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Mobile time tracking vs. traditional time clocks: a comparative analysis

Tracking employee hours is a critical function for businesses of all sizes. Traditionally, companies have relied on methods like punch cards, manual timesheets, and traditional time clocks to monitor the attendance of their employees and hours worked, and to report into payroll. However, newer technologies incorporating modern mobile time tracking solutions have emerged as a game-changer. In this comparative analysis, find out the benefits and drawbacks of using mobile time tracking and traditional time clocks to record hours worked, and what the best option for your business is.

Traditional time tracking methods

Traditional time tracking encompasses a set of well-established methods used by businesses to record employee work hours. It often involves the use of physical devices such as time clocks, punch cards, or manual timesheets. These traditional methods have been relied upon for decades but are generally fixed on-site. Many businesses still rely on traditional time tracking equipment to monitor and document employee attendance and hours worked. While the technology is familiar and simple, it also carries inherent limitations in terms of flexibility and real-time data access.


Familiarity: Traditional time clocks have been a staple in workplaces for decades, making them familiar and easy to use for both employers and employees.

Inexpensive: Traditional time clocks are often less expensive to purchase and maintain compared to mobile time tracking solutions.

Accuracy: When it comes to the data that is recorded by the time clocks themselves, it is generally highly accurate due to the ease of use of devices like punch cards.


Limited flexibility: Traditional time clocks are typically fixed in one location, making them unsuitable for businesses with remote or mobile workers.

Manual data entry: The data collected by traditional time clocks often requires manual entry into payroll systems, increasing the risk of errors.

Lack of real-time analytics: Traditional time clocks offer limited analytics capabilities, making it challenging to monitor workforce efficiency in real time.

Modern, mobile time tracking

Mobile time tracking is a modern workforce management solution that leverages digital technology to allow employees to record their work hours and attendance using mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. 

Employees can clock in and out from anywhere with an internet connection, making it particularly advantageous for businesses with remote or field-based workers. Mobile time tracking offers real-time data analytics, enhances accuracy by reducing manual data entry, and enables dynamic scheduling adjustments, ultimately providing businesses with greater efficiency and agility in managing their workforce and resources.


Flexibility: Mobile time tracking allows employees to clock in and out from anywhere with an internet connection, making it ideal for remote and field workers.

Accuracy: Mobile time tracking reduces the risk of errors associated with manual data entry, leading to more accurate payroll and billing.

Real-time analytics: Businesses can access real-time data on employee hours and productivity, enabling better decision-making and resource allocation.

Improved scheduling: Mobile time tracking facilitates dynamic scheduling adjustments, ensuring that businesses can respond promptly to changing work demands.

Cost savings: While initial setup costs may be higher, mobile time tracking can lead to significant cost savings in the long run by reducing payroll errors and administrative overheads.


Initial Setup: Implementing a mobile time tracking system may require upfront investment in hardware and software.

Internet Dependency: Mobile time tracking relies on an internet connection, which could be a drawback in areas with poor connectivity. However, this is becoming a less common problem as broadband infrastructure continues to improve.

Suitability for Different Types of Businesses

The suitability of time tracking methods often depends on the nature of the business and its workforce. Traditional time clocks may still be suitable for businesses with a fixed location and a workforce that works primarily on-site. However, mobile time tracking shines in various scenarios:

Remote Work: For companies with remote workers or employees in the field, mobile time tracking offers the flexibility needed to accurately monitor hours worked.

Flexible Hours: Businesses with employees working flexible hours or shifts benefit from the real-time tracking and scheduling capabilities of mobile solutions.

Multiple Locations: Companies with multiple locations can centralise time tracking data, streamlining payroll and reporting processes.

Growing Businesses: As businesses expand, mobile time tracking scales more efficiently, accommodating a growing workforce and evolving needs.

While traditional time tracking methods have their place in certain industries, modern mobile time tracking offers a range of advantages that make it the superior option for many businesses. With improved accuracy, real-time analytics, reduced errors, and enhanced scheduling capabilities, mobile time tracking empowers businesses to better manage their workforce and resources.

With time clocking software from Crown, staff members can clock in in any number of different ways, anywhere they happen to be working from. Whether it’s via Crown’s state-of-the-art time clocks using facial recognition or ID card readers, or simply from their own computer or mobile device, all attendance information feeds directly into one system, ensuring highly accurate records, no duplication of data and real-time oversight. To find out how time clocking from Crown could improve your business, arrange a demo today.

Introducing Crown: modern and versatile clock-in software

Selecting the right clock-in software is a strategic decision that can significantly improve your organisation's efficiency, accuracy, and compliance. By clearly defining your objectives, compiling a list of required features, involving your staff in the decision-making process, considering the deployment model, and prioritising regulatory compliance, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your business needs and objectives. Embracing modern clock-in software can streamline your time management processes, empower your workforce, and contribute to overall operational success.

This is where Crown comes in. Our clocking software is built to easily negotiate complex shift patterns and contract types, capturing workforce data in real time. Crown is highly accurate, seamless to roll out and eminently scalable. Find out how Crown could fit your organisation by arranging a free demo today!

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