by Andre Bourque

Why you need to ditch the time clock and go digital

Apr 13, 2017
CareersIT Leadership

The number of wage and hour violations filed has increased 450% since 2000. Digital technology can reduce that.

clock and calendar montage
Credit: Thinkstock

Traditionally, employment management was labor-intensive. More often today, companies rely on software to provide solutions for timekeeping, scheduling, communications and employee management. And there are compelling reasons to rely on automated systems.

Business used to be so simple. Workers arrived, punched in and out on a physical time clock, and worked a scheduled shift. It’s more likely now that a large workforce is everywhere. Parts of your team may be working together from Dubuque or Dubai, in different time zones and on different schedules. Even in the same time zone, people don’t necessarily work the same schedules; you may need team members working night hours to answer the needs of clients in Japan or Australia.

In a global arena, how do you ensure that your business needs are covered? The increasing complexity of working schedules has given rise to a new generation of automated systems, and most businesses consider them a necessity. As the global workplace evolved, software evolved to meet the need.

I conducted a phone interview with a company meeting today’s workplace needs. Advance Systems Workforce Management Solutions has built a comprehensive suite of automated tools, here’s what you can do with it.

Streamline your workforce

In addition to scheduling, Advance Systems provides the metrics you need to schedule properly. Using the insight you can gather from work data, businesses can figure out the most efficient scheduling; the least number of people they need available at specific times.

Create flexibility

Not only does streamlining your workforce cut your man-hour expenditures without reducing your productivity, it gives you scheduling flexibility, something your employees want and need. An August 2016 study by Flexjobs found the two things that parents most want, even over pay, are flexibility and work/life balance.

With a clear understanding of your scheduling needs, you may be able to allow people to work around their lives. Why not let an employee who lives in Florida answer calls in the mornings, take the afternoon off to handle child care, and then do paperwork — or answer calls from Australia — in the evening? Fill in the afternoon hours with a California worker who likes to go for a bike ride early in the morning and start work at 11 a.m. As long as your hours are covered, you’re happy, your customers are happy, and your employees tell everybody what a great company you are to work for.

Flexible scheduling offers a hidden benefit as well: more productivity per employee. Distracted people who want to be somewhere else simply get less done. You’ll have less distracted, more productive workers if you give people the time they need to be home for their kids, go to appointments and otherwise take care of their own needs.

Allow employees to schedule themselves

In the past, juggling schedules was a nightmare. People need time off for many reasons, unexpected situations arise and managers are left in the lurch. An automated time system lets employees control their own schedules, swap time with other employees when the need arises, and claim vacation time without time-consuming interaction. Managers can approve scheduling changes with a glance at their dashboards, or deny requests and send messages.

Eliminate payroll errors

Automating time and attendance saves your business money by significantly cutting the time spent processing payroll; it also reduces costly payroll errors.

Common payroll errors include mistakes arising from miscalculations of state and federal taxes, employee malfeasance (having friends clock in for them when they aren’t there, for example, or leaving without clocking out), and bad record keeping, such as failure to note terminations or misclassifications of job titles. What most payroll mistakes come down to are exactly what you expect: human error.

Chart of wage and hour filing statistics Richard D. Alaniz

Chart from the article “Assessing the Impact of Changes to Overtime Rules in 2016” by Richard D. Alaniz in Auto Rental News. Published here with permission from the author.

As the chart above illustrates, the number of wage and hour violations filed in federal courts has increased 450% since 2000. “Most organizations that violate [the Fair Labor Standards Act] do so unintentionally,” said Advance Systems CEO Gary Corcoran. “There are different rules for exempt and non-exempt employees. The laws are confusing, and some of them are counterintuitive. When you attempt to track employee scheduling or time and attendance manually mistakes can be made, resulting in costly violations.”

As managing your workforce grows ever more complicated, it only makes sense to rely on up-to-date tools to handle calculations. It’s unreasonable to expect humans to deal with fractured global scheduling; state, federal and international tax laws; and a growing employee base of people with individual needs working in multiple offices and living in diverse geographic locations. Your workforce management solution must be as modern and fluid as your growing company.