Workforce Scheduling: Definition, Benefits, And Optimization
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For many managers, employee time tracking is one of the most difficult aspects of their job. It’s often so difficult because the process is still mired in 20th-century practices that include single-location clock-in/clock-out, paper timesheets, and manual data entry.
While other parts of business have changed with the times, time tracking is often still stuck in the past. Fortunately, there are 21st-century solutions that simplify and streamline the entire process and remove many of the speedbumps that make employee time tracking so difficult.
In this article, we discuss how you can improve your business’s time tracking and the tools that make those improvements possible.
The concept of employee time tracking is pretty self-explanatory — the three words say it all — but, for the purpose of this article, we’re going to provide a definition so that you understand exactly what’s involved in the process.
At its most basic, employee time tracking is:
The business practice of recording, collating, manipulating, and analyzing information about when your employees work and don’t work.
For most businesses that pay their employees by the hour, the main reason to track work time is to make payroll possible.
Team members clock in when they arrive at the workplace — or when they start their job if they work offsite — and clock out when they leave or stop work for the day.
For businesses that pay their employees a salary, the main reason to track work time is to observe and control project costs.
For example, each employee records the amount of time they work on specific tasks throughout the day. Management then analyzes that data to get a better idea of the true cost of doing a job and to prepare themselves for estimating costs for future jobs.
What’s more, many businesses incorporate both types of employee time tracking — the simple clock-in/clock-out behavior and the more complicated time-on-task tracking.
With one or two employees, managing all of this data isn’t too big of a job. But, as the number of team members increases, dealing with all that information becomes a full-time job in and of itself.
Add tax laws, payroll, overtime, and other variables into the mix, and it’s easy to see why time tracking is such a complicated and time-consuming process.
In the next section, we’ll discuss steps you can take to make the tracking system in your business as simple, effective, and efficient as possible for team members on both sides of the process.
Making compliance a priority involves two unique steps: business compliance and employee compliance.
When it comes to compliance, the most common aspect of the process is remaining within local, state, and federal laws.
One of the first steps in setting up a time tracking system — or even improving an existing system — is to verify that your business is obeying all the rules and regulations.
While the myriad different laws and statutes can be difficult to decipher, they do provide a basic framework for how your employee time tracking should and shouldn’t operate with regards to scheduling, overtime, wages, and recordkeeping.
It’s also a good idea to consult an attorney who is familiar with labor laws in your industry and area.
As a business, you have to abide by the local, state, and federal mandates that apply to your industry.
Similarly, as employees within your business, team members have to abide by the rules and regulations that are part of your time tracking system.
That’s the employee compliance side of the issue.
While it’s up to each team member to work within the rules, it’s up to your business to first train your employees and then make sure everyone is working within the system that you put into effect.
Modern tools, such as Inch, can help in this regard by providing a strict, step-by-step system that all but eliminates the possibility for missed clock-ins, forgotten clock-outs, time theft, buddy punching, and other tracking issues.
Another important aspect of employee time tracking is collecting the right information for your business needs.
Within the system itself, the two most fundamental numbers are the start and end of each workday. As mentioned earlier, these two numbers are the basis for all payroll activity within your company.
In many businesses, though, it’s also important to track breaks and lunches during the workday, as well as any overtime.
Before you implement such a system — which requires team members to do quite a bit more clocking in and out — it’s necessary to analyze whether you need this much data or whether you can get by with the basic start and stop information.
Federal law stipulates that you track and pay all overtime, but you can usually calculate this from the start and stop times on your employees’ timesheets.
Does your business need more information than that? Does it need to go even deeper than start/stop time, breaks, and lunch to track time on task for specific jobs? If so, software like Inch can make the whole process easier and more accessible for all employees involved.
Any modern employee time tracking system must prioritize mobility.
For many businesses, gone are the days when all team members work together face-to-face in the same physical space.
Now, employees work remotely and may not even be allowed to report to the main office to clock in and out and to access the tools they need for the job.
Those novel and unique aspects of the modern workforce mean that your team members need to be able to access the time tracking system anywhere, anytime.
The Inch app, for example, makes this possible — and easy — because it’s based in the cloud. All your team needs is internet access (wired or wireless) and a Windows, Android, or iOS/Apple OS device.
It doesn’t matter if employee A chooses to use a Windows laptop, employee B chooses to use an Android tablet, and you choose to use an iMac; you can all access the same software regardless of where you’re working at the time.
That’s mobility and accessibility that 20th-century time tracking can’t manage.
An overly complicated time-tracking procedure will cause problems for your employees. It’s either going to be too complicated to execute quickly, or it’s going to be too confusing for everyone to understand.
If, for example, an employee has to navigate through multiple screens and enter different pieces of information (e.g., an ID number, start time, stop time, etc.), it could serve as a major speedbump to the smooth execution of their job.
For the employees who use it every day, the simple act of clocking in and clocking out should take no more than 10 seconds to complete. If it takes longer than that, it’s too complicated to be productive.
Modern tools, such as Inch, keep the employee time tracking system as simple as possible so that your team can focus on efficiency, productivity, and quality in their job rather than how long it’s going to take to operate the software.
On the other side of the coin, keeping the tracking process as simple as possible for managers is equally as important.
Modern time tracking software gives you access to a lot of data and information. That can be both a blessing and a curse.
So much information is a blessing because the numbers provide insight into the inner workings of your team and your business. But it can be a curse because it’s all too easy to become overwhelmed with data.
Top-tier time tracking apps, such as Inch, have found a way to give you all the benefits of complete data access with none of the drawbacks that usually follow close behind.
Inch, for example, allows you to create templates, customize reports, and view the data in a way that makes sense to you.
When you combine simplicity for employees and simplicity for managers, everyone on your team will enjoy the benefits that an effective and efficient time tracking system has to offer.
Move your employee time tracking out of the 20th century and into the 21st with cloud-based workforce management tools, such as Inch.
Inch is available anywhere, anytime, and on any device your team might use. Such versatility and flexibility make managing in-office teams, distributed teams, remote teams, field service teams (and everything in between) easier than ever before.
And employee time tracking is just the start of what Inch has to offer. You also get robust features, such as:
All of this together in one integrated suite of tools makes Inch the 21st-century solution to all your employee time tracking and workforce management needs.
For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit TryInch.com today.
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