Another aspect of time is what it means to the employees as individuals. Extra time spent in periods can be recouped later under a flexi time arrangement. Flexi time is a wonderful concept. We all love it, the freedom to work a few extra hours Monday to Wednesday and take an early weekend on Friday. The flexibility to work when it suits to accommodate family life. This can increase motivation and morale and reduce tiredness and stress.
Challenges of calculating the flexi bank balance
One of the issues with flexi time is that not all ERP’s, accounting systems or time booking systems have the capacity to report time or flexi time in the way that works for your company.
Typical challenges are different treatment of holidays. Some companies have extra half day holidays before main holidays. Companies have different ways of recording time. Sometimes against project, time type, or activity, they have different standard hours, and all of this can have a bearing on how the flexi bank is calculated. Other challenges are calculating flexi time for part-time or seasonal workers.
As much as having a flexi bank is a valuable perk, as an employee it’s a little frustrating if it is difficult to get a quick overview of your flexi bank balance. As a department head its also risky if you cannot control the team clocking up unmanageable quantities of flexi time which will be difficult to ‘pay’ back.
Other time reporting challenges
The way the company is segmented can also have a bearing on how to calculate time, when it comes to productivity reporting. Different companies want to look at different departments or groups of different types of workers in different ways. A typical example that arose recently was where we built a time related report that showed the amount of ‘down-time’ for a specific department, where the ‘norm’ would be a high % of productive work. It became apparent with a quick glance and a bunch of red traffic lights that something was amiss.This kind of information can be used to look deeper at underlying issues. Is there too much work, too little, is there a way to redeploy or support this team in a way that makes the best use of time, and gives the employees the best experience?
Prior to building this report the department head was not able to easily glean this information meaning it was impossible to be proactive about correcting the situation.
Dodgy absentee trends
Absenteeism can be reported on, revealing trends that might need a further look. You may have a KPI for example that measures number of absentee days, and that might be at an ‘acceptable’ level on the surface. But maybe it masks the fact that there is a trend of regular small absences, typically on Friday and Mondays! This is a red flag and can point to cultural or other issues that need addressing.
What can we do about this?
Using technology, we have ways of digging out this sort of information and flagging it quickly, which can lead to a critical dialogue with relevant employees around the reason for the unauthorised leave. Are there family issues? Workplace harassment? Are they job hunting, or just partying too hard at the weekend?!
Is all time booked?
Another example of a time related report that we built was one that highlighted if people were failing to book all of their time on-time. Many companies have rules around when time must be booked, i.e., by 9am the following day. The reasons for this are often several, it is used to calculate wages, send invoices, and in other contexts. If there is uncertainty whether all time has been booked before the relevant cut off periods, it renders the reports untrustworthy, or can have other consequences like unpaid overtime or failure to invoice customers completely or on time. The longer it takes to book time, the more chance there is of forgetting and it being inaccurate.
We have been employed before to create a report that flags up missing time, and also looks at date stamps of time booked to warn department heads if there is a lack of compliance which they can follow up on.
Automate and accommodate!
The important thing is that the reports are set up within the relevant company’s parameters. Being based in Stavanger we work with a lot of oil companies, and they have extra challenges around complicated time packages for offshore workers. These include normal time, overtime, waiting time, delay time, meeting overtime, overtime that is rechargeable, and overtime that is not, red day allowance, night shift allowance, mud allowance, mask allowance, sickness +++ the list goes on! These workers are often working alongside onshore workers who have a different set of time types, and somehow the reporting needs to accommodate for all. And the salary payments need to be correct! A good time report can help make sure that there are no unhappy workers on pay-day.