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What are time playing cards? And why ought to small companies use them?


The data recorded on a time card is extra than simply knowledge. It provides as much as actual money for workers, and an expense for the enterprise. That clock-in and clock-out knowledge informs timesheets that monitor worker working hours and duties accomplished, which in flip informs payroll and compliance with labor legal guidelines and efficiency expectations. 

It issues to your online business how that knowledge is collected, and what instruments you employ to take action. And all of that begins with an unassuming time card. This text will stroll you thru why these little “playing cards” are vital, and how one can take advantage of out of them. 


What’s a time card

A time card is a device used to trace and document the hours that workers work—particularly, once they clock out and in for his or her shift. A time card is both a bodily card or machine, or could be constructed right into a software program software. 

Time playing cards are designed to maintain a document of an worker’s working hours. This document is then synced to a timesheet, informing payroll, shift scheduling, and normal workforce administration. 

That is an important course of and gear for companies who make use of hourly staff. It helps them monitor when workers arrive and depart, what number of hours they’ve labored, and who was absent for his or her shifts. All of this helps companies correctly handle their workforce and monetary obligations. 

Time playing cards, and the related time clocks or timesheets, have been round for hundreds of years (not fairly way back to the Flintstones would have you ever consider, however not far off). And that’s with good motive. They’re an efficient approach to monitor and handle hourly and shift staff, and are a preferred device in industries like building, manufacturing, retail, hospitality, and extra. 

How does a time card work?

Time playing cards work by monitoring the period of time an worker spends working. When an worker arrives for his or her shift, they clock in. That begins the timer on their shift. After they depart, they clock out. They could additionally clock out for breaks throughout their shift. 

As soon as a clock out and in is within the information, a time clock or time sheet then calculates how lengthy that worker labored for, and when. An identification assigned to the cardboard makes a connection between that point knowledge on the cardboard, and the worker recordsdata within the payroll and scheduling system. 

This knowledge is used to calculate payroll for the outlined pay interval, monitor how lengthy every worker has labored in a given week, and to determine any absences that occurred. It additionally helps firms be certain that workers are arriving and leaving on time, and that they’re taking the required breaks. 

What knowledge is on a time card?

Time playing cards include each variable and fixed knowledge. That’s, every card accommodates details about an worker that doesn’t change over time, and variable knowledge associated to particular shifts and pay intervals. 

Variable knowledge discovered on time playing cards consists of: 

  • The pay interval lined
  • Dates labored
  • Work begin and finish occasions
  • Additional time hours
  • Whole hours labored for the pay interval 

Fixed knowledge on a time card consists of: 

  • Worker’s title
  • Worker’s ID quantity 

This knowledge coincides with fields within the timesheet or time clock, permitting directors to simply populate their information with the suitable variable knowledge for every particular person worker. 

4 varieties of time playing cards

Your time clock largely dictates the kind of time card you employ for your online business. Or, extra particularly, the way you get the knowledge that’s on the time card into your time clock. 

Again within the day, workers or employers would bodily enter data onto a card, after which manually add that to a time clock or timesheet. As expertise progressed, that course of grew to become digitized, permitting for speedy syncing between the time card and related functions. 

Listed below are the 4 predominant varieties of time playing cards that small companies have used over time: 

  • Punch playing cards. These are the old-school, bodily time playing cards that have been inserted right into a punch clock to document clock out and in occasions (that’s the dinosaur’s job within the video linked above). These time stamps have been manually transferred to the worker’s timesheet to facilitate payroll and attendance monitoring. 
  • Swipe playing cards. These are newer, digital time playing cards that workers swipe by means of a machine to document their occasions. As soon as swiped, the info is synced to the digital time clock. Swipe playing cards usually double as an worker badge, giving them entry to firm property. 
  • On-line playing cards. These are digital and on-line time monitoring portals by which workers can enter their clock in and clock out occasions. Staff are usually given an identification quantity that they will enter into the system, which information their occasions right into a centralized database.  
  • Cellular apps. Lastly, SaaS and cloud-based cellular functions made it potential for workers to document their clock out and in occasions on the go by way of their cellular units. That is the present state of time playing cards. 

Whereas the expertise behind time playing cards has modified considerably over time, the final idea stays just about the identical—workers clock in, and out, and that data is recorded into the corporate’s methods.

5 advantages of time playing cards 

Time playing cards are a worthwhile and dependable device for each employers and workers. They assist each events maintain tabs on time spent at work, guaranteeing clear and clear cost. 

Listed below are some particular advantages of time playing cards for small companies. 

1. Improved worker productiveness

As talked about, time playing cards permit employers to trace and monitor how lengthy workers are working, and through what occasions. This helps them guarantee they’re adequately staffing their companies to keep up peak capability and productiveness always. 

In some circumstances—corresponding to time playing cards for contractors—employers can even monitor how lengthy particular duties and initiatives are taking. Once more, this knowledge permits employers to regulate their staffing ranges and worker scheduling accordingly. Armed with knowledge, employers can flag cases the place duties or outcomes aren’t attained, regardless of enough hours being labored. This can be a helpful rudder to assist handle worker productiveness.  

Lastly, time playing cards assist to make sure that workers are accountable for the variety of hours they work by creating an goal document of clock out and in occasions. This, mixed with monitoring activity completions and worker influence, ensures that staff aren’t taking unsanctioned extra time hours to finish their work. 

2. Simpler attendance monitoring

Having a transparent document of when workers begin and finish their shifts encourages staff to be punctual and accountable for their very own shift schedule. Employers obtain a transparent document of how usually workers arrive on time or late, and the way usually they depart early or late. 

This data can be utilized to tell disciplinary motion, to regulate workforce scheduling, or to supply versatile scheduling choices for these workers who could also be combating a number of commitments. 

For the worker, this document additionally ensures that they’ve a transparent “paper” document of once they labored, guaranteeing they will maintain their employer accountable in cases of inaccurate pay or different disputes. 

3. Confirmed compliance with rules

Every area, state, and nation has their very own labor legal guidelines associated to the overall variety of hours workers are allowed to work in a day and week. These legal guidelines additionally dictate breaks and extra time. 

Time playing cards assist employers gather all related knowledge about worker working hours to make sure they’re in compliance with all related labor legal guidelines and rules. This knowledge is invaluable within the case of an audit, lawsuit, or different inquiry. However, it’s additionally useful to make sure all workers are working throughout the regulatory necessities to your area always. 

4. Knowledgeable scheduling and labor planning

You may take the information from a time card and cross-reference them with gross sales and buyer foot site visitors knowledge (or another related efficiency and productiveness metric). This helps inform clever workforce scheduling. 

For instance, retailers can use their level of gross sales platform to determine their peak time intervals throughout a given week. They will then cross-reference that knowledge with their time card data to see if they’re scheduling the suitable variety of workers throughout these occasions. If not, the corporate can regulate their schedules accordingly. 

5. Extra correct payroll and invoicing 

As we’ve talked about a couple of occasions thus far, time playing cards assist workers and employers maintain an correct tab on whole hours labored. Upon getting the info, apply it in opposition to the worker’s pay charge—and inside an outlined pay interval—to tell how a lot cash they’ll obtain on the upcoming payday. 

Drawbacks of utilizing bodily time playing cards

In fact, time playing cards aren’t with out their faults. That is very true when utilizing bodily time playing cards that require a guide course of to add knowledge to timesheets and payroll documentation. Not solely does this require extra time and sources—each of which price the corporate cash—the method is inherently vulnerable to human errors. 

Potential points related to bodily time playing cards: 

  • Payroll issues brought on by inaccurate time monitoring and knowledge switch. This could trigger points with worker morale and engagement, accounting points, compliance and regulatory dangers and, finally, disruptions to enterprise efficiency. 
  • Inaccurate time monitoring brought on by both deliberate or unintended misuse of the time card system. This ends in inaccurate knowledge, which has a ripple impact of issues, as outlined above. 
  • Potential safety dangers because of the potential for time playing cards being misplaced, stolen, or tampered with. This can lead to deceptive and inaccurate timesheet entries or, within the case of time playing cards that double as worker badges, potential safety threats for the corporate. 
  • Potential points throughout audits and labor opinions brought on by messy and/or inaccurate document conserving. This isn’t essentially a problem for those who maintain thorough and correct information out of your time playing cards, however it turns into extremely laborious and dangerous if it is advisable to combination time card and timesheet knowledge on a deadline for an audit or assessment. Key takeaway—all the time guarantee your time card information are correct, thorough, and saved in a method that’s simply accessible when wanted. 

Whereas time playing cards are a tried and examined resolution for monitor worker hours, they’re not excellent. Know-how has progressed to the purpose the place all the greatest components of time playing cards can be found inside a holistic platform that makes this course of simpler and extra centralized. 

The best time monitoring platform integrates all the features outlined on this article thus far along with your payroll, accounting, and scheduling software program to assist make end-to-end worker time administration and compensation simpler. 

Why companies ought to think about a time card app

Time playing cards apps usually double as time clocks, guaranteeing all knowledge is built-in and centralized. Along with permitting workers to clock out and in from their very own units—and tether that knowledge to the worker’s file—time clock apps additionally provide the next advantages. 

  • They minimize payroll errors by automating timesheet creating and syncing with payroll and accounting. 
  • They’re safer than devoted digital logins for every worker and consumer entry management. 
  • Some have settings to require id verification by way of picture seize, geo-location, or biometric when an worker clocks in or out. 
  • They will notify the worker and employer if a clock in or out is missed
  • Some can current knowledge traits over time, serving to employers intelligently plan their scheduling necessities
  • They scale back guide and repetitive duties by automating timesheet inhabitants and knowledge switch to payroll and accounting 

All of those above helps make time monitoring extra correct, safe, and streamlined than conventional time playing cards. 

Strive Homebase: your all-in-one time card and time clock app 

Homebase is the perfect free time clock app for small companies and hourly groups. It’s an all-in-one crew administration instruments that features and integrates: 

  • Time monitoring 
  • Scheduling
  • Hiring and onboarding
  • Payroll
  • Crew communication 
  • HR and compliance 

With the Homebase time monitoring app, workers can both clock in or out from their cellular units as soon as they arrive at work, or use a pill, pc, or POS machine that you’ve arrange for this objective. From there, you’ll have every little thing it is advisable to monitor their hours, breaks, extra time, break day, and pay. 

Able to attempt Homebase for time monitoring? Begin now without cost.




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