What Is Clocking In and Out?

Clocking in and out refers to a timekeeping system used by employers and managers to track daily employee work hours, identify staff inconsistencies, create client reports, and manage remote workers. Employees clock in and out on a regular basis to record their work attendance and get paid.

Types of Clocking In and Out Systems

Today, there are several types of clocking in and out systems used by companies.

Standard Time Clocks

With standard mechanical time clock systems, employees receive company punch cards and feed the cards into the mechanical time clock when they start and finish work. The clock punches the time entries into the card. Depending on the company policy, the time clock entries are transferred into the timesheets by either employees or managers.

Digital time clocks work on a similar principle as standard mechanical time clocks. Employees are issued a swipe card with their credentials that they use to clock in and out each day. The management team has access to the clocking data from the digital time clock, so they can transfer it to the employee timesheets for accurate payroll.

Biometric Time Clocks

With biometric time clocks, employees have their fingerprints or other types of biometric data (e.g. facial or retinal scans) entered into the timekeeping database and use the designated biometric scanner to clock in and out each day. 

Biometric time clocks are among the safest methods of clocking in and out and preventing external security breaches or time theft. Moreover, with a biometrics system, employees don’t have to carry around time cards or keys.

Time Clock Desktop and Mobile Apps

Time clock apps are software applications that are installed on employee computers, tablets, or smartphones and used to keep track of work hours. Clocking in and out apps are easy to use and cost-effective.

There’s also an alternative to time clock apps - time tracking and project management software. In comparison to time clock apps, most time tracking and project management software use advanced algorithms to collect employee productivity data, identify workload bottlenecks, and other management features. They allow teams and management to collect far more insights than time clock apps.

Time tracking apps usually employ GPS and geofencing technology, which allows employers to set up trackers for fieldwork and limit employee movement on the clock. Employers also use geofencing that limits employee movement in case of fieldwork to create a virtual barrier from which employees clock in and clock out during the work day. Any geofencing inconsistency is flagged by the system and managers receive reports for out-of-fence clock-ins. 

Time Tracking Software

Time tracking software is the most user-friendly option for clocking in and out as it’s very simple to use and nearly automates the whole time tracking process. Moreover, time tracking software includes a lot of project management features such as project reports, billing reports, etc.

Time tracking software is the most advanced system for clocking in and out to date, and employees can use it by pressing on a play/pause icon in the software app. This also allows them to see a report for their work hours for any given day, week, or month. 

Time tracking software is readily available on both desktop computers and mobile devices, and managers use it to track employee attendance. Managers track attendance by viewing the clocking in and out data in the software and seeing which employees are present at work. This system is also great for tracking remote employees and their work hours. 

Moreover, managers use the software to generate all kinds of project reports for clients and set up time tracking reminders that notify employees to start or stop tracking work hours for a given day.