Harris School Solutions
Harris School Solutions

Choosing the Best Time Clock

Timekeeping can be one of the most time-consuming and intensive tasks for any organization. It also happens to be one of the most important. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2023 the average business/organization spent 70.4% of their total operations budget on labor costs.

With that in mind, you need to carefully consider how you’re managing timekeeping and how to maximize productivity while also minimizing inaccuracies. If you’re using more traditional systems like punch cards or paper timesheets, you spend a lot of time manually imputing data and correcting common mistakes. Switching to a modern timekeeping software solution is the natural choice to upgrade your timekeeping capabilities and reduce time-consuming manual payroll tasks.

One of the first steps in exploring timekeeping software is deciding which clock options make the most sense for your organization. Do you need physical terminals in a central staff location, or do you prefer more flexible web clock options to allow for clocking in/out via a computer or mobile device? Keep reading to learn the ins and outs, pros and cons of the most common clock options for modern timekeeping software, and how these options can be customized to fit your organization.

Clock Options

First, you need to determine the clock options that are going to work best for your staff members and current processes. You may find one clock option that would better fit one location or department in your district, but not be the right solution for another. You may find a combination of options would fit in different areas within one location. Let’s take a deeper dive into the several clocking options.

There are three main types of clock options: a web clock, which can be accessed via computer or mobile device with a designated URL or HSS product login, through the mobile app, which is also accessed through a dedicated app on smart devices, and a physical time clock terminal that is mounted to a wall.

Web Clock/Physical Terminal

The Web Clock option is a flexible and cost-effective way to implement a new timekeeping process for your team. Web Clocks can be fully customized, like the GT550 physical terminal, and can be accessed via any internet enabled device with a standard browser.

Mobile Devices

The web clock can be accessed with any brand of mobile device or tablet with access to a standard browser. You simply input the designated URL into your mobile web browser.

Mobile App

A mobile app can be accessed with any brand of mobile device or tablet with access to an app store. Employees simply download the product app to their phone and utilize their employee login information to utilize the app.


Similar to the web clock, tablets can be utilized in a kiosk setting for employees who do not have access to a computer.


The web clock can be utilized in a variety of ways. You can have employees who work at their desks utilize their work computers. Or, you can utilize a computer kiosk at department focal points. This option gives all employees a way to quickly access the web clock.

Each employee’s login consists of their payroll ID number as a username and individualized PINs as a password to input into the web clock.


The Pros & Cons of Web Clocks

Web Clock Pros

Cost Effective

Most web clock options come free with the software. They also allow your organization to utilize mobile devices and computers used by your employees daily to cut out the cost of the physical terminals.

Flexible Access

Organizations can utilize IP address restrictions to allow certain employees to clock in from anywhere or lock down access to employees who are on the organization’s internal network.

Web Clock Cons

Departmental Accommodations
Employees who do not have access to computers during their daily duties (maintenance workers, custodial staff, etc.) or do not own compatible mobile devices will have to be further accommodated during this workflow transition.

Bill Coverage Requests
Many directors and management are weary of staff using their personal devices to clock in because it raises the debate on covering personal cellular costs for specified employees.

Power Outages for Kiosks
Unlike the GT550 physical clock terminal with a backup battery, many web clock computer kiosks rely on power cords and internet for functionality.


The Pros and Cons of the Mobile App

Mobile App Pros

Cost Effective

Most mobile apps are free with the timekeeping software. Organizations can also see significant cost savings when comparing the purchase of a tablet or cell phone compared to the purchase of a clocking terminal.


Many employees across the K-12 industry do not work from one location. From transportation and maintenance to teachers who split time between schools, the mobile app gives them the ability to clock in or access their information on the go. Geofencing capabilities can be utilized to ensure employees are punching from the right location.


Not all districts and schools are located in places with strong internet connections. Mobile devices give employees better access without paying thousands to increase internet connectivity in rural areas.


With today’s modern technology, employers can track the geolocation and/or limit access to clock in/out based on the employee’s location.

Mobile App Cons

Bill Coverage Requests

Organizations are weary of staff using their personal devices to clock in because it raises the debate on covering personal cellular costs.

Lost Devices

Because of the size and portability of tablets and mobile devices, there is always the chance a device can get misplaced or stolen. Districts and schools can utilize locking devices and geolocation tracking to ensure the devices stay protected.


Physical Terminals (GT550 Terminal)

Physical Terminals are a great option to utilize at locations’ focal points, where employees can punch in and out. There are multiple card reader options that can be programmed and attached to this machine to recognize login credentials. These flexible features let employees utilize a pre-existing access card to access their time clock. This feature can make it easy to transition your organization to an automated Timekeeping solution.

Standard Pin Entry
A standard GT550 model automatically comes with pin-entry. Each staff member is assigned a payroll ID number when they are hired. This ID number will be utilized as their login credentials for the time clock terminal.

Proximity Cards (RFID/HID Prox/IClass Clock Reader
A proximity card reader will be installed to accept employee’s current cards and give them access to the clock. If your organization already uses contactless keycards, these cards can be tested to confirm they will work with your GT550 terminal. If the identification cards are approved after testing, you can leverage your existing technology without adding costs or the hassle of setting up access for your district employees.

Biometric (Fingerprint Template)
After the clock system is installed, employees enroll by scanning their fingerprints to connect their fingerprint patterns to their identification. The scanner identifies sections of each fingerprint where the ridges and grooves intersect or fade. Once the initial biometric template has been created, the employee’s finger template is discarded. The only template saved will be utilized for future reference when logging in. This option is highly effective to guarantee no “buddy-punching” is taking place.

**Please be aware that this clock option is often confused to function the same way other biometric identification systems such as IAFIS used by law enforcement. These clocks do not store the fingerprint images of each employee, they discard them right after enrollment.


The Pros and Cons of Physical Terminals (GT550 Terminal)

Pros (GT550 Terminal)

Ease of Access
Clocking in/out is made easy with a tap or swipe of a card.

Singular Purpose
A benefit of using a GT550 time clock versus a kiosk is that it’s sole purpose is for punching and submitting time related requests.

Back-up power options
In the instance of a power outage, you can choose to either have a high capacity backup battery or a POE (Power Over Ethernet) cable attached to your machine. The POE functionality lowers the risk of power loss and has a lower cost compared to the electrical drop cord.

Cons (GT550 Terminal)

Terminals are more costly than the traditional web clock and mobile app clocking options. There can also be installation costs if the clock location does not have an electrical drop or ethernet/Wi-Fi available.

Just like with any device, the clocking terminal may. be down due to repair related needs. There are many options available to reduce the downtime to include next day clock delivery and extended clock warranties.

When your organization is used to a paper timecard routine a new system can be perceived as complex. By utilizing physical cards of biometric options, you can make it easier on employees to clock in/out. And after brief employee training and an adjustment period you will see a whole new level of efficiency.

Transitioning to a modern timekeeping software solution can radically change your back-office workload and optimize how you manage your workforce day-to-day. By adopting modern timekeeping equipment like web clocks or physical terminals, organizations can streamline time tracking, automate payroll processes, and enhance overall productivity.

Starting the process of investing in a new timekeeping software solution represents a big step towards maximizing productivity while managing labor costs.

Interested in learning more about transitioning your timekeeping system? Contact us today to request more information on Harris timekeeping solutions or to request a quote.