Preferred Alternatives to Time Clocks

By Dan Eash

Updated September 26, 2017

Before time clocks were invented, everyone worked from sun-up to sun-down. Since the amount of daylight determined the workday, hours were shorter in the winter and longer in the summer. During the industrial revolution, factories stopped paying by the day and began paying by the hour. This change spurred the development of the first time clock in 1888. A lot has changed since then, and employers today use computers, the Internet and mobile devices to track time in innovative ways.


The uAttend Employee Management System is an innovative way to track hours on a budget. This software-based system keeps costs down while delivering powerful features like plug-n-play time clocks and remote punch-in, punch-out through a browser or phone. Processing Point says its uAttend system "is the most affordable time-clock system available." They also say it's "the only time clock with a lifetime warranty." The uAttend software taps into your network and the Internet to give you the power to get payroll reports and manage employees from anywhere in the world. It can handle unlimited employees and time clocks, and it works on PC, Mac or Linux computers. Biometric time clocks will also be available by the end of 2010.


Contractors know the value of controlling overhead, and a big part of that is labor. Exaktime's PocketClock/GPS time-management software tells supervisors when their crew arrives at the job site and when they leave. It runs on Windows Mobile PDAs and smartphones, BlackBerrys, Apple iPhones, iPads and the iPod Touch. Crew members punch in and out with the software to log the jobs they're doing. Every time a crew member uses the software to make an entry, PocketClock/GPS records their location. Supervisors can view this data to confirm their workers are where they need to be. They can also track how long it takes for a crew member to travel between jobs. Supervisors can even set up virtual GPS perimeters and use images and audio from each location to identify it in the system. PocketClock/GPS tracks these perimeters and, if a worker leaves an assigned area during the day, the software records it.

The Action Machine

The Internet has made it possible for companies to save money by hiring freelance workers. While much of the work is done for a set fee, some of it is paid by the hour. Derek Franklin’s Action Machine software for PC brings accountability to this process and motivates freelancers to get more done. Its project list, grid system and multiple timers make it easy for users to structure their day. Common projects, such as writing, marketing and errands, are included but you can also add your own. To program a day's schedule, you select a desired project, set its timer and drag it over to the grid. You repeat this process with other projects to fill up the schedule. When you're ready to start, click on the first timer and work until the alarm goes off. Then click on the next one, and so forth, until your day is over. You can even print activity reports and share them with your boss.