Time and attendance software might seem like something of a luxury on the surface, but when you start exploring what it can actually do, it quickly becomes obvious that it's a no-brainer for many small businesses.
But what exactly is time & attendance software? And how, besides letting your staff punch in and out of their shifts, can it benefit you?
In this blog post, we'll be exploring just that: explaining how T&A software works, its most common features, and the ways it can save you an inordinate amount of time, money, and hassle.
What is Time & Attendance Software?
Put simply, time and attendance software is a clocking-in system for the modern age. It replaces the punch cards, swipe cards, and pen-and-paper timesheets of old to make the process of recording employees' arrival and exit times faster, simpler, and significantly more secure.
Depending on the system you choose, staff clock in using a computer, tablet, or even their own smartphones — usually by entering a unique PIN provided by their employer. The software works in tandem with the employer's rota-planning software to build an accurate record of when and where staff are showing up for work.
In addition to allowing staff to clock in and out of shifts, more sophisticated time and attendance systems will also provide managers with a variety of reports staff, enabling employers to spot attendance problems early. Managers can also use the data gathered by their software to idenfity opportunities to streamline their business and make savings by tweaking staffing levels at particular times of the day.
Ways Time & Attendance Software Can Help Your Business Grow
But how, specifically, can using time and attendance software help managers and owners grow their businesses?
Let's take a quick look at just a few of the advantages of adopting this modern system for clocking in.
1. No more data entry
Let's face it: typing numbers into a spreadsheet is rarely a good use of anyone's time. In fact, the minutes or hours you spend each month recording your staff’s clocking in and out times could — or should — be spent with customers, training staff, or simply at home with friends and family.
Factor in the inevitable complications caused by typos, illegible handwriting on sign-in sheets, or missing clock-in information, and it's easy to see how such a simple task can cause a disprortionately large number of headaches.
Time and attendance software removes the need for this kind of tiresome data entry — your staff's clock-ins, outs, breaks and more are logged securely and automatically, so you can focus on running your business.
2. Easy, accurate payroll
All of that data comes in incredibly handy when it comes time to run payroll. Sure, you could simply refer to your rota, but a staff schedule will only tell you when your employees should have been working rather than what they actually worked.
Have members of staff who put in a few additional hours? Someone who had to leave early? With time and attendance software, every late or early clock in and out is recorded for you, so you run payroll quickly and easily.
3. Eliminate time-theft
If you interviewed and hired your staff personally, then you no doubt trust them to be honest about the times they clocked in and out.
Sadly, however, time theft is a very real thing, with some employees intentionally fudging the numbers either to avoid being reprimanded for showing up late, or to make it look like they worked longer than they did.
Time and attendance software eliminates this concern entitely. The system records the exact time an employee arrives for their shift, often supplementing a unique PIN entry system with photo-taking to provide a level of security that's simply not possible with punch cards and sign-in sheets. No more staff clocking one another in or being overly liberal with the time-sheet; just solid, reliable data.
4. Clocking-in on the go
You might think that, when your staff work out in the field but need to record their shift start and end times, time and attendance software simply wouldn't work.
With systems like RotaCloud's mobile clocking-in, however, it's possible for staff not only to clock in and out of their shifts using their mobile phones and data connection, but for managers to set perimeters using Google Maps and GPS to ensure that they're recording the start of their shifts from where they should be.
5. Build smarter rotas
By comparing your planned rotas with your employees' clocking in and out times, it's possible to up your rota-planning game and make some savings.
Say, for example, a number of your staff routinely clock out 20-30 minutes late from a particular shift. This could suggest that they have so much work to do that they're unable to finish when they're supposed to, and could do with being scheduled on for longer, or simply for the person taking over from them to start 30 minutes earlier.
Alternatively, you might see a number of employees heading home well before they're scheduled to on a particular day of the week, indicating that you're putting too many staff on the rota for that particular period.
Use this information to your advantage to cut overspending and ensure that you schedule enough staff to give your customers the level of service they deserve, without your staff being constantly rushed off their feet.
Ready to take clocking in to the next level? Try RotaCloud's very own Time & Attendance software free for two weeks — no credit card required.