Top 6 Digital Employee Attendance Tracking Options to Replace Spreadsheets (In-Depth Post)

employee attendance tracking

Working from home, paid time off, and absenteeism are the bane of any business owner looking to maximize their profits. The problem is that all three of these factors seem to have become ingrained in modern work culture.

Remote or hybrid work is the reality that most business owners now face following the pandemic – as long as their business model can accommodate it. Paid time off isn’t required by law, but good luck attracting high quality talent without a solid PTO policy (and you’re held to it once you enter into an agreement with a new team member). Then there’s employee absences, which will be a thing as long as business owners continue hiring humans (and despite rumblings of AI takeovers, this will be the case for a long time to come).

Because of these issues, business owners have started to embrace the idea of needing to track employee attendance, especially since there are 3 immediate benefits to making the shift:

  1. Just the implementation of attendance tracking software can have a psychological effect on your employees, making them feel more inclined to optimize their time on the clock (and reduce their time off the clock).
  2. You’ll always be able to refer back to accurate attendance records to see what sort of changes you can make in your managerial style to improve your overall profitability.
  3. With many of the functions that attendance systems come equipped with (especially in this day and age), you can streamline various processes around the workday to keep employees accountable and make payroll easier.

In this post, we’re going to highlight our top 6 picks of time tracking software that will help most business owners with their attendance management. These are choices we’re making based on the features they offer, their reviews from existing users, and their customer service for ongoing support.

Employee Attendance Tracking Solutions

  1. Buddy Punch
  2. TimeCamp
  3. ZoomShift
  4. Findmyshift
  5. Insightful
  6. DeskTime

1. Buddy Punch

Topping our ranking of employee attendance tracking tools, we have our very own Buddy Punch. This isn’t just favoritism; we know Buddy Punch fills attendance needs in a powerful way because of one specific reason: we tried all the other options.

Back before 2013, we weren’t intending to develop our own solution to track attendance. Taking on managing 20 companies at three locations, we thought attendance sheets, paired with some employee attendance tracker templates, would be enough to help us juggle our team and get payroll handled in a timely manner.

We were wrong.

The process of manually checking and inputting attendance data was time-consuming and riddled with human errors, which hurt accuracy and productivity. We lost time in our work schedules trying to make sure that data was up to par. And even when we tried Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel templates, or digital attendance trackers, we found that there was always something missing–a feature we needed that wasn’t included, or something about the methods that might work for us, but our team members found unintuitive and difficult to adapt to.

So we set out to develop our own.

There were three core tenets that we focused on when designing Buddy Punch:

  1. Employee Accountability. We wanted to make sure that we equipped our software with tools that put responsibility on your team members to make the most of their time on the clock with features such as GPS Tracking, Geofencing, IP Address Locking, and Customizable Reports.
  2. Design Simplicity. Rather than overwhelming you or your team members with our features, we wanted to make sure that Buddy Punch was simple for anyone to use. Through features such as One-Button Clock In, Notifications, Drag & Drop Scheduling, and Automatic Breaks, we make Buddy Punch easy to use on any device (such as Mobile Devices [iOS or Android], Tablets, and Desktop).
  3. Payroll Streamlining. Lastly, we wanted to make sure that all of the accurate data that Buddy Punch was tracking would be simple to sort through at the end of each pay period. Features such as PTO Management, Overtime Calculations, and Payroll Integrations help us directly accomplish this.

Next, let’s get a closer look at each of these features to further demonstrate how they positively affect business owners.

Note: If you’d rather get a feel for Buddy Punch yourself, we offer a 14-day free trial on every pricing plan (click here to get started).

GPS Tracking

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Buddy Punch’s GPS Tracking has quickly become one of our most popular features as business owners have realized they need a tracking system capable of functioning with remote or hybrid work styles. With this, whenever your employees clock in, a digital snapshot of their location is placed on an interactive map, allowing you to see where individuals (or entire teams) are working from.


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With the Geofencing feature, you can create a radius (known as a Geofence) around any location you choose on an interactive map. From then on, if an employee attempts to log time while being located outside of one of these Geofences, they’ll be automatically denied. This set-and-forget feature lets business owners exercise control over their employee locations without having to micromanage.

IP Address Locking

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If you’re looking for a less involved way to ensure your employees only clock in from a certain location (which can greatly increase your company’s security), you can use the IP Address Lock feature. With this all you have to do is choose which IP Address you want to assign to each of your employees, and they’ll only be able to log in when they’re at those devices.

Customizable Reports

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What good is collecting employee data if you aren’t able to comb back through that data to make informed decisions and improve your workforce? Buddy Punch’s customizable reports feature has a variety of options including Payroll Exports, Hours Summary Reports,

Daily Hours Reports, In/Out Activity Reports, and more (click here to view the full list of employee information you can view on reports). These can all be exported into Excel CSV or Adobe PDF format, depending on your preference.

One Button Clock-Ins

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While designing Buddy Punch, we never wanted to lose our emphasis on simplicity. While many of the features we offer are going to be useful for business owners, you can use Buddy Punch as a simple attendance tracker if that’s what you really want. Employees can begin logging time with just a single button click, no distractions involved.


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Buddy Punch’s notification feature enabled managers and staff members alike to focus on their work throughout the workday – because they’ll be notified if something occurs that requires their attention.

Employees are notified for punch change emails, time card approval status changes, PTO changes, and when they’re approaching overtime. Meanwhile, managers and administrators are notified for punch change emails, employee punch ins and outs, time card approval status changes, PTO requests, and employees approaching overtime.

Drag & Drop Scheduling

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Buddy Punch makes it easy to schedule your employees. Simply create an empty cell by clicking in the scheduling interface, then drag and drop employee names in order to fill out your schedule. In addition to this feature making it easy to visualize how your team members are scheduled, you’ll send out an automatic notification to every employee scheduled once you publish the schedule.

Automatic Breaks

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Want to ensure that employee breaks are automatically accounted for when you go to check timecards? The Automatic Breaks feature can do that – automatically deducting time from an employee’s time card depending on your specifications (such as an hour for lunch breaks). Name your rule, specify the hours before it triggers, determine how long it lasts, then assign your new custom break rule to all relevant employees.

PTO Management

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Vacation days, sick leave, personal time – managing paid time off can be an extremely overwhelming aspect of workforce management, especially if your team is growing and your HR Department is having issues managing the increased size (assuming you have a HR Department at all). Buddy Punch makes it easy for business owners, allowing you to use our built-in PTO types or create custom ones as needed to assign to employees.

But it gets even better. Buddy Punch lets you enable an employee self-service approach to PTO. Instead of approving or denying employee leave requests, you can set them to be automatically approved.

Overtime Calculations

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Buddy Punch’s Overtime calculations feature lets you choose from over a dozen different overtime types to determine how overtime pay is calculated in your workforce. You can even juggle different types on a per-employee basis. If, for some reason, you need a specific type of overtime that’s missing, you can always reach out to us and we’ll get it added. Regular, overtime, and double overtime is calculated for you through Buddy Punch.

Payroll Integrations


Buddy Punch helps you transfer employee data directly to your favorite payroll software at the end of every pay period. Big names we work with include QuickBooks, ADP, Paychex, and more (click here to view the full list of Buddy Punch’s integrations). You don’t have to waste any time manually sorting through employee data with Buddy Punch at your side.

Buddy Punch is More Than Just an Attendance Tracker

As we explored the functions we were going to include in Buddy Punch, we were able to hone in on a wide variety of features that many business owners would be able to use, such as:

But even these only cover the in-app benefits to using Buddy Punch, but we provide value outside of our software as well.

For example, the blog section of our website is an always-reliable source for tips, new laws, and strategies for business management. Then there’s our help doc center, which has many useful articles on how to best utilize Buddy Punch. There’s also our customer support portal, where our responsive team is always ready to assist you with questions or concerns through the live chat.

But you don’t have to take our word for any of this. You can book a one-on-one personalized demo of Buddy Punch by clicking here.

Buddy Punch’s Online Reviews

We’ve talked enough about our software: now it’s time to let our software’s users speak for themselves. As of this article’s writing date, Buddy Punch has 4.8 out of 5 stars and 699 reviews on Capterra.

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Let’s see what individual reviewers had to say about Buddy Punch’s performance as an employee attendance tracking tool. (Click here to explore the full list of reviews.)

“We eliminated paper tallies which over the course of a years time has saved us payroll in regards to employee rounding time on time sheets. I am able to access all the information even when I am on the road, so I am always in the loop on attendance and who is working on what projects.”

Click here to read the full review.

“I asked my I.T. department to search and find me something I could work with. I needed something that would track employee time and attendance . One main pro was giving us a month to work with the software to see if it was right for us. After two weeks, employees were urging us to sign up! This software provides clear transparency, everyone knows where they stand and as an employer I can review activity at my leisure from where ever I am .”

Click here to read the full review.

“really appreciate the comfortability of having complete access to your information about payroll and attendance so that you can keep track yourself your hours and when to approval of time cards is neccesary”

Click here to read the full review.

“Buddy Punch is easy to use and to train employees’ use. There are features we don’t even use that larger companies or ones that do their own payroll processing will find invaluable. We love the accuracy of employee time and PTO tracking.”

Click here to read the full review. 

As these reviewers all noted, Buddy Punch saved time and was easy for anybody to use. Say goodbye to employee tracking sheets.

Try Buddy Punch for Free  

If you feel that Buddy Punch might be the right attendance tracker for your business, sign up for a free trial. You can also book a one-on-one demo, or view a pre-recorded demo video.

2. TimeCamp

If you’re on a budget and were looking for a free employee attendance tracker, look no further than TimeCamp. At the time of this post’s writing, TimeCamp has a total of 561 reviews on Capterra (see here), with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Some of its key features include:

“TimeCamp allows you to track the time spent on a project by an employee. It allows you to have multiple seats with different permissions and create multiple projects that can be divided in tasks. It is also possible to allocate just some of the team members to a project . It is not only possible to track projects but idle time and attendance. Reports are are very complete and have many options to filter and present the data you need.”

Click here to read the full review.

3. ZoomShift

ZoomShift is a schedule maker designed to help you keep track of attendance for your employees. Its features include (but are not limited to):

As of this post writing, ZoomShift has a total of 94 reviews and 4.5 out of 5 stars on Capterra. 

“ZoomShift customer service is the most responsive and helpful I’ve ever encountered. We’re moving fast, and it’s so nice to know that anytime we reach out to them we’ll have an almost immediate answer and solution. Once, they even built a feature we asked for that they didn’t have yet…within one day of us asking about it. I’d highly recommend ZoomShift to anyone looking for a time and attendance system for a small- to mid-sized business.”

Click here to read the full review.

4. Findmyshift

Findmyshift is another strong option for free attendance tracking if you’re on a budget, though, like TimeCamp, it limits features behind paid plans. Some of its features include:

As of this post’s writing, Findmyshift has a rating of 4.6/5 possible stars, based on 716 reviews (see here).

“The reports that are available along with the additional facilities that can be added to each individual shift for each individual employee. Being able to attach all our employees details and information is also beneficial to us. Being able to input an hourly rate is also a factor which we like as it allows us to use this against our payroll system.” 

Click here to read the full review.  

5. Insightful

Insightful (formerly known as Workpuls) is an analytics focused employee monitoring and tracking system – the perfect tool to give employee tracker spreadsheet methods a modern overhaul. Some of its key features include:

At the time of writing, Insightful has a total of 66 reviews on Capterra (see here), with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

“The software is a great help for employee monitoring, and time tracking. You have options on how you can view timesheet which would make your creation of attendance report easier.”

Click here to read the full review.

6. DeskTime

DeskTime is a popular attendance tracking tool with features such as:

At the time of writing, DeskTime has a total of 320 reviews on Capterra (see here), with an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

“Time tracking and attendance monitoring have never been easier! DeskTime has been really useful regardless of working from the office or remotely. It really improved our time management skills as with DeskTime’s help it’s very simple to check and evaluate where and how your time is being spent throughout the working day.”

Click here to read the full review.

Choosing The Best Employee Attendance Tracker

Though we’ve managed to narrow down the vast number of attendance trackers to just a few highly rated ones, business owners will still have to go through trial and error to figure out which ones fit their managerial style the best.

But looking closely at the features provided and goals of the developers can help.

Let’s say you’re trying to move on from free tracking annual employee attendance and tardiness via spreadsheets, but you don’t want to spring for a paid software quite yet. You might then gravitate towards TimeCamp and Findmyshift, making use of their free versions to test out how well your team adapts to software in general. If seeing what your employees are doing on their computers via screenshots is critical to your style, you might want to try Insightful.

But, if what you’re ultimately looking for is an attendance tracker with a variety of features that can be enabled or disabled at will, an intuitive design that any employee can quickly get a handle of regardless of device, and a responsive customer support team that will guide you through usage of the tool – then you really can’t go wrong with Buddy Punch.

Try Buddy Punch for Free  

Don’t just take our word for Buddy Punch’s performance – sign up for a free 14-day trial. You can also book a one-on-one demo, or view a pre-recorded demo video.

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