Time tracking allows employers to keep tabs on their employees’ hours, with a myriad of benefits for both the business and the teams working there. Especially during remote work, time tracking can improve the worker's work-life balance and help management keep the ship organised and afloat. 

Adapting from a physical and/or stationary documenting process to a digital and mobile solution can be challenging, both on a technical and management level. What is the right time tracking solution for remote work for your business?

Is your business prepared for the future with remote work and time tracking?

COVID-19 caught many unprepared. A study led by the technology conglomerate CISCO in 2020 examined the status of digitalisation in businesses across the world. In their summary, they describe the situation appropriately: “Digitization is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. Once considered a way for companies to gain competitive advantage, digitalization has now become a matter of survival.”

They studied the world’s eight biggest markets – Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Mexico, United Kingdom, and the United States – to see how well businesses were equipped to handle the situation. Their result: the majority of businesses (26 per cent at the lowest and 50 per cent at the second-lowest level of four digitalisation stages) had no or only a rudimentary digital strategy in play.

Among the surveyed businesses, 70 per cent stated that COVID had been the driving factor for fast-tracking digitalisation efforts. The top investment focus, to ensure organisational resilience, was to enable remote working, which was necessary for employee safety.

When the pandemic started and lockdowns were implemented, these businesses had to scramble to find ways to make home office work. At first, just setting up the basic structures and getting the work done was the focus. Now, after finding their footing in this new situation, many firms are expanding their strategies to include software to improve the situation, after COVID has proven how important digital measures are, and with remote work being around to stay.

What are the many options for employees to track time at remote work?

Traditional time tracking methods include clocking in at literal time clocks, swiping cards, using pen and paper or Excel spreadsheets. Digital time tracking solutions for home office settings must work remotely. Methods like the staff management software by German based provider Papershift aim at enabling the shift from static and analogue to mobile and digital. Even then, a service like theirs offers various benefits and options for tracking time remotely:

Digital time tracking variants

  • Automatic time tracking – Another part of Papershift’s software roster is a shift planning module. If you work with both the shift plans and time tracking from Papershift, you can synchronize the data and have the app automatically create time recordings based on the shift plan contents.
  • Browser-based time tracking – The browser version of Papershift’s time clock can be accessed from anywhere with a stable internet connection and records the time with a simple click. The data automatically gets transferred to the cloud storage, but can be accessed and edited later.
  • Time tracking app – Papershift has a team app solution you can use in the office for a stationary terminal where employees clock in. Alternatively, there is a Single User Mode that ties the app to a specific employee who can install it on their phone and use it to clock in and out remotely, even without an internet connection. The connection is only needed to synchronize the recorded data with the cloud.
  • Time tracking API – If you have your own management software in place, Papershift has written an API. You can use this programming interface to integrate the Papershift functionality into your own systems. 

Benefits of time tracking for workers and businesses

There are many benefits a time tracking solution can have for a business and its workers:

  • Data on staff productivity and resource utilization can be used for optimisation
  • Expense leakage through errors like over staffing is reduced
  • Increased employee morale through fair distribution of work, allowing flexible times…
  • Data can be used for (automated systems when) creating payroll
  • Usable as evidence for labour law compliance
  • Frees up time (manually documenting times, timesheet submissions…)
  • Ensures healthy work hours
  • Helps analyse personal productivity and structuring work

For remote work, these benefits have several bonuses. For example, many workers struggled with working from home initially, because they missed the structure they had before and had trouble separating the private life from their work hours. Time tracking can help an employee to start and stop working at appropriate times. Especially when the employee can structure their own day and when to work, they can use it as a guideline to flexibly structure working hours and family time and keep tabs on their productivity.

Conclusion – Employee time tracking the way you want it to work

Reliable time tracking for remote work has to be a digital solution. Software like the one from Papershift allows every participant to send and access data in a centralized cloud storage. The recording process and compiling the information are automated for the most part and can be transparently monitored by employees and employers alike. Tools like this make working remotely much easier. There is greater trust, accuracy and reduced hassle in compiling and submitting tracked time. These are the kind of benefits a business can gain from implementing a smart digitalization strategy that will pay off during the pandemic and long after.

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