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On one level, the old-fashioned time clock achieved a very important purpose. By using it, you were able to tell exactly when each of your employees began and ended their shifts, thereby making your task of compiling the payroll possible. However, much has changed in recent decades, calling into question the necessity of the traditional time-keeping measures.

A Lesson From the Restaurant World

People who work at dining establishments have long used the time clock to chart their hours. In recent years, this has changed to keeping track of employee hours within the businesses’ point-of-sale system (POS system). This, too, is becoming outdated, particularly on older POS systems

Many outdated POS systems do not have the capability of reporting important information such as temporary shift or schedule changes. Having a record of this information is essential in today’s legal climate. To address this gap, employers often attempt to also institute a parallel hard copy system involving writing down all clock-in and clock-out times. Unfortunately, even the most dedicated micromanager will find it difficult to prevent mistakes and oversights.

Furthermore, some older time clock management solutions that are integrated into a business’s point-of-sale system can pose a security risk. Should there be a data breach or some other form of attack on the restaurant’s system, some important data might be irrevocably lost.

When Time and Talent Really Matter

While punching the clock in some form may be a necessity for certain service and manufacturing environments, the same is not the case for other types of work. In settings where success is quantified not in the amount of hours a person puts in but by the innovative nature of the solutions a worker arrives at, clock-watching seems anachronistic.

In today’s technology-rich world, it is not necessary for a team of coworkers to be in one particular location in order to collaborate. In fact, they do not even need to complete their individual portions of a project at the same time as long as everyone submits their work by the deadline. If a solution comes to a team member at 2:00 a.m., she can simply update the common document that is stored in the cloud, immediately benefiting everyone in real time. Given this new flexibility, rigid hours and a central location seem no longer necessary.

In the end, it’s up to you how you chronicle your workers’ time. If you own a restaurant, you may want to switch to a more secure and legally compliant POS solution with cloud-based software. Other entrepreneurs in different lines of work may dispense with the old-school time clock once and for all. Just be aware that you now have many more options, so take the time to do your homework and choose the solution that is best for you and your business.