It was just a matter of time before someone would suggest creating an app that uses selfies for clock ins and outs, given that selfies are transitioning from being a fad to a social norm. Not so long ago, someone turned that brainchild into a reality, and though using selfies are a breath of fresh air on how time and attendance is done, it still needs quite a bit of work.
Currently, selfie time and attendance applications are available as a standalone software, Chrome plugin, and a mobile app. Regardless of which platform is used in PC or mobile device, they all essentially behave the same way, which is to use the camera of the device to take a pic of the employees before they start working and another one when they are ready to call it the day.
There are also other breeds of selfie time and attendance applications that take random pictures of the employee while they are working, just to ensure that they are doing what they are supposed to be doing during working hours.
Despite all the variations on how the selfie time and attendance system work for different service providers, it may still have value to employers, but there are issues that will need to work out:
Not everyone loves doing selfies. In fact, some people loathe it. Whether it’s the principle behind selfies or confidence issues, it’s an act that not all employees are happy about.
Selfies make some people feel awkward, which could lead to hating an activity or anything closely associated with it. In this case, it’s not much of a stretch that the hate might be channeled to work since the selfie time and attendance task is connected to it.
However, companies or employers who really want to push through with using selfies for time and attendance should not be discouraged by selfie-hating employees. In time, they might accept it or even appreciate it. Constant exposure to anything that anyone hates or fear could help them be desensitized to their triggers, making them tolerate it, or perhaps even like it.
Ideally, selfie time and attendance applications integrate a facial recognition feature that could immediately identify if the person in front of the camera is the person who is supposed to be there. A huge majority, if not all, commercialized selfie time attendance applications do not have that feature, though even if they do, it is still a not guarantee that selfies cannot be tricked.
A well-placed photograph of the employee in front of the camera for the selfie is sometimes enough to fool the system or the admin. Since most of the selfie time and attendance app simply snaps the picture and leaves the admin to scrutinize the picture on their own. The admin may just not even look at it, or even if he or she did, might not be able to detect it as fake.
Facial recognition software work by measuring key features of the face, such as the distance between the eyes, the shape of the cheekbones, and so on. In a test that we conducted on our own, we placed a picture in front of the camera for the software to authenticate. It turns out that it could not tell the difference between the real person and a picture of the intended person.
Furthermore, the resolution for many computer cameras or mobile front cameras are usually of low quality and appear pixelated, especially if the lighting is not adequate. With no proper guidelines or standardization with the camera used, it makes it easier to fool.
As much possible, everyone wants to make sure they look their best in any picture, meaning not get caught looking dreary or in a messy background when that camera snaps. Despite that the image is not intended to go public, the idea of someone looking at it (such as the admin) is enough to make sure that one looks at his or her best with a decent background.
Based on a personal experience, it took a bit of effort to not look tired or unenthusiastic in my selfie time monitoring pictures, especially at the end of a very long day. I did not want to appear that I am not happy that I was working with my employer at the time, in case someone looks at my pictures. An image is worth a thousand words and can be easily misinterpreted.
For those who work from home, it is best if they made sure that their background during a selfie shot is “clean.” Preferably, it does not show anything that raises any eyebrows, gossip starters, or anything that is too personal, just a way to keep themselves safe.
Using selfies as a biometric data to validate the identity of a person for monitoring purposes puts a spin on how to track time and attendance. Its full potential is kept untapped with a few hiccups that could be fixed by exerting more effort on its development, setting strict guidelines on which images become acceptable, and imposing discipline to the end users.
Admittedly, selfies integrated in tracking time and attendance systems still work, even with its shortcomings. They are generally cost-effective and fast. But for the time being, they are still not as reliable, secure, and camera-shy-proof as existing commercial biometric devices that function as a fingerprint reader or iris scanner.
Using biometrics devices are a great addition to your company’s time attendance system. JustPayroll.ph offers premium biometric devices that can be used for employees inside the office or out on the field.