Attendance systems are set to undergo a massive change in the new normal. This article discusses fingerprint based biometric attendance systems and why they aren’t good enough in the current market. With advent of easy, contactless, face recognition based attendance systems, employee attendance is set to see a massive change in the near future.
New normal for workplaces
We have all heard of the ‘new normal’ — a person who slept through 2020 would be shocked to see the changes that have happened in 1 year to the way we live our personal and professional lives. While most companies have chosen to adopt a flexible policy of allowing employees to work from home and office, some companies have announced a bold step of a permanent ‘work-from-anywhere’ policy. In this context, HR and admin teams are forced to rethink how to track, monitor and evaluate employee productivity.
Why Employee Attendance?
Most companies track time of employees and contract workers. Tracking check-in and check-out times is integral to employee attendance solutions. For most companies, this serves 4 purposes:
Track leaves of employees and adjust payroll
Ensure work-hours as per company policies
Reduce late check-ins and delinquencies
Compensate employees for overtime hours
While some companies are fairly flexible about check-in and check-out times, most companies enforce some kind of discipline to ensure maximum productivity.
Here are some commonly available employee attendance solutions in the market.
Biometric Fingerprint Scanners
Biometric devices capture attendance based on fingerprint of employees. They are popular employee attendance solutions among small businesses, factories, gyms, schools etc. They are touch based hardware and support attendance only for on-premise employees, two reasons why they are unfit for post-Covid workplaces.
A technician installs a biometric device and usually these devices are integrated with an access control system such as a magnetic door lock, a turnstile, flap barrier etc. Employees do a one-time registration by linking their thumbprint with a unique employee ID. Every time an employee comes inside a facility, she places her thumb on a sensor that tracks the check-in and check-out times.
Biometric solutions became popular in the last decade primarily because of the following reasons:
Upgrade from manual tracking: They provided a novel and easy way to track attendance in the early 21’st century. Because fingerprint was unique, companies found it easy to abandon manual registers and shift to such systems
One-time installation: These devices are fairly stable and don’t need maintenance for 2–3 years. With little training, admin and HR teams were able to onboard new employees and system functions fairly smoothly
Low cost: Biggest attraction of this technology was that it came at a fairly low cost. A one time purchase, installation and annual maintenance cost was affordable to even small and micro scale businesses
While these systems did a great job in the past decade, biometric attendance solutions have outlived their utility in the post-Covid world. There are 4 major challenges with fingerprint based scanning hardware:
Touch based systems: If humans learnt one thing in 2020, it is to reduce potential contact with surfaces that are touched by many people. Virus stays active on surfaces for as long as 9–10 hours and placing a finger on a surface used by unknown people is downright risky. This could be a big source of infection for various bacterial and viral infections.
Work-from-home: This hardware was designed for on-premise employee attendance. It does not take into account the new realities of ‘remote’ workforce. Organizations will have a tough time to track work-from-employees and on-premise employees separately
Standalone devices with poor data integration: Hardware does not integrate with third-party software or other mobile apps easily. Pulling out data into internal or external payroll systems has always been a challenge. This challenge gets compounded if HR teams have to integrate biometric hardware data with remote employee attendance
Desktop application: Most hardware devices have a poor software stack with user unfriendly experience. Current solutions are not cloud-first applications which makes the whole user experience clunky and cumbersome.
Future of employee attendance solutions
Thanks to advances in technology, employee attendance is seeing a massive shift from touch-based hardware-centric solutions to contactless, mobile-app centric attendance. What is further fuelling this transition is advances in the field of artificial intelligence based facial recognition technology that instantly identifies faces with a high degree of accuracy.
Organizations are looking for employee attendance solutions with the following wish-list:
Supports on-premise, on-field and work-from-home attendance in an integrated approach
Completely app-based, easy and intuitive for employees
Easy to setup within minutes and easy to manage for HR and admin teams
Cloud-first application with access of data from anywhere
Advanced analytics and dashboards to capture employee productivity
API’s and easy integration infrastructure to connect with other third party software’s
Arvi selfie-checkin employee attendance solution provides a 10X jump in ease, usability and efficiency for workplaces. Click here for a 30-day free trial of solution.