Mobile time tracking apps are becoming an increasingly-popular solution for employers managing a decentralized workforce. These mobile applications—usually tied to cloud based time and attendance systems—turn employees’ smartphones into powerful, handheld time clocks.
As a result, even remote and mobile employees can be tracked and managed, allowing employers greater control over field productivity, while ensuring employees are paid accurately and helping companies stay compliant.
But choosing the best mobile time tracking app isn’t easy. Capterra.com, which evaluates business software, lists more than 160 mobile time tracking apps. How do you know which one is best for you?
One way is to assess their technological capabilities, which vary widely. In our opinion, there are five key tech trends to look for. The best mobile time tracking apps already feature these, while the others are playing catchup. So how does your mobile time tracking app stack up?
Mobile Time Tracking Trend #1: Advanced GPS Features
One of the universal features of mobile time tracking apps is GPS verification—i.e., using smartphone GPS capabilities to confirm employees are really clocking in from where they should be. The best mobile apps take this to another level, offering advanced features called geo-fencing and geo-tracking.
Cloud based time and attendance systems with geo-fencing capabilities allow employers to designate worksites in terms of GPS coordinates—ideal for, say, construction sites. When an employee crosses the perimeter, the system automatically clocks him/her out. This not only ensures employee time is captured correctly, but tips management off to workers who make habitual early exits.
Similarly, mobile time tracking apps with geo-tracking automatically capture a worker’s GPS coordinates at pre-defined times throughout the workday. It’s an easy way to confirm, for example, that drivers are making their assigned stops on schedule, and it’s also a useful training tool.
Mobile Time Tracking Trend #2: Biometrics/Facial Recognition Technology
Biometrics, including fingerprint and facial recognition technology, work by measuring a person’s unique physical characteristics to confirm their identity. It’s become an important feature of cloud based time and attendance systems, because buddy punching—a form of time theft when one employee punches in or out for a coworker—continues to cost employers billions of dollars per year.
Biometric time clocks are proven to prevent time theft better than swipe card or PIN based systems. Now, thanks to smartphone cameras, biometric technology is no longer just for time clocks.
Mobile time tracking apps with facial recognition use an employee’s smartphone’s camera to quantify facial features and verify their identity in literally seconds, rendering buddy punching virtually impossible, even when managers are miles away.
Mobile Time Tracking Trend #3: An Employee Self-Service Portal
Employers are increasingly recognizing the need to stay connected to employees, especially those who are remote. The best mobile time tracking apps include an employee self-service portal that allows workers and employers to share information anytime, from anywhere.
For example, employees can view their schedules, check their PTO balances and sign off on their timesheets, all from their smartphones. Furthermore, they can request time off and message back and forth with their managers all from within the mobile time tracking app.
Mobile Time Tracking Trend #4: Customizable Task Tracking
Some mobile time tracking apps provide customizable fields that employers can configure as needed. In addition to time tracking, they allow employees to sign-off on completed tasks or input other measurable items as they move through the workday.
There is no limit to what can be tracked: jobs completed, mileage driven, tips received, number of pieces made, etc. For example, housekeepers can tick off each room as its cleaned, while drivers can check off each stop that they make.
Mobile Time Tracking Trend #5: Analytics
These days, employers are hungry for analytical tools that provide real-time insight into workforce activity. The most useful mobile time tracking apps offer employers access to a menu of standard and customizable reports, usually accessed through the dashboard of their cloud based time and attendance system.
These reports allow employers to track absenteeism, tardiness and overtime pay, filtered by worksite, shift, crew, and more. It allows employers to hone in on problem areas, identify where more manager training is needed, and see what teams deserve recognition. These analytical tools offer employers unprecedented visibility into the doings of a scattered, decentralized workforce.
Consider EPAY’s Cutting-Edge Mobile Time Tracking App
EPAY’s cloud based time and attendance system offers one of the most robust mobile time tracking apps available to employers and includes all five capabilities described above.
In fact, EPAY’s SaaS-based software is one of very few time tracking solutions designed especially for the distributed hourly workforce—which is why we’re the provider of choice for medium and large employers managing hourly employees.