Work-Life Balance Solved With Workforce Management Software

Balance Life and Work with Workforce Management
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Liz Strikwerda

Content strategist and corporate blogger (2000+ posts). Her work has been featured on G2's Learning Hub, Human Resources Today, Better Buys and over 500 business websites. She plays bluegrass mandolin and enjoys sailing her catamaran and hiking in the red rock wilderness of southern Utah. Connect with me on LinkedIn

Workforce management software makes life easier for owners, managers, and employees. At work and at home. Just because these benefits are more difficult to quantify or articulate, this doesn’t make them less important. To the contrary—these benefits may be the most valuable. On a personal level, what could be more valuable than less stress at work? And more time at home?

Let’s outline the ways workforce management software makes life better. First off, we need to define what we are talking about.

Workforce Management Software Automates Time and Attendance

Workforce management software automates employee time and attendance. It is used with a physical or digital time clock. Employees punch in on the time clock(s). This clock connects to the WFM software which records the punch times. The software tallies digital timecards each pay period. The payroll manager imports this data directly into the payroll processing system.

Mobile time and attendance is a tool included with most WFM software programs. With a cloud-based system, there is often little difference between the “desktop” and “mobile” versions. Offsite, virtual, and mobile employees can clock in with the WFM mobile app.

Employee time and attendance is the bare minimum for workforce management systems. Some products automate a host of other Human Resources processes.

Workforce Management Software Automates Scheduling

Employee scheduling goes hand in hand with time and attendance. When a platform includes both timekeeping and scheduling, its power increases. Managers can accomplish far more than if using either function alone.

Managers have a lot of responsibility when it comes to scheduling. Schedules must meet specific criteria:

  • Ensure shift coverage
  • Stay within the labor budget
  • Comply with workplace regulations
  • Maintain employee morale

Scheduling can be extremely complicated with large teams and 24-hour shift work. Industry-specific regulations must be taken into account. How do managers ensure that schedules meet the necessary criteria? They need user-friendly workforce management software.

Another popular feature is employee self-service. With premise-based WFM systems, employees can access HR dashboards on company computers. With cloud-based WFM, employees can access them from any mobile device— anytime, any place. Employee self-service lets employees take control of many tasks previously performed by managers and HR staff.

Within these general functions are many other sub-tools that automate related tasks. For our purposes, we will define workforce management software as a system with:

  • Employee Time and Attendance
  • Mobile Time and Attendance
  • Employee Scheduling
  • Employee Self Service

Now, let’s examine in more detail how these tools make life easier for everyone in your company. We will begin with advantages for managers.

Streamlined Time Card Approvals

Manual processes are tedious. Adding employee hours on paper timesheets requires dedicated concentration. Otherwise, you risk making mathematical errors. How many managers enjoy sitting down with a calculator to add a whole stack of time cards? The accuracy of employee checks is riding on the math. If an employee isn’t accurately compensated, the manager has to correct it and print a new paycheck. This makes manual timesheet calculations stressful as well as tedious. Mistakes strain relationships with employees.

Stressful and boring is not the recipe for an enjoyable job. And it’s not just hours they need to calculate. There are accruals—sick time, vacation, and other PTO. This usually requires a higher level of mathematical skills. There is an opportunity cost for all the time spent processing time cards. A manager who saves several hours a week processing time cards can use that time to do more enjoyable tasks.

Creating Schedules in Seconds

Automate scheduling is also a game-changer. Managers set up schedules with templates. This way, they leverage initial work over and over again. Creating a schedule with one mouse click is a thrilling prospect. The empowerment is palpable.

Imagine alerts to coverage gaps when creating a schedule. How about overtime and license expirations? It’s such a relief to outsource all the critical minutiae that sap mental energy—as well as time.

Supervisors gain so much oversight with workforce management it changes the nature of their jobs. When you can see who is working when and where you can focus your attention on productivity. You move from a babysitter or time and attendance cop to a strategist. Instead of worrying about who is working you can worry about how they are working.

What is the Opportunity Cost of Manual Processes?

If payroll requires working overtime, the opportunity cost is time outside of work. They could spend this time with friends or family. They could use it for exercise, recreation, or a hobby. They could clean and organize their home or apartment. These activities have physical and emotional benefits. Emotionally healthy managers are more effective at work and at home.

Workforce management software also gives managers more time at work. They can spend this time improving relationships with employees. They can use it to develop better training or advancement programs. They can strategize with their teams or upper management on ways to be more productive. Managers who make more money for their employers gain personal satisfaction. And, of course, raises and promotions!

Workforce management software saves managers time and stress. And makes their jobs far more enjoyable. Both advantages go a long way to lowering turnover.

Workforce Management Benefits for Employees

Employees value accurate paychecks. They want to be paid for every minute they work. They want their manager to know they are punctual and don’t take advantage of breaks. They want all the PTO they are due.

With WFM, managers can reward employees for punctuality and good attendance. They can also better measure productivity and reward accordingly.

Once employees are educated and trained on WFM systems, they should have no problem using them. Beware of an employee who resists when required to use a WFM system. The worker may be exploiting a manual system. To learn how to protect your company see: Lower Your Labor Expenses By Reducing Time Card Fraud.

Automated time and attendance systems save employees time previously spent filling out timesheets. It’s frustrating to stop in the middle of a project to fill out your time card in the end-of-pay-period mad dash. An automated time and attendance system tracks hours and accruals for employees. It relieves a lot of stress.

Better Scheduling For Happier Employees

When managers have powerful scheduling tools, they can cover every shift. Coverage gaps make work difficult for the employees who have to pick up the slack. Managers can also avoid overstaffing. When shifts are overstaffed, it can be boring for employees. The clock never moves as slow as when there is nothing to do at work. In competitive sales environments, overstaffing can reduce sales opportunities and commissions.

Scheduling software manages overtime. Overtime is difficult for employees. It can take a toll on their health. Tired employees make more mistakes. In some positions, these mistakes can be dangerous. (Think of a nurse, school bus driver, or heavy equipment operator.) It most certainly makes their lives difficult if they don’t want to work the extra hours.

Suppose an employee wants some overtime because they need extra cash? An automated scheduling tool can help managers allocate necessary overtime to employees who want it.

Inflexible hours are unhealthy. Lack of sleep can be as debilitating as drinking on the job.

Mobile Timekeeping Enables Telecommuting

Mobile timekeeping makes it easier for employers to offer flexible working arrangements. Employees who are allowed to work at home a few days a week often become better employees. Some employers who offered to telecommute as a trial were surprised at the results. Many discovered that employees valued the perk so much they became more productive. Employers who require their employees to be onsite can more easily offer nontraditional hours with WFM software. This can have the same work/life balance benefits of working remotely.

Employee Self-Service Makes Life Better for Employees and Managers

Online employee self-service portals transform workforce management. That’s why most cloud-based WFM systems now include them. They really don’t have any downsides.

An employee self-service portal allows employees access to a whole bunch of information. Time cards, schedules, accruals, and tax forms are some of the things they can access and monitor. WorkforceHUB from SwipeClock includes these plus onboarding, benefits enrollment, and employee engagement.

Open communication and transparency free up mental energy. When an employee can easily check something that’s important—say vacation time—he is more likely to view his job in a positive light.

Employee self-service portals also save HR tons of time. It doesn’t make sense for an HR team member to spend time responding to employee requests for basic information. Yet without WFM software, this can be a major part of an administrator’s job. Human resources employees are far more likely to stay with a company that has WFM software to take over mundane tasks.

The Incomparable Online Trade Board

Another key feature of employee self-service dashboards is the trade board. On this centralized “shift exchange,” employees post shifts they would like to trade. They can also pick up shifts that are available. Managers can set rules so this isn’t a free-for-all. Employee shift trading may sound simple, but its impact is tremendous.

Finally, employees have more control over their schedules. Suppose an employee needs to trade a shift due to a sensitive personal matter. They don’t have to explain anything to their manager. They simply request a shift trade online. The manager doesn’t need to call or text an employee to pick up the shift. Any employee who wants the shift can request it. The manager sees everything that’s going on in real time. It makes things less stressful for everyone.

The board gives employees a greater degree of control over their schedule. This transforms their work/life balance. They are able to better meet family responsibilities. They can accommodate school, other jobs, vacations, or recreational pursuits. When their job supports the things they value, they are happier and healthier. They also perform their jobs much better and serve customers more effectively.

WFM Benefits for Business Owners

Workforce management software with compliance tools makes life less stressful for business owners. The threat of a labor law violation has no doubt caused countless sleepless nights. A business owner with WFM software knows his team is complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act, Affordable Care Act, Fair Scheduling laws, and Payroll Based Journal. If a Department of Labor investigator showed up, the owner could direct the HR manager to whip out all the documentation verifying compliance. If an employee initiated a labor dispute, the employer knows they are covered.

Many business owners take a hands-off approach to day-to-day operations. This is much easier with automated WFM software. The HR department hums along because processes are automated. The payroll manager has all the time card data at the ready. Employee time and attendance goes like clockwork. Managers have the tools to create schedules that employees love and make it home for dinner. No one is burned out. Administrators aren’t unduly burdened with tedious, manual data entry. Managers don’t have to nag forgetful employees about time cards.

Business owners who are involved in all aspects of day-to-day operations at their company love workforce management software. The system provides detailed analytics. The owner is empowered to make better business decisions with insightful data. Profits increase along with confidence. The owner is glad that employees aren’t being paid for unnecessary paperwork. Or duplicate work.

SwipeClock provides affordable workforce management software for hourly employees in small to mid-size businesses, schools, and other non-profit organizations. SwipeClock products contain industry-specific tools for retail, food and beverage, manufacturing, healthcare, construction, education, and hospitality.

TimeWorksPlus™, TimeSimplicity™, and TimeWorks Mobile automate employee timekeeping and scheduling. WorkforceHUB™ is SwipeClock’s new comprehensive Human Resources platform that includes the previously-mentioned products plus onboarding, benefits enrollment, employee engagement, and performance reviews. It also integrates with third-party systems including BambooHR and all major payroll platforms.

Over 29,000 businesses use SwipeClock workforce management products to improve the work/life balance for their employees. Request a demo of WorkforceHUB today.

By Liz Strikwerda

Simplify HR management today.

Simplify HR management today.

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