Is this the end of time and attendance?

Many of us will remember life back in the days when you used to have to “clock in” and “clock out” for work each day. Otherwise known as punching the clock, time-based attendance was the be all and end all for measuring productivity in the workplace. 

Fast forward a few decades, and it’s safe to say that times have definitely changed. 

Particularly in light of COVID, having employees show up to their place of work at the same time each day simply isn’t feasible. Staff want and need to be able to work at different times and from different places, aided by technology that enables connectivity on the move. 

Unfortunately though, there are still many organisations that attach great importance to presenteeism – even in the face of mounting evidence that proves the widespread benefits of embracing a more flexible approach.  

In addition to greater productivity, forward-thinking organisations have reported higher retention, employee engagement, and trust after allowing for flexible working arrangements in recent years. 

Being able to cultivate a culture of trust is in itself something which can deliver huge advantages to a business. As an article on the Neuroscience of Trust published in the Harvard Business Review states:

“Employees in high-trust organizations are more productive, have more energy at work, collaborate better with their colleagues, and stay with their employers longer than people working at low-trust companies. They also suffer less chronic stress and are happier with their lives, and these factors fuel stronger performance.”

On the flip-side, organisations that refuse to allow flexible work could see themselves having to deal with more than just employee disappointment – as this firm did when a court found that their rejection of an employee’s request for remote work was discriminatory. 

Meeting the new normal with a new mindset

While remote working certainly accelerated due to COVID, there’s little doubt that it’s going to end anytime soon. Life and work may never return to the way it was before, so organisations will ultimately need to reconsider what “normal” looks like for them and their people in this brave new world. 

With this in mind, many are taking proactive steps to address the changing environment – such as developing work from home policies which speak to issues like productivity, safe working, technology access and security, and so on. 

Being proactive is incredibly important if you wish to remain competitive; both from a talent attraction and retention standpoint, and in terms of customer experience. 

One of the ways organisations can do this is by challenging legacy time and attendance mentalities and opting instead for an outcomes-based approach. If outcomes are well-defined and monitored, they offer a much better indication of an employee’s contribution than time spent at a desk. 

As Cyril Parkinson taught us in 1955 (known as Parkison’s law), if someone is given 8 hours to do a task then they’ll get it done in 8 hours. Similarly, if they’re given 3 hours then they’ll do it in 3. Work expands to fill the time available…unless we take time out of the equation. 

Supporting an outcomes-based approach with the right technology

Doing away with a time and attendance approach and replacing it with an outcomes-based one is best supported by technology that operates in much the same way. 

Where time and attendance software is valued for its ability to micro-manage every move an employee makes (and thereby void any sense of trust), Skedulo focusses on the specific activities required to get a job done.

The platform is designed to help our customers serve their customers, be it through:

  • showing up on time
  • having the right skills
  • being equipped with the right information
  • completing the job properly the first time

Because “outcomes” means many different things to different organisations, Skedulo can be completely configured to incorporate a huge range of activities – such as taking photos, capturing a digital signature, recording medical notes, and so on. 

Our own research also shows employees are happier and more engaged when they are empowered with purpose-built tools to do their work. Those organisations that make an effort to deliver these will reap the benefits of greater retention through employee trust and loyalty – and ultimately achieve a healthier bottom line.

To learn more about how Skedulo can support your business in transitioning to an outcomes-based approach, book a free demo 

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