Tips for Creating a Productive Home Office

Thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, many people have found themselves working from home in order to keep their business above water and even to continue growth and success. When you’re in a leadership position, it’s important to stay motivated and productive while you’re working remotely so you can inspire others to do the same. 

 

The good news? Studies have shown that working from home can actually increase productivity

 

Having a designated office space for yourself while you work from home can help you to stay on task, inspire your team to do the same, and set your business up for continued success throughout these uncertain times and beyond. 

 

How can you create a productive work environment in your own home? Can an office space really make that much of a difference? 

Setting the Scene for Success

How you set up your office space can make a big difference in your productivity level. A good rule of thumb is to prepare a separate room or area of your home that will strictly be used as your office. As tempting as it can be to sit on the couch and work, there are a few drawbacks to that. First, more people than ever are using video conferencing platforms: 

 

  • Zoom
  • GoTo Meeting
  • Google Hangouts

 

As a leader within your business, you’ll want to make sure your space looks professional if/when your team is able to see it through an app or program. Not only does it set a positive example for them and can earn you a certain level of respect, but it can actually help your team members adjust to the “new normal.” Some people aren’t used to working remotely. Showing your team that you still have certain expectations for yourself and them while you all work from home will help you to maintain an office culture of success, even when you’re not in the office. 

 

You don’t have to go overboard with your home office, but there are a few basics you should invest in to set yourself up for success: 

 

  • A functional desk
  • A comfortable chair
  • Proper lighting (utilizing natural light can help to boost productivity)
  • Necessary technical equipment
  • Office supplies

 

Once you have what you need, you can go one step further with your home office setup by creating an environment that encourages productivity. Painting the walls a non-distracting, neutral color can help, as can adding a few plants to the room or mirrors to make the space look bigger and brighter. 

Maintaining Your Motivation

As a leader or HR professional, one of the responsibilities that may fall on you is keeping your team motivated and ready for success while you’re all working from home. That is difficult to do when you’re struggling to stay motivated yourself. 

 

One way you can improve your motivation is to keep to a routine. While it can be tempting to stay in your pajamas and sleep in, you should follow the same daily routine you used to get ready for work when you had to go into the office. Wake up at the same time, do your morning rituals, and get dressed as you normally would have done. 

 

Then, make sure you have specific working hours for the day. You don’t have to “clock in” at a specific time, but if you’re used to working 8-5, continue with that schedule. Be sure to take breaks throughout the day to avoid burning out or feeling overwhelmed by some of the challenges that can come from remote working. 

 

The most important thing you can do to maintain motivation is to strike a healthy work-life balance. When you limit yourself to working certain hours of the day, you can dedicate your time after work to your family, your children, or even to self-care. 

Be a Resource for Remote Working

Not everyone is used to working remotely, and some employees will handle it better than others. It’s important for you to be a resource to all of your employees of all different ages. Communicating effectively to the different generations who work with you will help everyone to feel more comfortable and knowledgeable about what’s expected of them during their time working at home. 

 

It’s still your job to banish stereotypes, rethink company culture, and use as many different forms of communication as possible to defuse generational conflict. Walk your employees through apps like Zoom for meetings, or how to connect with you one-on-one. If you’re worried that some of your older employees might be struggling with working remotely, check in on them. Or let technology come to the rescue by using apps like CircleCare, which can help you to directly connect with employees. Encourage them, motivate them, and check in on their mental health and well-being. If you have workers who are struggling to transition to the remote lifestyle, be a resource for them to make the adjustment easier. 

 

You might also consider hiring more remote workers during this time, especially if your business has picked up or you need knowledgeable, independent contractors to fill in the gaps. 

 

This current pandemic has shown businesses across the world how valuable remote working can be. For some people, it might become the “new normal.” For others, getting back to a traditional office environment will be the most beneficial thing. Focusing on keeping your team motivated and successful at this time starts with what you can do at home, so be sure you have an office space that keeps you on task. 

 

Project Management Trends in 2020

The field of project management is just as dynamic as the business world because there are many factors influencing it. We have all noticed the great technological, environmental, societal, and economic changes that have been taking place in the last, it is safe to say, decade and they have influenced many segments within companies.

With 2020 slowly unwinding, as a business owner, you already need to be looking into the trends that will dominate this year. Since a proactive approach is always the best, here are the most prominent trends in the field of project management for the year 2020. 

Remote team management

Business owners have recognized the benefits of hiring remote employees some time ago and one of the initial motivators was the opportunity to expand their talent pool. There are numerous talented and hard-working people out there waiting for an opportunity to work, develop their skills, and transfer their knowledge and this is a power most entrepreneurs won’t miss to leverage in 2020.

The only concern regarding remote teams was that the collaboration would not be up to par. This is only natural because any issues in communication can affect the result. To resolve this concern, managing remote employees became the main goal of many efforts and it has provided many businesses with experts at a fraction of the price. The success of a project that involves remote teams depends on the proper management and this year you should invest in quality communication platforms. 

The question of cybersecurity

Considering the fact that many businesses are going paperless, most of the business data is fed into computers and cloud services and this means cybersecurity has an essential role in any project. Technology has provided us with tools to achieve better results quicker but the other side of the coin is that we now need to dedicate some of our efforts to tending to the cybersecurity of the project.

Increasing data security needs to start with educating your employees about phishing and other forms of scams and warning them not to open suspicious emails or click on odd links. Also, discourage employees from plugging in any devices into their computers and this also applies to charging their phones. Without proper education of your employees, any safety measures technology-wise will not make any difference when it comes to the security of your project.

Leveraging the visual 

The elements your project needs to leverage in 2020 are the Kanban boards. ‘Kanban’ is a Japanese word for ‘billboard’ and the Kanban principle is to create ‘to-do’, ‘doing’, and ‘done’ segments which help oversee the progress of the project and help with organizing your team. This principle is the basis of several project management tools but while comparing Trello vs Taskworld, don’t forget to consider which features are additional and need to be paid for and which are innately included. 

Perhaps you have the same task across multiple projects or you wish to enable reminders, so make certain such features exist in your tool of choice. Keep in mind that you may benefit from reading user comments or consulting with those that use such project management tools to be able to assess which features you may need. 

Play on emotions

One of the most interesting factors among the 2020 project management trends is emotional intelligence. It may sound strange to mention emotions when discussing projects, but emotions do play a role there. Just think about it, in the corporate world in which you have different tools for anything that you need, the element that you need to pay attention the most are the people.

With different cultures within one team or among all teams working on a project, it is essential to be mindful of mutual differences and to respect them. Instead of dealing with issues when they arise, you need to prevent them and in case they do happen, you should be prepared to resolve them on the spot. This step is necessary because trust and respect are the pillars of any project’s success. 

Analytics is the key

Numbers are vital for project management because they hold the key to the results. Monitoring the results is what allows project managers to react quickly and stop a problem from emerging which makes analytics an invaluable segment of project management. 

The future of project management analytic tools lies in the cloud because that will allow for real-time data collection. Therefore, managers will be able to react in a timely fashion and make the whole process more transparent and efficient. This also means a smarter distribution of resources such as time, work power, and money, whose saving is always a plus for the company. 

Wrapping up

Regardless of the industry, your business needs to run smoothly this year (and any year for that matter!). Hiring remote employees is one of the factors that influence project management trends and this factor is on the rise. In addition to that, the question of cybersecurity is increasing in importance together with the steady development of technology. 

Other factors such as emotional intelligence that is closely-knit with diversified teams, visual aids refinement, and real-time analytics also have an impact on this year’s trends. Now that you have an idea about what 2020 brings, it is time to assess what your business can benefit most from. 

How to Make Your Employee Awards More Engaging?

Check out our this simple idea to make your employee wards more engaging and fun!

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The best way to make your employee awards more engaging

If your annual employee awards have become a bit stale and you want to make them more engaging, here is a simple, yet effective idea – add a bit of humor!

Funny employee awards should definitely be a part of your employee recognition program. Awarding your employees in a humorous, lighthearted manner will boost your office morale and keep your employees motivated and engaged.

4 ways to make your employee awards more engaging

1. Add a bit of humor

“Employee of the month” award is so…well, boring and way to common. Get creative and add a sense of humor to your awards! If you need some inspiration, check out our list of the 20 ideas for funny employee awards. Have fun with your awards, but make sure you don’t go overboard. Be thoughtful and careful not to embarrass your employees.

2. Include your employees

Ask your employees for their input on your employee awards. Ask them what type of employee awards they would like to see in your company. Make sure to implement all of their ideas! Also, find volunteers who are into the idea and let them help you plan and prepare the event.  

3. Get together and celebrate

Turn your employee awards ceremony into a party! You can geo fancy and set up a red carpet outside the meeting space and have one of your employees posing as a paparazzi photographer as the guests arrive. If your company culture is casual, host your employee award ceremony at the office, with a couple of snacks and drinks, one Friday afternoon.

4. Get creative with awards

Get creative with your awards! Certificates are so expected. Instead, do something surprising! Hand out interesting prizes or trophies. If you don’t have a budget for great prizes, don’t worry.

The prizes don’t have to be expensive. Go to a dollar store and pick out a variety of low-cost items related to the award itself. For example, a keychain flashlight can be a great award for your employee whose positive attitude shines even in the most darkest of times. 

These 5 Simple Tweaks Will Make Your Office More Productive

When it comes to the productivity of your staff, you need to understand that there are some things that you simply can’t affect. For instance, when it comes to the issue of motivation, promoting, offering raises and bonuses, as well as praising is likely to do the trick but there’s no such guarantee. There are some people who will outperform your expectations and there are those who will underperform or show lack of interest no matter what you do. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try. You see, you have to do your part in order to create conditions in which those who are ambitious and hard-working enough can thrive. Here are several ways in which you can achieve this by turning your office into a more productive environment.

1. Ergonomic furniture prevents injuries and boosts productivity

The first and the foremost thing you need to focus on is getting ergonomic furniture, seeing as how this is an investment in the long-term health of your employees. First of all, proper furniture creates a smaller risk of injury, which means that your employees are less likely to get injured in the workplace which might lead to an expensive lawsuit. Second, it helps reduce the number of sick days that they take during the injury.

Finally, it helps them avoid some minor health-related inconveniences that could significantly damage their physical health and their productivity. You see, an inadequate seating and desk height can lead to problems with one’s posture. This is more than a slight annoyance seeing as how it can damage one’s ability to think straight and focus on the task at hand. Even some of the greatest chess masters in history were known to engage in physical exercise on a daily basis in order not to allow back pain to prevent them to access their full potential.

As for what you can do about this is to look for a proper way to furnish your office. Due to the logistics of this issue, you need to bring your search down to only local suppliers. For instance, for your NSW business, you should find a reliable office fit out Sydney agency and try to make these arrangements possible.

2. The positioning of the manager’s desk

In a scenario where a manager is sharing an office floor with the employees, chances are that the positioning of the manager’s desk may be crucial in the efficiency of your overall organization. While this may seem like a minor thing, you need to understand just how important it is that you find the right spot. On the one hand, you want the supervisor to have a clear field of vision of the entire floor, yet, you don’t want your employees to feel like they’re being monitored 24/7. Such a thing could make them feel uneasy, which is a major mood- and productivity-killer. Instead, you should look for a suitable Feng Shui principle and place their desk in the corner opposite the main entry point, directly facing it.

3. Task delegation and accountability

The next thing you need to understand is the fact that your employees may not fully realize the importance of their role within your company. Sure, they’re a tiny cog in the machine, yet, you need to make sure they know exactly how big of a difference they’re making. You can start this out by explaining to them where they fit in the bigger picture.

Second, you need to explain to them both potential rewards of a job well-done and repercussions of failing to meet these expectations. They need to understand that all of their actions have consequences and this should help them work more meticulously. Also, give them some room for autonomous thinking, due to the fact that this will demonstrate that you trust them, as well as give them some room to grow professionally.

4. Set realistic targets

Perhaps the most important thing in running a successful business is your ability to set realistic goals. On the one hand, this helps you push your business in the direction that you want it to go in, in small steps. It also allows you to measure your progress, seeing as how each completed task takes you one step closer towards the place where you want to be. As for your team, some of them won’t be in your employ long enough to see you fulfill your five-year plan, so tracking these micro-goals may be the only way to show them that you are, indeed, making progress.

There are also two reasons why it’s important for these goals to be realistic. First, there’s no easier way to get disappointed than to set unrealistic goals. Second, if you don’t make these goals meaningful and challenging to achieve, even if you do manage to meet them this won’t feel like a triumph. Remember, your team needs these small victories in order to keep going.

5. Give them a chance to blow off some steam

When boosting productivity, it seems intuitive that you should invest in tools, courses and bonuses, however, the direct approach is not always the most effective one. By giving your team a chance to blow off some steam by paying for a corporate holiday, throwing a party or investing in your break room, you get to raise the mood and make your office into a more hospitable place. Also, if your employees start seeing you as too profit-driven, they’ll realize that you see them as if they were assets and not real people. Needless to say, this is something you want to avoid at all costs.

In conclusion

By adhering to these five rules alone, you can make your office more efficient and turn it into a place much more pleasant for work. Some, require a slight investment, while others require you to change a corporate policy or two. The best thing about it all is that these improvements are not that hard or expensive to make and they give an instant boost to efficiency, in return.

5 Workplace Wellness Statistics You Should Know About

Workplace wellness programs: Yay or nay? Discover the data-based answer!

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Workplace wellness programs: A growing workplace trend

Workplace wellness programs are getting more and more popular. This new workplace trend has gained a lot of attention recently and stirred quite a debate.

Some argue that companies should not be burdened by taking care of their employees’ health. On the other hand, there are voices arguing that in today’s modern world, these programs are becoming a necessity.

Above all, there are questions about the effectiveness and ROI of these programs. To answer these questions, we dug deep into research.

Top 5 workplace wellness statistics

Workplace wellness statistic #1

According to research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 75% of employers indicated that their companies offered some type of a wellness program, resource or service to employees.

Workplace wellness statistic #2

A comprehensive review of the literature has found that the average return on investment of workplace wellness programs is 3.27. This means that for every dollar that was spent on the program the company saved $3.27 because of reduced healthcare costs.

Workplace wellness statistic #3

A new survey by Virgin HealthMiles Inc. and Workforce Management Magazine found that an overwhelming 77% of employees think that employee wellness programs positively impact the company culture.

Workplace wellness statistic #4

Research suggests that employers save on average $5.82 in lower absenteeism costs for every dollar spent on employee wellness programs.

Workplace wellness statistic #5

The Virgin HealthMiles/Workforce survey found that about 87% of employees said they consider health and wellness offerings when choosing an employer.

Conclusion

Research has shown that workplace wellness programs have proven benefits, both for employers and employees. Employee wellness programs can do much more than just keep your employees healthy.

These programs can help you improve your company culture, reduce absenteeism, attract talent and even save money!

 

HR Challenge – Ensuring That Both The App and The Development Team Are Working As They Should

Forward Productivity

There are a lot of things which go into designing a software development team. Consider front-end designers, whose coding language handles the basic presentation of your company’s development project. Now consider backend developers, whose expertise is used for a variety of applications on a given page. Now consider mobile app developers, which has its own idiosyncrasies pertaining to compatibility.

Justifying everything together can be very difficult, and you need metrics which will help you to define that which works, and that which doesn’t. According to Stackify.com, when it comes to measuring software development team productivity, there are quite a few different schools of thought; one expert put it succinctly: “Working software is the primary measure of progress.”

Ideally, whatever solutions you bring to bear on your online solution, they should work as they’ve been designed to. In order to determine whether this is the case, as the experienced guys from Picnet like to emphasize – you’ll need to continuously test everything – both in the software development team and in the HR department.

In the development team, they mostly rely on load testing. If you’re not familiar, load testing is exactly what it sounds like: you’re stretching software to its limit to determine the “load” of activity it can handle. Ideally, it should be able to handle things several levels of magnitude higher than statistically traditional traffic. If you do well, you’re likely to have some spikes on occasion; you want to be prepared for them.

Employee Considerations

Still, even if you’ve got the absolute best software solutions around, if you don’t have the right team working with it, you’ll likely see productivity that is inferior to your business’s ability. If those who work on your software don’t have their “heart” in it, you may be leaving money on the table.

There is an old saying: the man who is lazy is a relative of the man who destroys. Basically, this saying is pointing out that a lack of diligence in work can be just as damaging as deliberate destruction. With tech people, you’ve really got to be careful with this. You want passionate, motivated individuals working for you. You don’t want lackluster, antisocial and egotistical techies who hold those that don’t think in programming languages as inferior to themselves.

Such individuals will design something which may work for a while, but should it have a tiny error that is transmitted through dint of simple human imperfection, getting them to fix that error may be like pulling teeth. The egotistical aspect of such an individual’s personality won’t allow them to admit they did something wrong until there is no other explanation for poor software activity.

The Right Team And The Right Numbers

Part of ensuring that your software runs as you intend means getting a design team who will take your instruction. You shouldn’t be having arguments. You’re the boss, even when you’re “wrong”, you’re “right”.

Finding such individuals may be easier said than done. If you’ve got multiple open positions and multiple viable candidates, you might hire two and set them into professional, “friendly” competition against one another within your business. This can facilitate motivation without you having to stand behind either and keep the candle lit, as it were.

Remember to ensure that mobile connectivity and utility are paramount in your forward software designs. This method of web connectivity defines modernity, and avoiding it will definitely hamper the effectiveness of any online solutions you’re able to acquire for your business.

Lastly, keep good numbers on everything. You’re looking for traffic increase that is progressively better, expanded clientele acquisition, and increasing profit. This should rise in a reliable way that you can build your budget around. The right software will help. The bad software will hamper you. Using good employees, keeping numbers, and finding techniques to motivate that are oblique as outlined earlier can definitely help you acquire the best software solutions.

6 Tips to Keep Your Office Productive and Happy

The times are such that working hours are long and employees spend most of the day at the office. Consequently, people are getting burnt out because sometimes there isn’t time for breaks. However, this is avoidable.

If working conditions are changed for the better, the employees will actually enjoy being in the workplace. Some global brands have recognised this, like Google. And many start-ups are following suit and setting examples for others.

  • Flexible working hours

Many companies today offer flexible working hours. People can start work in the timeframe between 8 and 10 a.m., and complete an eight-hour shift. This is a great solution for those who are not morning persons and need some time to get active.

This way, the employee doesn’t waste work time trying to wake up and start the tasks. They can come in late, already fresh and ready to begin the work immediately.

  • Be transparent

Share your ideas, goals and results with your employees on a regular basis. This transparent behaviour will boost the morale and help your employees to feel welcome and needed. If they know what the long-term plans are, they’ll be motivated to achieve them. This way you will not only increase productivity, but create loyal employees who can become brand ambassadors.

  • Remind employees to take a break

The reason why your employees are exhausted is that they don’t take breaks. This is simply something they forget or think is unacceptable until the job is done. If you promote break time and remind them to stretch their legs, they will certainly do it.

One of the modern ways is to create a recreation room with games and nooks for break time. Also, you can invite a yoga coach to demonstrate some simple exercises or organise lunch delivery for all. Whatever your strategy, this will sure bring you extra points with your staff and create a positive company culture.

  • Encourage communication

E-mails, chats, message boards and project management applications keep the communication alive, but nothing is better than chatting over coffee. Exchanging actual words and ideas in person is always a better approach than impersonal online communication.

Organise meetings as much as possible and allow some casual conversation during those. Office chatter can be problematic for some because of the nature of their work. But the recreation room, hallways or terrace are perfect to go and talk to your employees.

  • Reward employees

Rewards are always a surefire way to motivate your employees. However, make sure that you carefully plan the matter and see it through. A reward system can easily create a competitive environment among the employees and that can be detrimental to the office morale.

The safest rewards are not monetary, but those that are fun. Invent your own system, like giving funny and inventive titles such as King of Programming or Hemingway pin for best content writer.

  • Create a comfortable working environment

Ergonomic chairs, lazy bags and couches are just some of the things that come to mind for a comfortable office. Some companies go as far as to create indoor Zen gardens or waterfalls to reduce the stress and provide a serene atmosphere.

However, firstly you should take care of the environment. Aircon services will help you create the perfect “climate” during all seasons and make sure your employees are comfortable. A well-equipped and supplied kitchen will take care of their coffee, tea and snack needs. And a water dispenser on every floor and within easy reach will certainly make sure that all basic needs are fulfilled.

In the end

“A happy employee is a productive employee”, goes the saying. So spare no time or money when it comes to creating a positive and creative atmosphere in your office space. It will sure make everyone happy and productive for future tasks to come.

4 Ways to Improve the Quality of Work for Your Employees

While most employers are usually focused on how to increase the productivity of their employees, they usually fail to realize that their productivity level is closely tied to the quality of life they’re having in a company. Recent studies have shown that companies that provide a better quality of work to their employees have much better retention rates, while they also have an easier time hiring top people in their field. Studies have also shown that happier employees are less likely to take a sick leave, which basically means that happier workers are also healthier workers. Whether it’s a team activity outside of work or a fun zone at the office, there are many ways in which you can increase employee’s happiness.

Show Trust Instead of Micromanaging Everything

Trust me, no one really enjoys doing a job where they’re told what to do all the time. While it’s perfectly fine for you to manage and supervise their work, micromanaging is something that rarely has a positive impact on your staff. Instead, try to build your relationship on trust – where you as an employer delegate tasks that require high responsibility, or at least make it seem that way. Let them make some decisions and all of the sudden you’ll have employers who are actually committed to what they’re doing.

Reward Good Work

Constant recognition is something that employers have found to be of vital importance when it comes to quality of work for your employees. Whether it’s a simple recognition, or a reward (a raise, bonus, or an additional day off), employees feel much better when their effort is noticed. Many employers avoid even complimenting their workers because they feel that they may ask for a raise if they do. But if a certain individual is doing more work than average, wouldn’t you say that they deserve to be paid for the extra work? This is also one of the reasons why more and more young people start freelancing – because they actually get paid for the work they do, not the time spent in an office.

Customizable Workspace

People love customizing their workspace, and when it comes to their desks there are almost no reasons to be opposed to it. While some people like having their favorite posters on the wall behind their monitor, other people might want to bring a plant from home. I’ve even seen people who prefer to work on a desktop while standing in order to improve posture. Some of the top performers I’ve seen love working in a messy environment, which required us to hire a commercial cleaning company at the end of each week.  Allowing your employees a certain amount of freedom when it comes to customizing their workspace will positively impact productivity, while they’ll also be happier to work for you.

Set Clear Goals

The best way to improve the efficiency of your employees is by setting up clear goals for them to aim for. Without clear goals, productivity will drop considerably, but also their overall happiness. This is why it’s important to give clear assignments and expected results to the people who work for you. Setting these goals should be taken seriously because if they’re unrealistic or generic they won’t have as much power. Probably the best way to approach this issue is to set individual goals for the people who work for you. If you employ a lot of people, delegate this task to supervisors and make it a part of their job. The more these goals are realistic and attainable the better results you’ll have and thus improve your employees’ loyalty.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing when it comes to improving quality of work is to have your employees feel like a part of the team. Having a company where everyone wants to progress to a certain point is completely different from having a company where people just work their shifts. If the end results don’t matter to you enough, they won’t matter to them at all. So try to set an example and be a driving force for your employees as you all push towards a single goal.

A man at the glass-desk with laptop. An image from kaboompics.com.

5 Ways Outsourcing Your Payroll Can Improve Work-Life Balance

Written by Jan Van Mol, Head of Global Alliances at SD Worx.

Outsourcing Payroll

There are plenty of reasons why outsourcing payroll strategies can be hugely beneficial to your company. Typically, it is the financial arguments that are used, not the emotional ones. However, there are many ways in which outsourcing your payroll can improve the wellbeing of your employees and can restore their work-life balance.

It’s well known that happier employees are much more likely to commit themselves fully whilst at work, bringing increased employee retention rates. Yet, many employers don’t realise that changing your payroll strategy can have an incredibly positive effect on the happiness of your employees. Here’s five reasons why:

1. Reduced workload

If your team is overworked and understaffed, an outsourced payroll strategy is the perfect way to get things back on track. An outsourced payroll strategy takes away the need to recruit and train an additional team member, and can dramatically reduce the workload of your staff much more quickly than getting a new member of staff.

Reducing this workload will make your employees instantly happier as the amount of potential overtime required will fall. Working fewer extra hours will allow employees to improve their work-life balance and will free up time for them to do the things they really love outside of work.

2. Reassuring the workforce

Payroll duties are sometimes given to members of staff who already have packed schedules with their own duties and responsibilities, which can lead to an anxious workforce.

Some employees may also feel concerned about other staff members having full access to their salary details. Moreover, relying on an over-tasked employee to process payroll can create tension for employees who expect to be paid accurately and on time each month.

By outsourcing payroll, an impartial person has access to salary details, which will eliminate any personal tensions surrounding payroll. Knowing that an outside specialist has sole responsibility will also reassure employees that their payroll matters are being taken care of, leading to a more relaxed workforce, a better work-life balance, and a better company culture.

3. No delays

Internal payroll managers are subject to the same demands on their time as everyone else in your company. If a company is going through a busy period where everybody’s help is required to solve an urgent issue or meet an external deadline, those members of your team responsible for payroll are no exception to this.

By outsourcing your payroll to specialist company, you hand over a big responsibility that would require lots of time, money and pressure on payroll employees. The payroll process becomes the outsourcing company’s top priority, so the internal team can focus on other tasks. There are few things which disgruntle an employee more than delayed pay, so offer your employees guaranteed on time payment by using an outsourcing partner to handle your payroll.

4. Lifting the pressure

Managing payroll is a huge responsibility, since you are personally responsible for the livelihoods of everyone in the company, many of which will be close personal friends and colleagues. This can put a lot of moral burden on an employee.

Outsourcing your payroll removes the personal element, as the person making sure that everybody is paid each month won’t individually know the people whom they are paying. Taking this emotional burden away from one of the members of your staff will relieve them of a huge weight, meaning that they are less likely to have to put in long hours to get the payroll sorted in time and will be able to regain a much better work-life balance.

5. Lead by example

Making a positive action such as changing the way you run your payroll will have a trickle-down effect throughout the business. Firstly, it will show employees that their payroll is an essential part of the business, and will lead the way for other changes in different areas and departments.

Many workplaces suffer by not adapting their strategies as the business grows and develops. Outsourcing your payroll strategy is a great example to show your teams of how to be proactive about making changes for the better that will set the business up well for its next phase. You’ll be amazed at how influential such a decision can be, and how large an impact it can have on the mindset of your workers.


If you want to share this article the reference to Jan Van Mol and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

HR Specialists Talk About Their Stances On Time Tracking | Featured Image

HR Specialists Talk About Their Stances On Time Tracking

HR Specialists Talk About Their Stances On Time Tracking | Main Image

The exponentially growing digitalization of business and life itself is disrupting almost any industry in every country, and it didn’t bypass their HR departments either. Until recently, HR has operated relatively separately from the other parts of the organization, but the evolution of HRMS and SaaS solutions made the HR embedded in everyday business just as much as Marketing or R&D. On the other hand, just like new technologies have created new forms of organizing work (think about digital nomads and virtual organizations), so must the way of managing those employees differ from the conventional ones.

In my attempts to understand the challenges of managing people in large enterprises, as well as the shift in the approach that technology brings in this area, I spoke to a couple of experts in this area – a director of HR department in a large corporation, and a CEO of HR software developing company, about their views on employee time tracking as a business practice. Their rich experience in “both sides” of human resource management allowed them to discuss the benefits of this concept, but also to elaborate their objections.

It’s not for everyone

The first professional I talked to is Sonja Jovanović, head of HR in Serbian branch of accounting and advisory company Ernst&Young. Besides using manually filled timesheets for tracking revenue streams, and punching cards system for checking in and out of the building (although this serves primarily as a security measure), the company does not use any other forms of time tracking, nor do they intend to in the future. Working hours are flexible, remote work is allowed in some circumstances, and their company culture simply doesn’t leave much room for implementing this type of business practice.

The very nature of the industry of providing high-quality services to business clients requires a substantial level of professionalism and severity of their personnel. It takes a tremendous amount of confidence, followed by the strong and thorough selection, to entrust a client to a group of employees. “ […] Therefore, I do not see a situation in which a time tracking tool could bring any value to our organization,” says Sonja.

In EY, performance reviews and feedbacks are being conducted through the complex network of department managers and counselors, and though the employees do use computers, their performance simply cannot be seen nor measured by the amount of time spent on particular computer activities. “Our HRM is digitized in many ways, but tracking time does not fall into that. It simply isn’t applicable, because you cannot gauge the scope and quality of intellectual work by time,” she explains. “The more you try to frame people and their creative process, the greater the set-down will be, and the poorer results you can expect. This simple principle is something that many discipline-obsessed managers fail to understand.”

It’s about culture and priorities

In order to find which companies do find time tracking useful, or even a must have solution for their business, I spoke to Ivan Petrović, CEO of WorkPuls, a company providing time tracking solutions for businesses around the world.

“When it comes to implementation of time tracking solutions in medium and big companies, there are two basic factors that affect this. The first is the company culture, and the way productivity is understood in the company. The second factor are the individual views of managers, especially the HR Directors and their priorities”, says Ivan. WorkPuls works with various companies, from BPO companies, software and video gaming companies to construction companies and e-commerce businesses. While they think that there are certain patterns that one might observe among use cases of different customers, they say that there are also differences among specific goals different managers want to achieve.

“If you are in charge of HR in a company that has more than 500 employees like one of our clients, and your top level management has an initiative to increase productivity, or just wants to gain better insights into current ongoings, you might sometimes feel that it is impossible to know what everyone is working on currently, how happy or productive they are, and whether some teams or employees might be too loaded with work. So you want to find a way to get your insights efficiently, and this is what a good time tracking solution should provide. Such software gives you an easy overview of what your employees are doing at any given time, if this is what you want to know, but also whether they are getting more or less productive over a specific period of time; if they have too much work to do, whether they are “morning birds” or “night owls” and so on. With these insights, it is easier to work together with your employees to optimize workflow, provide a better working atmosphere, and consequently bring up the productivity of the whole company. Of course, all under the condition that your employees’ work is dominantly computer-bound,” explains Ivan.

Smaller companies, however, seem to have a different motive. “Speaking of smaller to medium size businesses, many times owners or managers look for an easier way to monitor whether everyone is working as promised, or they want to use insights to reduce the waste of time,” explains Petrović. “But there have also been cases where business owners used time tracking to see whether their employees needed any additional training with the tools they use. If some of your employees are spending way more time on those Excel sheets or Google Translate then the rest of the team, that might suggest that it’s time for additional training in that specific area.”

Since large companies already have their own payroll accounting solutions and punch in/punch out systems, the analytics side of time tracking software here becomes much more significant. Ivan mentions security related questions, along with the need to integrate time tracking data with other data in the company.

“There is an increasing need in this field to provide ever more flexible solutions, balancing the transparency for the employees with solid protection of security and privacy, within the company, but also towards the outside. Integration with other systems is also important.”

Control or motivation?

The overall impression was that for companies like these time tracking would not be yet another control mechanism, but a tool for improving the insight of HR professionals in everyday work and interactions of their people as well. It seems that if you are willing to dig deeper into the metrics, you might discover some remarkable ongoings which would hardly be detected in traditional ways of performance management. For many managers, this feels like a big step forward.

Although the digitalization of HR activities has opened great opportunities in terms of increasing the speed and quality of analytical processes and providing greater insights into organizational affairs, while at the same time reducing costs, there are still some downsides to be looked after. Downsizing the HR departments or burdening HR professionals with technical details are the first threats to successful adoption and modernization of people management. The serious threat to privacy that technology presents is the main reason why the initiative for using such tools should and must come from the HR. Bearing all this in mind, we can conclude that the basic challenge of the profession will be to recognize, develop and exploit the positive potentials of digitalization, while at the same time avoid, or at least minimize the concomitant risks.


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