If you’re managing a mobile, decentralized workforce, you know tracking employee time and attendance is no small feat. Ironically, the harder workers are to track, the more crucial it is to track them. It isn't just about work hours…it’s about workforce management.
Luckily, technology is on your side. Thanks to cloud computing, smartphones, and other mobile devices, time and attendance systems are no longer just for stationary employees and centralized worksites.
And the technology just keeps coming!
But such rapid development makes it hard to sort significant time tracking capabilities from distracting bells and whistles. For employers managing distributed labor, these are the 10 most significant trends.
1. Cloud-based systems that integrate all time tracking data
You may need several data collection methods to track all your employees (more on that below), but in order to be meaningful, all that info must feed into one centralized place. With cloud based time tracking, managers can easily access that aggregated data from virtually anywhere for a variety of purposes.
2. A range of data collection methods
With distributed labor, one device does not fit all. For example, for 15 or more employees reporting to a single location, a biometric time clock may still be your best bet. Or, depending on your business, a PC-based log-in system might be a better choice. And for employees moving between worksites, perhaps a simple phone-in system or slicker mobile time tracking app makes the most sense. In 2014, time tracking vendors truly serving your market will offer a full menu of data collection options.
3. Time tracking systems that support labor compliance
Between federal and state wage and hour laws, not to mention union contracts, employers have many, many rules to follow. The most useful time and attendance systems have the ability to generate a precise, detailed audit trail that helps improve labor compliance, resolve wage and hour disputes, and facilitate internal benchmarking.
4. Analytical data reporting capabilities
Every company would agree that its people are its number one asset. Well, don’t you want to leverage that asset as effectively as possible? Analytics allow managers and supervisors set and adjust schedules and compare staff count to payroll to determine the most effective deployment of personnel.
5. A mobile time tracking app with GPS functionality
If you have mobile employees, work crews, and/or drivers, a GPS tracking feature ensures security, accuracy, and compliance. GPS can capture, track, and verify where the employee punched in and provide a time stamp on the server to detect and avoid time theft and unauthorized changes.
6. Real time data delivery
Things happen fast in the field. Sometimes, there isn't a manager on the ground. A real time workforce management system is the next best thing. As soon as things happen, you’re clued in. That allows managers to make changes on the fly, which are then communicated across the system.
7. Real-time alert capabilities
Imagine the managerial value of getting a text or email alert whenever an employee fails to punch in. Or better yet, before an employee crosses into overtime or a job goes over budget. One of the most exciting trends in time tracking is expanding real-time alert capabilities.
8. Employee self-service portals
This value-added time tracking feature is increasingly popular. Besides punching in and out, employees can use their time clock (or its equivalent) to access their work schedules and accrued time off. In some cases, they can submit time-off requests through the system and receive quick approval. On a business level, self-service reduces time and resource demands on Human Resources and Payroll, while encouraging employee accountability.
9. Systems that address Affordable Care Act requirements
The Affordable Care Act’s employer mandates become effective 1/1/15, less than one year from now. One of the ACA’s key requirements will involve tracking and reporting workers’ “hours of service,” which is particularly challenging for employers managing a distributed workforce. Smart time tracking providers have developed ACA-specific tracking tools and reports to help employers maintain ACA compliance and minimize associated financial implications.
10. Flexible, scalable technology
If there’s one thing we've learned in the last few years, it’s that in order to survive and grow in an ever-changing business climate, you need to be poised to adapt quickly. And that includes the technology your company uses. A relevant time and attendance system should be ready to flex and grow, too. If your time tracking system doesn't fit you well today, how is it possibly going to serve you tomorrow?
Our time and attendance solution:
At EPAY, we specialize in time and attendance solutions for employers with a mobile, decentralized workforce. Our flexible, cloud-based system is designed to handle complex labor environments. We offer a full range of real-time data collection methods and innovative labor management tools. We continue to develop new technology solutions to meet employers’ shifting workforce needs.