payroll software, like Connecteam does with Quickbooks Online, for quick, 100% accurate payroll.

    security employee tracking app

    Quickly React to Overtime

    As soon as an employee goes into overtime, you can be alerted and can help sort it out. Sometimes it’s as simple as an employee forgetting to clock out. But in any case, it’s always beneficial to be a step ahead.

    GPS Tracking

    It’s not as spooky as it sounds! Using an app for employees to clock in and out tags a GPS location stamp when they clock in and out so that you always know where they were when they did so. This eliminates any unnecessary detours or unwanted stoppages so you pay the employee for the work they do on the site instead of the other way around.  

    Some apps even have in-built Breadcrumbs technology to collect random location points, tracking employees’ movements throughout the day. Managers will instantly get a better understanding of where employees are (or aren’t) while clocked in.

    Real-Time Data

    You can immediately see how many hours you need to pay at any given moment. You don’t have to wait until the end of the day, week, or month.

    Manage Absence/Time-off Requests

    From the admin dashboard, you can easily see employee absences so you can take care of it as soon as it happens. Plus, Employees can request time off straight from the app and you can approve or deny the request straight away.

    Connecteam time clock app

    Add Additional Information

    Each time an employee clocks in, they can add additional information if necessary – such as the client’s name, the type of job, material usage, etc.

    The above reasons for why you should be using a clock in and out app is crucial as it truly highlights how much time you can save and how many errors can be avoided, not to mention how everything is more streamlined. Below we dive into the best practices for using a clock in and out app so you’re ready from day one.

    How To Integrate Cloud-Based Time Clock Software Into Your Business

    Taking the leap from manualized work to cloud-based software is super simple and straightforward. Once you have a standard computer or smartphone, and an internet connection, you are set and ready to use a time clock software solution. Odds are you already have these two things, so essentially, there is little to no preparation required of having a software system. 

    Because everything is stored on what is called a “cloud”, you’ve automatically said goodbye to clunky expensive hardware that takes too much space, not to mention, IT personnel that you may not have the finances to support. Everything is self-sufficient and extremely intuitive as time clock software such as Connecteam is built to be a user experience that is familiar and easy to utilize on the go, with a mobile app.

    How To Use Web-Based Solutions For Clocking In And Out

    Clock-in clock-out web-based solutions practically walk you through the steps themselves, with instructions that should specify everything from settings to user experience. Every web-based solution for clocking in and out will act slightly differently but follow the same general guidelines. For a real-life example, this is how Connecteam does it: 

    1. Go to connecteam.com, to start a free account. 
    2. Enter your basic information (all you need is a phone number, no email required).
    3. Send out invitations to any number of employees, so that they are added to the same account.
    4. Once employees have fully installed the app and logged in through the invitation link, they are automatically given access to the time clock, alongside the rest of its all-in-one solution platform. 
    5. Under assets or on the quick toolbar on the top of the interface, they can find the clock. 
    6. Employees will press the start button, choose amongst a number of shift title options, and begin the day. 
    7. Once the day is done and your employees are ready to clock out, they can go back to the clock to stop it.

    To see records of all these timestamps, reference back to the timesheet at any point in time. You can edit entries that are incorrect, and employees can request a shift correction if it’s from their end. Timesheets are exportable to payroll at the end of your desired pay period, so that everything is seamless from beginning to end. 

    Don’t wait.

    Get started with Connecteam’s intuitive time clock system, today!

    10 Best Practices For Using A Clock In And Out App

    We’ve broken down the benefits of using a clock-in clock-out app, and now it’s onto best practices so that you can maximize it’s full abilities. 

    Be A Good Example

    It all starts from the top down, your employees want to see you using the clock in and out app as well. When everyone is following the same policies, everyone wins and no one feels scrutinized. Plus, it makes it easier to train employees on how to use it if you know how to use it yourself.

    Automated Everything Possible

    Look at all the hours and review how much miscellaneous time your employees can have for more urgent tasks. Pre-program timesheets or allow for duplicate time logs if they work similar hours frequently.

    healthcare Employee Timesheets and Time Clock app

    Be Consistent

    Have clear rules as to who and which positions at your company, can be the ones to track time. Know they approaches and what direction they will take on the time tracker for their team of employees. restaurant doesn’t want salary employees to log time as they are often out on the floor doing multiple tasks at once.

    Track Time Daily

    Ditch the manualized work of inputting your hours at the end of each task, work day, or worse– the end of the week. Its difficult to remember and if you do, it takes so much time out of your day to do something so tedious that is unnecessary. As soon as you arrive to the job site, employees should get in the habit of remembering to clock-in (even though a notification reminder is always there as a back up), but after that their work is done for them with the clock in clock out system. Enjoy automation at its finest!

    Keep Categories Simple

    Keep things simple and straightforward. Enable categories like “Meetings”, “Working From Home”, “On-Site”, or “Employee Training”. It should be crystal clear and easy for employees to understand. Keep categories consistent across the board and make sure the channels of communication are open just in case your employees have a comment in regards to itץ

    Let Employees Understand the Value & Purposes

    More often than not, employees feel like they’re being watched by management through time tracking. However, that’s not the intent, and it’s important to make them aware of that. Managers track time so they can insufficient workflows and daily processes that are resulting in work slumps. It can also be so clients are charged accordingly; no more, no less. And lastly, its to make sure you’re paying deskless for their work, and never less. Whatever the reason may be, make sure your team knows about it all, and doesn’t jump to the conclusion that it is out of spite.

    Share Data To Build Trust

    Being transparent is key to building trust. Let your employees and fellow employees know how hours are being used. It can help with the recruitment process, how HR handles their daily tasks, how clients are billed, how the workflow can be improved, and so on.

    Use Descriptions or Notes With Purpose

    If the situation calls for it, it can be helpful to add a description or note to your employees’ working hours. You don’t need a rundown of every day, however it never hurts to add specific details that may be of use in the future, for recollection!

    Choose What You Track Wisely

    Just because everything is trackable, doesn’t mean you need to. Think about it, a bathroom break doesn’t need to be tracked, instead you just add it to the project or task time. The rule of thumb should be that if something takes you more than 15 minutes to complete, then you should enter it as its own time entry. The likelihood of employees staying on top of anything less than 15 minutes, is low. A simple solution to something like a 30-minute lunch break also doesn’t need to be tracked, simply tag it as a break!

    Tags Can Be a Big Help

    Most clock-in and out apps allow you to add tags to each project. They’re basically keywords that make it easy when you need to filter reports or just to have a clear idea as to what is being worked on. For example, a tag can be named and distinguished as: Break, Customer, Project Name, Location, Training, and so on and so forth. This additionally shows you how much time is spent on such activities.

    This is super helpful as it can make it easier to send invoices and allows you to map out how long certain tasks take so you can be better prepared for the next time, like the category of training.

    Clocking In And Out Rules & Regulations

    Rules and regulations are for you to set a standard by, and that can either be based on personal expectations, state legalities, or a mix of both. The employee handbook that is distributed before employees begin work, and signed when agreed upon by each employee, should list the expectations beforehand, however, as you introduce a clock-in clock-out app it may be wise to also reintroduce specified rules in regards to this software implementation just to ensure everyone is aware of what is required of them. 

    Some ideas to go off of: 

    1. Employees are responsible for recording their hours whenever they are on shift. 
    2. Employees should notify management of any accidental late start, and even submit a request for a shift change. 
    3. Employees need to remember to clock out at the job site, just as much as remember to clock in. 
    4. Set a timeframe prior to the beginning or end of a shift, in which employees can or cannot press the time clock button.  
    5. Express how time will be calculated. 
    6. Employees are expected to clock out the second they leave the job site for an errand or other personal duty. 
    7. Adjustment requests will be sent to appointed managers, and they will be recorded only once accepted by supervision. 
    8. Lunch breaks or any other mid-day breaks that every employee is entitled to should still be cataloged, per your request. 
    9. Additional money compensation for going overtime will be upheld. (this differs state by state). 
    10. There is a strict rule, that time clocks should not be done by another employee; it will not be tolerated. 
    11. Employees who attempt buddy punching will be reported and under termination or other consequential actions. 

    These are just ideas. You can incorporate all of them, none of them, or make differentiating variations of them. It’s all up to you, we simply suggest making sure employees are aware of them all. 

    The Bottom Line On Clock-In Clock-Out Apps

    Time theft, inaccurate payroll, and tedious manualized timesheets, are more than enough reason to drop that paper time card system and pick up something that’s digital. A clock-in clock-out app software is something that costs very little, and still brings more money, free time, and efficiency, in return.

    Now that you have an understanding of the benefits and the best practices of how to have your employees clock-in clock-out, you can run your business with confidence. Even if you feel new to a digital solutions, doesn’t mean it’s not meant for you.

    If we had to pick one thing for you to take away from this guide, is that online time clocks are super simple, intuitive, and easy to implement. Connecteam was our prime example of a software solution that best uses an all-in-one solution to have everything you need to manage employees, rolled into one and for an affordable price (free trial, included).

    Clocking in and out doesn’t need to be archaic and it doesn’t need to be overly complex. It just needs to be done right, and that is what a time tracker will do for you. 

    Check out the best clock in and out apps here to see which solution is best fit for you.

    The Leading Time Clock App for Businesses!

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