Time Management Technology Can Lower Costs, Boost Productivity
Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.
The time clock is as old as the industrial age. Its origins are traced back to the late 1800s, when workers began punching in and out at work, in one way or another. The process has evolved from mechanical punch clocks to electronic timekeeping, and now to biometrics with fingerprint and facial recognition. Modern time management does much more than record when employees start and stop their work, though, and employers are finding out how advanced time management technology can benefit their businesses.
To many small business owners, employee management comes down to hiring, scheduling and payroll, and, eventually, either promotion or replacement. For many of those businesses, those are all separate functions. However, effective time management technology merges and automates those processes and can help business owners:
Improve efficiency and reduce errors
Improve regulatory compliance and recordkeeping
Make scheduling easier
Increase employee satisfaction and morale
Behind the Times
A couple of years ago, a study by Paychex, a company that provides payroll and human resources services to small and medium-sized businesses, revealed that 36% of small business owners had never changed their time and attendance systems. The same study showed that 17% still used a traditional time clock to track their employees’ time and attendance, and 47% of owners 50 and older preferred to track time on paper.
While the study also showed that websites and point of sale systems were the most popular with 29% apiece, the numbers made one glaring point: business owners need to step into the 21st Century in terms of time management technology.
“Simply put, tracking time using some sort of online application makes smart business sense,” said Tom Hammond, Paychex vice president of corporate strategy and product management. “Tracking time in real-time using an online method helps to ensure accuracy and minimize errors that can easily happen when employees are using paper or a spreadsheet. While those options appear to be both simple and free, organizations that choose to go that route are missing out on saving time, money, and insight into their workforce that ultimately provides employees with simplified methods to record their time worked.”
Probably the key reason for a business owner to update their time management technology is to save themselves time. Utilizing time management software automates many of the tedious chores associated with recordkeeping and payroll.
The 2018 National Small Business Taxation Survey shows that one-third of small businesses spend more than 40 hours each year on federal taxes alone. And 63% spend more than $1,000 each year on the administration of them.
The survey also shows that one-third spend more than $500 each month on payroll services, and of businesses that collect sales taxes, 33% spend as much as one full work week each year recording them. That means any amount of recordkeeping and processing that can be automated will save merchants a lot of money.
Industry estimates show that it takes a typical supervisor approximately seven minutes to manually calculate a time card for a single employee. Multiply that by the number of employees a small business has, and how often payroll is calculated – weekly or twice monthly – and the time involved in doing payroll rises rapidly.
The more hands that touch a time card, the higher the possibilities for reporting errors, too. Automated systems, some of which can be run through a merchant’s digital business platform, eliminates these errors.
Automated systems also make complying with complex and often-changing labor laws and tax codes a lot easier. They also simplify payroll recordkeeping, which will make any company’s bookkeeper happy, providing fewer reasons to worry about accounting errors and audits.
Automated recordkeeping means fewer payroll mistakes, which often leads to more satisfied employees. Some systems have employees certify their timecards before checks are cut so they know exactly how many hours will be on their paychecks. Some time management technology solutions take employee communication a step further by offering daily news feeds that can cut down on companywide emails or other messaging.
Telling some people not to waste time is a waste of time.
Recording hours worked and streamlining payroll isn’t the only advantage to upgrading your time tracking technology. Automated systems also simplify scheduling.
Darrell Moseley, who owns Ace Hardware Hillyard in Spokane, Washington, moved to Deputy Workforce Management after struggling with a system recommended by his co-op. He said he was spending too much time scheduling his employees. When he went to the automated system, that all changed.
“Before Deputy, I used to spend an hour and a half setting up schedules. That was time that I didn’t have. What I love about Deputy is that it saves me so much time,” he explains. “Now, it only takes around 20 minutes! Deputy makes it so easy to view schedules in advance — it’s everything we need it to be.”
Time management technology uses business tracking to identify peak hours so they can schedule more employees to handle the work.
It is also a necessity in an age where many people work from home or other remote locations. Employees can clock in and out from anywhere in the world.
Time management technology can also help a company secure its facilities and its information. It can control access to sensitive areas or restrict entry during designated times. This reduces the chance of lost equipment or property.
Many systems today are using biometrics, fingerprint scans or facial recognition technology, to further enhance security. Employees can check in by simply looking into a time clock kiosk, logging onto their camera-equipped desktop or laptop, or by snapping a selfie with their smartphones.
Put Time on Your Side
Peter Drucker, widely thought of as the father of modern business management, said: “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” In order to truly manage your business, efficiently managing your time and your employees’ time is a necessity.