A blog for users of TimePilot time clock systems



The best career advice I've ever gotten

Essayist Ryan Holiday uses the story of how current New England Patriots' coach Bill Belichick got his first football job to illustrate great advice for those just starting their careers. The secret: "Forget credit. Do the work."

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Another reason TimePilot's iButton clocks are better than biometric systems

Why biometrics aren't ready for prime time: A New York Times report on a faulty facial recognition match that led to a Michigan man’s arrest for a crime he did not commit.

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Need more reasons to avoid biometrics? How about privacy lawsuits and—for fingerprint-based clocks—spreading diseases like COVID-19?

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Great customer service on a budget

You're probably not going to beat the big guys on price, but you can definitely beat them on personalized service—and that doesn't have to be expensive. This article describes three ways to do just that.

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How good leaders handle layoffs

Layoffs are brutal. But the news is easier to accept from leaders who consistently display honesty, competency and concern for their employees. It also increases your chances of getting good people back when conditions improve. This article gives tips on how to handle layoffs in your organization.

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How to get your employees on board with customer satisfaction

Want to keep your customers happy? This article, in Rice University's business school magazine, explains how. Key points: Leaders must gather and present customer satisfaction data to all employees in ways they can understand and use; and employees need proper incentives to act.

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What will the post-COVID-19 workplace look like?

We aren't anywhere near the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, but at some point it will end, and it's not a bad thing to look ahead to see how the workplace will change in its aftermath. This article predicts three positive changes, all of which involve fewer in-person interactions.

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The best ways to help e-commerce customers in the COVID-19 era

How can you keep your e-commerce customers happy when you're all dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic? This expert on web site "usability" says that openness and clarity are crucial, and she gives real-life examples of good and not-so-good practices.

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How to lead your (suddenly virtual) team through a crisis

Leading teams that once worked closely together and now work from their homes is a major challenge for managers. One expert's advice: "With your team now dispersed, to deal with uncertain and fast-changing market conditions, you’ll need to shift your style to more of a command-and-control from a consensus-building approach."

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A pastor (and management professor) on taking care of your team

How do leaders lead their teams through a pandemic? Nicholas Pearce, a pastor and a professor of management at Northwestern, has some ideas. Key quotes: “People want to see that you are willing to be in the situation with them,” Pearce says. “My first piece of advice would be to listen. This is not a time to preach at them.”

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For your city to bounce back quickly from COVID-19, it should act aggressively

Researchers studying the aftereffects of the 1918 flu pandemic have found that cities that acted aggressively to stop the spread of the virus recorded stronger economic growth once the restrictions were lifted than cities that took a less aggressive approach.

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You can’t check in too often with your remote employees

Want to keep your employees who are working from home motivated? Check in on them frequently. "If you don’t communicate frequently, people disengage and lose productivity," says one expert.

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How to curb a pandemic: Wash your hands at the airport

Flying anyplace soon? If so, just about the best thing you can do for society is to wash your hands at the airport. New research reported in this article from MIT finds that only about 20% of people at airports have clean hands, and increased handwashing habits at airports—even just a few—would severely curb the global spread of disease.

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Worried about Coronavirus? Here are the answers, straight from the CDC

There's a lot of misinformation out there about Coronavirus. Get your info from the experts: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has lots of accurate, up-to-date information and advice here, both for individuals and for organizations.

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Asking a simple question is the most important thing you can do to succeed

What's the best path to success at work? Asking for help, according to a new book by a University of Michigan business professor. "The research is clear," he writes. "When you ask for help, you get the resources you need to be successful: information, advice, ideas, opportunities, referrals, and emotional support. This results in higher job performance, satisfaction, and creativity. It means less stress and aggravation."

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Expert tips for first-time managers

Leadership can be taught—you don't have to be a "born leader" to be a manager. This article is packed with tips for first-time managers that will help them build their leadership skills.

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How do deal with a bad boss or coworker when quitting isn't an option

Everyone has had bad bosses or coworkers at some point in their career. (And if you haven't, you probably will at some point!) This article lists four ways to deal with them if you don't have the freedom to quit. No. 4: Disarm them by validating their frustrations.

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What business leaders can learn from the military

The military can teach business a lot about running an effective organization and leadership. This article, from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, lists five areas where business leaders can improve. No. 3: Don't just give orders. Simply listening to your employees and acting upon what they tell you can build trust and loyalty.

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Another biometric disaster

Here at TimePilot we're not big on biometric time and attendance systems, unless you want to spend a lot of your time getting your employees' permission to collect their data and then taking great care to protect it. Just announced the other day: Facebook will pay over half a billion dollars to settle a class action lawsuit that alleged systematic violation of an Illinois consumer privacy law. The company allegedly collected facial recognition data from Illinois users without getting their permission. News reports say that class members—basically Illinois Facebook users from mid-2011 to mid-2015—may expect as much as $200 each.

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Best Practices

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 IV."
  3. Expand that section by clicking the down arrow.
  4. Click "Check for All 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.
    • 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.

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

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