According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, more than half of UK workers work flexibly in some way with high numbers of workers either desiring to do so or desiring to do so in a way not available to them.
However, in order for flexible working to work for both the employer and employee there needs to be a good level of trust. Employers can spend a long time and put a lot of energy into establishing a good level of trust between themselves and their employees which in turn can see increased productivity and engagement in the workplace. However, it is common for the introduction of time and attendance technology to have the opposite effect, especially if it is not being used appropriately and/or the reasoning for using such technology is not properly communicated to the staff with some people feeling as if they are being watched or that there must be a lack of trust from the employer in the first place if time and attendance systems are being used.
Time and attendance is not necessarily introduced in order to keep tabs on people. It can be used for tasks such as payroll and health and safety purposes both onsite in case of an emergency and even for remote workers and employees without a fixed work place. In terms of flexible working the use of time and attendance systems can help to assure that flexible working policies are adhered to. If nothing was in place to monitor this then trust between employees as well as between employer and employee could also be damaged if for example a minority of employees are seen to frequently abuse the system and get away with it, not only damaging trust but productivity and motivation also. It can also help employers monitor and calculate any overtime, possibly helping to allow for even more flexibility.
Trust is hard to build and easy to break but the use of time and attendance systems enables employers to ensure that flexible working works fairly for everyone and if implemented correctly (see our previous blog – Overcoming Resistance When Implementing Biometric Time and Attendance Solutions) can be more of a help than a hinderance.