Importance of Clocking In and Out At Work For Hourly & Salaried Employees

Clocking in and out at work is crucial for both hourly and salaried employees

It helps track their working time accurately, ensuring they get paid for the hours they’ve worked. 

For hourly employees, working time directly impacts their paycheck since they’re paid by the hour. 

Salaried employees, on the other hand, often have set workdays, but accurate time tracking still matters for various reasons.

One important reason is compliance with time-tracking systems and labor laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This act regulates minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, and recordkeeping requirements for working time. Using an employee time clock helps companies adhere to these regulations by accurately recording time data.

Moreover, time clock apps make clocking in and out easier for employees. 

They can do it from their mobile devices whether they’re on site or working remotely. This convenience reduces time-consuming manual processes and the likelihood of human error in time tracking.

For team leaders and managers, having a reliable attendance system ensures they have an overview of their team’s work time. This helps them plan team member schedules efficiently and address any discrepancies promptly. Plus, it provides time data that can be used for performance evaluations or identifying areas for improvement.

Furthermore, accurate time tracking can prevent disciplinary action due to time-off abuse or unauthorized clocking-in and clocking-out. With digital time clocks and clocking-in systems like Buddy Punch, companies can monitor time off requests and lunch breaks, ensuring compliance with company policies and labor laws.

In essence, clocking in and out isn’t just about recording working time; it’s about ensuring fairness, compliance, and efficiency in the workplace.

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What Is a Clock In and Clock Out System?

A clocking in and clocking out system is a method businesses use to track employee attendance. It involves recording the time employees start and finish their work shifts and any breaks they take during the day. 

Unlike traditional methods like paper timesheets or punch cards, modern clocking-in and out systems utilize digital technology for more accurate and efficient time tracking.

These systems can include tools such as time clock software, biometric scanners, or mobile apps to facilitate the process. The primary purpose of a clocking in and out system is to ensure accurate record-keeping of employee hours for payroll processing and compliance purposes.

Why Do Employees Need To Clock In And Out?

Digital Time Clock Apps

Employees must clock in and out to ensure accurate tracking of work hours. This process is necessary for several reasons:

Fair Payment Assurance: Clocking in and out makes sure that employees are paid accurately and on time for their work hours, avoiding any confusion or delays in payment.

Dispute Prevention: Employees can prevent disagreements over their wages by keeping precise records of their hours, promoting trust and transparency between them and their employers.

Attendance Tracking: Clocking in and out allows employers to easily track employee attendance, making it simpler to ensure everyone is following their schedules and identifying any patterns of lateness or absence.

Encouraging Punctuality: Monitoring attendance encourages employees to be punctual, as they know their arrival and departure times are being recorded, reducing instances of lateness.

Insightful Data: Tracking work hours provides valuable data on employee productivity, helping businesses make informed decisions about staffing and workflow optimization.

Accountability: Clocking in and out promotes accountability among employees, encouraging a culture of responsibility and efficiency in the workplace.

Which Businesses Should Use Clocking In and Out Software?

Clocking in and out software is like a digital timecard for employees. It’s helpful for all sorts of small businesses, whether you’re running a shop, a restaurant, or even a tech company. Here’s why:

  1. Tracking Hours: If you have employees who work by the hour, this software helps you keep track of when they start and finish work. This is important for making sure everyone gets paid accurately.
  2. Managing Remote Work: If some of your employees work from home or different locations, the software lets them clock in and out from wherever they are. This keeps everything organized, even if your team isn’t all in the same place.
  3. Multiple Locations: If you have more than one store or office, the software can handle that too. You can keep track of everyone’s hours, no matter where they’re working.
  4. Accountability and Productivity: Having a system like this encourages everyone to be responsible for their time. It can also help managers see who’s working when which can boost productivity.
  5. Saves Time: Instead of manually tracking hours and dealing with paperwork, the software automates the process. That means less time spent on admin and more on growing your business.

So, whether you’re a small store or a growing startup, clocking in and out software can help you stay organized and focused on success.

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Types of Clocking In And Clocking Out Systems

Let’s check out the various types of Clocking In and Out systems:

1. Manual Time Clocks

Manual Punch Clocks

Manual time clocks are the traditional way of tracking employee hours. They involve punch cards or handwritten timesheets, where employees physically record when they start and finish work. 

It’s straightforward but prone to mistakes and easy to manipulate. They’re best suited for small businesses with a few employees who work in one location.

2. Biometric Time Clocks

Biometric Time Clock

Biometric time clocks are like something out of a spy movie. They use unique physical characteristics such as fingerprints or facial features to identify employees when they clock in and out. 

They offer high accuracy and security, reducing the risk of buddy punching or time theft. While effective, they can be more expensive and may raise privacy concerns among employees.

3. Time Clock Software

Imagine a tool that replaces the old-fashioned way of tracking time with pen and paper. Instead, employees can now easily clock in and out using their computers or mobile phones. This is what time clock software is all about.

These systems are super flexible and convenient, especially if you have many employees or some of them work remotely. They automate the whole process of tracking when people start and finish work.

But it doesn’t stop there. They also work well with other business tools you might already be using, and they give you real-time info about who’s at work and who’s not. This makes scheduling and managing your team a whole lot easier.

So, if you’re a business looking to improve the efficiency and accuracy of your timekeeping, time clock software is the solution.

Best Time Clock Systems for Clocking In and Out

  1. Buddy Punch
  2. Jibble
  3. Clockify
  4. Rippling
  5. On The Clock

1. Buddy Punch

Buddy Punch is a popular clocking-in and out solution used by businesses of all sizes and industries. Its versatile features make it adaptable to various needs, from small startups to large enterprises.

With its easy-to-use interface, employees can clock in and out using web-based login, mobile apps, or even text messaging, ensuring accurate time tracking regardless of location or connectivity.

What makes Buddy Punch stand out is its comprehensive feature set and flexibility. It eliminates the hassle of paper timesheets and prevents buddy punching with features like geofencing and IP address lock.

Moreover, Buddy Punch goes beyond time tracking. It helps manage overtime and track time spent on different projects, simplifying payroll and project management.

1. Real Time Time Tracking

time off tracking

Buddy Punch monitors your employees’ work hours in real time. This means you can see when they start and finish work as they happen. 

It’s like having a virtual attendance monitor that helps you keep track of who’s working and when. 

This feature makes it easier to manage schedules, plan tasks, and ensure everyone contributes their fair share.

2. Monitor Overtime

Emma Megan Payroll example: Overtime Type

With Buddy Punch, you can easily track any extra hours your employees work. The system can send you alerts when someone approaches overtime or has already worked past their regular hours. 

This helps you stay within budget, avoid unexpected costs, and ensure everyone gets the rest they need.

3. Flexible Punch Options

Buddy Punch offers different ways for employees to clock in and out. Whether they prefer using a traditional time clock, sending a quick text message, or simply entering their work hours manually, there’s an option for everyone. 

This flexibility makes it easy for employees to record their time accurately, regardless of where or what device they use.

4. GPS Option

GPS Tracking

With Buddy Punch’s GPS feature, you can track where your employees are when they clock in and out. This is especially useful for remote workers or those who travel between job sites. 

By setting up virtual boundaries, you can ensure that everyone is where they’re supposed to be during work hours, giving you peace of mind and preventing any potential time theft.

5. IP Address Locks

Buddy Punch lets you restrict access to the time clock based on IP addresses. You can control who can clock in and out from specific devices or locations. 

It’s like locking your virtual front door, ensuring only authorized employees can access the system and preventing unauthorized time entries.

6. Webcam Feature


The webcam feature in Buddy Punch takes a picture of employees when they clock in and out. 

This provides visual verification of their attendance, making it harder for them to cheat the system by having someone else punch in for them. It’s like having a virtual bouncer at the door, ensuring everyone is who they say they are.

7. Text to Punch Option

Text to Punch: Emma Emily example

Buddy Punch allows employees to clock in and out by sending a simple text message. This is perfect for workers who don’t have access to a computer or smartphone or for those who are always on the go. 

It’s as easy as sending a quick text, making it convenient for everyone to record their time accurately.

8. Payroll Option

Buddy Punch’s integrated payroll feature streamlines the entire payroll process. The system automatically calculates employee wages based on their recorded hours, making it easy to generate accurate paychecks every time. 

It also handles tax filings and other payroll tasks, saving you time and reducing the risk of errors. It’s like having your own virtual payroll department, making sure everyone gets paid correctly and on time.

Buddy Punch’s Online Reviews

As of the writing date, Buddy Punch has 4.8 out of 5 stars and 976 reviews on Capterra.

Buddy Punch Review 17 May 2024 Capterra

Below, we’ll list just a few reviews that speak to Buddy Punch’s ease of use and great customer support service. (Click here to explore the full list of reviews.)

“We needed a new solution for timekeeping and Buddy Punch came through! Onboarding and integration was so easy. Once I figured out all the setting options, it’s really easy to customize exactly what you need. Employees love using it because it’s so straightforward to use.”

Click here to read the full review

“BuddyPunch has been very helpful and I am glad my organization made the switch from our previous tracker to BuddyPunch. As mentioned earlier, the ease of use of BuddyPunch is what separates it from a lot of competitors.”

Click here to read the full review

“Easy to clock in from anywhere and still manage how much time you’ve worked in a day. Easily tells you when you’ve gone past 8 hrs, and also great for seeing when your team members are clocked in or out.”

Click here to read the full review

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If you feel that Buddy Punch might be the right fit for your business, sign up for a 14 day free trial (no credit card needed). You can also book a one-on-one demo, or view a pre-recorded demo video.

2. Jibble

Jibble is a free time tracking tool that makes it simple to monitor your work hours. You can easily clock in and out from any device, and it creates detailed timesheets automatically. 

However, it might not have advanced features like screen recording or offline time tracking, and it may not be the best fit for every company’s unique needs or preferences.

Key Features

  1. Effortless time tracking
  2. Automatic timesheets
  3. Project management integration
  4. Detailed reporting & analytics
  5. Integration with popular apps
  6. Facial recognition & GPS tracking
  7. Free forever for unlimited users
  8. Compatible with various industries
  9. User-friendly interface
  10. Mobile, desktop, and web application access.

As of now, Jibble has 874 reviews and 4.8 stars out of 5 on Capterra.

“I absolutely love this program. I was so glad I stumbled upon it. It has become an important part of organizing and tracking in my business.”

Click here for a full review.

3. Clockify

Clockify is a free tool for tracking work hours and projects. It allows you to log time for tasks, manage schedules, and create reports.

However, Clockify might not have advanced features like biometric authentication or location tracking, which could affect its effectiveness as a clocking-in and out system.

Key Features

  1. Timekeeping with timers
  2. Timesheet entry
  3. Calendar for time management
  4. Automatic app and website tracking
  5. Shared device clock-in (Kiosk)
  6. Reporting and export options
  7. Activity tracking
  8. Project estimation and budget tracking
  9. Scheduling and leave management
  10. Invoicing and expense recording.

Currently, Clockify has 4819 reviews and 4.7 out of 5 stars on Capterra.

“Overall it’s good, I do think there’s a different way to go, like an embedded time tracker for employee’s computers, and more reliability.”

Click here for a full review.

4. Rippling

Rippling is a platform streamlining businesses’ HR, IT, and Finance tasks, including payroll, benefits, and device management.

However, Rippling might struggle to accurately track remote workers’ time due to internet connectivity issues and the possibility of user error in manual entries.

Key Features

  1. HR Cloud
  2. Payroll
  3. Benefits
  4. Time & Attendance
  5. IT Cloud
  6. App Management
  7. Device Management
  8. Finance Cloud
  9. Expense Management
  10. Corporate Cards

As of the writing date, Rippling has 3045 reviews and 4.9 stars out of 5 on Capterra.

“I use Rippling to monitor all my payroll from my company. I am able to carry my payroll on the go and I use it to present as proof whenever I wish to travel. Navigating around the app is very simple and easy.”

Click here for a full review.

5. OnTheClock

OnTheClock is a web-based time clock software designed for small businesses. It tracks employee hours for payroll, manages PTO, and offers flexible pricing options.

However, it doesn’t include advanced features such as biometric authentication and scheduling capabilities, which may not meet the needs of larger workforce management.

Key Features

  1. Easy time tracking
  2. All-in-one platform
  3. Payroll integrations
  4. Quick setup
  5. Live punch feed
  6. PTO management
  7. Flexible pricing
  8. Support availability
  9. Mobile time clock
  10. GPS/Fingerprint tracking

Right now, OnTheClock has 540 reviews and 4.7 stars out of 5 on Capterra.

“I have tried other time card apps, and they seem a little clunky. This app is easy for administrators and employees to manage time cards. Especially the function that allows employees to adjust hours if needed.”

Click here for a full review.

The Importance Of Clocking In And Out At Work

Let’s discuss the importance of Clock In and Out at the workplace:

1. Accurate Tracking Of Employee Work Hours

Making sure employees’ work hours are accurately recorded is essential for businesses. 

Clocking in and out systems help monitor when employees start and finish work, ensuring they are paid for their time. 

This helps in planning work schedules and managing resources efficiently.

2. Compliance With Labour Laws


Following labor laws is essential for any business. Clocking in and out systems help adhere to regulations regarding overtime pay and breaks. 

By keeping accurate records of employee hours, businesses can avoid legal issues and ensure fair treatment of their workers.

3. Increased Employee Productivity

When employees know their time is being tracked, they tend to stay more focused on their tasks. 

Clocking in and out systems promote accountability and time management, which improves productivity and overall performance.

4. Enhanced Payroll Accuracy

Getting payroll right is important for both businesses and employees. 

Clocking in and out systems help automate the payroll process, reducing errors that can occur with manual calculations, regardless of the number of employees. 

This ensures that employees are paid accurately and on time, boosting morale and trust in the company.

5. Identify Potential Safety Issues

Knowing who’s in the workplace at any time is important for safety reasons. 

Clocking in and out systems provide real-time information about employee attendance, help in emergencies, and identify safety concerns like absent workers during critical times.

6. Provide Clear Evidence

Having clear employee attendance records can be invaluable in resolving disputes or addressing performance issues. 

Clocking in and out systems provide concrete evidence of work hours, making it easier to handle any conflicts or issues that may arise.

7. Minimize Fraud Prevention


Preventing fraud, like buddy punching or unauthorized overtime, is essential for businesses. 

Clocking in and out systems use biometric authentication to ensure only authorized employees can clock in, reducing the risk of time theft and manipulation.

8. Consistent Record Keeping

Maintaining consistent records of employee hours is essential for payroll and compliance purposes. 

Clocking in and out systems standardize time-tracking procedures across the organization, eliminating discrepancies and ensuring accurate reporting.

9. Save Time and Money

Automating timekeeping processes and clocking in and out systems save businesses time and money. 

They streamline administrative tasks, reduce payroll errors, and allow employers to focus on strategic initiatives to grow their business.

10. Give Alerts on Attendance Issues

poor attendance

Clocking in and out systems provide alerts for attendance issues like tardiness or unauthorized absences. 

This helps employers address these issues promptly, maintaining discipline and productivity in the workplace.

11. Real-Time Labor Costs

Businesses can track labor costs in real time with clocking in and out systems. 

This allows them to monitor expenses against budgeted targets, make informed decisions to optimize staffing levels, and control costs effectively.

12. Improved Security

Clocking in and out systems enhances security by restricting access to sensitive timekeeping data and preventing unauthorized tampering. 

This protects against data breaches and ensures the integrity of employee records.

13. Data for Decision Making

Clocking in and out systems provide valuable data for decision-making, offering insights into employee attendance, productivity, and resource utilization. 

This enables businesses to make informed decisions and drive continuous improvement.

14. Enhance Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement?

Transparent timekeeping practices promote employee engagement by demonstrating trust and fairness. 

Clocking in and out systems give employees visibility into their work hours, promoting a positive work environment where they feel valued and motivated.

15. Prevent Buddy Punching

Clocking in and out systems prevent buddy punching using biometric authentication features. 

This ensures accurate attendance tracking and fair compensation for hours worked, promoting honesty and integrity in the workplace.

16. Reduce Errors

Automating timekeeping processes with clocking in and out systems reduces errors and improves efficiency. 

Integrated software solutions synchronize employee time records with payroll systems, minimizing calculation errors and discrepancies.

17. Promoted Accountability

Employee Accountability

For businesses, having a reliable time management system is a must. Manual methods often lead to mistakes and potential fraud, which can eat up to 7% of payroll costs.

Switching to an online system with features like webcam or fingerprint tracking ensures precise work hour recording and minimizes time theft.

Clocking in and out systems encourage accountability and professionalism, boosting employees’ pride in their contributions to the company.

18. Boost Morale

Introducing new time tracking software not only ensures fairness but also boosts morale among employees. It prevents time theft, promotes equality, and promotes a more focused and productive work environment. 

With streamlined payroll processing and reduced errors, businesses can focus on growth. These systems build trust, loyalty, and job satisfaction among employees.

Why Do Employees Struggle With Clocking In And Out?

Employees often struggle with clocking in and out due to various reasons. 

The system may be too complex, leading to frustration and mistakes. 

Additionally, a lack of training on how to use the system can be an issue. Technical problems with the clocking system, like hardware malfunctions, can also cause difficulties. 

Resistance to change is another factor, especially when employees use traditional methods. 

Simplifying the process, providing clear training, and addressing technical issues quickly can help reduce these struggles.

Tracking employees’ hours is legal and necessary for businesses to comply with labor laws. It ensures that employees are paid fairly according to minimum wage and overtime regulations. 

Plus, having clear records protects both employers and employees in case of any disagreements. However, businesses need straightforward time tracking policies that all employees understand and agree to. 

This openness builds trust and minimizes conflicts. While tracking hours might seem like just paperwork, it’s a vital part of running a fair and efficient business.

Hourly Vs. Salaried Employees Clock In And Out – What is the Main Difference?

AspectHourly EmployeesSalaried Employees
Method of PaymentPaid for each hour worked, often with an hourly wageReceive a fixed salary regardless of the number of hours worked
OvertimeEligible for extra pay for working beyond regular hoursUsually not eligible for overtime pay as they’re on a fixed salary
FlexibilityHave more flexibility in their schedules and work hoursTypically, they have set hours and less flexibility in their schedule
Pay StabilityIncome may vary weekly based on hours workedReceive a consistent paycheck, unaffected by fluctuations in hours
Record KeepingMust accurately track and report hours worked for payroll purposesLess emphasis on tracking hours, focus more on completing tasks
Job DutiesTasks and projects may be assigned based on hours workedExpected to complete assigned tasks regardless of hours worked

Best Practices For Clocking-In And Out

Best PracticesDescription
Establish Clear PoliciesClearly define rules and procedures for clocking in and out, breaks, and overtime.
Ensure all employees understand and follow the policies consistently.
Choose The Right SystemSelect a timekeeping system that suits your business needs and budget.
Consider factors like usability, cost-effectiveness, and security when choosing between manual or digital options.
Regular Update of the Time ClockMaintain and update the time clock system to ensure accuracy and reliability.
Regular maintenance prevents errors, glitches, and security risks, boosting employee confidence.
Notification for Managers and EmployeesUse automated notifications to remind employees to clock in/out and prompt managers to review time records.
Enhance accountability, reduce missed punches, and ensure timely attendance tracking.
Use Data For AnalysisAnalyze time and attendance data to identify trends and make informed decisions.
Optimize scheduling, resource allocation, and workforce management for improved efficiency and productivity.

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Should We Create Clocking In and Out Policy and What Should We Include?

Understanding the Importance:

Small businesses need a clear policy for employees to clock in and out. This keeps things running smoothly and makes sure everyone is responsible for their time.

Setting Clear Expectations:

A good policy makes it clear how employees should track their time. This reduces mistakes and arguments.

Making a Useful Policy:

Include details like how to clock in and out, when people should arrive and leave, what to do if someone forgets, and what happens if someone doesn’t follow the rules.

Being Accurate:

Explain why keeping time accurately is important for paying people correctly and following the rules.

Being Consistent:

Having a solid policy helps make sure everyone follows the same rules, stops people from cheating on their time, and makes sure everyone gets paid fairly.

Communication and Training:

Regularly talk about the policy and make sure everyone knows how to follow it.

Keeping Things Running Smoothly:

A good timekeeping policy helps businesses manage who’s working when and keeps everything running well.

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