Attendance management - how cloud takes it to a new level

Managing attendance records could be a pain in this new, more flexible, age. Cloud eases the path

The days of clocking in and out from work are witnessing something of a resurgence as companies look to cloud-based time and attendance systems to support more flexible ways of working.

Demand for staff time management functionality has increased dramatically in last three years - almost 50 per cent according to Carval Computing, a supplier of human resources, payroll and time and attendance software - as the recession has taken hold. In particular the company claims there has been a significant increase in demand for staff time management systems to support mobile and flexible working during the last three years. 

Back in 2010 a study from analyst Aberdeen Group found that only around half of organisations at that time were using time and attendance software systems and the adoption of the technology was failing to keep pace with similarly positioned HR systems. But research published this year states that tracking time and attendance is at the core of workforce management.

There has been a significant increase in demand for staff time management systems to support mobile and flexible working during the last three years

Functionality has certainly evolved since the first systems came to market. Historically, time and attendance software was focused on timekeeping and using that to pay people, but the technology has evolved far beyond their original remit. Today time and attendance technology is focused on automating time and expense approval and rule processes, providing management and compliance data via report generation often in real-time and matching the staffing supply resources you have with the staffing demand that is needed.

“The ubiquitous adoption of mobile technology has led to a huge increase in more flexible ways of working,” says John Ovington, sales and support director at Carval Computing. “Automation of the collection and recording of staff hours saves time and resources while ensuring that everyone is treated equally.  This is great for staff as well as the company.” 

At its most basic level, T&A ensures that the company knows who is working, when and where. It highlights any absence, including late arrivals and early leavers. Those applications linked to an access control system can also flag up if any staff attempt to enter a restricted access area.

More and more companies use time/attendance data as a conduit for better management decisions. But with personnel expenditures making up an ever-increasing slice of the cost pie, the ability to automate time and attendance processes can also help employers drive down some of those costs. Systems offer the ability for managers to access employee data 24/7 and view real-time reports on employees nearing overtime or having other attendance issues. Organisations with a larger percentage of hourly-wage workers in particular can use the technology to predict and improve their workforce planning and management.

But Ovington also warns that implementation of the technology is not without its pitfalls: “Managing this flexibility where there may be many different work patterns can be an issue. Add to this the realities of business during a recession with organisations needing to ensure that they are using their workforce as efficiently as possible to meet business demands and you get a highly complex challenge.”

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