This article is contributed by Jeff Gellar.
The old fashioned methods of tracking the employee work time, including the punch-clock and handwritten timesheets, are rapidly discarded in favor of the software platforms that allow automatic work time tracking at the push of a button. The two aforementioned antiquated strategies may have been favored 20 or 30 years ago, but in the age of apps, smartphones and tablets, they no longer constitute feasible alternatives.
In addition to the convenience and error-free modus operandi of time tracking and scheduling software, these platforms are able to save even smaller companies thousands of dollars on a yearly basis. At the same time, clocking software reduces bureaucracy and the extensive labor associated with calculating the payroll at the end of month.
Are clocking software apps emerging only now?
In fact, no: major corporations have utilized these employee work tracking platforms for many years. However, in the past the complexity of the scheduling/tracking systems made them less viable for small and mid-sized companies with a limited number of employees and no IT department. Furthermore, the costs of the software used to be much higher than any small business could actually afford, because it also meant investing in the hardware to support it.
With the advent of smartphones and tablets, clocking apps are much simpler to use and the data recorded from the mobile devices is centralized on a single unit plus appropriate data backup storage. Since almost everyone owns a smartphone nowadays, the company no longer has to invest in individual clocking hardware.
So what can the clocking applications do?
There is of course a plethora of software platforms in this category, each with its unique features and capabilities. The simplest applications will enable the user – your employee – to punch in the moment he starts working and punch out at the end of the shift, recording the number of hours worked per day. Other applications can offer features which
- permit the employees to see the open shifts and reserve them
- facilitate communications between the members of the company’s departments
- allow managers to assign the shifts manually/automatically
- create reports and analyze productivity over a certain period, and so on and so forth.
What scheduling app is right for your company?
Every business niche has its very own special requirements and the clocking applications should be chosen based on the ability of the organization to make it work for them. For instance, a multinational corporation with employees all over the globe necessitates a clocking platform that can account for and compensate for time zone differences. In another scenario, a company with a very large number of employees and interconnected departments needs highly automated scheduling software that operates based on predefined rules. Basically, before you invest in a software program of this nature, it is advisable to assess your companies needs and evaluate the alternatives based on how well these needs are met.
There are some mandatory features however…
First of all, the utilization of your clocking system has to be comprehensible to all the employees in your company, not just to the people in the IT department. Otherwise, improperly used clocking software would generate a lot of conflicts/errors and decrease general productivity. In this case, it is probably better to stay away from developers that offer a free, extensive course on the functioning of their app, because at some point you may have to spend a lot of time teaching new employees the basics of the program.
Next off, you need the scheduling software to be expandable, since businesses are constantly evolving entities with a variable number of employees. In essence, you need to ensure that the software permits adding and subtracting users and that the upper limit of supported accounts is adequate. At the same time, make sure that you won’t have to pay extra in order to activate more user accounts.
Lastly, as previously mentioned, verify whether or not the features that your company needs – time zone management, exporting payroll files, inter-department communications, auto shift assignment, etc. – are supported.
A quality clocking software platform is not only able to save a lot of funds in the long run by minimizing work tracking errors and eliminating overlapping shifts or similar issues, but it can also constitute a morale booster. Since all your employees know that their pay matches their workload and the same rules apply for all their coworkers, the endless disputes over personal merits and appreciation will become a thing of the past.
Author Bio: Jeff Gellar is the owner of a clock manufacturing company in Australia. His company also manufactures limited editions of customized Employee Time Clock for commercial purposes.
Image Credit: ‘do not watch this clock’ image is Royalty Free or iStock courtesy of: http://www.andertoons.com/