Managing Time and Attendance for Deskless Shift Workers
One of the main challenges for organizations with deskless employees is managing their time and attendance. Find out how to address these challenges.
Though often undervalued and overlooked, time and attendance management is a critically important component of any business. Accurately tracking the presence of your team factors directly into measuring productivity, ensuring employees are paid correctly for their time, and all while meeting necessary labor requirements.
Time and attendance tracking has become more complicated since the pandemic. While some organizations were able to offer most of their staff the option to work remotely, many industries (such as retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and public sector) do not have similar options. Despite making up a vast majority of the workforce as 80% of ALL workers, deskless shift workers are required to be onsite to perform their duties. But when businesses were required to temporarily shut down, maintain new health guidelines, and handle workers absent with illness—traditional methods for keeping track of employees’ time and attendance were less than ideal.
Unfortunately, these new conditions have exacerbated already turbulent scheduling practices. Deskless shift workers are often challenged by their schedules, which can be unpredictable and negatively impact employees’ work-life balance. As the labor shortage continues to disrupt operations and supply chains around the world, filling spots with properly trained workers can be difficult for both managers and employees. Additionally, if management and staff are unable to effectively communicate and coordinate, scheduling can become erratic, negatively affecting the workforce of the organization. This could create attendance issues, which can lead to gaps in the service line. Miscommunication and scheduling errors may even result in employee attrition due to a poor overall employee experience.
As industries face new challenges, old prejudices against technology must be confronted. In fairness, automation has not been the workers’ friend in many industries, with some being hesitant to embrace technology for fear of job loss. But in these complicated times, the old punch card clock-in method is not up to the task of facilitating payroll, taxes, and employee attendance. The answer to many issues in this new normal is available through automated time and attendance management systems.
Technology has helped optimize business processes across the globe, bridging systemic gaps as effectively and as efficiently as possible. Despite this, 56% of employees report that their respective organizations are toiling with dated, inefficient time and attendance management systems like punch cards and paper forms. It is also important to point out that most of these tech advancements have mostly benefited traditional office workers, often at the expense of deskless shift workers.
Communication issues, time capture errors, and hitches with leave requests are among the biggest challenges facing workers today. With the right technologies in place, organizations can automate their time and attendance processes to make time tracking more accurate and more efficient for all their employees.
Digitized timesheets present a smart option for making payroll easier. Migrating to a digital communication platform makes contact and scheduling smoother and more streamlined. With a time and attendance management solution, automation systems can assist with payroll, tracking wages, and organizing employee hours to ensure the company payroll is accurate and upholds compliance requirements.
Allowing employees to complete tasks via self-service options permits employees to access information quickly and lets them complete many administrative functions without unnecessary overhead. Having access to pay stubs, paid-time-off information, and the ability to schedule minor absences is crucial. Employees can update information on their own in real-time without requesting assistance from administrators, saving time and extra work for both managers and employees.
While deskless shift workers do not meet the requirements to fall under the salary exemption directives set by the U.S. government, federal and state regulations help to ensure they are covered by fair labor practices. Thus, it is crucial for organizations to adopt more efficient time and attendance management tools that are responsive to their needs while ensuring compliance.
According to federal and state regulations, deskless shift workers’ pay can vary depending on the number of hours they work in a week and the rate at which they are paid. Most operate on a no work, no pay principle, so it is crucial for their time to be tracked accurately to ensure they have been compensated accordingly. If there are disparities, the employer could be accused of wage theft. If employees think they are not being paid fairly, there is also a greater risk for diminished employee morale. Fair and predictive schedules are important to aid in minimizing the risks of fatigue as well as ensuring workers are qualified to perform their job duties.
The comprehensive WorkForce Suite addresses many of these time and attendance challenges by allowing the following:
- Build and publish schedules in advance with proactive notifications when schedules are changed
- Adhere to work hour limits, required rest periods, and overtime equalization policies
- Confirm employees have the appropriate skills and certifications before employees are assigned to a job or shift
Avoid One-Size-Fits-All Solutions
While one-size-fits-all solutions are tempting, they are often counterproductive. Simple solutions are poor answers for complicated challenges. In most cases, they only address the needs of some employees and do not speak to the specific needs of deskless shift workers. This highlights the need for customized solutions that accommodate each worker segment.
Additionally, deskless shift workers operate on a different working clock than office-based employees. Certain departments of the organization may need more staff working at certain hours than others. Therefore, employees could work either on a typical 9-5 schedule, swing shifts, or rotating shifts.
Keeping track of so many varied schedules, especially with a large team, can be quite difficult. Using modern time and attendance tracking solutions will help you manage your employees’ time and attendance most effectively by accurately tracking workers’ attendance, reviewing any gaps through behavioral trends, and monitoring leave requests with templates.
Some organizations may also see product and service demands fluctuate from time to time. This will require changes in staff schedules to avoid under or overstaffing. The right digital solutions should be flexible enough to accommodate schedule changes and help determine how to achieve key performance indicators through managing staff work schedules.
The WorkForce Suite offers solutions to support the following:
- Templates with any pattern, duration, or shift, including those that cross midnight
- Effective dates, so you can make and publish changes in advance
- Multiple tasks, meals, and breaks so employees know when and where they need to be
- The ability to assign shift patterns en masse or at the individual level
- Allow adjustments when needed without disrupting future schedules
Promote Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is a crucial concern of every employee’s professional career. For employees to be productive and efficient at their jobs, they need to have adequate time for rest and personal time.
Research shows, only 34% of employees are engaged in their workplace, which significantly impacts productivity levels. Studies repeatedly show that employees with a healthy work-life balance are more likely to be engaged and productive, and therefore leaders should invest in solutions that encourage these positive effects.
One of the greatest challenges for deskless shift workers is a lack of flexibility. Since time and attendance are very closely tracked, where every second counts, it can be hard for them to take time off. As such, organizations that provide more flexible schedules for deskless shift workers and which give employees more autonomy when it comes to managing their work schedules often see less employee burnout and attrition. A slight adjustment to accommodate a doctor’s appointment or picking up a child from school can pay off in massive dividends for worker satisfaction and employee experience.
Workers are less likely to have unplanned absences that will lead to time and attendance gaps when they can nurture both their physical and mental wellbeing to be in balance with their work schedules. As a result, organizations will run more smoothly and minimize hitches when it comes to employee scheduling.
Optimize Your Teams with WorkForce Suite: Workforce Management Integrated with Employee Experience
In an age where workers expect to be able to easily communicate, interact, and collaborate with their co-workers and managers, it’s the employer’s responsibility to invest in the technology needed to unlock the immense potential of their most valuable resource: people.
By incorporating the WorkForce Suite with time and attendance capabilities into your company processes, the organization benefits in the following areas:
- Simplifies compliance by keeping pace with ever-changing labor regulations, union agreements, and company policies.
- Decreases labor costs by minimizing your organization’s payroll leakage with digital enforcement of policies while easily identifying emerging labor trends within the organization’s workforce.
- Reduces unplanned overtime costs with real-time notifications that alert when employees are working outside of their scheduled hours. Improve operational efficiency by eliminating error-prone and time-consuming manual processes, workarounds, and workflows.
- Applies gross pay calculations and attendance policies in real-time as employee time is captured.
The Workforce Suite provides all the tools needed to effectively manage employees’ time and attendance — and help you ensure compliance, raise overall business efficiency, and enhance the overall employee experience through its set of flexible solutions.
Let us show you how — schedule a demo today.
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