Portable Time and Attendance Using a Telephone or Cell Phone

Companies may want to consider the portable time and attendance option of using a telephone or cell phone if employees spend their time at different sites throughout the day. Construction work, visiting nurses, or those who regularly visit client facilities are examples of types of jobs that could benefit from this type of payroll time clock. Businesses have the ability to track employee hours without requiring them to punch in and out at a central location.

How "Phone-In" Portable Time and Attendance Works

Employees may use any phone, either land line or cell phone, to dial into a server or PC. It answers much like a fax machine; when the employee hears the tone, he keys in his unique employee ID, and he is punched in or out.

The system may be either installed on the company's PC, or it may be hosted by a SaaS (Software as a Service) vendor. With either system, the data is automatically updated on either the PC or the SaaS web server; when the payroll specialist accesses the data, it will be accurate in real time.

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Potential Benefits

Like any time and attendance system, keeping accurate track of employee hours can save money. Since this type of portable time and attendance does not require any additional hardware, it can be a cost effective way to track employee hours.

Additional capabilities of Smartphones can also enable employees to punch in using their web-browser. Some systems even have a GPS enabled feature which allows supervisors to see where their employees are geographically when they punch in, helping to prevent time theft.

Potential Drawbacks

One of the inherent problems with this type of time and attendance is that time theft is still a possibility if the GPS app is not being used. How will you know if he is really on the job at the time he punches in?

One way to minimize time theft is to program the system to accept calls only from a particular phone (or more than one specific phone if the employee regularly uses two or three facilities, for example). In this case, the employee must use that phone to punch in, or the system will not accept the punch in. Of course, tracking the employee's specific location will not work with a cell phone.

Finally, in areas where cell phone coverage is spotty, you may have problems getting your employees signed in and out. Knowing how good your coverage is before signing on to such a program is advised.

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