The modern open office has given today’s employees a much greater degree of freedom than ever before. While this is generally seen as a positive change, resulting in increased happiness and productivity in most employees, some issues are bound to arise. Namely, ensuring that employees who enjoy this increased flexibility are using it responsibly and avoiding abuses of company resources.. In this article, we will cover these issues in some detail, then present solutions for unobtrusively monitoring employee attendance and guest access to the workplace.
Absenteeism: What It Is, and How to Address It
Absenteeism is when an employee fails to show up to work on a regular or semi-regular basis, beyond the allowed sick or vacation allowances. The most common reasons for this are employee dissatisfaction or personal issues that are not shared with management. For a more in-depth exploration of absenteeism, its causes, and what steps you can take to prevent it, feel free to check out this article on Unlocked, a publication focused on workplace management.
According to a study by Investopedia on this Forbes article, typical office workers are disproportionately likely to engage in absenteeism, as compared to other professions like medicine or teaching. Here we’ll offer ways of helping track absenteeism in the office in a discreet way, and offer options for addressing it at its roots.
How to Discreetly Measure Employee Attendance
IT Measures — Monitor Who Is on the WiFi
With our reliance on the internet, both for personal life and work, if someone is at the office, they will likely be connected to the wifi. As the office administrator, you’re likely the owner of the wifi account, meaning that you’ll be able to monitor who is using the wifi (or at least the IP addresses, which should be company computers tied to a user). This way, you can get a clear picture of who is at the office, and who is not.
Examples of vendors who provide this service are wireless network watchers for PC devices, and who is on my Wifi from the Mac app store.
Connected to the Communication Network
Even if you don’t have a physical office (maybe your workers are remote, or working from home), you can still check who is “keyed in” by checking who is logged into the communication network, and actively responding to instant messaging. It’s normal to expect employees to be responsive in a timely manner when working, so this presents a straightforward way of seeing who is “on duty” so to speak.
For a more in-depth exploration of how to track your remote workers, please check out the relevant article in the remote office management series.
Checked Into the Office
If you do have a physical office, modern access control provides an interesting alternative to just checking who is on the wifi. With a mobile solution for accessing door readers, you can know at all times who has checked into the office, and at what time they did so. In addition, you can get interesting data analyses, like the unlock heatmap, to know at what time the office is most accessed.
For more information on entry and exit tracking, take a look at the article on this course series. Basically, having a reader both inside and outside the door, and mandating that employees tap their phone when they arrive in the morning and when they leave at night, you can get a clear picture of the comings and goings of everyone in the office.
How to Improve Attendance
Beyond just tracking attendance, it might be prudent for you to address the problem at its core, and try to improve attendance by addressing the cause of employee absenteeism. As mentioned before Kisi offers some strategies for addressing absenteeism in Unlocked. Largely, they revolve around two main philosophies: the carrot and the stick. The stick involves enforcement (i.e time tracking and penalties), whereas the carrot involves incentives and rewards for good attendance. Different strategies will work for different offices, so take a look and make an informed decision on which policies to implement.
Employee absenteeism can cost a company thousands of dollars in productivity costs. However, it doesn’t need to be a headache. With modern tools for measuring attendance and absenteeism and recommendations for how to address it at its root, you’ll be well equipped to stop it in its tracks.