Help me buy a new time clock
February 25, 2015 12:19 PM   Subscribe

I'm the office manager for a 50+ person machine shop. Our old manual time clock is about to die and I need to buy a new one. We're thinking of going with fingerprint ID - any pitfalls? Boss would like the clock to ask the employees "Were you injured at work today? Yes or No" and have them answer upon punchout. Do you manage a time clock that you would recommend?
posted by sarajane to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Our HR department was considering doing a fingerprint badge in/out model a few years ago, but dropped the idea like a hot rock when it was proven to be wildly unpopular with almost everyone outside of HR.

Many people find fingerprint ID at work to be weirdly invasive of their privacy. I'm one of them - I just don't want work all that much up in my business. They already have my birth date and social security number; if they want my fingerprints, they can get them the old fashioned way*.

(*by which I mean, wait till I'm accused of murder and have Rick Castle lift them off my soda can.)
posted by kythuen at 12:43 PM on February 25, 2015 [5 favorites]

I'm not intrinsically opposed to the whole fingerprint or hand print scanner for certain uses. We have a pseudo-convenience store in our break room and I can use my fingerprint to pay for food, which I consider awesome!

But for a time clock specifically, consider two things, based on a previous workplace where we did have to use such a scanner to clock in and out:

1) Personal hygiene - I would see people pick their noses or cough into their hands as we clumped around waiting those last 2-4 seconds before the clock turned and we could clock out. Having to use the clock after them REALLY skeeved me out, and was gross. I got sick a lot more than usual at that job too.

2) Injury - People injure their hands a lot, even in a normal office environment. I'll slap a bandaid on a finger for a nasty paper cut! However, that means the time clock wouldn't work for me (if it was my scanning finger) until I removed my band-aid and pressed my gory finger on the clock. Once I sprained my whole hand and had to wear this bandage thing, and for a whole week I had to bug HR each day to clock me in and out.

In conclusion: Paying for the occasional soda with my fingerprint is awesome. Having to clock in and out each day with it would be a nail in the coffin of "time to look for another job"
posted by sharp pointy objects at 1:16 PM on February 25, 2015 [6 favorites]

My wife worked at a place that had a fingerprint scanner, and she could never use it because her ridges weren't distinct enough to be detected.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 2:24 PM on February 25, 2015

We use fingerprint login for some things at work, and in addition to the weird privacy invasion, there are some people it really doesn't work well on. It seems to be older employees, maybe people with drier skin or something, but a few of them have had to get switched to using a login and password because the fingerprint reader could only ID them maybe 1 time out of 30-40. It's super frustrating.

For time clock stuff, we have a Kronos brand system where you swipe your barcoded employee badge. It has a bunch of function keys on it that I think must be customizable (ours are awfully specific to our work, anyway), so you could probably get one of them to work for "got injured this shift" instead of "didn't get lunch this shift" (which we use). I don't know if you can make it automatically prompt for this, though. We have to remember to push the button before we swipe out at the end of a shift, if it's relevant.
posted by vytae at 2:27 PM on February 25, 2015

As somebody forced to use a fingerprint sensor on the office copy machine, I beg of you, please don't choose this method. Why? Because it doesn't work. Oh, it'll work eventually, after maybe a dozen attempts. Some can make it work immediately. But in the morning, the multiple, tiresome rejections (with accompanying reset delays) will make those waiting in line behind late.
posted by Rash at 3:19 PM on February 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

I will echo the "please avoid fingerprint ID" sentiment. A previous job used fingerprints to login. However, I'm one of those whose fingerprints just would not register (over multiple days we tried every finger at least twice). I was issued a card to swipe instead, which worked every time.
posted by smangosbubbles at 4:28 PM on February 25, 2015

How about facial recognition as an alternative to fingerprint reading? Example. (Others are available.) I understand what the boss wants by asking the clock-out question about injury, but you might ask if your workers comp carrier thinks that's an effective method.
posted by Snerd at 4:36 PM on February 25, 2015

I had a job that went from everyone filling out their own time sheets - on copy paper, photocopied crookedly - to a hand-scanning time clock because they got a grant for one. It was awful. First, germs and stuff. Second, it got slimed up with lotion or sweaty hands or whatever pretty frequently, and it is disgusting when your hand comes away with someone else's hand slime on it. Third, the slime often meant it needed cleaning before it would work. Fourth, it often took a few tries to clock in and out. Fifth, sometimes it would tell you it had worked and show the time it had clocked you in or out, but it was lying and you'd get notified by HR that you hadn't clocked in that morning but had scanned your hand that afternoon so it thought you worked from 5:03 p.m. on Friday until the following Monday at 8:59. It was gross and annoying and HR always acted like we were trying to pull a fast one when we had to have them manually enter corrections.

In conclusion, don't do this.
posted by SeedStitch at 6:13 AM on February 26, 2015

Wow. Thanks for all of the input - totally rethinking the fingerprint scanner, now.
posted by sarajane at 9:15 AM on February 26, 2015

« Older Recommendations for printing a lot of digital...   |   Wang 724 keyboard on Windows Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.