Labor management software has never been more important than during COVID. If planning your business operations was difficult before the COVID-19 outbreak, you can expect the pandemic to make tasks much more complicated. It’s important for operations managers to meet challenges and adjust rapidly to changing conditions. With the right labor management solution, you’ll have the necessary data and flexibility to prevent disruptions to your business.
How COVID-19 Impacts Labor Management
COVID-19 has forced businesses to rethink how they manage their workforce. With so many tasks now being handled remotely, companies need to consider how they’ll continue to ensure adequate labor coverage. Effective labor management software can help.
Employee schedules become much more difficult to manage when people are not in a physical office. Office bulletin boards and face-to-face conversations are not happening, making the scheduling process more difficult. There will be similar challenges in an office or plant where people must socially distance. Smart labor management solutions offer an effective means to monitor and enforce schedules.
Moreover, the pandemic has increased the need for corporate infrastructure. Operating a business remotely means that you and your employees need to focus as much of your attention as possible on the continuity of operations. You cannot waste your time on scheduling mishaps and other administrative issues. A labor management system must be comprehensive and easy to execute while your business continues to fire on all cylinders.
A labor management or workforce management (WFM) system will also play a big role in optimizing the productivity of your employees. This is essential considering how much confusion the COVID crisis is causing. When coping with a pandemic, regardless of your new hours of operation, it’s important that you know who is working and when.
The pandemic may be putting a huge strain on your human resources department. They might be working from home and struggling to effectively address all employee concerns related to health insurance, time off, conflict resolution, payroll processing, etc. in a timely manner. Businesses should strive to make it as easy as possible for human resources to complete critical tasks.
How Your Business Should Deal With COVID
You should deal with COVID by being as flexible as possible, both in your business operations and in how you interact with your employees. Remember, most people are working via email, chat, and video calls, and some of them have kids home from school for the first time. Being overly rigid not only makes your company inefficient, but it can also alienate workers.
COVID-19 is certainly a challenge, but companies that can quickly adapt to changing market conditions will be able to weather the storm. During the pandemic, operations may need to change on a daily basis. Corporate infrastructure is what enables you to shift on a dime. If you don’t have an effective infrastructure in place, investing in solutions that automate your business and allow you to make quick decisions is important.
In addition, you should increase the scope and depth of your planning to deal with different scenarios and contingencies. The truth is we have no idea what could happen with the pandemic on a week by week basis. The only constant is you need to be ready for everything. The right labor management software can keep you prepared to handle last minute workflow changes.
Why Labor Management Software is Critical During COVID-19
The pandemic has brought about challenges that few operations managers ever imagined. While your business may be navigating lower profit margins, your workers could be dealing with personal crises brought on by the outbreak. That’s why it’s now even more critical to manage your workforce at all times. For businesses that produce goods or services, it’s important to know who will be on the job and when, both for planning and administrative purposes.
No matter what’s going on in the world at large, keeping accurate track of time and attendance will always be necessary for human resources and finance departments. No one wants to deal with late or incorrect paychecks during a time when securing food and household items is more important than ever. The fact is, many businesses are still using manual pay clock methods that could result in errors when there are better solutions available.
Even when manual methods like a mechanical time clock are necessary, you can automate certain steps to ensure your employees are paid correctly at the end of each pay period. The more you can automate the process, the more you can avoid time consuming mistakes. (We recommend biometric time clocks and contactless methods to protect your business.)
It’s vital that payroll be completed with as few manual inputs as possible. This holds true during a pandemic, when your workforce may be scattered and handling other challenges. You might be without key employees at various times, which can further throw your payroll process off or out of sync.
Labor management software can either replace time cards entirely or make it much easier to integrate them into a larger, more efficient time tracking system. If your business uses time cards, software can help you process and edit them faster. You can edit after the fact or in real time, depending on the system.
COVID-19 Increases the Need for Controlling Labor Costs
To stay up to date on your labor costs, it’s necessary to keep close track of your workforce. Employees make up a significant portion of your business expenses. If you’re using a method of tracking that’s out of date, overseeing incurring labor costs will be slow and tedious.
When your labor costs exceed your estimates, your operations will struggle to follow a budget. This is business 101. However, many companies only realize this once it’s too late. They never plan ahead of time to review labor costs; budget issues simply just happen. This is why time tracking is so vital. Your labor management software will give you access to real-time results so you know your labor costs as they occur.
Labor Metrics and Resource Planning
Not only is labor management software effective for budgetary purposes, but the labor metrics are also helpful – if not crucial. A business needs accurate statistics to track its operations.
In fact, planning future labor allocation is one of the most important functions of labor management software during COVID and not. To determine where you should devote future resources, you first need to understand where and when your workers are most needed. You’ll often have to make these decisions on a real time basis, which means you can’t rely on data after the fact once payroll has already been complete. This requires real time data.
Labor management software helps a business make intelligent decisions about allocating resources by presenting the necessary facts and data. It’s crucial to schedule your labor around peak periods of activity for your company – this is known as optimizing the labor for your store. You need to match up the resources with your needs. While you want to have adequate resources, you don’t want to have idle employees who are still being paid.
This is also where a labor management system comes into play. It will have a scheduling function to assist you with your planning. You can get a dynamic view of your needs that you can then manipulate based on various data points.
Having these capabilities and access to data is even more vital during the COVID-19 pandemic. When economic times are tough, your cost base should be calibrated to your business. Companies never quite know when they’ll need to adjust their labor and add or subtract shifts. These are volatile times, and companies must be nimble and flexible in order to thrive. It can be tough to do that without the right technology.
Schedule the Right Staff with the Right Skills
When scheduling, the skills of your labor force must be aligned with your needs. Having employees present makes no difference if they don’t have the necessary skills. By helping you track workers’ previous shifts and prior experience, a labor management system will prevent any issues related to shifts being covered by under-trained employees.
With workers out sick and requiring breaks during the pandemic, you could end up with a mismatched workforce that does not meet your needs. Labor management software also offers the tools to avoid this.
COVID-19 Can Introduce Compliance Issues, Especially With Overtime
Labor compliance is also a critical issue for all businesses. There are many federal and state laws that your business must follow. The penalties for not following these labor laws can be steep. Your business could be sued in civil court, or you may end up facing a government enforcement action. If this happens, you won’t be able to use confusion caused by the COVID pandemic as an excuse.
Your business must follow labor standards and cannot leave anything to chance. Labor management software helps you track compliance, especially when it comes to logging the hours your employees work. It makes you more effective in following labor laws, such as those pertaining to overtime.
This is even more critical during COVID-19. Dislocations mean your employees could be working overtime for different reasons. They could be trying to make up for lost production, meet a deadline, or they may be replacing other workers who are out sick. In any event, you need to know how much everyone is working so you don’t end up on the wrong end of a legal problem.
Fulfilling Time Off Requests Could Be Challenging without Labor Management Software during COVID
When a worker puts in a request for personal time off (PTO) , they appreciate a prompt response so they can then finalize their plans. Employee scheduling software expedites the review and approval process for time off.
Employees might also want to engage in shift swapping. While people are not taking as many vacations during the COVID-19 crisis, some employees may need to trade time if they or a loved one are sick. Labor management software makes it easier to trade this time. This keeps one of your employees from having to physically approach or text their co-workers to offer to switch time.
An employee scheduling app also puts this information at your fingertips right away. It assists with business continuity planning to ensure that you have your key workers when you need them. It also balances the needs of the business with the desires of your employees in a way that helps you both.
Manual leave calendars can introduce some inefficiencies to your business. They can also be a source of frustration for your team. Of course, an employee does still need to oversee leave requests to an extent, but your business should aim for reducing human involvement with the leave process as much as possible.
The one certainty with COVID-19 is that it will continue to disrupt personal plans. Advance shift scheduling may not be possible. Even a worker’s leave plans can change from day to day based on their health and where they can travel. Fluidity in leave plans requires the flexibility provided by labor management software.
Finding the Right Labor Management Software during COVID
While the COVID crisis has thrown a wrench in many business operations, there are ways to prevent issues with timekeeping, compliance, and cost management. TimeForge offers effective labor management solutions to help your business save time and boost efficiency. Interested in a free trial of our software? Call us today to learn more about how our products can help your company.