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Evolution of Time Tracking: From Punch Cards to Automatic Time Tracking Software

Time tracking software industry is one of the industries which was heavily affected by technology developments. We’re seeing more time tracking apps who are using AI to map and allocate time you spend on different projects and tasks. 

 

But, how did it all start? What were the first systems used for time tracking? How did they evolve in the meantime? And where are we now?

Keep reading to find out more about the evolution of time tracking software.

 

How Did It Start?

Towards the end of the 1800’s, employee time was tracked with punch cards. Each card corresponded to a specific employee, and they were required to punch it in the machine when they got to work, and when they were getting off.

 

This system was flawed in many ways: buddy punching was a common habit, and there wasn’t much employers could do about it. Then the first revolution in this field was when the self-calculating machine was invented. Until then, employers needed to calculate everyone’s punch cards manually in order to determine the payment amount.

 

Almost a century later, we got the first computer-based employee time and attendance tracking software which replaced the mechanical time clocks. Once these software came into play, we got stripe cards, barcodes and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and ditched the paper time cards. Some companies have even added biometric readers to their time trackers.

 

Why Is This Evolution Important?

Each step developers took to improve labor time trackers was taking the industry one step closer towards better accuracy and efficiency of time tracking.

 

Mainly, the employee time recording systems developed to resolve the following challenges most employers are facing:

  • Buddy punching – Employees clocking in on behalf of their coworkers, so managers wouldn’t know they were late, or simply to get more billable hours.
  • Laws – In a lot of countries employers must keep accurate records on hours each of their employees worked.
  • Wrongly calculated time –  which was caused by buddy punching, but also due to human error.

 

According to the American Payroll Association, more than 75% of companies lose money due to buddy punching!

 

How Automatic Time Tracking Software Works, and Why Should You Do It?

 

Automatic time tracking software is the latest advancement in the time tracking industry. Essentially, it tracks time you spent working automatically. But it’s not just about automatic time calculation in order to get a more accurate payroll.

 

Some of the more sophisticated tools use artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically detect on which project or task your employees are working, so you can also bill clients as accurately as possible. 

 

Automation allows your employees to focus on their projects instead on entering time into spreadsheets. With automated time tracking, their focus won’t be shifting from one thing to another, and you could even see improvement in their productivity levels.

 

By tracking time automatically, you’ll be able to dedicate time to the things that really matter in your business, and stop thinking whether your employees remembered to turn on their trackers, or change memos when they switched tasks.

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