ATTENDANCE TRACKING, REMOTE WORK

5 pros of employee time clock app in a hybrid work model

The pandemic, lockdowns, and technological advancements have transformed the working landscape. With the rise of hybrid work models, new questions arise and time tracking can be a surprisingly good answer.

Since the pandemic has hit hard in the second quarter of 2020 the hybrid working model has become a daily routine of many people around the world. The EU data shows the scale at best. Before the pandemic, no more than 15% of all work was done remotely in the EU countries. With the first lockdown, 40% of the workforce started to work from home.

Now, it is “the new normal” to run the recruitment and work in a fully remote model. But it is not the only existing one – there are also traditional approaches present and a model that connects the best of two worlds.

What is a hybrid model of work?

The hybrid work model is – as the name suggests – the hybrid of a traditional approach and a fully remote model. While it was seen before the pandemic rarely, the widespread use of it got more common after the lockdowns.

Currently, there is no clear definition of hybrid working, neither from the legal point of view nor from the business one. The day-to-day operations show that there are three dominant models of hybrid work seen:

  • Remote-first – where the team can meet at the office at will, but the majority of work is done from home and the company assumes that the employee will work remotely;
  • Office-first – in this model the employee can work remotely from time to time. Sometimes it is stated that there are obligatory office days with the possibility to work remotely on other days. Office-based work is the core and working remotely is a perk rather than the foundation;
  • Balanced – the third model combines both approaches in a balanced manner, without the domination of either the remote or office-based working – a truly hybrid company.

More about the hybrid work models and the ways companies can use them for their benefit can be found in our recent blog post about the future of remote working.

Benefits of hybrid work

While challenging for both the employees and the employers alike, the hybrid work can bring unexpected benefits and boosts for the company that adopts it.

Better work-life balance

Remote working basically means freeing time from commuting. Before the lockdown, it was common to commute for about 30 minutes one-way, stacking to nearly an hour daily. This was seen in every country of the EU, with the United Kingdom and Latvia having a large share of people commuting for an hour or longer and Cyprus and Greece having the lowest ones.

Getting an additional hour a day is a benefit not to overlook, either to have a long dinner with a family, have some time for hobbies, or sport or to sleep longer.

Better productivity

Having a better work-life balance and more time to sleep, one gets more productive. While it can be seen as counterintuitive, the Stanford study found that in the group of 16,000 employees the productivity has risen by 13% with attrition rates dropping by 50%.

While the finding was a bit surprising, the reasons behind the results were not surprising at all. At their homes, the employees had fewer distractions, more quiet environments, and significantly reduced stress.

More flexibility

When in the office, one is separated from all errands to do. Working from home makes it easier to do all the errands and combine it all with family life. First of all, there is additional time saved by cutting out the commuting. Also, it is common to have a short shopping trip during a lunch break, and usually, it is not a problem at all for the employee.

Also, if one needs to focus, it is possible to move sometime to the night or early morning hours to cut off all distractions and do what is to be done.

Time and money saved

For the employee, there are multiple ways to save money on remote working. This includes commuting, either via public transportation (tickets!) or the car (gas!). Also, one can cut down on dining at the restaurant and have dinner at home – which can be significantly cheaper than one eaten outside.

Resources saved or shared

The same goes for the company. When the office is empty, the company saves on maintenance and bills. Also, companies that have gone hybrid tend to decide to downsize their offices – 47% have made the decision to reduce the owned or used space.

All that is possible when the hybrid work is done in a proper way. But “the proper way” is not done without preparation. Actually, there are several aspects of building a hybrid workforce in the company, with time tracking being one of the key aspects.

Why do you need time clock systems in a hybrid workplace?

The traditional working environment was built upon a probably inaccurate presupposition that if one is in the office, he or she is working. This was not entirely true.

In 2016, the days long before remote work became popular and with the pandemic being equally real as Yeti, VoucherCloud has conducted research on the daily time in the office that was actually spent working.

According to the research, the average time spent on real work was no bigger than 2 hours and 23 minutes, with at least an hour of reading news on the internet and over 44 minutes browsing social media.

While it is impossible for the employee to be super-focused and fully productive during eight hours straight, assuming that one at the office is working hard is unjustified, especially when countered with the remote working one.

The time clock tool is a great way to bring transparency and fairness to all employees, no matter if working from home or the office.

Clear working hours

The electronic time clock app provides both the employer and employee the information regarding the working time. Thus, it is less probable that there are any differences or uncertainties on both sides, especially if one is working in a more flexible manner.

For example, if the employee has taken a break to pick up the kid from school or to have a workout, he or she can mark it in the app and later ensure that the contract is fulfilled by working later.

The same can be done to show that leaving early is fully justified due to working early hours in the morning, either to save time or to avoid distraction. Or due to the convenience – in the end, it doesn’t matter.

Transparent performance checks

Working long hours equals no increased productivity. On the other hand, it is the easiest way to “look busy” and build a facade of hard work.

Tracking the time is an easy way of mitigating the risk of abuse from both sides, either the employer or the employee. If the time is tracked there will be no unpaid overtime. On the other hand, if the employee reports many hours of hard work with no visible effects, it can also be suspicious, no matter if one works in the office or from home.

Attendance and availability tracking

With the distributed team, it is hard to track attendance. In the traditional working environment, one is either in the office or not, without the shady area of being available for contact and the working whole not being in the office.

The time clock app is delivering information on whether one is working or not and if it is possible for him or her to respond quickly to an inquiry.

Reduced paperwork and payment hassle

Time clocking is a legal obligation in states and the EU, either to make payrolling easier or to protect the employees’ rights.

The time clock app is a perfect way to automate time reporting and reduce the hassle regarding time tracking. According to the Calamari report, an average company spends up to 10 minutes a day for time tracking-related activities, including the need to oversee the sheets, remove the mistakes, or report the changes.

The report states that without using the automation tools like Calamari the costs of these 10 minutes a day stacs to $4.5 per employee monthly. The more the people in the organization, the more money is wasted on paperwork and dull hassle.

Data and analysis have done better

The data is modern coal and uranium combined, bringing new ways to improve the business and build new workflows. Having a more detailed timesheet with the information on what has been worked on and which tasks have been completed is a great way to gather data regarding employee productivity and ways to improve their lives.

A great example of this comes from Iceland, where the 4-day workweek was claimed to be a spectacular success. With the ability to gather data and measure the output, companies and public organizations alike were able to find out if there were any productivity issues or downsides of the working hours reduction – and the raw data has shown that not.

Having this type of data can be used in multiple ways for business intelligence, starting from smarter time management to finding the optimal time for meetings or blocking the non-interruption time company-wide.

Time management has done easier

This one seems tricky at first glance. If the employee is not tracking his or her time, it is easy to fall prey to cognitive biases. One can think that all his or her duties “take no time” and the working day was wasted. Other employees can have trouble with properly estimating the time of tasks to be delivered.

Implementing the time tracking system in the company is a great way to make the employees more self-aware and open to ways to improve their personal productivity. Measuring the time is the first step to managing it.

Flexibility on every level

Last but not least – a hybrid workforce means flexibility on every level. When having a more relaxed and laid-back approach toward the daily time management of a particular employee, one can apply new routines or tricks that used to be available for managers only. These include:

  • Synchronizing the daily routines with chronotype – it is popular to think about people as owls and early birds, with the former arriving at work with little to no enthusiasm, and the need for a big mug of coffee and the latter being productive from the very beginning. The research published by NCBI shows that there is a significant difference in a peak performance time depending on the person's personal chronotype. Switching the daily routines to be more sticking to the chronotype can significantly boost the performance and increase the quality of life;
  • Power naps – unwinding from time to time to take a short nap can be as refreshing as a cup of a powerful coffee. NASA research shows that pilots who decide to sleep in the cockpit for 26 minutes show up to 54% better alertness and performance;
  • Deep work – there are distractions that are easy to cut, like browsing through social media or reading online news. But some are impossible to reduce, like work notifications or client emails. Entering the deep work state in the office can be troublesome, if not impossible, with all the people around, emails, phone calls, and meetings. To benefit from focusing on the task and entering the “deep work” mode one can block some time in the evening, after work, or in the early morning, and go to the office for a few hours only – something impossible to achieve without the time clock.

These are just simple examples of how one can manage his or her working routines in a more effective way – all due to the flexibility provided by the time and attendance tracking.

Summary

The time tracking and flexibility are just two sides of the same coin. It is a crucial step to build mutual understanding and avoid the tensions that arise underneath between the employee and the employers if there is not enough transparency.

If you wish to talk more about the ways the employee time clock software can improve the performance of your company and how it can boost the performance of the team and the organization, don’t hesitate to contact us now!

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