A common concern we've been hearing from workers during the Coronavirus pandemic is the use of communal areas at their place of work - and the potential for the transmission of the Coronavirus at these areas. One such area of concern is the fingerprint scanner used for clocking in and out. Given that employees can be asymptomatic - in fact a recent study by the British Medical Journal said China's data indicated approx. 80% have no symptoms - this is an especially important problem to tackle in the workplace.

On the one hand, employers must keep track of who's working so they can run payroll and invoice for their work accordingly but, on the other hand, no employer wants to jeopardise the health of their workforce either.

Illustration of the ultrastructure of the Covid-19 virus (CDC/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY)
Illustration of the ultrastructure of the Covid-19 virus (CDC/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY)

So what can be done?

Well, in our eyes there are a couple of suboptimal compromises:

  1. Temporarily require that no employee is required to clock in and out via a fingerprint machine - perhaps keeping their own records on paper
  2. Ensure that proper procedures are in place for employees to sanitise the terminal after their use as well as washing their hands

Option 1 eradicates the chance of the virus being transmitted, but increases the chance of incorrect payroll and invoices being calculated due to the poor accuracy of paper timesheets. See here article on why paper timesheets should be avoided.

Option 2 in an ideal world would be the perfect solution, but one momentary lapse by a tired employee could be all it takes for an employee to transmit the coronavirus to the surface - and to the entire team.

Luckily we live in a digital world, and there are digital solutions. What we are suggesting is Option 3.

3. Employees clock in via an app on their personal mobile

Let's look at it objectively. The majority of employees carry their own mobile phone (which is personal to them so no need to share common surface areas), therefore eradicating the chance of virus transmission from another worker via shared clock in terminals.

Digital clock in systems are accurate, time-stamping the millisecond that the employee clocked in and out. Additionally, time and attendance apps like TimeKeeper utilise features like facial recognition and geofencing, so employers can be sure that each employee timesheet is accurate and verified.

In fact, for any business that wants to transition to a mobile time and attendance system, TimeKeeper is offering a 3 month free trial and full on-boarding assistance to help. No fees, no contracts, and after 3 months hopefully this will be all be behind us and companies can go back to using fingerprint scanners.

Stay safe, all.