It is vital for an organisation to monitor and record time and attendance of employees. Tracking the working days and hours can help in tracking productivity, automating payroll processes, managing tasks and workflow, and communicating with clients. Accuracy of these records leads to a reduction in operational costs in the long term. This information helps managers track the status of various projects with respect to their dates of completion and also helps employees plan their work in a better way. It can be extremely challenging for the Human Resources (HR) department to monitor and evaluate attendance without an automated time and attendance system in place.
Establishing a centralised system for tracking how much time employees are spending on official work makes the data readily available for supervisors and for feeding it to other systems. Here are some tangible benefits of automating the tracking process:
Recording and reporting staff hours helps the organisation to comply with any local and regional labour law requirements. Preserving accurate data can help the company in case of any potential litigation.
All data is processed in real time which means that all the latest information is readily available at any time for statutory requirements.This becomes especially useful today where the work culture has turned hybrid and not everyone needs to visit the office daily.
Important insights about staff can be gained by studying these records and any concerns arising from these records can be suitably addressed. Some of the issues such as absenteeism, distribution of work among peers, turnover rates can be better understood and dealt with.
Employees can plan their time according to their projects on hand. They can gauge which tasks take up more time and hence plan effectively. Not just work but also time off for vacation or upskilling can be planned.
Effective management of employee time and attendance leads to higher productivity for the organisation. This data helps organisations to deliver projects in time which raises the credibility of the company.
Having an effective time and attendance system helps employees plan their work in coordination with other employees such that there is no overlap or omissions.
Tracking time and attendance is a crucial workplace function is tracking time and attendance but can be overwhelming when it comes to choosing the best method suitable to the organisation. Making the right choice is imperative for the organisation since the reputation of the organisation is at stake as well as the wellbeing of its employees. Equally important is to employ a system that is not time consuming or cumbersome.
Some of the ways used to track employee hours are as below:
Several organisations today employ biometric devices that use facial characteristics, retina scan or fingerprints. The use of biometrics becomes important in organisations that need to control access to and from departments and buildings in addition to tracking employee time. These devices are now being integrated with HR software to ensure accurate recording of data for payroll processing. Data thus collected needs to be processed and stored in a secure manner to prevent any security breaches.
Tracking employee hours when employees work away from the office becomes difficult without a mobile tracking system. This information when integrated with the payroll system can accurately calculate working hours. Movements are tracked legally through the Global Positioning System (GPS).
This system is an upgraded version of the punch card system. In this method employees used their ID to clock in and out of office. The data so gathered is then transferred to a system for calculation of payroll.
There are still a few organisations that prefer to use spreadsheets for gathering time and attendance data. In some instances managers are tasked with maintaining the spreadsheets and in some other instances the employees do it themself and then forward the compiled monthly list to their managers. This method is however tedious and prone to errors since it is being done manually.
Not only is it essential to maintain accurate records but it is equally important that the records can be accessed easily at all times. This becomes possible with cloud based software. All the updates to the records happen in real time and are emerging as the most accurate way of maintaining records. Another benefit of cloud based systems is that it is scalable across locations and headcounts.
There are some factors to bear in mind while considering the right method for tracking time and attendance of employees. They are:
While manually tracking time and attendance can be fairly straightforward, automating the whole process can introduce several benefits such as allowing employees to punch in and out themselves, run reports to assess any issues and so on.
The cost involved should be justified by the system being chosen and the benefits it offers the company. It is always better to get a fixed quote for the whole system to be enforced.
An attendance and time tracking system should not have a cluttered interface. The appearance must be intuitive and appealing to the user.
Using software to capture data about employee work hours and attendance is one part of the job on hand. The other being able to integrate this system/data with other HR applications, which is critical for payroll and compliance.
The system should be able to incorporate specific needs of the company. Be it multiple locations, time zones or employment categories.
For seamless experience, having a robust customer support from the chosen software is vital.
Marking attendance and tracking time spent on different projects is a daily activity for employees. It is best kept simple yet accurate and easily accessible at all times. It can also help with time management, work delegation and productivity. For this tracking to have any tangible benefits it is not enough to simply record and store this data. Work hour policies need to be revised and fine tuned in accordance with these records and carefully measuring the effect of irregular attendance/work hours.