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September 27, 2021 | Time and Attendance | Posted by Ascentis Thought Leadership

How Can More Rugged Time Tracking Devices Boost Productivity?

In today’s workforce, jobs that entail clocking in and spending the day at a designated workstation are increasingly becoming the exception, not the rule. Mobility and flexibility at work are in greater demand than ever before across all industries, and blue-collar fields are no exception. Employees who work outdoors, handle hazardous materials, operate heavy machinery, or work in other harsh conditions need time and attendance hardware rugged enough to stand up to their surroundings. From construction workers onsite to agricultural workers in the field to truck drivers traveling over the road, labor-driven industries require reliable, durable mobile technology.

Recent media coverage tends to focus on mobile solutions for workers who clock in to office jobs or work from home, but the reality is that American workers are far more mobile than their reputation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 47% of jobs required work outdoors at some point during the day. Labor-driven industries like manufacturing and construction represent a much larger portion of the workforce than many people realize, with nearly 18 million American workers employed in blue-collar professions. There is clearly both a need and a demand for durable mobile tools designed for the environments where people actually work. Put another way, employers should be able to expect the same level of performance from their time clocks in the field that they expect from their employees.

What can mobile time clocks do for blue-collar employers?

The nature of many labor-driven industries makes it impractical to expect workers to use a time and attendance system that requires workers to clock in at a central location, or to sit down at a computer and access a dashboard. Some employers attempt to address that challenge by relying on paper-based time and attendance tracking solutions, but those outdated methods often create more problems than they solve. Here are just a few reasons why employers need to consider investing in durable time and attendance hardware with mobile capability.

  • Increased productivity: Tracking time and attendance may not seem like the most time-consuming item on most employers’ agendas, but all of those minutes add up. A rugged time tracking device can help employers maintain productivity in multiple areas, including:
    • Consistency: A more durable timekeeping tool creates a more consistent experience for workers in the field, ensuring a familiar, hassle-free time clock experience no matter where a specific workday takes place.
    • Compliance: Keeping and reporting accurate records of punching in and out, shift changes, break time, and other regular time tracking factors for workers in the field helps keep employers compliant with company policies, union requirements, and labor laws.
    • Group functions: A mobile, durable time clock allows supervisors to complete common group functions like punch-ins and punch-outs, meal breaks, and job transfers from any location.
  • Expanded access: For workers whose jobs require moving between multiple locations or working in the field, having access to mobile time and attendance tools can make a big difference. Research shows that mobile tablets boost productivity by 28% for field service technicians. Being able to log hours and track attendance without having to sit down at a physical workstation can be a game-changer in jobs where every minute counts.Everything from punching in and out to transferring jobs to tracking meal breaks can be completed wherever your employees are. That takes much of the time-consuming guesswork out of managing a job site. Even in remote or hazardous work environments where employees can’t easily use regular tablets or phones with mobile apps, a more rugged, blue-collar focused time clock helps create a safer, more functional work environment for everyone involved.
  • Simplified compliance and security: Paper timesheets, basic computer spreadsheets, and other manual timekeeping methods can be easily falsified, lost, or damaged, and often require corrections after the fact. Addressing those issues takes a lot of time and money, while letting them slip runs the risk of expensive compliance violations. Automated, mobile accessible time tracking helps employers avoid noncompliance and costly mistakes like overpayment and underpayment. Upgrading to a rugged time clock also helps mitigate the risks of time fraud and noncompliance by giving employers full control over settings and security. By controlling time and attendance functions via company-owned hardware, organizations can seriously reduce the risks that come with tracking time via apps on employees’ personal mobile phones.
  • Reduced fraud: Time fraud is a hugely expensive problem in labor-driven industries. The American Society of Employers notes that 20% of every dollar earned in the U.S. is lost to employee theft in the United States. Other studies have found that time theft costs employers more than $400 billion annually in lost productivity, with around $373 million lost to buddy-punching alone. An automated mobile time and attendance system including security measures like facial recognition and biometric access can drastically reduce that kind of time fraud, saving your organization significant time and money.
  • Ease of movement: Blue collar jobs often involve working in harsh and challenging environments that don’t lend themselves easily to standard time and attendance tracking methods. A rugged, mobile time-tracking system that’s portable enough to ride along in a tractor or a semi and durable enough to withstand dusty construction sites can save workers time and effort by eliminating the need to clock in at a central location, or to remember to log their hours online once they get home from a long day of work.

The bottom line is that a workforce that regularly works outdoors, on the road, or in a potentially hazardous environment requires a mobile time and attendance system designed to stand up to those conditions. In labor-driven industries where non-stationary work is the norm, employers need technology that can keep pace with their workers, withstand a range of environments, and go everywhere they go. Find out more about how the new Ascentis Flex Clock provides a one-to-many experience tailored to the needs of today’s blue-collar workforce.


With more than 35 years of experience in providing Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, Ascentis thought leaders have become a respected source for insights, tips, and innovations in the Human Capital Management (HCM) space.