4 Simple Steps to Improve Employee Attendance and Engagement

Posted on

April 5th, 2022

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absence reporting

COVID-19 has forever altered the concept of business as usual. Many businesses transitioned to a remote workforce at the onset of the pandemic. Now, some are reopening their offices, but employees expect to have continued flexibility. The pandemic isn’t over, and employees may still need flexible hours or the option to work remotely should COVID affect their household.

Employees’ mental health has also become a top priority for companies. Businesses are implementing several changes to reflect this trend, such as:

  • Offering mental health days
  • Adding mental health services to insurance plans
  • Encouraging employees to stay home when they feel unwell
  • Increasing PTO

Employee burnout is at an all-time high, and ignoring their mental health or work-life balance needs can lead to disengagement and rampant absenteeism. Consider implementing the following trends to sustain attendance and productivity:

  1. Remove the stigma of using PTO. Many employees feel like they can’t use their PTO without repercussions unless they give ample notice, such as taking time off for vacations. However, employees can’t predict mental health challenges or burnout. Fostering a culture that encourages employees to use PTO when they need it can help employees rest when they need to and return to work refreshed.
  2. Focus on employee retention. Many companies expend considerable energy on continually improving the customer experience, and employees deserve that same courtesy. Companies that consistently recognize their employees’ value and efforts experience greater employee loyalty and less absenteeism.
  3. Trust employees. Employees resent micromanagement, particularly while dealing with the stressors introduced by the pandemic. Provide clear productivity expectations and deadlines, but trust employees to manage their schedules. Companies can ensure projects stay on track by monitoring employees’ work output rather than scrutinizing or dissecting their work hours.
  4. Invest in absence management software. Absence management software helps businesses identify attendance trends and unusual absences. Employers can use this information to implement data-driven changes to improve attendance and employee engagement.

Actec understands the attendance challenges businesses are facing as the pandemic continues to affect business operations. Our self-service absence-tracking mobile app captures all attendance data without the need to contact multiple departments or managers. Employees can also use the app to submit leave requests, either by phone, text, chat, or within the app itself. Contact us to discuss your absence reporting and tracking needs.

4 Reasons Why Your Employees Are Sick Despite Safety Precautions

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June 8th, 2021

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absence reportingMost companies implemented health and safety measures as COVID restrictions began to ease, and work could resume in person. However, many organizations are struggling to keep their employees healthy despite these precautions. The reasons driving these illnesses are surprising but simple to fix. The following are some common areas where contagion easily spreads amongst employees:

  1. Clocking in and out for the day. Physical or in-person time clocks require employees to use a communal system. With so many hands punching, swiping, or scanning, germs can easily spread. Such systems also result in queues while employees wait their turn.
  2. Paper schedules. Companies with shift workers or part-time employees may try to save time by posting the weekly schedule in a common area, such as a breakroom. However, this forces employees to congregate or come to work when off the clock to find out their schedule for the week. Scheduling apps eliminate this contact point while keeping employees up to date on their shifts.
  3. In-person meetings. Whether it’s a walking meeting or a planned conference, gathering in person increases the risk of sharing germs across entire teams or departments. While some meetings do require face-to-face interactions, companies should hold virtual meetings whenever possible.
  4. In-person scheduling requests. Organizations that don’t have an electronic system in place for leave requests have an increased risk of spreading contagion between staff members. In-person and paper-based systems pose a threat, as staff members must congregate in close quarters as well as handle leave request documents. Digital leave requests eliminate the person-to-person interaction and are much easier to track.

The pandemic has put a spotlight on how companies conduct business and what steps they take to keep their employees and customers healthy. Switching to a digital system can help eliminate many of the above problems, which helps to reduce absences and improve productivity. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about reducing absenteeism and managing leave requests with our absence tracking mobile app.

Successful Strategies to Reduce Absenteeism in the Workplace

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May 25th, 2021

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Absenteeism is an issue that affects every industry. While providing clear attendance and leave policies can help, they’re not always enough to prevent absenteeism. Burnout, disengagement, and other stressors can lead to frequent absences. Companies can implement the following strategies to reduce employee absenteeism:

  1. Focus on wellness. Wellness programs can help companies tackle stress in the workplace. Some ideas include lunchtime yoga, lifestyle coaching for stress management, designated break rooms/frequent mini-breaks, and providing healthy lunch or snacks.
  2. Improve morale. It’s not enough to identify negative factors that cause disengagement. Companies must focus their efforts on getting employees to engage with one and other to rebuild morale. They can achieve this through inter-department competitions with fun prizes, team-building exercises, and other social activities.
  3. Be flexible. Employees’ home lives don’t always allow for traditional nine to five work schedules. They may need to take their children to school in the morning, attend night classes for professional development, or facilitate care for an infirm relative. Having the option to shift their schedules to the left or the right can eliminate conflicts between their personal lives and work. Offering a certain number of remote days per week can also help reduce employees’ stress.
  4. Reevaluate existing leave policies. Companies can claim they’re committed to employee wellness, but their existing leave policies may prove otherwise. While the financial feasibility will vary from company to company, employers should offer enough paid leave to avoid employee disengagement and burnout. Ideally, employees should have separate sick days and vacation days or a large enough pool of paid time off to account for both.

Companies can’t afford to overlook absenteeism, as it’s a chronic problem with far-reaching effects. Identifying absence trends is infinitely easier when all attendance data funnels to a centralized location. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about reducing absenteeism with our absence tracking mobile app.

5 Ways Employee Absences Cost Businesses Money

Posted on

February 2nd, 2021

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Employee absences are an unavoidable aspect of running a company. While employees rate vacation time, sick leave, and paid time off (PTO), these absences have direct and indirect costs. Businesses need to account for these costs when planning their budget, but absence-related expenses can be difficult to calculate. The following breaks down the most common costs associated with employee absences:

  1. Payroll. When employees take time off for vacation, illness, bereavement, and so on, they still pull a paycheck. While employers calculate their employees’ salaries into their budget, they may not account for the loss of work while employees use their paid leave.
  2. Overtime. When employees take time off, particularly if there is little notice, other employees may have to work overtime to bridge the labor gap. For non-exempt employees, businesses pay time and a half the employee’s hourly rate for every hour worked over 40 hours.
  3. Temporary workers. When businesses want to avoid overworking existing employees and the associated cost of overtime, they may use temporary workers to cover absent employee’s duties. These part-time temp workers may cost less than paying overtime, but it’s an expense that affects a business’s bottom line.
  4. Loss of productivity. Whether a business opts to pay existing employees overtime or rely on temporary workers, productivity often decreases. Coworkers aren’t as familiar with the absent employee’s job, which typically means it takes longer to complete. It also stresses employees who have to take on the additional work on top of their existing job, which can lead to burnout. While temporary workers don’t have the burden of juggling two jobs, they’re unlikely to know the minutiae of the work. Their unfamiliarity slows productivity.
  5. Unplanned absences. While some leave is easy to plan for, such as vacation time, emergencies and life situations can force employees to take leave with little notice. The hidden costs of repetitive unplanned absences are numerous. They can hurt morale, stress the remaining staff, lower work quality, disrupt projects, and more.

While some employee absences are unavoidable, businesses need to know the associated costs. Without a robust absence management system, it’s easy to miss attendance problems and absenteeism. Contact the experts at Actec to learn how our absence tracking mobile app can improve absence reporting and management for your business.

4 Measurable Benefits of Absence Management Technology

Posted on

December 14th, 2020

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HR needs modern solutions to improve the accuracy of attendance tracking. Upgrading outmoded systems such as manual record-keeping or physical timecards saves money and improves productivity. Antiquated legacy systems for attendance will always fail to meet expectations. Businesses that invest in modern attendance software can reap the following benefits:

  1. Improve accuracy and compliance. The risk of clerical errors is high for manual or low-tech attendance systems. Even a small margin of error can result in significant fiscal mistakes. Overpaying or underpaying employees hurts the organization’s bottom line and can lead to compliance issues. Investing in absence management software can eliminate clerical errors for accurate timekeeping, payroll, and complying with Department of Labor regulations.
  2. Curtail time theft. Time theft is one of the biggest knocks against manual timekeeping systems. Employees can alter their hours worked to conceal if they arrive to work late or leave early. These outdated systems also allow for buddy punching, which occurs when one employee clocks another in or out to hide attendance infractions. While 10 minutes here or there may not seem like much, the American Payroll Association reported that buddy punching costs organizations $373 million every year. Efficient time tracking software can help curtail these issues.
  3. Improve productivity. Robust attendance tracking systems do more than simple attendance keeping. Many include features like submitting PTO requests so employees can request time off without a convoluted chain of emails. This reduces the amount of time managers spend on HR tasks, which allows them to focus on more relevant projects.
  4. Actionable insights. Absence management software provides businesses with attendance data and trends. This information can pinpoint departments with chronic tardiness or isolate individual employees trending toward absenteeism. Knowing where to focus improvement efforts yields better results than issuing a company-wide generic message about attendance.

Antiquated absence tracking methods can hurt profits, cause compliance headaches, and lack data to identify attendance problems. Actec’s absence tracking mobile app is a self-service tool that captures all your employees’ absence data, ensures compliance with labor laws, and more. Contact us to learn more about modernizing your absence management system

4 Hallmarks of an Effective Attendance Policy

Posted on

November 16th, 2020

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Employers have several expectations of their employees, but they aren’t always as clear as they could be. For example, employers expect their employees to show up to work on time, but does this mean they need to be in the building, clocked in, or actively working by a designated time? Developing a clear attendance policy isn’t as straight forward of a process as employers may believe, which can create confusion and anxiety for employees.

If HR notices troubling attendance trends across all departments, it may be time to update the organization’s attendance policy. The following insights can help businesses create effective attendance policies:

  1. Reporting for work. How employers track attendance matters. For example, traditional card punching systems are easy to trick as employees can clock in for each other whether they are there or not (AKA buddy punching). Online attendance systems may pose issues, too. For example, employees may clock in when they’re running late to sidestep the rules.
  2. Tardiness Grace Period. Some businesses allow a small window for late arrivals. This is typically around five minutes to account for unexpected traffic, public transportation delays, or unexpected childcare emergencies. However, there is a difference between an employee who is late on occasion and one who arrives late more often than not. Businesses that allow grace periods need to include how many times an employee can arrive late before receiving a warning. Organizations will need to look at their employee demographics to decide if a grace period aligns with their employees’ needs and how often to allow it.
  3. Flexible work hours. Flextime is a popular benefit because not everybody’s lifestyle fits into a traditional 9-5 job. Some employees may prefer to start work early if they’re more productive in the morning, while others may need to begin later in the day to coordinate with their children’s school schedules. Businesses that allow flexible schedules need to set clear expectations for start times and work hours to prevent scheduling conflicts. For example, if one employee works from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., it may be difficult for them to collaborate with a team member who works from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  4. Acceptable Work Breaks. Businesses can’t treat their employees like emotionless worker bees. People need breaks to refresh their brains and refuel. However, companies need to set clear limits for breaks to prevent time theft and productivity loss. While a five-minute break in the coffee room to grab a drink or snack isn’t likely a cause for concern, it can become an issue if employees stretch it to fifteen minutes or make hourly trips. As for allotted lunch breaks, businesses need to make it clear this break includes travel time if employees decide to go out for lunch. Employers also need to make it clear employees need to keep personal calls, social media, and non-work-related conversations to a minimum while on the clock.

Having a clear attendance policy is essential in the workplace, but businesses need a way to track attendance and absences. Actec’s absence tracking mobile app allows you to capture all attendance data to identify trends, comply with labor laws, and streamline absence management. Contact us to learn how we can help curtail absenteeism and time theft in your organization.

Signs Your Company Needs a Better Attendance System

Posted on

October 19th, 2020

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Keeping track of employee attendance should be a straightforward process. However, without a cohesive attendance management system, several issues can occur. Managers may report absences at different times of the day using a variety of communication methods. With HR receiving emails, texts, memos, or in-person visits on an unpredictable schedule, errors are likely to occur. However, implementing an electronic attendance system can reduce the tedium and frustrations of absence management.

Antiquated absence management processes cost time and money. Upgrading to an electronic absence reporting system can reap several benefits. The following are some key indicators that your attendance system needs an update:

  1. Frequent errors or inaccuracies. Manual timesheets or uncoordinated absence reporting channels are prone to error. Managers may not understand the various types of leave and misreport their employees’ absences as a result. For example, an employee may request leave that qualifies for Family Medical Leave, but the manager may report it as sick leave. Having a streamlined electronic system can eliminate these kinds of record-keeping errors.
  2. Productivity issues in the HR department. If HR employees are spending several hours combing through various emails, notes, and voicemails to try and track employee attendance, they’re losing valuable time. The HR department manages several essential functions that keep the business going, such as employee benefits, employee training, job design and analysis, and recruiting. Having an electronic absence reporting system can free up their time to focus on these other critical tasks.
  3. Employee performance is lagging. Unchecked attendance issues often result in productivity problems. Employees who arrive late, duck out early, or don’t show up put projects behind schedule. They also cause stress for their coworkers as many have to pick up the slack. Having an electronic system sends all attendance records to a centralized location, which allows HR to take note of negative attendance trends. With this data, managers can take steps to identify the cause of the absence issues as well as take steps to rectify them.
  4. Morale is low. Attendance can affect employee morale in several ways. They may harbor resentments toward coworkers who abuse their paid time off without repercussions. A confusing or poorly enforced system can also leave employees feeling powerless. Either way, poor absence management can result in employee disengagement. Electronic attendance software with self-service features gives employees a sense of agency and control.

If your absence management system is creating more problems than it’s solving, Actec can help. Contact us to learn about our absence tracking mobile app as well as our other absence reporting solutions.

How to Spot 4 Common Warning Signs of Absenteeism

Posted on

August 5th, 2019

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Absenteeism costs employers a significant amount of time and money; it also has a negative effect of productivity and overall office morale so it’s best to identify it and address it before it becomes a costly problem. Thankfully, many employees who abuse their paid leave show predictable patterns. This allows employers to pinpoint the behavior to take action.

Predictors that Point to Potential Absenteeism

The following are key indicators of employees who are likely to call out sick when they’re not or otherwise misuse their leave:

  1. Previous absence record. If a structure isn’t already in place, consider implementing an absence management system to keep track of all absences. It’s easy to forget who called out on what days and how many times when a business begins to grow. Having documentation can provide easy to digest data and identify absenteeism.
  2. Job characteristics. Employees who work jobs with repetitive tasks are more prone to absenteeism. Encourage managers to rotate employees through these tasks to maintain morale and interest in the work. Employees who feel engaged are much less prone to absenteeism.
  3. Work environment. No one wants to work in a stressful environment. Make sure managers know positive methods of communication. Making sure to spread load work so no one is overwhelmed can help keep stress levels at bay as well.
  4. Shift work. It’s not always possible to avoid night shifts or shift work. However, those employees are more prone to burnout and absenteeism. Building flexibility into leave policies for these individuals can help mitigate this issue.

Absenteeism is rarely a problem without a root cause. Identifying what the problem is early on can help employers address the issue and make changes if necessary to accommodate employees. For example, an employee who always arrives late may have a difficult childcare situation. Allowing that employee to shift his or her hours to the right can solve the issue.

Regardless, having a reliable absence management system in place is a must to identify questionable attendance. This allows employers to deal with attendance issues before they become a recurring problem. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more.

5 Ways to Foster Better Wellness through the Workplace

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May 6th, 2019

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Straight from cold and flu season to allergy season, most workplaces are seeing an increase in requests for time off due to illness. While these sick days are understandable, they still have a negative effect on productivity and put additional stress on the remaining employees. Taking the following steps can help prevent the spread of illness in the office:

  1. Eat nutritious foods. Eating a balanced, healthy diet can boost immune health. Providing employees with nutritional guides, apps, or even food during the day can help to adjust unhealthy habits and improve immune system function.
  2. Use appropriate hand washing techniques. Many people don’t wash their hands correctly. Giving a cursory rinse won’t do much to rid them of germs. Employees should aim to wash their hands with soap and warm water for one minute or longer. Employees should make it a habit to wash their hands regularly, especially before eating, and proper dispensers and cleaning agents should be used.
  3. Sanitize desks and high-traffic areas. Any surfaces that employees interact with regularly are breeding grounds for germs. The flu virus can live for an extended period of time without a host, so it’s easy to spread it around the office. Further, pollen, pet dander, and other contaminants get tracked in from outside and can aggravate allergies and sensitivities among colleagues. Using a sanitizer on surfaces and objects employees touch regularly can help reduce the spread of inflammation, disease, and other stressors.
  4. Encourage sick employees to stay home. Many employees feel compelled to return to work before they are fully recovered. This is a two-fold problem. For one, the employee may relapse from pushing too hard too soon, causing an even longer delay in their return. Another issue is that they may still be contagious and infect other employees. Ensure that you provide your employees with an adequate amount of sick time, that processes are in place in each team for such occasions, and that working from home during recovery is as easy as possible but not compulsory.
  5. Review sick leave policies. Employees need to understand their paid time off for sick leave and their options should they use it all. Employers also need to remain cognizant of protected leave such as time off that falls under the ADA or FMLA. Employers should also consider allowing employees to work from home following an illness. The CDC recommends employees stay home for a full 24 hours after they are fever-free without the assistance of medicine. While they may feel well enough to work, they could still be contagious.

Taking steps to ensure employees stay healthy is a great way to prevent absences due to illnesses. To learn more about absence management, contact the experts at Actec.

Managing Employees Who Leave Work Early

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January 14th, 2019

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Companies struggle with employee attendance challenges at multiple levels. Employees who arrive late, take long lunches, or abuse their sick leave, put strains on an organization and workplace morale. However, employees who habitually leave work early can wreak just as much havoc. If management notices, odds are the rest of the staff is aware as well.

Allowing an employee to flout their work hours will create resentment among the rest of the staff that works their full hours or encourage other employees to start ducking out before their shift is over as well. The following are several ways management can address this issue:

  1. Stop avoiding it. Looking the other way isn’t a solution. Many bosses try to avoid confrontation because they don’t want their employees to perceive them as mean. However, leaving early isn’t acceptable. Management needs to take the employee aside and inform him or her that the behavior hasn’t gone unnoticed. Management should also take the time to find out why. There may be a reason the employee is leaving early that management can help address.
  2. Develop a solution. If the employee is leaving early because they are caring for an elderly family member or they have to pick their child up from daycare, it is worth it to consider shifting their schedule. Allowing the employee to arrive earlier in the day can give them the flexibility they need to balance their personal life with their job.
  3. Enforce the agreed upon terms. Establishing rules doesn’t do much good if an employer doesn’t enforce them. Employers need to keep tabs on employees with known attendance issues. They should also make it clear that continuing to leave early will have repercussions. Employers should meet with HR to determine the best course of action regarding escalating consequences.
  4. Establish a method to track attendance. Employers who don’t track attendance may not notice employees who leave early as soon as they should. Implementing an absence reporting program can help improve productivity while reducing attendance issues.

The expectation that employees come to work on time and stay for the duration of their shift isn’t an unreasonable one. However, for a multitude of reasons, employees may try to skirt their hours and leave work early. To learn more about addressing attendance issues, contact the experts at Actec.