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Advantages and Disadvantages of Proximity Clocking Terminals

Proximity clocking terminal may sound complex, but they’re actually very common, and it’s highly likely that you’ve come across several in your lifetime. In reality, this term describes a system where swipe cards or fobs can be used to record what time a staff member enters or exits a building or an area of their company’s premises. So, is this system the best way to record time and attendance and grant employees access? Here are a few of the pros and cons of proximity clocking terminals, as determined by ELF Productivity Limited.


Disadvantages of Proximity Clocking Terminals

Forgettable and Transferrable

The main problem with having a physical card, badge or fob for each employee that is authorised to use a time and attendance terminal is the fact that each one is relatively easy to remove from its assigned member of staff. Whether accidentally or by design, workers are able to swap passes (leading to inevitable “buddy clocking”, where one staff member clocks in or out at a terminal on behalf of another, meaning the second employee will be registered as being “present” when they are not), or put theirs down and lose it (which could easily lead to a security breach or theft). These items can also prove expensive to replace or maintain if multiple staff members continue to lose and damage theirs.

Advantages of Proximity Clocking Terminals


As proximity clocking systems have been around and in use for many years, the basic process of clocking in and out using a swipe card, fob or badge is one that many workers will be used to. However, the very basic mechanism that was first used by forward thinking companies decades ago has now been replaced by a system that takes multiple actions at once, storing useful employee data and updating clockings in real time, meaning there is no downloading or transferring of information required. It’s a well-known approach, but one that produces brand new results.


Newer systems have now come into use whereby staff members may use fingerprint scanners or facial recognition to clock in and out of their places of work. However, a queue of individuals waiting to start their working day at nine o’clock in the morning or to head home at five in the afternoon can prove quite slow to process in this way, particularly if a company has very few terminals and employs a large quantity of individuals who all work a typical eight-hour day, and all arrive and leave at around the same time. While these biometric scanners may function extremely well for shift-based work, proximity clocking systems tend to be the preference of many traditional offices.


While biometric systems are completely secure, many employees find themselves slightly uneasy when adjusting to their use. There is often a fear for the safety of personal data that retinal, facial or fingerprint scanning seems to exacerbate – due to the direct physical interaction required and the natural connotation of fingerprints with unique personal and biological information. In reality, no fingerprints or facial or retinal imagery or data is retained. The system maps certain points within these particular features and creates a code that is unique to each individual employee. All traces of fingerprints and facial features are then completely wiped from the system. Be that as it may, however, it’s likely that – as an employer – you will come up against far lower resistance when implementing a fob-based system than you might if you were to install fingerprint scanners in the workplace.


Because they’ve been around for so long, proximity clocking terminals tend to be easier to maintain than many more complex alternatives, and mistakes are often slightly more straightforward to remedy. A missing card can easily be replaced, whereas if there is an issue with a biometric system, resolving it is likely to prove a little harder.

Find Out More About Available Types of Time and Attendance System

Whether you’ve decided to install a proximity clocking system in your office or you’d prefer to opt for biometric options such as finger, facial or retinal scanning terminals, your next step is to shop around for a product that best suits your needs. ELF Productivity Limited is a great place to start, boasting a wide range of systems that can help to reduce the time and effort spent on management administration and HR paperwork, allowing you more time to develop your company and its products. For further information, get in touch today via 01257 256000 or email sales@elf.uk.com to discuss your requirements with their knowledgeable team.

Posted by ELF Productivity about 1 year

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