A blog for users of TimePilot time clock systems

News

5/10/22

Connect with your employees by noticing their emotions—and mentioning them

Leaders can build trust with their employees by noticing an emotional cue—like a frown or a smile—and mentioning it, according to a study at Stanford University. “A leader could very easily see someone in distress and choose to ignore it,” says a researcher. "But only a leader who truly is benevolent and cares about employees would risk getting involved by voluntarily acknowledging the distressed employee. Thus, employees might take this as a signal that this leader is someone who can be trusted with their well-being.”

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4/19/22

If you're a charity, here's the one word NOT to use

Researchers at Ohio State University have found that using the word "spend" when asking for donations is more successful than using the word "give." "'Give' highlights how you’re being separated from your money, which is not appealing," said one of the researchers. "But ‘spending your money’ has a different connotation—it implies that you’re still a part of the cash you’re providing to the charity.” Participants in the study offered more than twice as much when they were asked to “spend” their money ($94) than when they were asked to “give” their money ($40).

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4/11/22

Want people to pick your product? Get yourself ranked No. 1

According to research, ranked lists increase people’s tendency to select the No. 1 option, even among other very similar options. Is that the best way to choose anything from cars to colleges? Not necessarily, says a researcher. "Hidden underneath those rankings is the fact that a third party made choices about what was included and how these different dimensions were weighted," he said. "Who says they are right?"

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3/31/22

Dispersed teams zoom to success but fail slowly (and that's not good)

Researchers have found that teams of employees who work remotely succeed faster than teams located in one location, but those co-located teams are faster to abandon a failing project. “The worst outcome is to fail slowly," said the study's leader. “It’s a huge opportunity cost.” With today's hybrid work environment, managers need to be ready to pull the plug on a project if they see a dispersed team spinning its wheels.

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3/22/22

Permanent daylight saving time keeps people in the dark

The U.S. Senate recently passed a bill that would make daylight saving time permanent. (The U.S. House has not voted on it yet.) Is it a good idea? Daylight saving time is designed to give us more daylight in the evenings and less in the mornings. The U.S. tried it in 1974 and and going off to work or school in darkness wasn't something Americans enjoyed. Eight months later we went back to the "spring forward, fall back" system after eight children in Florida were involved in predawn car accidents.

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3/8/22

The No. 1 leadership lesson from Ukraine's warrior/president

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has amazed the world with his leadership skills in the face of the Russian invasion. An expert says business leaders can learn something important about leadership from him, even if they aren't dodging missiles.

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2/8/22

How small businesses can deal with inflation

For many businesses, this is the first time they've had to deal with high inflation rates. (Last year the Consumer Price Index rose by 7%—the highest rate in nearly 40 years.) What should a business do to combat inflation's effects? This article has seven tips on how to handle rising prices and interest rates. One hint: Stock up on inventory now, before prices rise further.

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2/2/22

Should you sell your palm print to Amazon?

At its brick-and-mortar stores, Amazon is offering customers a $10 credit if they will register their palm prints to make checkout quicker. Should you do it? No, say researchers. "Once you give a company your biometric data, it could track you forever with that information," says an expert on law and marketing. (Side note: This is one of several reasons why TimePilot does not sell biometric time clocks!)

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1/27/22

Ransomware attack? Don't pay, says expert

Smaller "mom and pop" businesses are becoming targets of hackers, according to the Secret Service. If you're hit with a ransomware attack—when hackers encrypt your files and stop you from accessing them until you pay up—a Secret Service cyber investigator has some advice: Don't pay. A 2021 survey found that about 46% of the time hacked companies never regain full access to their files, despite paying the ransom. This article gives five things to think about if it happens to you, plus advice on how to prevent hacker attacks.

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1/20/22

How to help burned out employees

Are your employees burned out? It's not surprising: Many are. Researchers have found that managers can help burned out employees by showing particular kinds of compassion, and they describe them in this article.

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12/30/21

Planning a new web site for 2022?

If your organization is planning to improve your web site in 2022, it pays to know why a particular design looks good (and why another one looks bad!). Here are some guidelines, with real-world examples.

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12/15/21

25% off iButtons—but just until Friday!

It's our Santa Sale: From now until midnight Friday (12/17), get 25% off our regular price on iButtons—any quantity, any color. For example: 10 iButtons: regular price: $59, sale price: $44.25. Be sure to use promo code Reindeer21 at checkout to get your discount.

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12/14/21

Thinking about a career change?
3 things to consider

If you're one of the many people who are thinking about moving to a new job or industry, here's what to ponder before making the leap. Thanks to changes sparked by COVID, companies are more open to making their employees happy and there are lots of opportunities. “You can stay and redesign, reinvent both yourself and your company, or you can create what you want somewhere else," says a researcher.

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12/7/21

New hires: 4 important things to do in your first month

Lots of people are starting new jobs these days, and here are four things that they should do in their first month to boost their chances of happiness and success. Item 4: Learn as much as you can about your new company.

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11/4/21

"Fall back" an hour on Sunday!

On Sunday November 7, turn back your clocks an hour: It's the end of Daylight Saving Time, giving us more daylight in the morning and less in the afternoon. Daylight Saving Time will resume on March 13, 2022. Many health experts—including the American Academy of Sleep Medicine—agree that the changeover from Daylight Saving Time has negative health effects.

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10/28/21

Can employers ask prospective employees if they're vaccinated?

Short answer (with qualifications): Yes. This article gives tips on how to ask without getting yourself into legal trouble. From the article: "The key should be to focus on the well-being of the workforce and the type of job environment you have."

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9/15/21

What's the hottest perk of the pandemic?

First, companies offered wellness tools like free checkups and counseling as a benefit to their employees. Now, the hottest benefit for employees is financial wellness tools. These include educational tools for personal finance and one-on-one financial counseling. According to one survey, 72 percent of workers said they would be more attracted to a company that cared more about their financial well-being than their current employer.

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8/10/21

5 ways to be a better 'worker from home'

When you work from home, it's easy to let your discipline slip, which can harm your relationships with your coworkers. Here are five ways to make yourself a better home worker. Item 4: Before hitting "send," ask yourself, "What action or actions do I want the other person to take?" Whether it’s to answer a question, provide feedback, or share information, make the "call to action" clear.

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7/14/21

For employees, fewer reports = better performance

Even though more employees are working remotely, managers should resist the temptation to have them report in more often. A recent study has found that employees who must report frequently adopt a short-term perspective, often to the detriment of their organization.

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6/16/21

36 million arguments against fingerprint scanners

Here at TimePilot, we aren't fans of fingerprint time clocks. Besides the danger of passing along diseases, the laws that affect anyone who collects biometric data can be rather strict. Earlier this month, Six Flags amusement parks agreed to pay a $36 million settlement to people who allege their fingerprint data was collected in violation of Illinois law.

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6/8/21

Take a lesson from Mickelson and Brady

Fifty-year-old Phil Mickelson's PGA championship and 43-year-old Tom Brady's Super Bowl victory are indicators of a trend in business: Older people are becoming more valued for their decision-making skills. Researchers found that in 1960 only 6% of U.S. jobs required decision-making; in 2018, that number was up to 34% and rising fast. From the study: "... one key lesson from Phil at 50 is that we are more likely to flourish the more we persist at learning how to make better decisions from mistakes."

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5/20/21

How to help (without micromanaging!)

For a boss, one of the most difficult things to avoid is micromanaging: giving unwanted or unnecessary help to your employees. This article tells how to offer help without alienating employees. As Army General George S. Patton said, "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."

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5/13/21

Is there a perfect number of days to work from home?

Yes, there is, and this article reveals that number. Research has found that workers will be most productive and happiest with a combination of office days and work-from-home days. A recent poll found that 55% of workers wanted to go back to the office and 84% enjoyed working from home. Will businesses let them combine the two?

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5/5/21

What is 'Machine Learning,' and why should I care?

You probably use machine learning every day. Ever have your smartphone suggest exactly the right word when you're texting someone? Or have Netflix suggest a movie you liked? That's the result of machine learning. It's a way for computers to learn on their own without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning is also used to identify people in photos and cancer in X-rays. According to a study, 67% of companies use machine learning now and 97% are planning to use it in the next year.

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4/28/21

Thinking about advertising on TV? Think again!

A new study finds that much of TV advertising is ineffective and companies are wasting their money on it. One reason: Viewers aren't watching the ads as much as they did in the past because they're looking at their smartphones and tablets during commercials.

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4/13/21

'Fake commutes' are healthy

"Fake commutes"—where you start and end your work-from-home day or school-at-home day with a walk around the block, for instance—have been found to be beneficial, researchers have found. From the article: "Engaging in a ‘pretend commute’ at the beginning and the end of the day not only provides an opportunity to build some physical activity into your daily routine but also provides an opportunity to transition between work and non-work parts of lives."

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Best Practices

For current customers: Add smartphone clock-in with geofencing!

One of the coolest features of TimePilot’s new Cloud-based systems is TimePilot Mobile, our app that allows employees to clock in and out on their smartphones instead of at an actual time clock. Oh, and did we mention it’s free, and you can have as many employees using the app as you want?

The app is designed for iPhones and Android smartphones and is available on Apple’s App Store and Google Play. The app can handle individual employees or groups.

Our current customers can keep using their Extreme Blue, Vetro or Tap time clocks and iButtons, and easily make the switch to the Cloud Edition, which adds free TimePilot Mobile apps, free TimePilot PC desktop time clocks, free support for as long as you use the product and the ability to access your clock-in and clock-out data anywhere there's an internet connection.

By now you’re probably wondering “How do I know that Joe was where he should have been when he clocked in on his phone?” The answer: The instant Joe taps the “In” or the “Out” button on his phone’s screen, the phone sends his location along with Joe’s clock in or clock out time to the TimePilot database in the Cloud.

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For current customers, part 2: Switching to our Cloud-Based system is simple

Let’s say you’re already a TimePilot customer, own several of our time clocks and have your database on your server or PC. You’re interested in converting to our new Cloud-based system, so you can access your data from anywhere. Can you convert and still use your current clocks and iButtons?

Answer: Absolutely. And we’ll help you set things up. Here's how it will work:

  • You can be anywhere on earth (as long as you have an internet connection) and you’ll be able to use the TimePilot Central 5 management software to view your employees’ clock-ins and clock-outs and prepare the data for payroll.
  • The all-new TimePilot Central 5 software uses the same concepts as earlier software versions, but we’ve listened to our customers and integrated their suggestions into this version to add features and make it even easier to use.
  • If your employees use the free TimePilot Mobile App on their smartphones, you will be able to can see on a map where they were when they clocked in or out. That's called geofencing.
  • Your database resides on a server managed by Microsoft, which will protect your data and back it up regularly, so you don’t have to.
  • You will receive unlimited help from our Tech Support Specialists.

Of course, you can also have your employees install the free TimePilot Mobile App on their smartphones, and with that app they can clock in using their phones from anywhere in the world.

The benefits

Your employees can still use their iButtons to clock in and out just as they always have and have the added ability to clock in on their phones. But most of the benefits will be seen by supervisors.

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And now this message from our Support Staff …

Before contacting TimePilot for support, please make sure you’ve updated all of your TimePilot software, not just TimePilot Central. The best way to do this is:

  1. Click the Windows icon at the lower left corner of your desktop.
  2. Scroll down the list of programs until you get to "TimePilot 5" or "TimePilot IV." (TimePilot 5 is our latest software version).
  3. Expand that section by clicking the down arrow.
  4. Click "Check for TimePilot Updates."
  5. If you have updates to install, you’ll see an "Update Available" message. Click the "Update Button" to start the downloads.

It's a good idea to do this after you install the software for the first time as well as every few weeks, even if you aren't having problems.

Disinfecting your TimePilot system

TimePilot clocks are definitely more sanitary than fingerprint time clocks—and keeping things sanitary is a good way to fight the COVID-19 virus. It's not difficult to keep your Vetro, Extreme Blue or Tap clocks germ-free. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure you’re wearing disposable gloves.
  • If the clock is dirty, use a household cleaner to remove the dirt.
  • To disinfect the unit:
    • Use an alcohol-based wipe on the entire unit, giving special attention to the areas that might be touched by your employees (for instance, the Vetro clock’s touch screen). Let it air-dry before using.
      Or
    • Spray a clean microfiber cloth with a solution of 70% isopropyl alcohol (also known as rubbing alcohol) and 30% water. Wipe the entire unit, giving special attention to the areas that might be touched by your employees (for instance, the Vetro clock’s touch screen). Let it air-dry before using.
  • Remember to dispose of the gloves and wash your hands thoroughly.

Please note: TimePilot cannot make a determination of the effectiveness of a given disinfectant product in fighting pathogens, such as COVID-19. Please refer to your local public health authority's guidance on how to stay safe from potential infection.

All about Login Accounts:
Limiting supervisors' access

There might be a time when you want to give supervisors partial access to the TimePilot database. For instance, you might give a maintenance supervisor access to the transactions created by maintenance department employees, but not to the transactions created by employees in other departments.

If you have TimePilot 5 (Cloud-Based Edition or On-Premise Edition) or TimePilot 4’s Enterprise Edition software, you can set up these permissions.

To see step-by-step instructions as well as several examples with screenshots, click the button below.

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TimePilot tips and tricks

A collection of ways to make your TimePilot system more productive.

  • Create printable timesheets for each employee with a signature line, so you have a record of the employee's approval of his or her work hours.
  • Quickly set the date and time on an Extreme Blue II (and an original Extreme Blue) time clock.
  • Some of your employees arrive before their shift starts, but you don't want a line at the clock at the top of the hour. The "Snap-To" feature lets them clock in at any time before their shift starts and go "on-the-clock" at the right time.
  • If you've got a network, there are a lot of advantages to connecting your Vetro clock to it. See a list of the advantages and learn how to set up the clock on a network.
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Using Buffer Zones in TimePilot Central

If you have shifts covering 24 hours a day and seven days a week, when do you start and end your Pay Periods? The choice is more difficult than it seems, because there’s never a time when all of your employees are “off the clock.” Let’s say your company has shifts running 24/7: The last shift in the Pay Period ends at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, and the first shift of the next Pay Period starts at midnight Saturday.

Here’s the problem: Some of the employees in the last shift of the Pay Period will clock out after midnight, putting their clock-outs into the next Pay Period. And some of the employees in the first shift of the Pay Period will clock in early, putting their clock-ins into the previous Pay Period. The result will be that when you extract the Pay Period, not all the transactions that should be in this Pay Period will get extracted. What should you do?

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Adding TimePilot Tap to (almost) any TimePilot system

If you've got a TimePilot timeclock system that's using TimePilot Central software—for instance, a Vetro, Extreme Blue Enhanced or Tap system—you can easily expand it simply by adding portable Tap clocks. Tap is our inexpensive, pocket-sized, battery-powered time clock for out in the field or on a desktop. It's a great little device that can be used in all kinds of ways, from tracking employee hours to keeping track of the number of hours a machine has been used.

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Troubleshooting your TimePilot system

Every once in a while something unexpected might occur on your TimePilot system. Our Support Center has lots of information, and our experienced Tech Support Specialists stand ready to help, but sometimes it's just an easy fix. Depending upon the TimePilot software you're using, click one of the two the buttons below to visit a page with troubleshooting tips for each of TimePilot's time clock systems.

Retail Edition  Professional/Enterprise Edition

Moving TimePilot to a new PC

We've noticed quite a few calls to our Support Specialists from customers asking how to move their TimePilot system to a new computer. We've addressed this several times over the years in our newsletter; here's a refresher from May 2018.

Learn More A TimePilot iButton

Adding new iButtons to your system

When an employee loses an iButton or you add employees, you'll need to assign them an iButton. The instructions appear on the Quick Start Guide you received with your system, but here's a refresher for each of our clocks.

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All about holiday schedules

Setting up holiday schedules in the TimePilot software is pretty straightforward, but there are some things you can do that will get the job done more quickly and efficiently.

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Accommodate night shifts with day boundary

In today’s strong economy, more and more companies are adding second and third shifts to their workday. But having employees’ workdays extend past midnight has the potential for playing havoc with your pay periods. TimePilot can help.

Learn More You can set up your employees' breaks in the 'Shift Schedule' section of the software.

Keeping an eye on employee work breaks

How do you handle employee breaks? Work breaks are generally considered paid time, and therefore employees do not have to clock out when the break starts and clock in when the break ends. But there may be times when you want to monitor employees’ breaks to ensure they aren’t taking extra time, or even penalize employees who take longer breaks than they should.

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Click here for more articles that will help you use your TimePilot system

Q&A

TimePilot 5 Q&A

Q. We have TimePilot Extreme Blue. Can we set the clock-in time at 6:45 a.m. no matter what time the employees clocks in? Some employees clock in at 6:30 or even 6:20 but only start working at 6:45. The answer.


Q. How do I print a report listing the transactions of all employees? The answer.


Q. If we have multiple clocks across multiple sites with different managers at each site, do I need to purchase software and support for each? The answer.


Q. We just bought another Extreme Blue clock. Do I need to reprogram all our employees' iButtons on the new clock? The answer.


Q. I’m upgrading to Windows 10. What version of TimePilot Central can I run on Windows 10? Is there a cost for upgrading my local version? The answer.


Q. My remote workers don't have smartphones. How can they clock in? The answer.


Q. Does the smartphone app, TimePilot Mobile, track my employees at all times? We're concerned about privacy. The answer.


Q. We have an accomplished IT person and we're confident she can handle having the TimePilot database on our network server. Is there any other benefit to having our database on the Cloud? The answer.


Q. It would be helpful to see which of our employees are on the clock at any one time. Does TimePilot offer anything like this? The answer.


TimePilot 4 Q&A

Q. How can I make TimePilot Central’s transaction list show each employee’s clock-in time above their clock-out time? The answer


Q. When I do reports, on some of the days there will be an “X” in one of the log-in times. Then it does not give any hours for that day at all even though there are 4 clock-in and clock-outs. How do we fix this? The answer


Q. How do I determine my Extreme Blue II clock’s serial number? The answer


Q. When I went to collect punches from our Vetro clock, it said it had 160 new transactions. When I went to pull that info into TimePilot Central on my PC it said that 0 transactions were entered. Now when I go to collect them, it is saying that 0 transactions are available. Can I get that information back? The answer


Q. Our company has been hired to handle employee time collection. How can we clear out our current Vetro clock of all the old employees’ info and everything else? We want to start new. Can the clock be reset to default setting? The answer


Q. We purchased a Vetro clock in 2016 for our Aquatics Center and love it! I was wondering if it would it be possible to have Time Pilot Central installed on more than one computer and how would we get the software? The answer


Q. We’re using Extreme Blue II Enhanced. When I was downloading my data from Dropbox, I just received this message: “Remove iPxxxxxxxxxx-Profiles.csv” from everyone’s Dropbox account and all devices? If you move this file to Archive, it will no longer be shared with anyone, and it won’t be available in Dropbox or on any devices.” What do I do? The answer


Q. When adding a new employee to our Vetro system, your help file told me to "choose ‘Transfer Changes to Vetro Clocks’." I don't find that listed under TimePilot Central’s Setup menu. Where do I find that? The answer


Q. The Vetro clock holds 12,000 transactions. If you download transactions to the USB drive after a week of entries (150 per day), will the clock still hold 12,000 or does the clock have just 10,950 (12,000 – (150x7) = 10,950) remaining? After the 12,000 entries are used up, do I have to purchase another time clock? The answer


Q. We have some new employees, and I will need to order new iButtons for them, but right now how can they clock in at our Vetro clock with the user IDs that are in their profiles? The answer


Q. Sometimes I see a little "+" sign in the right top corner of our Vetro clock. What does it mean? The answer


Q. I need to do a reverse extraction and the instructions state that there should be a reverse extraction selection under the Administrative menu. It’s not showing up. Can you direct me to the correct place? The answer


Q. We’re going to upgrade from TimePilot’s Professional Edition software to the Enterprise Edition. Is it as simple as downloading it and installing over the current installation? The answer


Q. Why do we have some names in red when I download data from the USB drive to the TimePilot Central software? The answer


Q. We’d like to use Extreme Blue Enhanced in our remote warehouse, but we don’t get a cell signal there. Any advice? The answer


Q. I am getting a message to update the TimePilot program. I want to make sure I’m not going to lose everything I have already set up. Do I have to start from scratch and set up all my profiles and any existing punches I might have? The answer


Q. When I imported transactions collected by our Extreme Blue clock into our TimePilot software, I got a message that 50 of the transactions were “orphan transactions.” What are orphan transactions and how can I get them corrected? The answer


Q. We marked employees inactive last year and they will be returning this year. Can they be reactivated? The answer


Q. It’s the end of a pay period, and we’re extracting the period’s clock-in and clock-out data from Current Transactions. One employee’s data isn’t being extracted with the others. How can we fix this? The answer


Q. Our TimePilot Extreme Blue clock beeps 3 times when you clock in and out. Is there any way to get it to stop doing that and only beep one time? The answer


Q. If an employee clocks in twice and clocks out once in same day, what happens? For instance, they clocked in at 7:30 a.m., then at 7:35 forgot they had clocked in and clocked in again, then clocked out for the day at 4 p.m. The answer


Q. Is it possible to collect my Extreme Blue or Extreme Blue Enhanced time clock data with an iPad? The answer


Q. My TimePilot Extreme Blue clock has stopped logging time. We’ve installed new batteries, but none of my employees’ iButtons will register nor will the Management iButton. It was working fine until yesterday morning. The answer


Q. When our software was set up, it looks like we neglected to set up overtime for our employees. How do we do that? The answer


Q. I use Extreme Blue Enhanced. I collect the data from my clock every day or every second day and I keep getting orphan transactions. How can I stop this? The answer


Q. I use Extreme Blue, and I've lost my Management iButton. Is there any other way to extract times from the timeclock? The answer


Q. We use a USB drive to extract the data from each Extreme Blue clock. Do we need to use a separate USB drive for each clock or will it just add the information from the second and third time clock to the drive for that pay period? The answer


Q. We use our Vetro clock in standalone mode, and every time I assign a new iButton at the clock, it clears everyone else's names. What's going on? The answer


Q. How do I record our employees’ vacation days on our Vetro time clock? The answer


Q. We have a Vetro clock in our back shop. Is it possible to add a Tap clock to our system for our office? The answer

Click here for more questions and answers