Do you remember the old fashioned ‘clock in and clock out’ punch cards? While it worked, it was chaotic, easily manipulated, and not the most efficient way to keep track of hours worked and employees’ movements. With the technological advancements over the years, there’s now a neat solution; modern time and attendance software.
Time and attendance (T&A) systems are more advanced and sophisticated versions of the classic time clock. We live at a time where organisations and your employees are operating across different time zones, employees are working all kinds of shift patterns and remote working is commonplace. This is making it increasingly difficult for employers to have insight into employee attendance.
Time and attendance systems are used by organisations of all sizes, across a range of industries to ensure accuracy of employee’s time and attendance, pay and absence requests. It also allows business a greater degree of control over labour costs, freeing them to drive up productivity and profitability.
If you are just in the process of looking for such a system, you may not know where to start. Daunting? We know. But if you are considering a time and attendance system for your business, then here are some points to think about before you invest.
What are the expectations of your time and attendance system?
The first thing you need to think about are your expectations. What are your current challenges, and what needs to change in order to ensure that your business runs most efficiently? Some examples of current challenges might include:
- Are your employees constantly having to query their pay?
- Are holidays taking longer than they should to be approved?
- Do you feel like productivity within your organisation could be improved?
- Is it taking longer than it should for managers to approve or plan their teams’ working hours?
If you find yourself answering ‘yes’ to the above questions, then you might just be in need of a time management system. It may seem counterintuitive to spend time thinking about the challenges you face while they continue to build up, but taking time to tot up your pain points will help you when it comes to choosing the right solution the first time. The solution you choose should make your business more efficient and meet your needs, not bring additional headaches.
Consider your employees working patterns
Complex shift patterns, required skills per shift, varying pay rates based on jobs? Sounds like a logistical and practical headache.
If the working patterns in your organisation are varied and you have different payment categories, for example, overtime rates, night shift working etc., you will probably want to choose a time and attendance system you can customise yourself. Otherwise, you may need to keep returning to your supplier to make changes. Your employee working patterns and payment categories should be a key consideration when choosing a system.
What clocking options work best for your workforce?
Collecting employee attendance records can be done in many different ways, so which one’s right?
This comes down to your personal preference, but also how your workforce currently operates, and how it might in the future. As an example; if all of your employees are in desk-based roles, you may only be concerned about web-based clocking. However, if you have employees who are working remotely, you might want to consider mobile clocking. Clocking in options range from:
The time and attendance system you choose should be able to accommodate the needs of your employees, with clocking options that are convenient for their working arrangements.
What platform makes the most sense for your business?
If you have remote workers based across the globe, a cloud-based system may be the most suitable option or hybrid (combination of cloud-based and on-premise.) However, if all your employees are based on-site, the on-premise may be the only platform you need. Think about the platform that suits your business best and choose a system that accommodates for this. Don’t forget to speak to your IT department, they will be able to let you know about IT policies and existing computing resources.
The cost of time and attendance systems
The cost of the system and your budget for the time and attendance system will also be a consideration.
You will find that on-premise platforms will have a higher upfront fee than a cloud-based platform. If you are looking for different clocking options from your time and attendance solution, i.e. both web-based and mobile, you’ll find that the costs will be higher than a singular clocking option. Although your budget will obviously be one of the main concerns, it is important to make sure the system you choose is right for your organisation and fits with improvements you want to make in your business.
The top 10 benefits of a T&A system
#1 Your employees have more structure
Clocking-in systems give you and your workforce a more defined sense of structure around the working day. In addition to this, it also gives you the added benefit of greater visibility of developing patterns concerning time and attendance.
Being able to identify employees who are either habitually late or make a habit of working overtime, can help you and your team shape discussions around effective management.
Clocking-in is effective whether you’re using it on-premise or, as current circumstances may require, via cloud-based time and attendance software to manage your remote workforce. Remote solutions also allow greater visibility of workers who exist outside of the normal order of operations- such as field engineers or drivers who aren’t normally expected to begin their working day at a fixed location.
#2 Employers have more accurate time and attendance information
An electronic T&A system collects reams of data about an organisation’s timekeeping practices. Through it, employers can learn exactly when employees are late or absent, and they’ll know the extent of the problem, too. Bradford factor reporting of sickness absences also allows employers to identify problem areas of habitual sickness.
When employees are going to be absent, they can record their holidays on a unified system, so that management can plan around it. Self-service functionality and visibility of holiday requests and allowances help to alleviate strain on HR teams who are habitually answering such types of enquiries.
Some employers may want proactive alerts that’ll notify them whenever employees have forgotten to clock out, straying into overtime or getting close to exceeding working hours regulations – allowing quick corrective action to be made.
#3 You can avoid costly payroll errors
Payroll errors can be significant for both employer and employee. Correcting payroll errors is commonly cited as a time-consuming task for HR managers.
By utilising the automation that comes with a modern time and attendance system, human errors have less opportunity to slip in so you’ll spend less time identifying and correcting payroll errors. Our system integrates seamlessly with payroll systems, so that you’ll have a more accurate picture of your overall costs.
#4 Eliminates time fraud to save money
While an old-style clocking in card could be filled in and punched by just about anyone, a modern system requires that a specific worker be there to present a thumb or fingerprint, authenticating the record with their unique biometrics. Thus, you can be sure that when the system says that a worker was present, they really were!
#5 Accurate time reports for accurate working hours
Much of the misreporting that goes hand-in-hand with traditional attendance systems is not a result of malice, but of simple unconscious bias. We’re all, after all, far more willing to round up if we’re asked to guess how many hours we’ve worked in a given day! The precise clock-in times recorded by a digital system eliminates this problem.
#6 Simplicity for employees
Another advantage of a biometric time and attendance system is that employees don’t need to spend time filling in forms, or remembering to bring a special key-card with them everywhere they go. Reducing the reliance on peripherals such as keycards and fobs, also negates the need to purchase replacements should an employee misplace theirs.
#7 Remote access for 24/7 visibility of your workforce
Workforces are becoming ever increasingly mobile. Just because you’re out of the office, that shouldn’t mean that you aren’t able to keep up-to-date with your employees. Mobile alerts in the palm of your hand allow you to oversee the entire organisation, wherever you are in the world. This allows you to act quickly to correct errors, even if you’re out of the office.
The remote functionality of our software isn’t just restricted to employers. Remote workers can also use a web-based clocking system to clock in remotely. Geo fencing functionality also gives employers the peace of mind to know that the clocking information received is accurate.
#8 Complex reports made simple
We’ve already touched upon the wealth of information enjoyed by employers armed with an employee timekeeping system. All of this data is worthless if it isn’t presented in a way that’s easy to understand and act upon.
Our software allows management to see attendance issues at a glance using an intuitive, colour-coded interface. You’re able to get reports generated in your format-of-choice, whether it be .pdf, .csv or .txt, to fit seamlessly into your existing workflow
#9 Reduced administrative load
An attendance system eliminates the need for manual clocking-in cards. There’s no need to spend hours poring over figures; the data is collated automatically. The elimination of this menial work will allow your business to streamline, and your employees and managers to focus on the creative, fulfilling work to which they’re suited.
#10 Ensures regulatory compliance
Your organisation may have to adhere to industry regulations, have some compliance rules that are bespoke to your business and will need to ensure GDPR compliance. A good system should be tailored to your requirements to raise flags against any compliance issues before your organisation falls foul of them and to provide you with the tools to aid you with your GDPR compliance.
We hope this guide has proven useful in helping you understand the benefits of time and attendance systems and how making use of one in your place of work can help free your people and let them make the most of their working day.
These systems are designed to work around your needs and are suitable for business of all sizes, be they a few dozen employees at one site, or thousands of people across a corporate setting. Whatever your needs, we think you’ll agree that time and attendance systems are the most effective way to get the visibility and accurate information regarding your people and their hours that you need to maximise your working week.
Discover how our Time and Attendance system can help your business improve productivity, minimise compliance risks and reduce the time spent on managing workforce schedules. Allow your people to focus on the work that matters most to drive efficiency. Contact us today to learn more.