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The 7 Best Time Clock Software of 2021

A time clock and scheduling software is often a vital investment for businesses. They help to organize, schedule and monitor business operations. Any business has multiple areas for administration and that includes staff management, too.

Using humans to conduct such operations can lead to errors that can often end with compliance issues, massive losses because of incorrect decisions, and not to mention, employee dissatisfaction. Modern technology helps to overcome those issues using automation.

If you are looking for the best time clock software for managing the backend administration of your business, these 7 handpicked software programs will help you streamline all your operations and ensure that your business has optimal performance with minimized cost and maximized profits.

Of course, you do not need all of them. Only one will do. But finding the right software program might be a herculean task. To help you decide, we at Cloudzat went through at least 25 such software programs to nail down the best of the best.

Take your time to go through each of these options in the list and make a decision depending on your needs. In case you are short on time, and do not intend to go through every word written here, here is the quick list of the options you will find in the list:

  1. Buddy Punch
  2. 7Shifts
  3. ClockShark
  4. Homebase
  5. Virtual TimeClock
  6. Rippling
  7. Clockify

Now that you know what’s included, you can either walk away or continue reading to find out what each of these options has to offer.

#1. Buddy Punch

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No matter how many workers you have, Buddy Punch makes it simple to organize, schedule, and monitor hours from anywhere.

It's ideal for remote employees, service-based companies, and mobile teams, simply because Buddy Punch is completely online, allowing configuration from anywhere without interrupting your workflow.

Just like every other option that you will find on this list, Buddy Punch also offers different plans with varied pricing with each higher tier plan having additional features.

You can utilize face recognition, GPS, QR codes, automated pictures, and pin number combinations for limiting employees from clocking in to stop buddy clocking.

Buddy Punch got you! Buddy Punch allows workers to clock in using their phones only when they are inside the building. It even allows setting up a clocking kiosk at the front entrance that takes photos of everyone who clocks in.

You may set up numerous job sites or locations in the system to know who is working where and the total time they are working.

Custom job codes enable workers to clock in and out of various projects, clients, or tasks during the day.  You may utilize those hours to generate correct client bills, uncover bottlenecks, build accurate proposals, or ensure everything runs smoothly.

For compliance, there are over a dozen built-in overtime regulations you may utilize or modify. The technology automatically calculates breaks and lunches, so no one needs to clock in and out all day.

All plans allow time off requests and monitor PTO. You may create unique PTO types for vacations, sick leave, extra time, holidays, etc.

If you don't provide PTO, you may disable it completely so workers don't inadvertently input time off on their respective timecards.

The middle tier of Buddy Punch contains all of the above plus sophisticated drag-and-drop scheduling capabilities. It allows turning off scheduling completely, so you don't have to pay for things you won't use.

The scheduler makes it simple to create, edit, and publish schedules and notify people who you put on the schedule. The features of requested time off and staff availability help avoiding scheduling problems.

Scheduling and time clocking capabilities together, Buddy Punch can help you in restricting when and where your staff can punch in. If someone forgets to punch out at the end of the shift, you can configure Buddy Punch to perform the action automatically.

This strong combo guarantees accurate time cards with minimum modification before payroll.  Payroll interfaces include ADP, QuickBooks, Paychex, Gusto, and more. Buddy Punch integrates with 8 such tools. You can also use Zapier to connect to over 750 other business applications and create custom processes.

Pricing

Buddy Punch has three different plans to select from. They are:

  • Time & Attendance – costs $25.99 a month (yearly billing) for 1-4 employees.
  • Time & Attendance + Scheduling – costs $35.99 a month (yearly billing) for 1-4 employees.
  • Enterprise – costs $45.99 a month (yearly billing) for 1-4 employees.

All the plans have a 14-day free trial available. You do not need to provide a credit card for using the trial.

#2. 7Shifts

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There are thousands of moving components in a restaurant and timetables are notoriously erratic.

Most time clock solutions aren't designed for dynamic businesses related to the food industry and lack crucial capabilities to control the chaos.

Lucky for us, 7Shifts is one of the few systems developed especially for the food and beverage sector. So, you can finally ditch that clumsy time clock software that doesn't function properly as per your requirements.

7Shifts can help a college town brewery, a national coffee business, a small pizza chain, a regional juice bar, or even a single-location bakery.

Its AI-powered scheduling tool is a standout. Simply click “schedule” and the program handles the rest. It generates an optimal schedule depending on your staff's position, skill level, and availability.

The tool considers sales projections, labor expenses, and demand estimates. You may establish sales objectives and then design a timetable to meet, rather than the other way around.

Before you publish, you will have the option of taking account of your historical sales data and data from hundreds of other companies to see whether shifts are understaffed or overstaffed.

7Shifts even accounts for weather, by forecasting based on your historical data, sales data from other companies, NOAA weather data, and seasonality to ensure that you are not understaffing or overstaffing your business.

It accomplishes all of this without you needing to do anything.

After the program has completed its job, you may make any necessary changes and publish in minutes. Literally say goodbye to hours of laborious work.

7Shifts' integration list includes pubs, restaurants, and breweries. With 22 POS connections (including several not offered by other providers) and other restaurant-specific technologies, 7Shifts will give you a solution that works for your business out-of-the-box.

Connecting your time clock software and POS allows you to seamlessly sync employee accounts, optimize available workforce, and create sales data-based schedules based on your top priorities.

In order to control labor expenses, the manager dashboard tracks labor costs against real-time sales data. The software even generates detailed reports on understaffing, overstaffing, low-profit shifts, and more.

You may also utilize POS sales data to arrange manpower for certain jobs. As a result, you always have the appropriate number of managers, bartenders, hosts, cooks, and servers on the clock depending on your daily sales forecast.

The program dashboard will also identify the busiest hours of your business and let you know whether additional staffing is necessary or not.

Without being there, you may simply enforce clocking regulations whether your staff uses their mobile devices or your POS. The program automatically verifies that everyone logging in is on the timetable. A notice will be sent to you if they are not.  You may also automatically take a picture to guarantee no one is robbing your time.

All plans include a pre-shift health screening assessment to assist you and your staff minimize COVID-19 spread.

Pricing

7Shifts offers a free plan that will not give you POS integration, and it will work only for one location with a maximum of 10 employees.

They have three paid plans that include the following:

  • Appetizer – Allows 20 employees and costs $17.99 a month. You won’t get labor budgeting with this plan.
  • Entrée – This plan will allow 30 employees maximum, and costs $39.99 a month.
  • The Works – This is their top tier plan and costs $69.99 a month. This plan allows an unlimited number of employees.

#3. ClockShark

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Employees constantly on the move are difficult to monitor, particularly without the proper tools.

Maybe they clocked in at a stop light 10 miles away from the work location. Scheduling tasks to minimize travel and lost time may be a headache. With ClockShark you can guarantee accurate timecards, establish better timetables, and keep your staff responsible.

Employees may use their phones or a kiosk on the work site to clock to locations, particular tasks, and projects in two taps or less. Those not in the field may also utilize the web-based software to clock in.

But ClockShark's GPS snapshots and sophisticated geofencing features set it apart. ClockShark automatically associates each punch with a GPS location to ensuring everyone is where they must be at any given point in time.

Set up a bespoke geofence around long-term projects like building sites to prevent workers from clocking in until they arrive. Use geofencing and personalized alerts to keep your staff on site all day.

ClockShark's real-time GPS monitoring takes GPS snapshots to a new level for field workers who roam about all day. Management personnel may log in at any time to see a map of everyone's whereabouts, including breadcrumbs.

It's excellent for accountability and even for dispatching someone to an emergency call. Moreover, replaying previous driving routes may help you find better routes for the future and help you cram in more appointments into your daily schedule.

A touch on the built-in GPS will load the quickest path to their next assignment.

They may also rest comfortable knowing that the program stops monitoring their position whenever they leave for a lunch, break, or the day.  Time Cards may also include documents, pictures, and comments. It's a great method to communicate with workers who aren't in the field.

It may also be used to share job-related information. For example, a technician may describe their job at a client's home, so the next professional sent knows exactly what occurred.

ClockShark also includes a built-in planner for scheduling appointments, shifts, and tasks.

ClockShark's scheduler uses a drag-and-drop interface that is simple to use and has built-in assignment alerts. Employees are allowed accessing their schedules using phones, thereby ensuring that everyone is on time. You can even quickly update the scheduler when required.

In the event of an emergency, the scheduler easily allows redirecting an employee immediately, and the system will immediately notify the person. This eliminates the need for constant emailing.

ClockShark seamlessly integrates with 8 payroll platforms including Sage, Xero, QuickBooks, ADP, Gusto, and Paychex.  Plus, the Zapier integration allows you to connect to over 1,000 other applications and build unique processes for your company.

Pricing

ClockShark offers three plans, and they are:

  • Basic – This will cost $15 per month. For every additional user, you need to pay extra $3 a month.
  • Standard – This plan costs $25 per month and every additional user will cost $6 per month.
  • Pro – This plan costs $45 per month and every additional user will cost $8 per month.

#4. Homebase

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Homebase is the way to go if you want to clock time and make schedules in one spot.

Rather than charging extra for scheduling, it's included in every plan, including the free one. You can set unlimited schedules, and your staff may punch in and out from anyplace.

If you just have one location, you can accomplish all of this and more for free with Homebase. The Homebase scheduler gives a drag-and-drop interface, so you can build visual timetables in minutes on your PC or phone. You may also move responsibilities, shifts, or even workers around to suit your needs.

The program also accounts for staff availability and time off.  It'll also notify you if there's a conflict or an open shift.  Before publishing, check your calendar by role to make sure the correct individuals are scheduled at the correct times.  You may also examine it per employee to ensure every employee gets adequate rest between shifts and to anticipate overtime.

Homebase has many schedule templates you may use repeatedly to save time. You may edit them to suit your requirements or just copy-paste shifts from another schedule into the current one.

Homebase enables rotating shifts, dynamic timetables, workers on call, and weekly calendars.  Plus, you may book as many part-time, seasonal, and full-time workers as you like without ever upgrading or paying more.

After you finish your schedule, you may publish it and automatically notify the whole team. No more texting or emailing. Your team may access the schedule through the Homebase app or any compatible browser. Managers and workers may also set up automated reminders to minimize absenteeism and misunderstanding.

Changes in life need shift swaps, which managers may accept or reject at any moment.  A built-in communication feature allows workers to communicate directly inside the app, keeping all workplace interactions in one place.

You can stop worrying about compliance because Homebase will calculate overtime and even subtract breaks automatically.  And your team won't have to bother about numerous daily clock-ins and clock-outs.

Someone logging in for the first time can be made to take a health screening survey as a safety precaution to prevent COVID-19 spread. This function notifies management if a problem or symptoms are identified.

Workers may also input tips at the conclusion of a shift, making it a perfect option for businesses employing tipped employees.

For free scheduling and time tracking, I strongly recommend Homebase. While the free plan includes all scheduling functions, it has certain restrictions when it comes to clocking.

Pricing

Homebase has a completely free plan that will work only for one location but allow unlimited employees. If you want to upgrade to a paid plan, you can do so after using their 14-day free trial available for all their premium options.

They have three premium options available, which are:

  • Essentials – It costs $14 a month billed yearly.
  • Plus – It costs $35 a month for yearly billing.
  • All In One – It costs $60 a month billed yearly.

#5. Virtual TimeClock

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If your business uses a conventional clocking kiosk, you don't need the sophisticated functionality or mobility of the other choices on our list.

Why should you pay more for unnecessary items? Here comes Virtual TimeClock.  Instead of monthly payments, you pay once and own the program for life.

You may install it on your team's PCs for remote and admin clocking or install it on a standalone kiosk using the single-purpose kiosk more of the program, or a mix of the two. The absence of mobile apps, however, mean that users cannot clock time on the move.

Its interface may be archaic compared to other choices, but it is one of the most user-friendly time clocks available.

If you just require one clocking station, the Pro edition contains one license and limitless workers, making it one of the cheapest options you can get.

Company-wide announcements for staff to view by managers and admins. The program will even allow staff members to interact with each other and even with the management. In only a few clicks, an employee may request time off. Managers may also announce future meetings or recognize top performers.

Admins also have the ability to set up detailed overtime policies at the employee level. With Virtual TimeClock, you can set up these rules quickly and easily.

With Virtual TimeClock you can set up as many tasks, activities, jobs, and projects as you need so your staff clock time to the correct activity and in turn, you receive ultra-accurate data to help you issue invoices, make accurate decisions, and manage your budget accurately.

Another great feature of Virtual TimeClock is free PTO accrual and administration with the Pro Edition.  For the ability to set completely bespoke accrual rules, usage, and carryovers, other providers will need you to use their top-tier plan.

Virtual TimeClock even has scheduling built in. The system allows you to establish custom timetables, allocate shifts, and enforce clocking standards for accurate timecards.

It can even help to prevent late clock out and early clock ins   imply by activating the functionality, establishing the criteria, and the program will automatically check planned shifts for compliance.

You may also enable courtesy clocking if you have issues with “clocking congestion”. It allows workers to log in early, but their time isn't recorded until the shift begins. Employees who arrive early may check in and relax in the break room until 8 a.m., when they can go straight to work without having to wait in line.

You may use the Network Edition to deploy the program on your team's PCs or additional clocking stations. While you must still pay for each license, you may save money by purchasing in bulk. The more licenses you have, the less each one costs.  It has all the features of the Pro version and more.

Employees may, for example, clock in and clock out from various places during the day. During lunch, someone may clock in at one place and clock out at another. Administrators and supervisors may also select particular PCs to retrieve reports, process payroll, and approve timecards.

Virtual TimeClock works with nine payroll tools regardless of edition. However, they all need you to export and import time cards directly into the payroll software you are using. It's not as quick or as efficient as some of our other choices, but it works and avoids human data input.

Pricing

There are three plans that you can select from. They are:

  • Basic – It costs $99 and can be used only on one device, and you can have only three employees.
  • Pro – It costs $195 for a single-device license and allows unlimited employees.
  • Network – It costs between $295 and $1795 depending on how many licenses you need.

#6. Rippling

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Rippling is a great option for new businesses, or businesses dissatisfied with their existing payroll system.

It's an all-in-one HR and IT platform with payroll, talent management, benefits administration, time and attendance, and IT device management add-ons. Its flexibility makes it an inexpensive option for those without HR or payroll systems.

Having everything under one umbrella eliminates the need for integrations. Also, your clocking system will work nicely with your payroll solution. Every plan includes basic staff management. Custom workflows, open APIs, the Rippling mobile app, document management, offboarding and onboarding automations, etc., are all part of the package.

Rippling is a great asset if you are starting to organize and automate HR procedures as your company grows and hires more workers.

You receive everything you need to monitor time, guarantee correct payroll runs, and automate the whole process the very moment you combine the time clock and payroll add-ons.

With these three technologies, you can simplify and automate most of the back-end operations that you would otherwise have to employ or perform yourself.  Though more costly than the other alternatives on our list, Rippling is still cheaper than employing someone or spending your own time.

The actual advantage is a hands-off payroll procedure. Most time and attendance systems need manual activities like exporting and then importing timecards payroll execution. But Rippling does it all for you.

Your staff may clock in by using a permanent kiosk or a computer or phone.

You never have to wait or do anything to have your timecards synchronized to payroll, because that happens automatically. You may approve time cards manually or automatically.

Custom rules may also trigger manual approval. You might, for example, demand manual permissions for all overtime hours before payment.

Despite its simplicity, Rippling is extremely adaptable. You may define your own triggers, circumstances, logic, and rules.

You need to create the rules just once and the program handles the rest, including sending you alerts for various circumstances to keep an eye on your team.

Rippling will keep you informed about your team’s schedule by emails or text messages. For instance, you will know when someone is about to hit overtime, or if someone didn't take a break, and so on.

You may also use geolocation limitations, QR codes, and automated pictures to validate employee punches. You can even monitor your staff in real-time using attendance and time add-on. This add-on will also give you a detailed view of labor costing data, enabling better scheduling decisions in the future.

Rippling also offers built-in labor compliance for local, state, and federal regulations for the work location of every employee. This allows the program to automatically enforce breaks, lunches, overtime pay, etc., by itself. You don't have to worry about compliance, at all!

Payroll connections are not required, but there are 400 additional integrations available to build bespoke processes for your company.

Pricing

Rippling pricing starts at $8 a month per user. Beyond that, the pricing will depend on the features you need. You must talk to them to get a custom quote depending on your organization’s size and needs.

#7. Clockify

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An on-premises and cloud-based time tracking software, Clockify is a system designed for companies that enables them to measure staff billable hours, attendance and productivity. Permissions control, reminders, time auditing, configurable reports, data export, etc., are all key features of Clockify

The program has a timesheet function that allows workers to create a list of preset activities and track time spent on each activity.

Supervisors may use the dashboard to monitor their team's activities and the progress of current projects using easy-to-understand graphical representations.

Managers may classify time by task, compare the actual duration of projects to the anticipated duration, and establish hourly rates.

Clockify connects to a variety of third-party systems, including Google Calendar, Trello, Zenkit, YouTrack, Jira, Evernote, Clubhouse, GitHub, Asana, and Toggl.

Clockify has mobile apps for both Android and iOS platforms. The solution is free to use but is accessible on a monthly subscription basis, and support is provided through thorough online documentation and support email.

Pricing

Clockify is a free software. Yes, you can use it for free for as long as you want. The free version allows unlimited projects, unlimited tracking, and unlimited users.

However, there are optional upgrades available with various extra features. There are four plans available that include:

  • Basic Plan for $4.99 a month with monthly billing cycle.
  • Standard Plan for $6.99 a month with monthly billing cycle.
  • Pro Plan for $9.99 a month with monthly billing cycle.
  • Enterprise Plan for $14.99 a month with monthly billing cycle.

Clockify also has server plans that allows companies to keep all data on private servers.

What Should You Consider Before Purchasing a Time Clock Software?

Here are the things you should look for before making a purchase:

1. Flexible Time Tracking

There should be multiple ways for you and your employees to clock in and clock out. The flexibility is important because your employees can be on field, or they can be working from home. So, the ability to clock in from a phone or computer or a kiosk is important. Also, there must be features that should prevent your staff members from abusing the system. This means that features like automatic image snapping, geofencing, etc., should be there.

2. Avoid Manual Entry of Time Clocked

Manually entering the time clocked by each of your employees into your payroll software is one hell of a task, and not to mention, the process is susceptible to human errors. The time clock software you purchase should be able to send the data to your payroll software either by exporting or importing the data, or it should have the ability to automatically sync the data. Though you won’t find many that will automatically sync in the data, all the options on the list will allow exporting and then importing the data.

3. Easy Shift Planning

The software you select should be able to help you plan the shifts for your employees in an easy way. There should be a drag-and-drop scheduler to get the task done in no time. Proper planning will help you in ensuring that you are not overstaffing or understaffing your project, because either way, it will be a loss for the business. Proper scheduling will ensure that your business operations are running under optimal conditions, thereby maximizing your profits.

4. Minimal Effort

It should be easy for your employees to clock in and clock out with minimal effort. Maximum two taps is what it should take for such activities. Also, your selected software should allow your employees to check their PTO accruals, input their availability, communicate with their managers, request time off, and so on.

Also, it should be easy for admins and managers to check timecards, generate reports, approve time off requests, and so on. If the program you are selecting is making things excruciatingly difficult for you and your employees, you have selected the wrong item. So, instead of purchasing a product right away, you must consider using their free trial to find out whether the program in question is suitable for your needs or not.

Conclusion

We will be honest. The list here is nowhere near to being complete. There are many options available on the market. In fact, there are so many choices that it can become overwhelming to find the right one. If you are not satisfied with the list you read above, you can always go ahead and perform your own research.

However, do make sure that you are selecting the product that is best suited for your industry. Selecting the wrong product will only cause more troubles that will eventually culminate into greater losses. For instance, if you are in the food industry, you should be settling for 7Shifts and not Homebase. Similarly, selecting Rippling makes sense only if you don’t already have a payroll software in place.

Bottom line is that you should make decisions wisely depending on your business requirements, and not based on the marketing pitches of the products you are looking at.