Let's take a quick history lesson.
First, there was a time when workers had to punch a card upon arrival at work.
Later, technology progressed, and soon a huge range of mobile employee clocking-in systems (also known as time and attendance systems) became available – affordable, easy to use, and all equipped with their own intuitive timesheet software.
Then COVID-19 happened. Offices closed for a while, and everyone laid low.
But as we persevere through 2021, your employees are returning to work (or getting ready to, anyway). Like before, they still need to clock in – but now, it has to be in a way that's not only effective, but quick, cheap, and COVID-19-safe, too. What does this mean for you, then? Basically, you need to get yourself one of the UK's best clocking-in systems for businesses.
So read on – we've collected our top 10 for you below.
The top 10 clocking-in systems for UK businesses in 2021
We crunched the features, the functionality, and the ease of use of the myriad clocking systems on the market in 2021. The goal? To help your business choose the right clocking-in device – it's as simple as that.
So without further ado, our top ten favourite clocking-in systems are Bodet, Mitrefinch, Planday, ISGUS UK, TimeTac, Kronos, Chronicle, Clockrite, TimePilot, and ATS. We’ve reviewed each one; dive into the list to your left to navigate to the one of your choice.
Clocking-in systems are a great way of tracking the comings and goings of your staff. But how do you choose the device that's best-suited to the specific needs of your business?
That's where we can help.
Simply provide us with a few details about your business and premises' unique requirements. We'll ask a couple of questions about your industry and number employees, plus the deadline in which you'll need the system installed by. We'll also ask for your postcode, but don't freak out – this only allows us to eliminate suppliers that don't service your area, and focus on the ones that do.
Once we've matched you with said suppliers, they'll be in touch with you directly to offer time and attendance system quotes and advice tailored to your business' size, field, and requirements – so keep an eye on your phone.
Our quick, quote-finding questionnaire takes just 30 seconds to complete. Get started by hitting one of the buttons below.
What is a clocking-in system?
A clocking-in system is the hardware (or set of hardware) responsible for recording when your employees arrive and/or leave work. Installed somewhere at your business' premises, clocking-in devices help prevent payroll fraud, enable more efficient record-keeping, and provide both you and your employees with much-needed peace of mind.
The data your clocking-in devices collect is then fed into your business' data systems, and can be used to inform accurate payroll and tax records. You can also use this information to assess and report on employee activity trends, verify absences and holidays, and reward the most punctual members of your team.
Importantly, the clocking-in systems themselves aren't to be confused with the time and attendance software they work with. For simplicity's sake, this page is concerned with time and attendance hardware only.
To learn more about the software side of things, though – and how, when combined with clocking-in devices, this technology all adds up to a complete workforce management solution – we recommend exploring our guide to the top time and attendance software in 2021.
But back to the clocking-in devices. Which providers make our top 10?
Bodet’s clocking-in machines boast visually stunning, highly customisable touch screens, which are a pleasure to use for both employee and employer. These terminals can be combined with a fingerprint sensor, card reader or both. For the ultimate COVID-19-friendly device for 2021, though, you'll want to pick Bodet's facial recognition clocking-in machine. Your employees won't even have to physically touch the terminal to sign in – just stand in front of it! As well as recording information, Bodet’s system displays personal data like holidays, sick days, and overtime to employees when they clock in, as well as submit request for time off. Genius!
Bodet is one of the leading companies in time-related equipment in Europe, and has subsidiaries in several European countries and the UK. The first tower clock was installed by Monsieur Bodet in 1868, and it now produces everything from sports timekeeping boards to industrial bell systems – as well as excellent lines of clocking-in terminals (dubbed ‘Kelio') and biometric devices.
Bodet clocking-in system: how much does it cost?
Pricing is tailored to each customer, so you'll have to enquire with Bodet directly (not the Monsieur himself – Bodet's excellent customer support team will handle your call) to get a quote. Alternatively, you can take a moment to complete our quick, free quote-finding form. Simply provide us with a few details about your business, and you'll receive quotes tailored to your specific needs and industry.
It takes just 30 seconds to complete, and is completely free for UK-based businesses!
- Intuitive mobile options add a new dimension to your HR management
- Overseas-based support team not ideal for UK businesses
To learn more about what Bodet's been doing to empower small businesses over the last century and a half, head over to our Bodet review.
Best for tailored solutions
Mitrefinch's clever clocking-in machines have a reputation for excellence in catering to secure environments, as well as workplaces that are exposed to dust, dirt, rain, and the elements at large. Mitrefinch's clocking-in machines are all designed and manufactured in-house, and are built upon the company's leading fraud prevention technology (helping you stop ‘buddy punching' in its tracks). Better still, you can use the data the clocking-in system collects to keep your HR and payroll teams informed.
Mitrefinch is a UK-based company responsible for developing the very first computerised staff clocking system in the early 1980s. This innovation led to the company being featured for their ‘technology of the future’ on the TV program Tomorrow’s World, and they have continued to lead the way with biometric clocking systems.
Mitrefinch also has a reputation for developing bespoke clocking-in solutions to suit its clients, frequently tailoring its technology for larger companies of over 100 employees. There are options for both a one-time license and subscription.
Mitrefinch clocking-in system: how much does it cost?
Mitrefinch's pricing is tailored to each customer, and depends on the specific clocking-in device you choose.
- Bespoke approach to time and attendance means a tailored solution for your business
- Online reviews speak highly of customer support services
- Not recommended for businesses with less than 100 employees
To get better acquainted with Mitrefinch's leading time and attendance technology, explore our Mitrefinch review.
Best for shift planning
Simple and intuitive, Planday's cloud-powered clocking-in solution is the perfect fit for small businesses looking for a straightforward workforce management tool. Sure, more sophisticated reporting may be required for larger businesses, or those with more complex analytical requirements. But, for the price – Planday is one of the most affordable clocking-in systems on the market – you can't really go wrong.
Planday makes our list because of how easy it makes the clocking-in process for your employees. But, funnily enough, it accomplishes this without actually offering a physical clocking-in machine. Rather than your employees having to use a key fob, card, or enter their biometric data at a terminal on your premises, they can simply clock in remotely, from an app on their smartphone or tablet.
Planday works a bit like a social networking site, making shift data visible in real time. Employees can swap shifts or holidays, so management need only approve the swap, instead of organising it. While the advantages of all this are obvious, there's a key additional benefit of Planday's smart technology that's now more prescient than ever – it's COVID-19 secure.
Unlike some of the other clocking-in systems on this list, Planday requires the employee to have absolutely zero physical contact with any surfaces. This, as we know, helps mitigate the spread of the virus, and can aid your business in navigating the UK's tricky return to work guidelines. It's also acts as a show of faith to your employees – demonstrating that you're prepared to make an effort to ensure their health and wellbeing.
Planday clocking-in system: how much does it cost?
And that effort doesn't even need to come at a huge monetary cost, because Planday's pricing is very reasonable. £2 per user, per month buys you Planday's ‘Starter' plan, which includes features such as smart employee scheduling and individual/group communication.
Upgrading to the ‘Plus' plan (£4 per user, per month) adds holiday management, time tracking, and advanced reporting into the bargain. Beyond this, the ‘Custom' plan is available at a bespoke rate.
- Social network-like approach brings you data in real time
- Might not be as suitable for businesses not working on a shift system
4) ISGUS UK
Best for customer support
ISGUS UK offers modular systems of real-time staff clocking and access control management. Data can be harvested for project management, holiday scheduling and payroll systems. The company also provides industry-specific clocking-in solutions, and excels in providing systems that promote flexible and remote working. As for the clocking-in machines themselves, we can only describe them as tamper-proof – and downright elegant, too.
ISGUS UK was founded in 1888. In the more than 130 years that have elapsed since, it's gone from patenting mechanical clocks for watchmen to today’s hi-tech biometric equipment and staff management systems.
Reviews of customer support are excellent – particularly in urgent cases, when there is a guaranteed two-hour call back time. It also uses GoToMeetings for remote video help – ideal for when COVID-19 restrictions make it tough to get a technician round to your workplace.
Moreover, the clocking-in terminals are simple to use, while its mobile functions work well across a range of smart devices, tablets, and computers. That said, the price and complexity of ISGUS UK's clocking-in devices make this provider better-suited to companies with over 25 employees.
ISGUS UK clocking-in system: how much does it cost?
Pricing is tailored to each customer, and ZEUS doesn't offer much indication of how much it charges. For more information about how much you can expect to pay for your business' next clocking-in device, check out our ultimate guide to time and attendance system pricing – it lives up to its name!
- Accessible, easy to use clocking-in machines
- Not the best option if your business has less than 25 employees
Best for user-friendliness
TimeTac (not to be confused with TimeTrex, a popular open source time and attendance solution) is an Austrian company that aims to provide user-friendly clocking-in systems. Does it succeed? We think so – that is, if you want to monitor projects, and manage your resources, holidays and supply payroll data. TimeTac tailors its clocking-in devices to comply withs your premises' specific health and safety needs (COVID-19, we're looking at you!), and will work with your office management team to adapt the system to your business' ongoing growth and development targets.
Timetac doesn't produce its own hardware, its self-proclaimed ‘Green IT philosophy’ means it's dedicated to ensuring its solution is compatible with your existing IT infrastructure. Oh, and – coming back to TimeTac's excellent ease of us – its impressive user manual offers a searchable help function, meaning your system can be installed and operational in minutes.
TimeTac UK clocking-in system: how much does it cost?
We'll level with you – TimeTac's pricing isn't the most competitive. Its cheapest ‘time clock' will cost you €199, while its ‘basic' model prices up at €590. An advanced clocking-in system will set you back at least €1,090. On top of this, employee time tracking incurs a fee of €3.50 per user, per month.
Additional features include project time tracking (€8 per user, per month), leave management (€1.50 per user, per month), and shift planning (€1.50 per user, per month).
You can try TimeTac free for 30 days.
- Flexible approach, with hardware that's adaptable to the specific needs of your small business
- One of the more expensive clocking-in devices on the market
You're almost finished with our list of the top 10 best clocking-in system providers in the UK. Time to start comparing quotes?
Simply hit one of the buttons below to start our quick questionnaire. It takes just 30 seconds to do, and by telling us more about your business and premises' specific requirements, we can help ensure that you receive the best, most personalised rates on clocking-in systems.
Best for scalability
Kronos systems is capable of the complex data triage required by very large companies with thousands of employees in thousands of different roles. It will manage payroll data, make holiday scheduling relatively straightforward, and work with security settings for smart locks, that only allow access to selected individuals. Naturally, all that functionality comes at a higher price point, so smaller businesses should probably look elsewhere.
Kronos is arguably the most well known of employee clocking systems, and – like the company's eponym, which it takes from Greek lore – is a veritable titan of the time and attendance world.
Kronos has a variety of biometric technology, including fingerprint clocking-in machines, which feed data to your (grateful) HR and payroll departments. Kronos' cloud-based approach also has the advantage of being modular – so you can anticipate company growth and diversity, as well as being safe in the knowledge you're only paying for the specific features and tech that you'll actually be using.
Kronos' clocking-in systems can monitor different roles in different locations (and for different pay rates, too), even if all these things are happening to the same person on the same day. This is hugely useful, for example, for doctors working in clinics that specialise in different areas, from research to consulting. This level of detail is also handy for knowing where to place staff for maximum efficiency.
Kronos clocking-in system: how much does it cost?
Pricing is tailored to each customer. However, you can browse bespoke quotes for your business from Expert Market-approved suppliers by completing our quick, free quote-finding form. It takes about 30 seconds, and you can be sure that all rates you receive are tailored to the unique demands of your business.
- Highly scalable system to grow with your business
- US-based company not as attuned to the unique needs of UK businesses
7) Chronicle Computing
Best for cost-effectiveness
Chronicle Computing has been driving UK businesses for over 30 years. Its cloud-based solution lets you tap into key information relating to your staff on the go, and it can conveniently be downloaded and set up in as little as five minutes. Chronicle Computing’s intuitive clocking-in system helps you generate payroll reports, and track attendance data in real time. Its highly affordable, too, with workforce management rates starting at just £1 per employee, per month, and COVID-19-secure smartphone clocking available for the same price. Chronicle Computing backs its competitive pricing so much, in fact, that it reckons it can save you about 5% a year on your staffing costs. Not too shabby!
Chronicle Computing offers a huge range of clocking devices to match the unique demands of your business – even supplying waterproof terminals for areas of food production and high splashback risk.
Whether biometric or key fob-based, Chronicle Computing’s clocking-in devices always provide durability, and are easily customisable to boot. And another great thing? You’ll get your employees' time and attendance data sent straight to your smartphone, tablet, or computer. So no matter where you are in the world, you’ll never miss a trick.
Chronicle Computing clocking-in system: how much does it cost?
Chronicle Computing's pricing packages start from £1 per employee, per month. That goes for:
- Chronicle Online: shift planning, activity and cost centre analysis, and holiday/sickness absence booking
- Smart Phone Clocking: remote clocking-in via your employee's smartphone (works with iOS and Android)
- Web Clocking and Self-Servicing: remote clocking-in via any browser (PC or laptop-compatible)
Chronicle Computing also offers ‘Super User Access' (£10 per user, per month), which allows you to manage records on the move. So what about its clocking-in devices, then?
For proximity devices, you'll pay anywhere from £350 to £1,250, depending on how many features you need. Chronicle Computing's fingerprint reader and waterproof clocking-in system are both priced at £1,550 each.
- Lets you create simple, visually accessible reports in moments
- Doesn't yet offer weekend support
Best for innovation
ClockRite offers a range of clocking-in terminals for small businesses, including fingerprint, RFID (radio-frequency identification) proximity, and facial recognition clocking-in devices, plus access control hardware. The clocking-in devices send data straight to your computer, too, where you can perform reporting functions, and export figures directly to Sage (or, for you antiquarians, an Excel spreadsheet) for payroll creation.
ClockRite clocking-in system: how much does it cost?
Pricing will vary depending on which clocking-in systems and hardware you purchase. A fingerprint scanner starts at £357.60, while for a facial recognition system, larger businesses (those with 800 employees, anyway) can expect to pay up to £1,362. A basic proximity device from ClockRite starts at £294.
- Wide range of impressive technology supporting its clocking-in systems
- Not the most cost-effective solution on the market
9) Stanley Security
Best for solution options
Stanley Security is all about options; whether you're after a small business, medium-sized growing company, or an enterprise-level company, this UK-based innovator has a solution for you. Better yet, you can combine its clocking-in systems with its industry-leading business security systems and access control technology, for a holistic setup that's more than the sum of its parts.
Stanley Security is also a division of Stanley Black & Decker (the company behind the famous Stanley Knife… ring any bells?). But enough about knives. How much do the clocking-in terminals cost?
Stanley Security clocking-in system: how much does it cost?
Stanley Security divides its time and attendance packages into the size of your business – that is, how many people you employ. If that number is between one and 50, your rate will start at just £36 per month. Companies with 50 to 100 employees will pay a fee of between £40.50 (Advanced) and £100.21 (Professional) per month. If you employ more than 100 people, you'll receive a bespoke quote.
- Large range of innovative hardware options
- Long contract lengths
10) Auto Time Systems (ATS)
Best for range of clocking in devices
Wigan-based clocking-in terminal provider ATS (Auto Time Systems) has plenty of strings to its bow. As well as clocking-in hardware, you can equip your business with a tasty buffet of workforce management equipment: including access control, CCTV, turnstile and barrier solutions, alarm systems… the lot! Better still, ATS' systems integrate with a range of other clocking-in device and time tracking giants, such as Bodet, SAP, Sage, and Suprema. AT-yes!
ATS offers a range of clocking machines, from extremely basic ones that will literally punch a card (a nostalgic throwback, hey?), to (slightly more advanced) swipe-card and fob systems. At the higher-spec end of the scale, though, ATS provides a full range of sophisticated biometric clocking technology.
Its machines are sourced from competitors (such as Bodet), but they at least have their own telephone technical support team. You'll be able to get hold of them during business hours Monday to Friday, but remote login and site visits are also available.
ATS clocking-in system: how much does it cost?
Pricing will vary according to the specific hardware and package you select. ATS doesn't advertise any of its rates on its website.
- Integrations aplenty!
- Offers scalable, versatile clocking-in devices
- No weekend or round-the-clock customer support
There you have it – our top 10 picks of the best clocking-in systems available to UK businesses. And the list doesn't even end there – honourable mentions go to clocking-in devices from Safescan and uAttend, too. But how do you decide which clocking-in system supplier is the best fit for your business?
By letting us help, that's how. Simply take a moment to provide us with a few quick details about the solution you're looking for. We'll assess the unique requirements of your business, and match you with top clocking-in device suppliers, who'll provide you with tailored quotes.
It's free, and takes less than a minute. Click one of the buttons below to start the process, and good luck!
What is a biometric system?
Sounds cool, right? A biometric clocking system is one that uses ‘human data’ in the clocking-in process. It uses fingerprints, handprints and even facial recognition technology to verify that your employees really are who they say they are. This helps eliminate the risks of ‘buddy punching‘ and helps cut out wasted wage spend.
How much does a clocking-in system cost?
Prices will depend on the kind of hardware you’re after. If you want a lot of people to access your business’ clocking-in system data, you may have to pay more. Broadly, though, it’ll depend on the size of the solution you require, the amount of staff you have, and the unique needs of your business as a whole. Even more so, the supplier you choose will make all the difference.
What are the benefits of using a clocking-in system?
✔ Cut costs and save time
Clocking-in systems give you accurate information about when your staff are clocking in. Accurate information means accurate wage bills. And getting rid of those perplexing payroll discrepancies will save you time chasing up loose ends. And also save you lots of money!
✔ Manage lateness
Every employer has heard it. “It’s only five minutes, what’s the big deal?” Well, five minutes late for five days a week equals a big chunk of wasted wages over the course of year. Clocking-in devices empower you the data to detect lateness and help get rid of it.
✔ Plan for the future
Clocking-in devices let you plan rotas and timesheets as far in advance as you’d like. It’s easy to work around employee absences and factor in sick days. You can cater to the individual schedules of each of your employees, to keep everyone happy.
✔ Streamline your workload
A clocking-in system integrates with your HR records and payroll. It cuts out dead time spent juggling employee records and despairing over endless stacks of paper. And with clocking-in systems now more compatible than ever with your smart device, you can manage your business from anywhere. Like, a beach maybe?
Is a clocking-in system right for my small business?
That depends – do you employee people, and do those people work from a fixed premises? If so, your business can benefit from a clocking-in system. It's just a better, easier way of making sure your office staff are on top of comings and goings.
And it's not about keeping an eye on your workforce, because you don't trust them. Nope; clocking-in systems are actually more about equipping yourself with the info you need to reward your most loyal, dedicated staff members – the ones arriving early, leaving late, and going the extra mile every day.
So, is it right for your business?
Well, that depends. If you want to show your team members that you recognise their efforts, while making life a whole lot more simple for your back office staff, then yes – it is! And it doesn't matter whether you're a startup with a handful of employees, or managing a skyscraper full of staff – clocking-in hardware systems are scalable, and always designed to grow with your business.
To dip your toe into the inviting benefits that clocking-in systems promise, simply take a second to complete our form with a few details about your business.
We'll just ask about what industry you're in, how many employees you'd like to track, and when you'd want the devices installed. It takes less than a minute to fill in, and when you're done, you'll receive quotes from leading clocking-in system providers – all tailored to your business and sector. Simple!