Common misconceptions about Time and Attendance

We speak to many organisations in multiple sectors about our computerised Time and Attendance systems, and we have realised that there seems to be quite a lot of myths or misconceptions about a computerised system that float about.A number of common perceptions keep springing up.

We decided that we would give our opinion on these, ideally to dispel them but also to see whether any of our readers have any comments or thoughts as to what their impressions are about computerised Time and Attendance systems

1) “It’s just another way of telling me what time my employees arrived – A clock card or timesheet does that!”

An automated time and attendance system at its very basic will tell you the arrival and departure times of employees. However the advantage and benefit of a good automated system is that it will automatically collect and then calculate those hours into relevant categories such as basic and overtime. Timesheets and clock cards require administration time to do this. Good systems will usually incorporate absence and holiday management as well, giving an organisation even greater control over time management.If an employee had a day missing on a clock card, the payroll person would then need to check where that person was. Was it a holiday? Was it sickness? Did they forget? A company-wide Time and Attendance system would already have this data stored and planned in and report it ready for payroll, or at least make this information available on the day it occured prompting swifter action.

2) “Introducing a computerised system won’t go down well with our employees – they will think it’s too big brother”

Although it is true that some employees may be dubious and suspicious of a new system for recording their working hours, and maybe feel that it is a little too big brother for their liking, a computerised system can actually be a benefit to them.As each employee has a true recording of their hours which go to calculate their payroll there is an increased accuracy in their payroll records. This means less chance of any underpayments to them and less chance of any overpayments to the business. Indeed various studies have found between a 1.4 and 2.6% overpay on the annual wage bill when manual methods are utilised.Plus, as we have already stated at its very basic a Time and Attendance system simply collects employee arrival and departure times. If an organisation utilised Clock Cards or timesheets then exactly the same information would be recorded for the employee. The only thing that changes for them is how the information is recorded. Plus a quick swipe of a fob can be quicker than waiting for a card to be printed – meaning a quicker exit and less queues!!

3) “It is for organisations that operate fixed shifts with hourly paid employees”

This may have been true traditionally, however good automated time and attendance systems naturally include more features related to timekeeping that more and more white collar / office based organisations are beginning to utilise. For instance the Public Sector / Local Government, where employees tend to operate on flexible working arrangements. Tracking and managing worked hours and balances, particularly when employee numbers are in the hundreds, is no easy task. This can only be done fairly and honestly by utilising a method for capturing the working hours automatically and calculating the balance of hours worked. A Time and Attendance system can, at any one time, tell employee and employer the balance of hours worked. With other features such as job costing (project management), staff scheduling (healthcare) and access control (site / office security) it is possible to see how a time and attendance system has uses across a much more wide range of industries.

4) “The times and hours my employees work are not important, what is important is how productive they are when they are here!”

Although it is true an organisation’s profitability can be severely hampered if their employees have low productivity, it is important to realise that productivity itself is actually determined by time.So how can an organisation manage and measure productivity if the time taken to complete a task, project is not measured.Only by having a true record of how many hours an employee has spent completing a set task can you accurately calculate their productivity.

5) “We don’t even pay overtime so we don’t need to track hours worked”

Overtime can be a greater cost to an organisation particularly if the recording of an employee’s extra hours is inaccurate or open to abuse, which is where an automated system of data capture and calculation can ensure that overtime is correctly paid. However first and foremost are the basic hours an employee works. Before enhanced payments can be accurate the base level must be accurate. Being able to capture and deduct for lateness, extended breaks or early finishes is key to ensuring that an employee is paid accurately for the hours they work.

These are to name but a few common arguments we hear for organisations not to implement an automated Time and Attendance system. There are of course many others we could list and we would be more than happy to listen to any other reasons you may have heard of.

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