Attendance Systems for Your Business

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 27/02/2023
types of attendance systems

Keeping tabs on your workforce and planning future resource allocation is critical to businesses. That’s why attendance systems are a must-have in your strategy. In this article, we will educate business owners and managers on how to select the approach best suitable to their situation.

The very concept of attendance tracking is often associated with micromanaging and a lack of trust in employees, indirectly suspecting them of time theft. While there is a grain of truth and it is means of proofing the business from absenteeism, it’s only a tiny element. In its essence, the use of attendance systems is more about improving your efficiency by gathering an understanding of your workforce’s availability and its correlation to the results achieved. 

That said, there are different ways of tracking attendance, as well as analysing it. It is likely to help you draw different conclusions too. What’s also important to note is that different approaches cater to different goals, company structures and such. Overall, however, attendance systems can be classified into different times. In this article, we will look into them and help you work out the best type for your business.

What Are the Different Types of Attendance Systems?

There are two key types of attendance systems: digital and traditional. Each then splits into more subcategories, depending on how they are operated. Digital systems, naturally, have more subtypes. 

While both can be utilised by businesses for similar purposes, one is notoriously more advantageous than the other. There are several differences pointing to that which we will discuss next.

Manual vs Digital Attendance Tracking

We won’t beat around the bush here. Digital attendance tracking is certainly superior to the traditional method. It’s more flexible, it grants you more control and it is easier to analyse moving forward. However, there are a couple of bigger advantages to touch upon. We will discuss them separately in greater detail.

Security Concerns 

Traditional attendance tracking methods are very flawed in terms of security. First of all, they are incredibly easy to tamper with. Since it is broken into subtypes of attendance based on a book and the analogue system, the workers are basically in control of how their time is recorded. Even with no malicious intent, periodical human mistakes such as being late occur. To save themselves trouble, workers might ask other colleagues to sign in their stead. While, unless systematically abused, this isn’t likely to cause big productivity issues - it will be skewing your data. And if you ever catch this happening, the parties involved will be deprived of your trust moving forward. Digital solutions are mostly designed with these security flaws in mind.

In addition to that, while attendance data isn’t the most sensitive information collected by your business, it still carries a lot of weight. Having it stolen or damaged can set you back in terms of future forecasts, as well as lead to incorrect workers' compensation. Most of the time, traditional attendance system types only exist as physical copies, with no backup in the scenario of their destruction or theft. Whereas pretty much all of the digital subtypes can be easily restored in the event something goes wrong. It is especially true for cloud-based solutions as they automatically back your data up and store them in easily accessible yet secure sectors. What’s more, you can also check the log of changes to identify the moment something has gone wrong for the purposes of future investigations. 

Diversity of Digital Attendance Tracking Methods

As we have already briefly touched on it - digital attendance tracking type comes with a variety of subtypes. While they all involve the use of technology in the process, the principle of their work and their use vary.  For example, the fingerprint or facial recognition clocking in/out method is almost the very pinnacle of how advanced the solutions of today are. They recognise the unique data of every worker and are therefore almost impossible to fool. Alternatively, there are web-based time tracking solutions, where workers are issued unique login details that can then also be tied to specific devices to prevent them from being shared for the purpose of buddy punching. 

The point we are trying to get across is that while the methods falling under the umbrella of digital time tracking are vastly different, they still share a couple of core similarities. Namely security, possibilities of further optimisation and giving you full visibility of what’s happening. Whether you want to stick to traditional methods is, of course, your own choice to make. However, it’s not likely to be the one you’d want. Not to say time-tested methods are ineffective, but why settle for something that’s more tasking and less efficient when you have a whole new set of innovative and performance-driving options?

Finding the Best Solution

While having a variety to choose from is great, it also poses some challenges. When presented with many choices yet not well versed in the matter, the variety can become the source of confusion. This is not an uncommon scenario when looking for new software. And it is very true for the diverse selection of attendance system types. 

Pay Attention to Your Company Culture

The golden rule of choosing any type of software is to remember you shouldn’t be required to optimise your business to make it work. The right tool for you is meant to blend into your existing processes from the get-go and start improving them from within. If you need to shuffle how things are in order to accommodate the software you’re adopting - it’s not the right solution for you. This is especially true for attendance systems as they are going to be used by pretty much everyone in your company. 

Although the support level for your back office will be the primary criterion, it’s important to remember that on-site workers are a very important denominator. They are the ones who will be using the attendance system on a day-to-day basis, not a couple of times a month. Ultimately you need to ensure the interface and the way your solution runs is in line with their convenience. In the worst-case scenario, they might simply not use it if it’s making their lives more complicated. In turn, this leads to all kinds of issues such as waste of money, incorrect data and dissatisfied workers. When choosing the attendance system, observe the daily lives of everyone you know who will be using it to an extent. Make notes on their working style, daily routines, etc. These findings will help you outline what the perfect solution for your business looks like.

Prioritise Accessibility

Another important factor to take into consideration is the location of your workers. Naturally, the office workers will be stationed in front of the computer, therefore always in front of the computer. But what about the rest? For example, if you’re a manufacturing business or a construction firm, the key users of the tool will not benefit from having it computer-bound. The best solution would seem to be hardware involving solutions like face recognition or fingerprint scan stations. Alas if you have hundreds of workers this can also backfire in terms of having to splurge on multiple clock-in/out stations.

One solution we know to be universal is utilising the era of portable technology. Pretty much everyone has smart devices, be they phones or tablets. If your teams work across a variety of sites, you should aim for a tool that runs across different interfaces. This way every worker will have the tool accessible from wherever they are. Some tools come with simplified interfaces to accommodate less tech-savvy people. Others offer geo-location to ensure clocking-in occurs at the required location. In other words, as long as you can guarantee all your workers can access the tool freely - you’re in the clear. 

Employee Attendance Reporting

The final yet crucially important component of employee attendance systems is their ability to produce reports. There is little use in recording data unless you can analyse and act on it. The problem is that we live in data overload, and therefore weeding through it is beyond human capacity. That’s why you need software to do the job for you. 

Automated Attendance Reports

The best attendance software won’t just clean the data for you but also put it into a comprehensible report in mere minutes. Naturally, the granularity, the visualisation and the available further automation options will range from software to software. Most frequently, there are two types of reports available. One comes in a shape of a dashboard, highlighting key metrics in a visual, easily digestible way. It lacks depth but can give you a good general idea of what’s happening. And then there are reports you program the software to run, where they will be delving deeper into data. These, as a rule, take a little longer to be processed. 

In both scenarios, you normally have control over a range of filters to ensure you are only getting the data you need. At Timesheet Portal, we went the extra mile and introduced the template system. To explain it briefly, our problem already comes with 40+ in-built reporting templates you can either use as they are or customise to more specific needs. Additionally, you can create your own templates using a drag-and-drop interface. There is no limit to how many you can create either. With all these reporting tools, Timesheet Portal enables you to have full visibility of your workforce’s performance. 


There are two different types of attendance systems, each then breaking into smaller categories. While both do the job, we encourage companies to choose the digital type over the traditional one. It is more secure, easier to apply to different types of businesses and is overall offering a more innovative approach to the task of attendance tracking. 

While the market is big and can be difficult to navigate, it is not impossible to find the perfect solution. All you have to do is understand your business from the inside out and then scout for the software that blends into your existing processes. Keep in mind that it’s not just your back office that will use the tool, so remain mindful of the bottom-line workers and their needs. Finally, remember that not only will a designated tool collect the information you need, but also process it and present it to you for analysis.

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