How to Set Clock-in Clock-out System to Track Employee Attendance?

  • January 12, 2021
  • by Kate Borucka
  • One comment

Clock-in clock-out system allows employees to log their shift, track work hours, and report overtime. It’s an efficient way of tracking time, managing attendance, and it helps to calculate exact wages.

Time clock is popular in many companies and used in various forms. It’s a great timekeeping system that helps to save time and money.

If you want to set up an effective clock-in and out system in your company, here’s your guide! So let’s get right to it!

What Is Clock-in Clock-Out System?

The traditional punch clock is a thing of the past. It has been successfully replaced with its digital version – clock-in/clock-out system.

It’s a method by which employees log their work hours, including breaks and overtime. It helps to manage staff, workload, and accurately track work time.

Such a system has different forms but usually serves as a time tracking software with clocking features. It has digital timesheets, timecards with time logs, and reports.

With time clock, you can improve payroll processing, save on labor costs, increase productivity, and lower employee turnover rate.

👉 Read more about the exact employee cost.

Try TimeCamp – easy-to-use time clock software

Types of Time Clocks

Time clock is used in all industries but can have different forms. It can be a simple punch clock where employees clock their start and end time of work. Or it can be an advanced time tracking software with additional features.

Here are all types of time clock systems used in different businesses.

Manual time tracking

Traditional timesheets are still one of the most popular forms of logging work hours. Companies use online spreadsheets or sometimes even paper cards to track employee attendance.

People write start and end time of work, lunch breaks, away time, and overtime.

Sometimes, if a company doesn’t have an automatic system for tracking time, employees use personal free time tracking apps to accurately fill timesheets. Although more and more organizations decide to use an automatic solution.

Used in: all types of businesses, mostly among in-office workers

Time Tracking Software

Time tracking software is one of the most popular forms of tracking and managing attendance. Such a system can have many forms. It can be an automatic time tracker that automatically records work hours, and entries can be added manually or edited for accuracy.

It can be an online tool, simple time tracker. Also, it can be an advanced system that combines such features as project management, task management, team management, planning, scheduling, or accounting and invoicing.

Used in: Can be used by any industry, beginning from freelancers, small businesses, to large companies, and field services

Mobile app with location tracking

A mobile app is used by outdoor employees who work in the field or travel regularly.

This time clock system is equipped with GPS and geofencing so managers can monitor employees’ location in real-time. This kind of app allows to monitor traffic, choose the optimal route, and save costs. It also helps to keep employees safe.

Used in: field services, construction, crew management, fleet management

Punch clock

Although outdated, punch clocks are still used in some companies. It’s one of the oldest forms of logging work hours with paper time cards.


It’s most effective if used by small businesses that need a simple way to keep track of work.

However, punch clocks are now computerized and employees can use an electronic tool to register arrival and departure times.

Used in: manufacturing, field services, offices

Biometric time clock

It’s a special time tracking tool that uses fingerprints, iris scans, facial recognition, and hand geometry. It’s mostly used in specific work sites including government buildings, airports, large stores, etc.

Used in: manufacturing, government, large facilities, places with high-security protocol

Timeclock terminal

This one is similar to a punch clock but it’s fully digitized. It uses QR code, iBeacon, entering a number, or swiping a magnetic stripe card to log work hours of staff.

Used in: manufacturing, offices, large workspaces, sometimes also in offices

👉 Check also the best manufacturing time tracking apps.

Timeclock calculator

It’s an online tool that helps to calculate employee time with breaks and overtime for accurate pay.

If you’re using time tracking software or other automatic tools, all calculations are done for you and your employees automatically. But you can use a calculator to make sure all numbers add up.

Used in: all types of businesses by employees, employers, and accountants

The Benefits of Using a Time Clock

If you use time clock responsibly and regularly, you’ll increase work efficiency by streamlining and optimizing processes. After all, the clock-in and out system can eliminate paperwork and burdensome bureaucracy.

And if you choose the right app, you’ll have a unified platform for employee management that can be used by all your staff, no matter where they are.

But there’s much more you can gain from using time clock software:

  • Accurate timesheets
  • No buddy punching
  • Saved labor costs
  • Improved project management
  • Better work scheduling and resource allocation
  • Easy payroll processing
  • Accurate pay
  • Accurate project and client billing
  • Higher productivity and employee engagement

Overall, time clock helps to automate the process of filling timesheets and improve payroll procedures.

How to Clock-in and Out at Work?

Setting out a clock-in clock-out system is not difficult. But you need to know how to do it so it’s effective and brings results.

After all, what’s so difficult in clocking your time every day? You just mark your start and end hours and you’re done. But there are many more things to consider when using an attendance management system.

👉 Check also Best Geofence Time Clock Apps

Practical Tips to Effectively Track Employee Attendance

Here are good practices that will make the time clock time and money saver, and your staff’s best friend.

They can also help prevent buddy punching – a practice that contributes to financial losses in many companies. Let’s dive in!

Define your goals

Do you know why you want to use a time clock?

Start by asking the right questions to define: Why you need a time clock? How will it help your company? How will it benefit your employees?

If you’re not sure what goals you could achieve with the use of a time clock, here are some examples:

  • Track time for hourly employees
  • Help your staff be more productive
  • Save time on processes that can be automated
  • Prevent inaccurate timesheets
  • Create efficient employee scheduling system

All these objectives will help you optimize work, create perfect work timetable, and eliminate holes in the budget and schedule to save money.

Create an overtime policy

That’s the theoretical part of implementing time clocking. Create a short document where you outline your company’s approach to the practice. It’s necessary so everyone follows the same practices for coherency.

Here are 5 important aspects to include in your overtime policy:

  1. The maximum limit of overtime for hourly and salary employees
  2. Consequences of overtime overuse or unauthorized overtime
  3. Specifications for exempt employees
  4. Specific guidelines for hourly employees concerning overtime, breaks, and leaves
  5. Federal and state law regulations

Overtime policy will ensure everyone’s on the same page and make attendance management easy.

Integrate time clock into your system

To have a unified hub for business management, integrate the time clock into your currently existing system. Either by integrations or API.

Many tools can be connected with other apps for more efficiency.

Integrations give you more flexibility to manage attendance, improve workflow, and quickly adjust to changes.

Choose the right software

It may be tempting to invest in a fancy looking solution with a colorful dashboard and cool design. But you should look at the big picture. While the visuals are important for the user experience, it’s the features that are the core component.

They should give you the right numbers, reports, graphs, and other necessary data. Look for the option most suited for your business type that helps to automate work.

Also, the right software aimed at your niche will help to prevent buddy punching.

Submit timesheets regularly

It’s always best to submit timesheets at the end of every day or every week to keep consistency and check for inaccuracies. It’ll give managers enough time to correct errors and analyze the data.

Irregular timesheet approvals will add more work and make it easy to oversight mistakes.

So make a timesheet submitting a regular activity and you’ll see that after a few weeks, it’ll become a habit.

What Is The Best Clock-in Clock-out App?

If you’re wondering which app is best for your business, we’ve got you covered. Here you’ll find the best solutions for different sectors.

1. TimeCamp

Best for: automatic and user-friendly time tracking and attendance app with timesheets and reports

Timecamp weekly schedule

TimeCamp is an advanced time tracking app that helps to reduce monotonous paperwork and improve productivity.

Using TimeCamp as a time clock software is much more effective and easier than manually entering information. There are approvals, the ability to edit entries, time clock with a start/stop timer, and extensive timesheet data.

Here are some of the main features:

  • Fully automatic, the desktop app works in the background and tracks computer activity
  • Tracking billable and non-billable hours
  • You can easily convert reports into Excel files, as PDF, CSV, or to Google Spreadsheet
  • Graphical timesheet view
  • A project tree structure with tasks and tags
  • Custom reports
  • Automatic reminders
  • Project time and cost tracking
  • You can track time against estimates
  • An extensive list of integrations makes it easy to connect with other tools
  • GPS tracking feature

Available as: online web timer in your favorite browser, desktop app (macOS, Linux, Windows), mobile app (iOS, Android), and Chrome plugin

Get accurate timesheets with TimeCamp's automatic time clock. Sign up for free!

👉 Check also our list of Top 10 Free & User – Friendly Timer Apps for Windows

2. AMGtime

Best for: facilities looking for a fully-featured biometric clock

AMGtime clock-in clock-out

AMGtime has a robust collection of data capture systems. Its biometric time clock is available as HandPunch devices, face recognition, and fingerprint solutions. Other ways of clocking employee time proximity cards, key fob, and PIN/password.

AMGtime combines traditional time clock, with time tracking, and location tracking software.

AMGtime is a robust and extensive software best for large facilities. It may be too complicated for in-office workers who need a simpler solution that allows straightforward attendance and leave management.

Available as: web app, PC solution, biometric device, mobile app

3. OnTheClock

Best for: online time tracking for your own device

ontheclock attendance software

If you need a simple time clock that would provide you with all the data on hours worked by your staff, OnTheClock is the right choice. Thanks to its features, you can track the total hours your employees spend working. The tool helps to manage resources and workflow and is useful in processing payroll.

OnTheClock is available for all devices which makes it a suitable tool for field workers. It also combines features of a time tracker with a punch clock to keep track of employee shifts.

Available as: online time tracker, mobile app (iOS, Android)

4. ClockShark

Best for: crews, construction, and field services & planning shifts

ClockShark clock-in clock-out

ClockShark is a time tracking and scheduling software built for local construction, field service and franchises that want a simpler way to track mobile employee time, run payroll quickly and accurately, and understand job costs.

ClockShark combines scheduling, time tracking, location monitoring, and reporting features.

Available as: online time clock, mobile app (Android, iOS), and as a KioskClock™ you can set up on your tablet or smartphone (facial recognition, personal 4-digit PIN available)

5. Tanda

Best for: rostering, aligning workforce schedule

Tanda clock-in clock-out

Tanda is suitable for managing, scheduling, and coordinating teams across multiple locations.

It offers integrated time tracking, scheduling, leave and attendance, and messaging to cover shifts while staying within the budget. Tanda allows you to find the right employees for a shift in seconds.

And the reports and timesheets are generated automatically so your team can focus on their tasks. You can also track live insights to see business performance.

Available as: web app, mobile app (Android, iOS)

6. VeriClock

Best for: improving payroll processing

VeriClock screen

VeriClock is a time tracking and location management system. It’s a simple app for companies that don’t need an overcomplicated and over featured app.

It has all the necessary functionalities to clock your labor – time clocking with verification, digital signatures, time cards, reporting, GPS geotagging, attaching photos and videos from the job site, managing employee expenses and vehicle use, and more.

Available as: online time clock, mobile app (iOS, Android)

7. Redcort

Best for: setting up on-premise time clock system

Redcort clock-in clock-out app

The app is a time clock for tracking employee attendance and work hours. You can install it on a computer or on a tablet.

Redcort allows your team to clock in and out with time cards for payroll management. You can see the status of all users in real-time, track different activities (this, however, can be done only manually as there’s no automatic time tracking), set passwords for each user to prevent buddy punching.

Reports show regular hours, daily and weekly overtime, and total hours for the week. The administrator toolbar lets you manage time and attendance, edit or add an entry in the timesheet, approve payroll, and track and manage leaves for custom categories.


Finding the right clock-in clock-out app may not be an easy task. You need to go through all the existing solutions to find the perfect fit.

But with the software providers targeting specific niches, it’s not that challenging. You just need to know what exactly you’re looking for.

Kate Borucka

Kate is a freelance translator, copywriter, and a content writer specializing in time tracking software, time management, and productivity. When not researching new software, she's reading books, or spending time outdoors.

1 Comment

  1. Chanell Huitzacua
    January 28, 2022 at 03:24

    Some really quality posts on this site, saved to my bookmarks .


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