Why track T&A in a remote era?

HRD's Maria Hoyle talks to Damien Durston of Mitrefinch about the role of time and attendance tracking in enhancing the remote employee experience

Why track T&A in a remote era?

This article was produced in partnership with Mitrefinch.

There are myriad things to dislike about the past two years… but working from home isn’t one of them. Australians have lapped up the flexibility remote working affords; even with relaxed COVID restrictions in most parts of the country, more of us are opting to work from home, a report from the Australian Institute of Family Studies reveals. So what does this mean for time and attendance monitoring? In a talent shortage market where companies who offer flexibility will have the edge, is tracking working hours relevant or even desirable anymore?

Absolutely, says Damien Durston, commercial lead at T&A software company Mitrefinch.

“The adoption of automated solutions that accurately capture employees’ pay and entitlement are more important than ever.”

For managers, being able to monitor time and attendance whether their employee is typing at their kitchen table or pacing a factory floor enables them to ensure work is being completed, schedules are adhered to, and time isn’t being wasted. In industries where labour costing and forecasting rely on having accurate hours for payroll, the benefits are clear.

However, T&A works to the remote employee’s advantage too – a crucial consideration in a climate where employee experience is all.

First, there’s that overarching factor – and why people show up to work in the first place. Pay.

“The real benefit of automated time and attendance is paying people accurately for the time they have worked. Incorrect manual data input is to blame for 34% of all payroll errors,” says Durston.

Second, studies show people are doing more hours when working remotely, so greater visibility may improve employee work-life balance and allow them to set boundaries.

Third, automating T&A enables employers to keep on top of issues such as absenteeism and presenteeism.

“Employers are often afraid of losing control when employees go remote, and any unplanned absence can lead to a significant loss for the business over time. Absenteeism doesn’t only lose productivity of one employee, it often impacts the rest of the team and their planning around workloads,” says Durston.

Presenteeism, meanwhile, should raise concerns around mental health and wellbeing, as it can lead to burnout, loneliness and generally feeling unsupported by the work environment.

It’s easy for stress, low morale and lack of engagement to fly under the radar in the remote context, and a good T&A tracking system will flag any problems early.

Employers can see in real-time if anything is amiss; if someone clocks in late or works unexpected hours, it shows up on the supervisor dashboard until they manually dismiss it. Each T&A system is set up so the rules are unique to what the particular employer needs, so if anything is getting flagged it’s usually for a good reason. Managers can assess the situation clearly and easily, then act quickly before anything becomes a problem.

“Greater connectivity also frees up time and mental energy to discuss what really matters to the individual,” says Durston.

Automated T&A solutions and the increasing popularity of employee self-service allow people to log in on any device using biometric fingerprint scanners, whether at home or on site to log working hours, submit leave requests and see all their entitlements within one system. This empowers employees, offers transparency, and provides the kind of mobile-friendly convenience people have increasingly come to expect in other areas of their lives.

Having accurate employee hours also removes the necessity to even discuss or entertain outdated suspicions around productivity, says Durston. Greater transparency means any discussion around time and attendance or underperforming can be backed up with evidence.

 “This gives HR departments tangible data for payroll and compliance, freeing up the conversation for more significant issues around employee experience.”

For more, visit Mitrefinch Australia | Experts in Time and Attendance.

Damien Durston
Damien Durston is the commercial lead for Mitrefinch Australia, a leading enterprise HCM software company specialising in time and attendance solutions.   With extensive experience in human capital management and workforce management solutions, Durston has held previous leadership roles at Myer and Kronos Workforce Ready and was director at Human Capital Technology Partners. He is passionate about transforming the way organisations support their business with people, processes and technology.

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