Internet-based services have been of huge help to businesses. This has become more apparent in recent months with so many people accessing their workloads from home. The huge upsurge in home working practices in 2020 has caused a headache for many Managers and employees.
This is where workforce management software can truly deliver. It will constantly be helping managers and workers alike to keep on top of that most precious of commodities – time.
In the past, time and attendance systems in Ireland and elsewhere were fairly basic. Either workers needed to clock in or out using a time stamping device or their hours were collated on worksheets. Those who are still just using a spreadsheet are likely to have found that doing so is not suitable. In an age when more and more people are working from home things need to be more suited to employees. How does workforce management software address the shortcomings of paper-based systems? When teams are dispersed and only connected to one another via the internet?
Addressing the Challenges of Home Working
To begin with, employee management tools – no matter how sophisticated they are – will have the capability of addressing all the challenges associated with home working. If children need attention, if there is a knock at the door or if the internet connection goes down, then employers have to realise this is a part of accepting what working from home means. These things don’t mean a home worker isn’t working – just that they are not working all the time.
In an office, the same is true. Interruptions occur from time to time and, let’s face it, people socialise among their co-workers. However, scheduling regular updates and meetings in your team members’ diaries means that some of these challenges can be met. It isn’t snooping to set the get-togethers in time Workforce Management Software, either. Many home workers report that one of the major challenges they face is the lack of interaction. By setting aside time to talk to or video call a team member, they will feel more engaged with and valued as a member of the team.
Most long-term remote workers say that they don’t always feel they are able to engage with the corporate culture of a firm so easily. Allotting time for face-to-face interaction, even if it is a virtual meeting, helps to overcome this hurdle, too, especially when you are dealing with new employees. In addition, of course, good scheduling software will allow you to alter meeting times easily. This means that your client-focus never diminishes. Time scheduling software ought to facilitate rapid changes to a planned timetable even by team members so everyone can play their part.
Workforce Management Software Boosts Productivity
Although home working does not necessarily lead to a drop in productivity compared to working alongside co-workers, a common fear is that it will lead to lower levels of effort. One of the key things about software-based time and attendance systems in Ireland is that they will allow workers to optimise their hours. If a project needs to be completed by a certain deadline, for example, then what is to stop managers allocating more hours in the run-up to it and fewer man-hours afterwards?
Equally, working from home might mean evening hours and early starts are more productive for certain members of the team. If the job still gets done, then organising schedules to reflect the different home life of team members would make sense. With the right sort of Workforce Management Software, you can allow for hours to be expanded, contracted and shifted to non-traditional times of the day.
Even better, such an approach should also allow for Irish workers to interact more with their counterparts overseas. With the right time allocation tools, you can get more collaboration time with colleagues working in different time zones, such as the United States, India and the Far East. Few would argue that greater home working ought to mean sticking to a very regimented 9 to 5 culture. Of course, this isn’t for every business. There are scenarios where you need to match skillsets around the world to work productively. Using software that’s capable of doing so within a time management package can be truly ground-breaking.
Staff Absenteeism When Working From Home
How do you know when staff are absent if they are working from home? It is a knotty problem for HR departments and line managers alike. Of course, the best approach is to be open and honest with home workers about what you expect of them. Nevertheless, keeping track of absentees when you are not in the same physical environment as them poses a problem.
Again, it is time management software that provides the answers businesses need. Absence tracking software will allow managers to detect which employees are taking more time off than they should. It also allows you to:
- Keep statistics on how productivity is impacted by absenteeism.
- Monitor employees for lateness of overly long break periods.
- View absentee data in real-time.
- Track trends in absenteeism among individuals and entire teams.
Monitoring Staff Activity
For some, home working is an opportunity to get away with producing less or inferior work. Time-based management monitoring tools that keep track of the periods in which specific tasks are completed help manager to soon detect who is underperforming or not at their workstation for sufficiently long periods. By comparing two team members with the same tasks and logging their time scheduling data, you will soon learn who the top performers are.
Of course, time management tools are not just there to prevent basic slacking from employees. It is also there as a management tool to detect overly productive people, the sort who might be headed for burnout because they are putting in too many hours. In the end, there is a business cost to overwork as employees simply cannot sustain it. This is just as much an issue in the world of home working as it is anywhere else. Nevertheless, with the right to monitoring systems in place, managers will be able to stay on top of this, too.