Monthly Archives: June 2016

Types of Business Phone Systems

One of the reasons VoIP systems have become so popular with small businesses is that they provide access to features and tools — like auto attendants, music on hold and voicemail to email — that previously only larger companies were using.Voice over Internet Protocol systems are the most popular alternative to landline services. Instead of using traditional copper wiring like a landline system does, VoIP systems tap into your internet connection to make and receive calls.

A virtual phone service is another type of business phone system that many small businesses are now using. This system essentially works as an extensive call-forwarding service. All calls to a main business line are forwarded to employees on their mobile or home phone lines.

Virtual systems, which offer many of the same upgraded features and tools that VoIP system provide, are a nice alternative for businesses with a large remote workforce.

How to Choosing a Time Attendance System

  • Time and attendance systems allow employees to clock in and out electronically via time clocks, internet-connected computers, mobile devices and telephones.
  • That data is then instantly transferred into software that can be seamlessly imported into your payroll solution.
  • These systems do much more, though, than just track when employees come and go. They also:
    • Monitor mobile employees via geolocation and geofencing.
    • Give real-time data on who is working, who is not, who showed up late and who is nearing overtime.
    • Manage paid time off.
    • Create employee schedules.
    • Provide managers and business owners with detailed labor data.
  • Time and attendance systems feature a self-service function that allows employees to handle many time-tracking tasks on their own, including reviewing the hours they’ve worked, their current and future schedules and paid-time-off details.
  • Time and attendance systems are offered as a cloud-based or an on-premises solution.
  • With on-premises systems, you pay all of your costs up front. You can expect to pay several thousand dollars for the software, licenses for each employee and installation. There aren’t any monthly fees for the service after that. However, there typically is no ongoing support or software updates included in your one-time costs.
  • Cloud-based services have recurring monthly costs. Most services charge a per-user fee that can range anywhere from $1 to $10 per employee, per month. Some services also assess a base monthly charge or a minimum monthly charge. In addition, some providers also charge a one-time setup and implementation fee. Unlike on-premises systems, however, all software upgrades and support are included in your monthly expenses.

Pros and cons: The biggest benefit of these digital systems is that they eliminate the need for manual timecards. All of the time is collected electronically, with the calculations done for you. This cuts down on the chances of errors being made. Another positive is that these systems manage all your time needs — employee attendance, paid time off and scheduling — in one program. The biggest drawback to time-tracking systems is that they are more expensive than the old manual method where employees wrote down their hours each day or punched in and out using a paper timecard. Another potential downside is that they often force employers to curb the perception that asking their employees to track their time is some form of micromanagement.

What the experts say: “The goal of an automated time and attendance system is to provide a way to track an employees’ time,” said Warren Steinberg, a techno functional HCM consultant for Executive Alliance. “This can be as basic as tracking working hours or as complex as tracking vacation, leave of absence, holiday and sick time. The most common time systems have an interface that allows employees to clock in and out, either via a kiosk, a laptop, a time clock, or even a mobile app. All of the time is tracked in the system and then is reported to a payroll system.”

Attendance System for Small Businesses

After conducting extensive research and analysis, we recommend stratustime as the best time and attendance system for small businesses. To understand how we selected our best picks, view our methodology and a comprehensive list of time and attendance systems on our best picks page.

Why stratustime?

stratustime combines a wide range of time-tracking options and features with an easy-to-use interface and excellent customer support.

stratustime has a base cost of $4 per employee. There is also an installation and implementation charge based on the number of employees you have.

Time Tracking

stratustime from nettime solutions has all of the features and tools businesses of any size would want in a time and attendance system. It tracks all of a business’s time needs, including when employees come and go, when they take breaks, how long they work on certain projects, and how much paid time off (PTO) they’ve accrued.

Employees have five different ways to clock in and out, as well as manage their time:

  1. Traditional time clocks: The stratustime time clocks are cloud-based and can collect information via fingerprints, magnetic stripes, bar codes, proximity badges and touch screens. The time clocks automatically and instantly transfer the time employees punch in and out into the software. This gives managers instant visibility into when their employees are arriving and leaving work each day.
  2. Mobile-friendly website: The mobile website lets remote workers manage their time via any iOS, Android or BlackBerry smartphone or tablet. Employees can use the site to clock in and out, transfer where their time is being allocated, approve their time cards, and request time off. Managers can use the mobile website to approve time off and review time sheets. The mobile-friendly site uses geofencing to define the locations where employees can punch in and out. It uses geolocation technology to monitor where employees are starting and ending their shifts.
  3. Telephones: The IVR feature allows employees to call in from any phone to clock in and out, transfer their hours, submit time sheets, and check PTO balances. With this option, employers have the ability to restrict access to the system based on phone numbers.
  4. Web kiosk: The stratustime web kiosk can be used in place of, or in addition to, a traditional time clock. The kiosk can be set up on any computer or tablet and be placed in areas of high employee traffic. With this setup, workers can quickly clock in and out. No extra hardware, software or employee training are required.
  5. Computers: The final way for employees to manage their time is from any computer connected to the internet. Employees can log in to the online portal from their desks to manage all of their time and attendance needs.