During pre-COVID times, we often did forget how complex it could be sometimes to keep track of routine HR activities such as employees’ leaves, attendance, etc. Tracking and accounting for absence from work, personal leaves, emergency leaves, and late check-ins for thousands of employees distributed across various locations was a whole different challenge even then. But these are not normal times and the advent of COVID-19 has compelled organizations to adapt to the new normal by employing cutting-edge technologies and managing their workforce virtually.
As lockdown continues for over 6 months now across various countries due to COVID-19, many companies are implementing flexible work arrangements as well as work-from-home for the benefit of its employees. Tracking attendance manually for a distributed workforce is a huge task and therefore, to facilitate proper attendance tracking organizations must deploy an automated and mobile-first attendance management solution. Online time and attendance management software allow managers to work with diverse shifts and rosters enabling personalization of leaves and attendance. With features like Geotagging, One View, Biometric Integrations, etc. the managers can keep a better tab on the way the valuable time at work is being utilized by the employees. Some ways in which organizations are keeping better track of employees’ leave & attendance both remotely and in-office are –
- Enable fingerprints and retina scans – For the organizations that started working out of offices after the end of lockdown, swiping barcode information on employee ID badges is no longer a preferred mode to track attendance. Instead, biometric data with fingerprints and retina scans have become beneficial for companies that may need to control access to and from departments and buildings, in addition to tracking employee time in office.
- Select a system that facilitates multiple attendance inputs (IP address, location-based, etc.) – Using software that is dedicated to capturing employee login only via biometric at the entrances solves part of the problem. When organizations are looking for the best ways to track employee working hours at distributed locations such as warehouses, retail stores, factories, etc., it becomes critical that the system employs technologies such as geotagged attendance, facial recognition, etc. Geotagged attendance massively simplifies the process of attendance tracking for the employees. It helps maintain records and know the whereabouts of people better. This is extremely critical for payroll, time off, and overtime calculations.
- HCM Software that is hosted in the cloud – Expensive, internal software lacks integrability and is becoming outdated as more companies look for a less costly solution that offers a seamless experience. What works in this position is to host a time & attendance software in the cloud, one that integrates with modules such as payroll and performance management to cover every aspect of the employee working hours: easy, timely, and accurate pay, computation of overtime, resolve regulatory issues, etc. The system should offer easy solutions for entering hours and quickly routing time for approvals.
- Use an automated system for regulatory compliance – Accurate tracking is also important for meeting the numerous regulatory requirements. Chief among these for Indian companies is the Factories Act, 1948, and the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. Any attendance management software should make it easy to comply with government regulations and internal policies of the organization. Common causes of noncompliance are from inaccurate or inadequate reporting. Using an automated system to track time and attendance can help reduce errors and prevent costly litigation that arises from noncompliance.
- Keep track of remote employees with Mobile Attendance System – Mobile app compatible time and attendance management software helps track team members wherever they are working. Employees use a smartphone or tablet to clock in from any location. The app syncs with the time and attendance module of the HCM software. Several companies use mobile time tracking apps for employees at home and employees who move around during the day. Tracking employee hours when they work away from the office or facility is difficult without a mobile attendance monitoring system. The information received from the mobile app is integrated with the payroll system for accurate working hours.
- Geofencing Time & Attendance – A geofence is a virtual barrier or perimeter around a real-world geographic area. This virtual boundary can be tied to a physical location (e.g., a warehouse, factory, or a store), or it can be dynamically generated with a radius around certain latitudinal and longitudinal points. Employees cannot clock in when they are not in their authorized work location. The system sends an alert if an employee punches in outside of the geofence. Managers can therefore focus only on problem punches, not the in-bounds punches. Managing by exception saves time and improves efficiency.
- Keep Online Attendance records – Some organizations have adopted advanced technologies over old-fashioned practices such as using an online time clock. Employees keep a record of their presence and hours worked through a web app that can also integrate to generate payroll reports.
- Google sheets for tracking attendance – Tracking attendance using Google Sheets and/or forms may sound convenient and might work well for small companies too, but it’s extremely ineffective and insecure for larger organizations. Each time a user signs into the form, a new row is added to the sheet and soon the person tracking attendance is left with hundreds, thousands of rows, and little usable information. Manually recording attendance in a sheet is inefficient as well.
- Manually entering employee hours into a spreadsheet – Some companies with a small staff may not want to migrate to the cloud or an online system so soon. For them, continuing to enter hours into a spreadsheet may work best, but it will also require workarounds for integrating the data with other modules.
- Use wall mount card swipes/QR code scanners – Wall mounted card swipes and scanners are the updated version of the punch card system. Instead of a biometric, employees use their ID cards to clock in and clock out. Data is automatically transferred to the cloud or a centralized system where work hours are calculated for each employee along with their attendance.