Buddy punching is clocking in or out of an organization on behalf of somebody else. The practice is a common problem for many organizations wherein punching (RFID or chip) cards are used. It is detrimental to the organization as they pay for employees’ working hours when they are not on the premises.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage of a corporate employee in the U.S. is $39.64. If an employee clocks in 10-15 minutes before or after for a co-worker, the employee gets paid for 1/4th of it during every instance. So, recurring models result in recurring losses for the organization.
Furthermore, per the 2017 bureau report, the American workforce has nearly 78 million hourly workers. If 16% of them punched 15 minutes for their co-worker, it could lead to a loss of $373 million in the annual payroll bill.
Typical Methods of Buddy Punching in Enterprises
1. RFID or Chip Cards
The most common method for ensuring the presence of an employee on the premises is an RFID or chip card. Unfortunately, these cards can be easily given to a co-worker for a quick check-in or late check-out of the premises.
The organization cannot continuously monitor a worker’s clock-in and clock-out timings and depends on the system to do the same. Only when the manager or team leader decides to keep track of the team daily is it possible to find time theft glitches?
Such a solution is impractical and cannot be followed religiously, as there are more important tasks for all the team members. It gives rise to another significant problem of not informing a super for early arrival or leaving.
2. QR Only Systems
Another standard method of time theft in organizations is using QR scanning systems. A co-worker who has arrived at a premise can easily share the code on a messaging app and enable the marking of the day’s attendance.
Organizations relying only on QR scanning systems are much more vulnerable to time theft, as they can’t even say that someone else has marked their attendance. Such a system also makes the organizational premise insecure.
On a typical busy day, an employee can use the QR codes to clock in/out early and arrive late or leave without notice, resulting in significant financial losses for the organization. The unavailability of a worker also derails the workflow and creates many other implications.
3. Insecure Biometric Systems
Biometrics is one of the safest methods to ensure employee presence on the premises or off-site. However, physical or specialized biometric systems have become vulnerable to tampering or spoofing.
Nowadays, biometric cloning or replicating allows a person to access the premises and mark attendance. Moreover, many organizations don’t even have onlookers or security guards to prevent such instances.
On the other hand, organizations with security guards in place for monitoring time theft are paying extra, directly impacting the bottom line.
How Can Your Organization Deal With the Problem of Buddy Punching?
The first step towards eliminating budding punching begins with establishing that it is a real problem and requires attention. Now that we have cleared this fact, it is essential to include an attendance management system in place which comes jampacked with the following features:
1. Contactless Biometrics
A system that supports multiple biometric methods with random authentication checks can significantly eliminate the risks associated with physical systems. However, it should be accompanied by passive liveness detection to avoid tampering or spoofing.
Passive liveness allows the end user to access the account or mark attendance without making gestures. Hence, it removes the risks like spoofed video or picture uploading and decreases the attempts to capture an individual’s biometrics.
2. Geolocation and Geofencing
A biometric attendance system with geolocation and geofencing can further decrease the risk. Geofencing is a feature that allows employees to mark attendance within the circumference of a designated location. So, if you have fenced 10 meters from the office, no one can mark attendance from outside.
However, growing organizations also require a system that allows them to track the attendance of their remote workers or workers across multiple offices. Geolocation comes into play here.
The technology tracks the location (latitude and longitude) wherein the employee has clocked in or out from a centralized device or through personal devices.
A centralized device is much better for organizations that want to ensure employees have entered the premises.
3. Face Scan with QR & Timestamps
Nowadays, biometric face recognition attendance systems also display employees’ accurate timestamps. So, they facilitate check-in and check-out of the premises without manual intervention.
Essentially, time theft is avoided through such solutions, especially if they are secured with passive liveness detection, geolocation, geofencing, and other capabilities. Organizations that want an even more secure system should opt for face recognition and QR scans on the premises.
The two-factor authentication system will require the employee to use a personal device for the QR scan and on-premise presence for the final access or attendance.
Buddy punching is a significant problem for an organization’s HR and administration departments. It also drastically impacts the organization’s bottom line, as the employees receive pay for non-working hours.
The inclusion of spoofproof and tamperproof solutions has become necessary for organizations that want to stop their financial losses through time theft. A contactless biometric attendance system accompanied by passive liveness detection, geolocation, geofencing, QR scan, etc., can help achieve this goal.
Unlike specialized biometric systems, they even decrease capital expenditure as they don’t require the installation of specialized hardware, which is highly costly and requires high maintenance charges. A contactless biometric attendance system can integrate with a smartphone or tablet camera, offering even more functionalities than traditional biometric solutions.