The Return to Work: TLM Now More than Ever
Posted By Paula Sanchez, HCM Services Advisor May 20, 2020
Thoughtfully Deployed Time and Labor Management Provides Employers With Essential Information
– Mike Anderson, Founder & CEO
Employers are beginning to sort through what “return to work” looks like for their particular business, industry and location. Never before has any of us gone through a situation remotely close to the current one. No guideposts from the past exist to show us the way. Employers must navigate and make decisions regarding whether and which employees return to the actual place of work, what the physical layout of the work place needs to be, how to adequately clean the workplace, and what rights and responsibilities the employer and employee each have in securing a safe environment. Currently, there are more questions than answers.
A well thought out game plan for the return to work requires new tools, new processes, and an environment of trust and mutual care for the health and wellbeing of all employees, all while striving for an optimal level of productivity. While PayNorthwest can offer no counsel on the proper way to take an employee’s temperature (or the advisability of trying), or how to properly disinfect and maintain clean common areas, we can provide tools that can help employers meet this unprecedented and previously uncharted challenge.
Now, more than ever, Time and Labor Management (TLM) is a critical business tool for managing a workforce in this post-COVID era. While clocking in and clocking out has often been seen by some as only necessary for hourly workers, the mandates of COVID make identifying when and where every employee is working essential, regardless of pay type, organizational status, or even whether they work at the place of business or continue to work from home. A thoughtfully deployed TLM system can provide employers essential information about their workforce and workplace – shining some light on an otherwise dark, confusing situation.
Having all employees clock in and out makes available work-based contact tracing. The importance of being able to identify who worked with whom cannot be overstated should an employee ever come down with the coronavirus. We have already had client employers make very effective use of contact tracing reporting from our TLM system. This allowed clients to identify and inform the employees who had worked directly with someone that tested positive for COVID-19, containing the virus’s further potential spread. Contact tracing in the workplace can save lives and stem potentially runaway infection among your workforce.
Many employers are also wanting to, and in some cases being required to, ask questions of employees prior to starting and upon exit from work. These questions may relate to how an employee feels at that particular moment, potential contact with anyone who is known to have symptoms, even possibly whether the employee has maintained social distancing outside of work. Clocking-in mechanisms, whether at a time clock or on a mobile app or kiosk, can serve as a control and data capture point for these questions. Conditioning clock-in ability with the answering of and attestation by the employee of certain pre-designed questions (approved by your HR legal counsel, of course!) can be an effective tool for maintaining consistency of protocols for maintaining a healthy workplace.
Having the tools to track and control the time and location of workers is an essential element in effective return to work plans. Employers and employees alike are looking for ways to ensure that the workplace they return to is safe and healthy for everyone. TLM tools, like those PayNorthwest offers as part of its broader Human Capital Management platform, are an important part of making that happen.