A blog for users of TimePilot time clock systems



"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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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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Flash sale on iButtons!

Need more iButtons for your TimePilot system? We're having a 25%-off Flash Sale on them—any color, any quantity. Free shipping too! Don't miss it: The sale ends at midnight on Friday, September 24. Use the code FALL21 at checkout to get the discount.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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'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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When giving a gift, don't worry about cost

It's the thought that counts when giving a gift, whether you're in a group or an individual setting, according to a study done by economists at Carnegie Mellon University. The researchers found that recipients are consistently focused on the thoughtfulness of a gift. Gift givers, however, incorrectly assume the recipients’ focus is on relative gift value.

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How to succeed after failing

Why do some people succeed after failing, while others continue to flounder? It all depends on how much you learn from your failures, according to this study from researchers at Northwestern University. The more your learn, the greater the chance of success next time. (And luck really isn't a factor!)

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15 business tips every entrepreneur should know

Start the new year with a great list of things you should already know, from Entrepreneur Magazine. No. 5: "Your people are not your kids, your personal assistants, or your shrink. If you use and abuse them that way, you will come to regret it."

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Report: 63% of jobs performed in 2018 did not exist in 1940

“We didn’t have solar engineers, we didn’t have computer engineers, we didn’t have pediatric oncologists, we didn’t have different types of entertainment until we had the technology that not only made it feasible, but created the demand for expertise,” said one of the report's authors. But Microsoft's CEO says channeling everyone into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) isn't the answer. “The goal here," says Satya Nadella, "is to in fact go the other way, which is—can I take the expertise and democratize it to help productivity gains of a frontline worker? That’s the problem to solve.”

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Offer your customers choices—but do it in the afternoon

By nature, we want more variety—in the food we eat, the activities we like and even the colors we choose—later in the day and less variety in the morning, according to a university study. "Most of us are perfectly fine with eating the same thing for breakfast every day, like cereal, but the thought of eating the same rotisserie chicken for dinner every day is just terrible," says a researcher.

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Court rules Washington farmworkers should get OT pay

The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that the state's dairy workers are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours a week, a decision expected to apply to the rest of the state's agriculture industry. California is phasing in some overtime protections, while New York this year began requiring overtime pay when farmworkers work more than 60 hours in a week. Maryland and Minnesota also offer overtime protections to farmworkers.

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Want customers to buy more? Make them wait in long lines

Just in time for Black Friday: A research study has found that customers will buy more if they're forced to wait in long lines. And the longer they wait, the more they'll buy. Why? "Because you have waited so long, you want to justify your wait," says one of the study's authors.

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The office of the future

If COVID-19 could design an office, it might look a lot like the offices many of us used to work in. When the pandemic ends, our offices will change—this article gives some predictions. One prediction: Say goodbye to the open office floor plan.

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Retiring early can be bad for the brain

Keep that brain working! A university study found that people who retire early may have a reduced ability to remember something mentioned several minutes ago, which could make it harder for them to adhere to a medication schedule or conduct financial planning.

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The surprising traits of good remote leaders

With remote employees, charisma and good in-person leadership skills aren't worth much. People who are organized, dependable and productive are much more effective.

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Best Practices

For current customers: 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 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.

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


TimePilot 5 Q&A

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