A blog for users of TimePilot time clock systems



'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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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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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.

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’s Enterprise Edition software, you can set up these permissions. You can upgrade to Enterprise—or determine which version of the TimePilot software you own—by clicking here.

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

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