By Oliver Mitchell, ACA
‘There’s more than one way to skin a cat’ and there are many ways to record and track the cost of time. Whether it’s sitting in traffic, standing in a queue, waiting for a computer to load or simply sitting idly watching TV, almost every minute of your day has a cost that can be applied to it. It is all well and good accepting these unseen costs in your everyday tasks, it’s a given really, just part of your daily routine and most of us don’t give it a second thought. However, when it comes to the workplace, where employee’s get paid to be, it really should be a different story.
Of course, some employer’s don’t pay too much attention to the cost of time. Employees are hired for a specific role and work the hours agreed in their contract - for example 9 to 5. However so much has changed in how and when we want to work, more and more organisations are realising the benefits of measuring tasks completed rather than hours worked. Employers record how employees spend their time throughout the day, recording individual tasks over set time intervals. These types of companies have a very good handle on the true cost of time and have excellent visibility of where efficiencies can be harnessed and real savings achieved on an on-going basis.
Over the years, there have been countless studies conducted to try to apportion a cost to any particular activity in the workplace, and there have been multiple methodologies devised to track and record the cost of an activity. Suffice to say, that a great starting point for any company that really wants to get valuable information and reports in relation to their true cost of time, is to start tracking their employee’s time and activities. It doesn’t have to be an onerous or cumbersome task, nor does it have to be seen as an authoritarian approach, the introduction of timesheets and time recording has come on leaps and bounds since the early days of time tracking. The clock on the wall approach whilst still in place has evolved into detailed reporting and analysis, web clocking, absence management, flexi-time and even allowing employees to manage their day through self-service time and attendance management while at the same time promoting and supporting a work life balance. In a lot of cases it can often be seen as a plus point in today’s workplace and if implemented and communicated sufficiently, time and attendance systems can be of a huge benefit not only to the company but also to the individual employee who has more control over their working hours.
Not only will a modern Time & Attendance system provide managers with a real time view of their designated workforce, team calendars, rosters and much more. It will also allow for detailed and specific reporting over a huge variety of information at various levels from employee all the way to the MD and has been proven to drive efficiencies and save payroll costs by up to 5% of an organisations total labour cost. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s certainly more than one way to evaluate and assess the true cost of time, but for any company the best starting point should be gaining a true understanding of how their workforce – their biggest cost and biggest asset spends their time.