Digital Punch Clock: Safe and Contactless Time and Attendance Systems in COVID-19


Without a doubt, COVID-19 is taking a major toll on businesses around the country. As of May, over 100,000 small and medium sized businesses have permanently closed their doors due to the economic restraints. Tens of thousands of other businesses have temporarily closed or have been forced to lay off employees due to massive reductions in sales and revenues.

However, the country is opening back up for business. Though this obviously will breathe new life into businesses that have been suffering from the current economic crisis, it also creates a number of public health challenges.

For businesses with employees, tracking and monitoring employee attendance during the current pandemic is essential. Whether businesses continue to rely on remote workers or gradually bring their employees back into offices and workplaces, safe and contactless time and attendance systems can guarantee solid workforce management while preventing further spread of the coronavirus.

The Problem with Traditional Time Clocks

Imagine a scenario where hundreds of employees return to an office environment. While social distancing protocols might force managers to rearrange desk arrangements, break rooms and other areas where physical proximity might be an issue, traditional “punch-in and punch-out” time clocks are a potentially dangerous source of contamination. If just one employee is an asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19, a time clock that every employee touches several times during the day obviously presents a potential source of contamination.

Types of Safe and Contactless Time and Attendance Systems

Fortunately, businesses around the country today have many more options when it comes to smart time and attendance systems. If your business relies on biometric clocking systems that require a palm or fingerprint, simple changes to system and software can allow for a hands-free and contactless workforce management and tracking. Some of the best contactless types of time and attendance system include:

Facial Recognition: These smart employee tracking systems simply require workers to stand in front of a small, digital device similar to a smartphone. The software used by the system will recognize their facial features and clock them in and out. These systems are fast, reliable and quick to set up.

Proximity Cards: Proximity cards rely on RFID for employee tracking. Individual cards are assigned to individuals that use electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to the card. These printable cards or tags can often can work with existing fingerprint time and attendance systems and negate the need for employees to physically touch a shared clock system.

Mobile Devices: Lastly, cloud-based time and attendance systems allow workers to clock in and out via web browsers and mobile devices. These systems thus allow employees to use their own smartphones for clocking in and out, thus negating the need for any physical time clock. This type of time and attendance system is a great option for companies that will continue to rely on remote workers as our society continues to deal with the current pandemic. The best cloud-based systems also come with employee scheduling tools, and a host of valuable reports to manage remote workers.

Peter Bellotti is sales manager of Mitrefinch, a time and attendance software & hardware company that delivers intelligent workforce management solutions for midsize and large organizations in any industry. Mitrefinch has global offices in the U.S., U.K., Canada, South America, Australia and New Zealand.

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