Time Tracking: How to Improve Productivity and Efficiency for Deskless Shift Workers
Use time tracking to enhance employee engagement for improved productivity and efficiency.
Over the past two decades, there has been a significant change in the way enterprises engage with their workforce. Advances in analytical software and time tracking technology have allowed organisations to gather a wealth of data, highlighting the link between employee wellbeing and successful business outcomes.
With unequivocal proof of a positive relationship between the two, there’s been a collective shift from an input-output approach to thinking about employees holistically to create enhanced employee experiences. What has emerged from all of this is the simple but very important notion that an engaged employee is a productive one.
Research by Gallup (accounting for the performance of 35 million workers across a range of roles) has discovered a cause-and-effect relationship, specifically between workers’ engagement and productivity. It was further found that low employee engagement affects the bottom line and organisations stand to lose as much as 18% of such a worker’s annual salary. Consider the sum of this for thousands of workers and financial loss.
The difference between engaged and unengaged workers is vast, especially when it comes to deskless shift workers who comprise over 80% of the workforce. These workers in particular encounter many obstacles that restrict their level of engagement in their roles. Many of these issues centre around ineffective time management, time tracking, planning and poor judgment calls based on limited data. Addressing these issues is largely a matter of using the right technology.
Enhance Autonomy with Technology
In an increasingly digitised world, deskless shift workers need modern tools to streamline workflows and keep pace, helping them to achieve a better work experience—one that does not overburden or overwhelm them. They also need technology that provides them with more autonomy and independence in their roles, helping to grow their confidence as well as their ownership of a task, which ultimately leads to better employee engagement.
The use of industry-relevant time management technology brings numerous employee benefits with it, including the following:
Time allocation ensures sufficient time is provided to complete a job and avoids rushed work that can lead to lapses in focus which could put a worker in harm’s way. Worker rosters optimised through intelligent time tracking technology can better allocate time for each task. Additionally, workers can easily use such technology to monitor the time it takes to typically complete a task and compare this with their allocation to see whether it is viable and address it if not.
Time tracking technology that integrates centralised communication channels saves the company time and eliminates errors. Being able to communicate via a mobile-friendly interface and transcend company silos by talking and developing relationships with colleagues at various levels of the company can help deskless workers to quickly get the information they need to complete a task effectively. This places less of a communication burden on management’s shoulders and gives more autonomy to the worker.
Optimised time management technology gives managers and workers more flexibility in shift rostering. It can quickly sift through data on all worker shifts and present it in easy-to-digest visuals that make it simple for managers to swap shifts and see whether worker shift requests are feasible.
For many employees, being able to see an organised overview of their co-worker’s shifts and the workings of the entire system on a centralised platform can help them spot opportune moments for shift changes. They can then input their requests accordingly, placing some of the responsibility of time management into their hands.
These benefits illustrate how time tracking technology can give workers more independence and how it can support them to take more initiative. However, even with such benefits, deskless shift workers remain sidelined in technological enablement. According to The State of Technology survey for the Deskless Workforce, 65% of [deskless shift] workers said they had not been provided additional technology to complete their jobs. This seems like a missed opportunity in the face of a millennial workforce that has grown up primarily communicating and learning through technology.
Leaders at the forefront of highly optimised production, retail and manufacturing giants aren’t afraid to do the groundwork, gathering data, researching and exploring how they can integrate technology across all operations.
Such leaders quickly rectify any missed opportunities to engage deskless shift workers and are mindful of choosing time tracking and management technology that’s designed for the sort of use that millennials are accustomed to (think intuitive interfaces and navigation).
When choosing time management technology that is engaging and more likely to produce productive outcomes, consider the following:
- Leveraging mobile-centric software to ensure there are easy-to-access operational checklists at hand and that there is information about training, roster adjustments, pay sheets and knowledge resources at workers’ fingertips.
- Being able to communicate effortlessly and to break through organisational hierarchies, sharing information across ranks and between co-workers.
- Enabling greater independence and empowering management with self-performance monitoring and self-training tools.
- Affording leaders the ability to always keep all team members in the loop, with minimal delays or physical barriers.
- Finding a platform that fosters a collaborative culture inside and outside of the production environment.
- Being able to easily identify workers who are ideally suited to cross-training opportunities while raising confidence.
In the life of deskless workers, there are constant changes in procedures, protocols and compliance. Ideally, these changes should be communicated directly and transparently from leadership, clearly and concisely.
According to SHRM, 41% of American workers feel the skills that their leaders and managers could improve upon is effective communication.
Traditional, tiered communication structures have been the solution to facilitate the back-and-forth flow of information from the top leadership to the front-line workers, but these are not without their own challenges and communication struggles. Any breakdown in the organisation’s tiered network can have a severe impact on the business and on employee engagement. This includes unnecessary and unproductive finger-pointing that sours relationships and taints day-to-day work life with far-reaching, negative effects on productivity.
A platform that gives all workers a voice and a fair chance to have an opinion heard is key to enhancing employee experiences and making employees feel valued and appreciated. Modern solutions come in the form of mobile-optimised time tracking technology that has integrated and centralised communication channels to facilitate top-down, bottom-up and worker-to-worker communication.
Beyond the effective flow of information, though, such solutions also need to facilitate a deep level of engagement with the messages conveyed from leadership, so it resonates and is executed in a timely effective manner.
Considering that deskless shift workers aren’t always directly supervised by management, any message sent from the leadership team needs to be consistent, so the entire organisation relays that message as a unified front to external entities. Looking at the technology that supports such high-level engagement, decision-makers should source software that allows for the sharing of information through diverse formats such as videos, slideshow presentations or knowledge quizzes.
If you want to retain staff and not have the added costs of training new workers, take their well-being seriously. A well-cared-for employee is a productive employee!
But how does an organisation look out for the well-being of thousands of deskless workers? There are many ways, but perhaps one of the most simple and effective ways is to manage their shifts effectively; ensuring that they are not constantly running into overtime and that they do not burn out. With smart time tracking tools, managers are automatically alerted before overtime starts to lean towards the red.
The value of a balanced work and personal life cannot be overlooked when it comes to keeping workers in an optimal mental and physical state. Workers who feel that they are valued and aren’t overworked, have fewer days of unplanned leave and are more likely to feel a sense of loyalty to the company they work for, projecting a positive image to outsiders.
Such a balance can be achieved much more easily with accurate time-tracking software that gives a real-time view of all worker shifts, allowing employees and managers to arrive at decisions quicker when it comes to shift requests. This is important for workers who need to plan their personal lives around their work shifts and relieves them of the social pressure that comes from falling through on plans.
Money isn’t always the only incentive to get workers to be more productive, and this is especially true for millennials. Giving such workers more flexibility can go a long way in improving their productivity and job satisfaction. According to a Quinyx study of young deskless shift workers, 39% say they’d rather have a flexible roster than higher pay.
Though this is true, an environment for open communication around shifts needs to be created in order for any time tracking and rostering software to work. Research from Yahoo Finance reveals, 43% of workers felt pressured to take shifts that they didn’t want and 37% thought that asking for a rostering change would be viewed negatively by their management.
Software implementation and company expectations, clearly, need to work hand-in-hand to maximise productivity.
Simplify Modern Workforce Management
In a study carried out by Emergence, 70% of deskless shift workers surveyed reported that more technology would help them do their jobs better. Whether or not managers or leaders agree that more technology would help, mounting evidence points to the fact that technology is the best way forward for deskless shift workers in increasingly demanding environments.
In order to keep up and to improve deskless shift worker experiences (and to avoid attrition), time tracking software needs to capture the imagination of the millennial workforce and have features fit for the industry it’s in.
The opportunity to improve your time tracking process and delight your employees awaits. Learn more about the time and attendance solutions WorkForce Software offers to help your organisation adapt to rapidly changing needs with ease so you can focus on what matters most: your business and your people.
WorkForce Software has partnered with accredited workplace relations specialists FCB Workplace Law to look further into the most important recent developments in HR and workplace relations in Australia.
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