Tracking Time & Attendance in Mobile Work Environments

May 30, 2017

The Growth of the Mobile Workforce

Studies project that by 2020 mobile workers will make up nearly 75% of the US workforce. While technology has made a mobile workforce possible, a significant driver of accelerated growth is the need for employers to be competitive in their ability to attract and retain talent. By empowering employees with greater control over where and when work is done, employers not only increase employee satisfaction and engagement, they also are able to make more efficient use of all resources. Mobile workforces allow employers to reduce overhead expenses in some areas, including the reduced need for office space and less reliance on elaborate IT infrastructure as more is moved to the cloud. Employers can also benefit from access to a greater pool of talent, by being able to hire from a wider geographic range. But with these savings and benefits come challenges as organizations must develop new ways to manage schedules, track time and attendance, and maintain proper compliance in the documentation of hours worked for state and federal regulatory authorities.

Tracking What Can’t Be Seen

When managing a modern workforce, employers must manage to track workers in multiple locations, including some who may be working outside the company’s offices day-to-day. If you can’t walk past an office, cubicle or workstation to see that your employees are where they’re supposed to be, when they’re scheduled to be there, how can you be confident that work is getting done? SHRM reports that managing mobile workers effectively is a top concern for 46% of executives who supervise mobile workers. Certainly, time tracking has historically presented challenges for employers. Manual punch clocks were subject to the basic human error of simply forgetting to punch in and the subterfuge of co-workers conspiring to cover for each other by punching in for a late colleague.

In the era of the modern workplace, maintaining visibility into the schedules of remote workers is still tricky. Managers are left with no option but to trust employees with reporting when payroll is calculated based on time, but establishing that trust can be a challenge.

Fortunately, just as technology has enabled an increasingly mobile workforce, it has also fostered the development of improved tools to track time and attendance and guarantee accountability. Increasingly sophisticated mobile devices equipped with biometric verification using fingerprint scanning or facial recognition power today’s time and attendance tracking systems, ensuring accountability without forcing managers to treat their employees with suspicion.

Scheduling Across Multiple Locations

For companies that operate from multiple locations,  creating and maintaining employee schedules can be a headache. In some situations, mobile workers may move from one location to another during the course of a week. Tracking this time is important for the organization, not only so that payroll and billing can be handled accurately, but also because executive-level stakeholders need real-time data on the location of a major resource – human capital. This information is equally essential to the managers at various locations, who need to know who is supposed to show up on their team from one day to the next. Scheduling software can be a significant asset to these manages, allowing them to pull reports that give visibility into past, current and projected hours for employees at any location.

Mobile Options to Replace “The Clock”

The traditional centralized time clock has no place today’s modern, mobile work environment.  This places the burden on employees to maintain records of their time. Companies that rely on manual processes and paper records to track hours worked are at risk for inaccurate data due to human error and potentially fraudulent reporting due to unethical reporting practices by employees. This manner of reporting can make auditing a difficult if not impossible.

For this reason, employers are increasingly looking to cloud-based time and attendance tools to manage tracking of mobile workers. Cloud-based systems have many advantages that make them popular with employers and employees. First, these systems are very convenient for employees. At least 84% of hourly workers own a smartphone. Workers appreciate the ability to report time via a mobile device, through an application that is easy to use and as familiar to them as other commonly accessed mobile apps. Mobile time tracking apps have been shown to have higher adoption rates and to boost productivity because employees respond positively to the familiarity and the ease of use.

Managing Risk and Maintaining Accurate Records

Any organization can be at risk of an audit of their time and attendance records, particularly when a labor dispute arises. For this reason, it’s essential that employers maintain accurate records of hours worked, including start and end times, locations, assignments, and supervisors. For organizations with a mobile workforce, cloud-based time clocks are essential to facilitate good record keeping and these systems greatly simplify the production of needed reports in the event of an audit.

Asure software is a leader in providing time and attendance solutions to a modern workforce. Asure solutions foster trust and productivity, increase mobile worker engagement and provide peace of mind for employers.