Managers have been monitoring employee attendance for centuries to make sure that their teams are completing work shifts for which they’re being paid. Initially, its primary purpose was to make sure that employees are present at work, which is why physical devices were used for maintaining check-in and check-out records.
Fast forward to 2022, this approach is in the process of being changed for good.
Modern employee monitoring systems allow managers to track attendance down to the minute, so you know precisely where your employees’ time went, and how much time they spent on each task.
This paradigm shift in attendance has allowed team leads and managers like you to determine the ROI of each employee, how they contribute to overall profitability, and make business projections based on the resource capacity and outputs. Leveraging these insights is one of the main reasons why managers have become more inclined toward modern employee attendance tracking methods.
Why Modern Employee Attendance Monitoring is Gaining Traction
Let’s look at a few (other) reasons why tracking employee attendance has become more critical today than ever before for businesses.
#1. To conduct accurate performance appraisals
One of the biggest challenges for every manager is to give accurate performance appraisals, which requires access to productivity insights. You want to compare the outputs of each employee with their ROIs to see how well they contribute to the company.
This data acquisition begins with attendance tracking. Once you know the time your employees spend working, it will help you calculate their total working hours against their capacity to see if they’re delivering according to expectations.
Some monitoring employee attendance methods like digital spreadsheets and software-based tools also allow you to determine the time your employees spend on each task during the day. You can do that by viewing employees’ per-hour task completion rates, which is an excellent parameter for performance analysis as well.
Furthermore, you can leverage the attendance data to determine the absenteeism rate of employees, which will give you a clearer picture of how many hours per week your employees missed.
In short, if you want to conduct detailed employee analysis for performance appraisals, start by tracking the relevant attendance data.
#2. To build accountability within your team
Teams that have a sense of ownership for the work are generally more productive. Your employees know that regardless of their working patterns, they are responsible for submitting the assigned work by the day or week’s end. This leads to better time management, resulting in higher employee productivity.
What does tracking attendance have to do with it?
Well, some employee attendance tracking software allow you to see the number of hours employees spent on a task level, keeping their performance transparent. This level of transparency inculcates a sense of accountability in employees and helps managers determine whether they are utilizing their working capacity optimally.
#3. To make business projections
Tracking employees’ attendance allows you to make business projections and take new clients on board. Here’s how it works.
You want to make sure that workers are meeting the weekly capacity assigned to them, which is possible using a spreadsheet or time-tracking software.
Let’s suppose you have a team of 5 people with a weekly quota of 40 hours each. Now, if you track their attendance and realize that they’re working at 90% capacity on average, this means that you’re losing 20 hours every week:
- Weekly capacity per employee: 40 hours
- Total employees: 5
- Total weekly capacity: 5 x 40 = 200 hours
- Your team is working at 90% capacity, which means you’re losing 10% capacity each week: 200 hours x 10% = 20 hours
You can use this information to calculate the number of projects you have, the time it would take to complete them, and if you continue at this capacity, how many new projects you would be able to take on board every month. All of these projections require you to track employee attendance in the first place.
#4. To ensure optimal team output
Remote or hybrid team managers find it challenging to monitor employee activity and ensure productivity. Remote managers are concerned that their teams may be slacking at home instead of working full shifts.
Employee attendance tracking puts an end to this worry by allowing you to monitor the number of hours each employee is working and tracking progress against it. If you’re still worried about the inaccuracy of manual attendance tracking methods, you can opt for a software-based tool, which will provide you with an accurate report of the time employees spend on each task.
This will allow you to ensure that employees from various parts of the globe regularly meet their assigned capacity, which, again, would be without monitoring employee attendance.
Top 3 Ways to Track Employee Attendance
So, you know now why employee attendance monitoring is important. Now, the question most modern managers are asking is, How do we track employee attendance for maximum efficiency?
Well, here are three ways to do that.
1. Logging biometrics
Biometrics (or punch cards, alternatively) is probably the most common way of marking attendance. The process is simple: there is a physical device for input where employees flash their cards or do a biometric scan. The data from the device is reflected on an integrated app where you can monitor time-ins and time-outs.
Although you’ll get accurate logs through this way of monitoring employee attendance, there are a few drawbacks to it:
- This attendance tracking method does not work for remote teams since it is impractical to install physical devices at each employee’s remote workstation.
- You only get to see time-ins and time-outs, which is insufficient information for analyzing your team’s productivity.
- Manipulating attendance records via this method is easy, especially in remote work settings.
- If an employee forgets to log in through biometrics, finding out the time that individual arrived at work can become a hassle.
- The device can malfunction, and it often does (coming from personal experience), there is no way to get the logged data back for that day.
This is why most companies have shifted to digital spreadsheets.
2. Using digital spreadsheets
Digital spreadsheets are online sheets with a premade template that you share with your team. Employees are required to enter the tasks on which they’re working, and the time they spend on each one.
Ideally, the number of hours spent on different tasks should amount to the daily working capacity of each employee. For instance, if an employee is required to work for eight hours a day, and has three tasks aligned for the day, then the total time logged against those three tasks should amount to eight hours at least.
There are a few benefits of using spreadsheets:
- The sheet is shared online with your team, which means it transcends physical boundaries, making it perfect for remote teams. Anyone from anywhere can log their work hours and tasks.
- You can compare employees’ time spent on similar tasks to identify where they’re struggling or projects where they take less time to complete.l You can use this data to plan future projects and tasks accordingly, increasing your team’s overall efficiency and productivity.
On the flip side, spreadsheets have certain drawbacks, like:
- Extracting time an employee took to complete a task may be easy, but comparing this time to that of others can be a tedious task. This can take a lot of your time since you have to manually open multiple employee spreadsheets to compare data. It is why managers often avoid extracting such insights, making spreadsheets less effective.
- You’re relying on your employees’ best guesses: when employees sit down to log data into spreadsheets at the end of the day, they might forget to add a critical task to the sheet, or may be confused about the time they spent on it. This means that the data you receive can be inaccurate at times.
An even better alternative to this attendance tracking method is automated time tracking tools.
3. Using software-based time trackers
This is the most contemporary and arguably the most effective way to track attendance and make the most out of the data acquired in the process. The process is simple: Employees download a desktop app, turn the time on, and just go by their daily working routine.
The app remembers their entire data, providing them with a checklist of tasks they attempted during the day. Employees can simply select all the relevant activities, log them into their respective tasks, and they’re good to go.
Here’s why using time-tracking tools is a reliable method to track employees’ attendance:
- Since the app remembers the activities, no guesswork is involved in the process, which means you can get accurate data about employee performance and productivity.
- You can use this data to plan projects and make projections.
- Some time tracking apps don’t even require you to start or stop the timer: they’re automated, which means employees will not lose any activity record since the app auto-launches and runs in the background.
Time tracking tools also come equipped with project management features that further allow you to add/remove projects and the users within, and easily track progress on individual and team level with ease. This is why software-based time trackers are the best way to track employee attendance.
Recommended read: Why You Should Switch From Manual Timesheets to Smart Time Tracking
Track Attendance with timegram
timegram is a privacy-first smart time tracking and project management tool that helps to improve team productivity levels via a software-based tracking system. In other words, you’ll be able to track employee attendance and utilize the data you acquire in the process.
timegram comes with a dedicated Insights & Reporting feature that transforms raw data into meaningful information like the average task completion rate of an employee, average weekly hours an employee works, strong points of an employee based on project types and performances, etc.
Check out the complete list of timegram’s features here.
And don’t take our word for it. Try timegram yourself for free.
How do you keep track of employee absences?
Keeping track of employee absences is easy if you have an attendance monitoring system in place. With it, you can easily check the number of working days in a month and the days an employee was present during those days (which is a number you can only acquire through attendance tracking). You can start with a number of ways to monitor employee attendance we’ve covered above.
What is a good attendance policy?
A good attendance policy includes several items, including an acceptable absenteeism rate (usually below 10%), casual and sick leaves, maternity and paternity leaves, and a list of rules that apply in case of a no-show or policy violations. The idea here is to have an attendance policy that revolves around employees.
What is the main reason for monitoring employees?
The main reason for monitoring employees is to make sure they’re working as per their assigned capacities for which they’re being paid. Without a dedicated employee monitoring system in place, you will be unable to identify employee performances, which can jeopardize your workflow and evaluation processes.
How can team attendance be improved?
Team attendance can be improved by a number of actions:
- Reward employees who have a low absenteeism rate.
- Make attendance a key parameter in performance evaluations.
- Keep the outcomes and impacts transparent. When employees know the contribution their jobrole has in the bigger picture, it motivates them to be more productive, which reflects in their improved attendance.