• Home
  • Resources
  • Blog
  • How to use badges at work? 5 types of badges you need to know about
5 types of badges

In companies, badges are commonly used for two everyday purposes: access control (opening access to a building) and work time clocking. Each organisation has its own requirements and specificities. So how do you go about choosing the most appropriate badging method? What criteria need to be considered? What are the different ways of clocking in and out at work? Here's how it all works.

How do you choose a badge at work?

Clocking is a daily activity for many employees. Just as it is important to choose a clocking terminal that suits your working environment, it is equally important to choose the most suitable method of clocking to ensure the most practical and secure use for your company. When choosing a type of badge, it's important to take the following criteria into account:

  • The employee's job type: are they mobile, fixed or do they regularly work from home?
  • Their tasks: do they require precise hourly clocking, an activity declaration or a working time declaration afterwards?
  • The company's working environment and business sector.
  • Do you want to install a physical clocking terminal on the company's premises or choose a remote virtual clocking terminal?

What are the different ways of clocking-in?

1° The RFID electronic badge

The RFID (Radio frequency Identification) electronic badge is the most commonly used means of badging in companies. Often presented in the form of a plastic card in credit card format, it incorporates a chip carrying RFID technology, enabling a previously registered employee to be identified simply by presenting the card in front of a reader or clocking terminal.

Beware, however, that there are different generations of RFID technology, and not all of them are equally secure. Older technologies are now very easily copied. You should therefore choose the latest badge technologies to ensure a very high level of security. To help you find your way around, do not hesitate to consult our comparison of the best badge technologies for businesses. Today, the most secure badge is the MIFARE DESfire EV2 badge, with identification number. It has never been hacked or copied to date.

RFID badges come in different formats:

  • Card format: highly customisable, this is the most common badge used in companies.
  • The key ring format: practical, it reduces the risk of employees losing or forgetting it, and can be added to their set of keys. It's also more robust than its card format counterpart.
  • Leather key ring format: more aesthetically pleasing than traditional badges, it is appreciated for its designer touch.

Advantage: The RFID electronic badge is the most economical badge in terms of price per unit.

Disadvantage: It can easily be lost, broken or forgotten. 

badges RFID

2° Clocking-in with a code

Clocking via code is a technique that involves entering a number on the keyboard of an access reader or a clocking terminal with keyboard. It can be useful when the working environment does not allow the use of a badge (for example: in the food industry to limit the presence of foreign bodies by eliminating the risk of dropping the badge). It can also be used when a company hires temporary workers and does not wish to issue a large number of badges, or does not have the option of giving the badge to the employee before they take up their shift (example: working night shifts). In this case, the employee is given either a personal code or a personnel number for identification purposes.

Advantage: No additional cost for badges, a badge reader is all you need.

Disadvantage: There is a risk of forgetting the code or passing it on to a third party, which could compromise the company's security. It is therefore necessary to change it regularly, which requires good organisation and communication within the company.

Clocking-in with a code

3° Clocking-in on your smartphone or PC: virtual clocking

Some companies choose to have their employees clock in and out directly on their PC or smartphone via an application or software, usually hosted in SaaS. Employees can then clock in or open doors using this application or via the software, which acts as a "virtual clocking terminal". This action is also called: virtual clocking.

Advantage: Clocking directly via your smartphone or PC can be very practical for employees who are travelling or working from home. The company has no need for a physical clocking terminal and can monitor the working hours declared by its employees, whether on site or remotely.

Disadvantage: This type of use is not suitable for employees who do not work on a PC or who do not have a smartphone. For example, in industrial or construction environments.

Clocking-in on your smartphone

4° The virtual badge or digital badge

The virtual badge is a badge stored directly in the employee's smartphone. It uses the BLE and NFC technologies found on all modern mobiles. The virtual badge is based on the same technologies as contactless payment. The digital badge is sent by the company via e-mail and can be activated remotely by the employee. They then simply pass their smartphone in front of a BLE/NFC compatible clocking terminal to identify themselves instantly. The smartphone then acts as a physical badge.

Advantage: No more badge distribution problem, everything is digitised. The badge can easily be deactivated remotely once the working period is over, for example for temporary or fixed-term contracts.

Disadvantage: It requires the use of a smartphone, which can be a problem for employees who don't want to use their personal phone or for those who don't have a work smartphone.

The virtual badge or digital badge

5° Clocking-in with biometrics

Biometric clocking uses the user’s biometric data such as fingerprints, face, eye, palm volume etc. for identification purposes. Employees use their biometric fingerprints to enrol on the clocking system a first time, and are then recognised each time they pass through. The advantage of this clocking technology is that it requires no additional support.

Advantage: This method of clocking does not require a physical badge, so there is no risk of loss, theft, exchange or falsification.

Disadvantage: In some countries the regulations concerning biometric clocking are more or less flexible, allowing it to be used for time clocking and access control. We advise you to check your local rules.

badgeage par biométrie

Each type of badge has its advantages and disadvantages. The ideal solution is to have an adaptable system capable of operating several types of badge simultaneously for the different uses of your users. That is what we offer with Kelio's versatile range of terminals and badge readers. We can help you choose the most appropriate clocking method(s) to meet the needs and development of your business. 


Share the article