The past year has triggered a big shift in working patterns and every organisation now needs to integrate greater flexibility where the workforce is concerned. This could be to allow for different ways of working in response to COVID-19 regulations or accommodate changes to absences and overtime and, of course, to keep people safe. Time and attendance systems provide key data, helping employers to track employees and also to create more effective infrastructure that has room for flexibility.
A new approach to time and attendance
The need for contactless interactions has become a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic and this is something that any time and attendance system now needs to integrate. It not only makes a workplace more sanitary and reduces transmission risks but there are also many other benefits in terms of convenience and speed too. Many employees are now much more cautious about how many surfaces they have contact with, especially those that are shared with other people. This has created a need for organisations to think again about the time and attendance systems that are in use and to prioritise those that deliver when it comes to contactless.
The use of facial recognition
Biometric clocks that use facial recognition for time and attendance tracking are now much more readily available – what was once identified as the future for time clocks is now becoming mainstream. This method is 100% contactless, which is one of the reasons that it is proving so popular. Facial recognition technology has been significantly improved and this has had a big impact on how effective this tech can be, and reduced the number of potential issues that could arise.
It’s essential for any organisation looking to use facial recognition for time and attendance tracking to bear in mind local privacy laws and ensure that systems take this into account. For example, there may be a need to periodically destroy biometric identifiers or get consent from an individual if a biometric identifier is going to be collected or disclosed. As this technology is more widely used, it is likely that potential privacy issues will be integrated into the way that systems are built.
While facial recognition is without doubt the most effective contactless option and the future of time and attendance recording there are other options too. These include:
- Time clocks that require employees to swipe in and swipe out as they arrive and leave.
- Biometric fingerprint devices that use the individual’s fingerprint as a way to record attendance.
- Cloud based web clocks that can be adapted for organisations where large workforces are currently working remotely. There is a level of trust involved in this system but, as many studies over the past year have shown, employees working under their own steam often produce more positive results.
- App-based time and attendance systems. This is a system that helps to minimise contact and can also be cheaper as so many people already own mobile phones. Functionality is developing all the time, for example, some apps only allow employees to punch in when in a specific geographic location to avoid people clocking in when they are actually still at home.
Technology is developing at speed in the world of time and attendance systems, with facial recognition options pushing the cutting edge.