Skip to content
employee attendance software

The Evolution of Employee Attendance Software: From Babylon to 2020

Maybe you didn’t realize that employee attendance software has a rich and storied history. But the truth is, it has taken thousands of years of evolution to bring you all the convenience of the online time clock. Here, we’ll explore how employers have tracked employee hours through the ages and what that means for you.

Employee Attendance Software


Definition: What Is Employee Attendance Software?

Firstly, let’s talk about what employee attendance software is. Attendance tracking software provides employers with information about the hours worked by employees. Businesses use it to automate payroll, schedule vacations, and limit absenteeism.

You may be wondering how this relates to salaried workers. Do salaried employees get paid if they do not work? In the US, employers may adjust the salary of employees if they miss work. In short, employee attendance software is vital for employers with both hourly and salaried employees.

Before Employee Attendance Tracker Software

Way before there was software, there were people working. How did employers track hours before Factorial made it so easy? Let’s share with you the old-style employee attendance tracker software.

  • Ancient Wages

The Code of Hammurabi, a treatise written in 1772BC, is best known for establishing the “eye for an eye” punishment system in ancient Babylon. Less famously but probably more popularly, it also established one of the first written regulations for wages. It set a typical worker’s wage at six grains of silver per day. (Hourly wages were still a thousand years away.)

  • Attendance Tracking Boom During the Industrial Revolution

During the Industrial Revolution, which spanned from the 1700s to the mid-1800s, rural, agrarian societies shifted to urban, industrial societies. This increased emphasis on manufacturing meant that people stopped working for themselves and started working for other people. For the first time, tracking hours became important.

  • The Advent of the Time Clock

In 1888, the first mechanical time clock was invented by William Bundy, a jeweler in New York. The invention boomed in factories and manufacturing plants, quickly overtaking pen-and-paper hour tracking. Today, many manufacturing plants and business offices still use a time card and “black box” system similar to Bundy’s. It’s no surprise: his time clock company would eventually become IBM.

  • The 8-hour Workday

Working conditions during the industrial revolution were famously bad, with workers and child laborers sometimes forced to work 14-hour days. Calls for the 8-hour workday began in the USA as early as 1842. While unions won piecemeal 8-hour days over the next century, it wasn’t until 1938 that the Fair Labor Standards Act set the maximum workweek at 44 hours. (It also banned child labor, set the minimum wage at 25¢ per hour, and provided that employees receive overtime bonuses.) Time tracking was more important than ever for businesses that needed to show compliance with the law.

  • The Billable Hour

In the 1950s, professionals moved to use an hourly-payment model which at that time was only used in the manufacturing sector. Lawyers would no longer work by the case but would sell their time in “simple, easy-to-manage” units. Professionals began to track their tasks by the hour on a timesheet, generating a wealth of information about how much time it takes to complete a particular task. This helped employers to further increase efficiency in the workplace.

  • The Modern Timesheet

All this just to get the employee attendance tracker software! Some businesses are still stuck in the past with Bundy’s mechanical time clock, or worse, an excel sheet (the modern equivalent of a pen and paper). But prudent businesses have adopted the software time clock to automate attendance-tracking processes and increase efficiency.

Benefits of Employee Attendance Tracking

Using a web-based time clock helps employers to track employee attendance without confusion or contention. Employee attendance tracker software is key for results-oriented HR teams.

  • Increased Transparency and Employee Satisfaction

With employee attendance software, employees can review their logged hours at any time, so there are no questions when it comes to their paychecks. Vacation scheduling is easier because employees can submit requests digitally for their supervisor’s approval Employees can also check their paid time off accrual and usage on their own.

  • Make Payroll Processing More Efficient

Automated employee attendance tracking will take out the middle man when it comes to calculating employee payment. The software will convert hours worked directly to wages, without costing HR staff valuable time. This not only speeds up payment but also minimizes the effects of human error to ensure employees are never shorted.

  • Integrate Company Policy

HR can input the relevant data to the employee attendance tracker software to keep absences in line with policies. Businesses may have guidelines for which days can be taken off, or how far in advance employees must make their request. For example, a retail business may have a policy against employees taking off time during high season. Building company policy directly into the software will reduce potential conflicts and keep employees accountable.

  • Limit Legal Liability

Tracking hours with timeclock software alerts employers when employees approach overtime. It also provides a clear record of hours worked with timestamps and, in some instances, geolocation. This will certainly help prevent any mishaps and provide employers security in case of a lawsuit.

  • Make Costs Visible So That They Can Be Reduced

Importantly, employee attendance software will show patterns and trends. Data analysis may show cause and effect with employee absences or show patterns in productivity. By using attendance-trackers in tandem with performance management systems, supervisors can determine how efficiently employees are working.

employee attendance software

Key Time & Attendance Features to Look For

Not all employee attendance software is created equal. When choosing an attendance tracker for employees, employers should keep certain features in mind to find the best time tracking app for their needs.

  • Customization

The best attendance software will be totally customizable. Employers must be able to tailor it to suit their companies policies and organization. From configuring time tracking to setting permissions, you need the flexibility to make the software work for you.

  • Mobile App

A time clock computer is good but a mobile app is better. Make sure your software is accompanied by an app. This is more convenient for employees which means they will be more eager to use it. Geolocation and QR code reading is a plus.

  • Data Aggregation & Analysis

Proactive managers can use software to generate custom HR reports, reflecting hours worked, absenteeism, or productivity.

  • Integration

You want software that will integrate seamlessly with the tools you already use. With Factorial, employees can clock in and out directly from Slack.

Limited Absenteeism With Employee Time Attendance Software

A little attendance tracking software can go a long way in reducing absenteeism. What is absenteeism? This term refers to employees who have racked up excessive absences. Time and attendance software enables employers to track employee attendance, making sure that absences comply with company limits and guidelines.

  • Institute an Employee Attendance Incentive Program

For best results, employers use the software to incentivize good attendance This may mean offering time off to employees who are regularly on time or rarely miss work. Let the data guide you as you make a policy to encourage timeliness.

Today’s Workforce Management Solutions

Gone are the days of tracking employee’s time and attendance with spreadsheets. With employee attendance software, employers no longer have to choose between efficiency and accuracy. It only took 5,812 years to find the perfect system.

Simplify Your HR with Employee Attendance Software.

Written by Valerie Slaughter

Related posts

1 Comment

  • Thanks for this great blog that shows a lot of ideas about transforming people and workers inside an organisation.

Leave a Comment