Buddy punching is a problem as old as the time clock itself. It was an issue when the job clock was a physical object, and employees would use punch cards to record when they arrived at work and left for the day. Buddy punching was when a friend of an employee would take the other individuals’ time card and punch it with the clock for them, so they appeared to show up or leave on time when they didn’t.
While the methods have obviously changed to keep up with technology, buddy punching continues to be a real issue for companies. However, new advances in time clock software are helping to combat this problem for businesses. From biometric scanners to basic software packages, team time tracking is still alive and well for the many benefits it provides companies, ensuring they receive an honest amount of labor that they paid for.
Traditional Problems with Time Clocks
The traditional problem with a time attendance clock was due to a lack of management oversight. With a blank card puncher, there was no real way to tell if the person punching the card was the rightful owner of the card. Short of a manager actively monitoring a clock all day (which never was practical), businesses were reliant on the honesty of all their staff to record their time honestly and accurately.
Electronic Time Clocks
With electronic time clock software now being used, a proper installation can largely mitigate the circumstances allowing for buddy punching. One modern example is tracking employees through logons at their computer stations. To even attempt to buddy punch would require not only sharing a password with a coworker but allowing them access to their workstation – a quite noticeable act in a busy office environment.
Passcodes and Fobs
The use of passcodes and fobs is a modern variant on previous timesheet management solutions. This may require just a shortened password or none at all. In lieu of this, employees can be given a personal, unique physical fob to carry. As this requires a lot of coordination and inconvenience for all employees involved, it makes buddy punching a very impractical thing to accomplish.
One of the newest technologies being added for employee verification are biometric devices. A variety of devices and solutions are available, and their prices continue to decrease. While the government has used retina scanners in the past, cheaper and more available fingerprint and facial recognition systems have gained more commercial favor.
The only drawback to biometrics is the relative infancy of affordable versions of the technology. Facial recognition, in particular, can be subject to spoofing – hence not as dependable as older methods of tracking.
Of course, the most basic punch clock software is a computer login on a shared terminal. While lacking in some of the higher-tech, more expensive safeguards of other systems, basic computer time clock software can be run from one computer in a high visibility setting – such as a cash register.
In fact, as most registers are full-fledged computers, it is becoming quite common for companies to save on overhead by having multiple functions built directly into the register.
Software included is usually focused on front-end business in a company such as client appointment setting, point of sales operations, and employee time keeping. Other software can assist with automating customer shipments of products as well as back end work like stock tracking and reorders as well as general sales tracking and expense management.
Whatever system is in place, though, time tracking software is less an expense than investment as it is an asset that will return its value in increased worker productivity.