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August 14, 2020 | Time and Attendance | Posted by Ascentis Thought Leadership

How Automating Time and Attendance Can Help Your Budget in the COVID Era

Safety is everyone’s primary concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean budgetary concerns go out the window. One of the biggest challenges of the new normal in American business is finding ways to effectively protect employee health while also safeguarding your business’s profitability. Fortunately, those two goals aren’t necessarily at odds with each other.

In fact, there are a number of ways that the technology that helps keep your workforce healthy can do the same for your bottom line. Automated time and attendance solutions, for example, offer a unique combination of safety precautions and money-saving technology. Here are a few ways that increased automation can help sustain a healthy, profitable workplace.

Reducing errors

Businesses that rely on antiquated timekeeping methods like paper time sheets, manual punch clocks, or basic spreadsheet software run a much greater risk of human error than those that automate most of these functions. In an era when many companies are scheduling workers in strategic shifts that allow for maximum social distancing, the extra level of precision afforded by automated timekeeping and scheduling systems can be a hugely useful tool in disease prevention. As companies work to do more with less under our current adverse conditions, more accurate timekeeping measures can help make sure that employees are using their time productively, keeping profitability at the forefront.

Increasing efficiency

Your human resources and payroll teams are facing a broad slate of challenges that they likely never expected to be tasked with, and they’re having to learn most of it on the fly. During this high-pressure, unpredictable chapter, the less time they spend bogged down in repetitive, day-to-day tasks, the better. Investing in software solutions that can automate tedious jobs allows your team to dedicate themselves to more pressing issues, which in turn sets the stage for a safer, more efficient work environment.

Staying compliant and avoiding lawsuits

While the legal issues surrounding COVID-19 exposure have yet to be fully defined, there is little doubt that a wave of lawsuits will be coming in the near future. In addition, many state and local governments are actively creating new legislation focused on guarding workers against employers’ negligent pandemic-related practices. Between possible legal penalties and the reputation damage that comes with an onsite outbreak, it pays for businesses to take every available precaution to avoid potential liability. On the time and attendance side, that entails streamlining processes and improving accurate recording and reporting of temperature checks and other wellness precautions.

Shoring up your compliance practices is also a good idea beyond COVID, of course. Biometric time and attendance systems were already a regular target for privacy-related lawsuits well before the pandemic. Complying with state and federal labor laws regulating overtime pay, expense reporting, meal breaks and more also becomes that much easier with then help of automated software, taking tedious processes off your plate and reducing the risk of costly human error.

Reducing physical contact

The nature of COVID-19 means that close physical contact in the workplace is a major risk for individual employees and their employers. That knowledge has created tremendous new demand for touch-free time and attendance tools that take automatic temperature readings and reduce the amount of time employees spend at clock-in stations. Employers are also increasingly seeking out contact-tracing solutions such as Bluetooth beacon technology that allows your HR team to track employees’ physical location within the workplace. This can be a huge help in assuring social distancing at work and in pinpointing the source if an outbreak does occur.

Demand is also high for mobile solutions that better facilitate remote work, allowing workers to log hours and submit schedule changes from any location while also reducing the time HR and payroll teams spend on manual updates. While some employers may balk at the initial expense of these investments, the long-term value of an automated solution is a marked improvement over the expense of leasing high-end medical equipment or hiring licensed professionals to check temperatures. Touchless touch-centric time and attendance solutions are poised to be the future of time and attendance, even beyond the current pandemic. Investing now is a crucial bit of future-proofing for forward-looking organizations.

Reducing sick leave

Even in the best of times, workers are going to get sick. That’s just an expensive truth of employment — in an average year, the combination of paid sick leave and employees trying to work through illness or injury costs U.S. employers roughly $530 billion in lost productivity. It’s too early to know what the ultimate financial costs of COVID-related absenteeism will be, but it will certainly be a staggering figure.

As compelling as all of the above-mentioned reasons may be, this is likely the case that will hit home hardest for financial professionals: a COVID-19 outbreak in your workplace will be hugely expensive. Any automated solution that can help you avoid the worst is well worth the investment. By using your time and attendance software to scan temperatures, trace employee movements, and allow for more remote work, you can keep sick workers out of the building and help prevent the spread of illness in your business.

Although the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the workplace are still unfolding, upgrading to the latest time and attendance technology is a sound investment well beyond the current crisis. Learn more about the many ways Ascentis timekeeping solutions can enhance your profitability, save you time, and keep your workforce safer.

With more than 35 years of experience in providing Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, Ascentis thought leaders have become a respected source for insights, tips, and innovations in the Human Capital Management (HCM) space.