Our earliest ancestors knew the value of tracking time and measuring efforts and developed time tracking methods that predate modern civilization.
Since the dawn of time tracking hundreds of years ago, we’ve continued advancing our time tracking practices and eventually integrated them with other key processes, such as employee scheduling and payroll services, to help us better understand the correlation between time, effort, and cost.
However, despite these obvious advantages, many skilled nursing and senior living organizations resort to old-fashioned time clocks that competently track employee attendance but fail to advance other business priorities.
Sadly, this practice leavers providers at a significant disadvantage. Think about what life would be like if you only used your mobile phone for making calls. You’d miss out on functions that help manage so many different parts of your life.
The same is true for other common technologies and your business. Why should you only use your time clock to do the most basic time tracking function? An innovative time tracking system can help transform routine business operations, reduce costs, and even protect staff and residents from infectious diseases, like COVID 19.
The following must-have features demonstrate the power of role next-generation time clocks to advance multiple objectives.
Protect against from contagious bacteria
As the population ages, senior living and post-acute care facilities will play an increasingly important role in our society, taking care of some of the most vulnerable members of society.
Unfortunately, this commitment can put them in harm’s way as they risk contracting a serious illness. Recent months proved how susceptible both senior care staff and residents are to the ravages of a pandemic, like COVID-19 and its subsequent variations.
To counter the spread, operators consequently implemented strict new infection control procedures, social distancing, lock downs and health screenings. However, many of these practices proved unsustainable for the long-term because they required extensive manual resources or compromised the quality of the residents’ lifestyle.
Fortunately, help arrived via new and improved technologies. For example, new time tracking with integrated employee scheduling systems can fight the spread of infectious bacteria without expensive manual efforts.
Limit the spread of germs
New touchless technology enable workers to quickly punch into work without touching the time clock. For example, SmartLinx Advanced Timeclock for Employees (SLATE), lets staff complete the punch in requirements on their SmartLinx Go mobile app and hold up a QR code to the time clock. The time clock does the rest, recording their employee information, tracking their time, and sending it to the integrated employee scheduling and workforce management system.
Help prevent access to staff with fevers
Not only that, today’s most innovative time clocks also include thermal-sensing features that automatically take employees’ temperatures when they stand before the time clock even if they’re wearing a face mask.
Temperatures are securely recorded and transmitted to the workforce management software system. When the time clock detects a fever, it denies access to the employee or contractor and instructs them to contact their manager.
Support social distancing
State-of-the-art time clocks enable employees to punch in and out six times faster than traditional time tracking devices. Staff no longer need to stand in front of the time clock and manually enter access codes or swipe their fingerprint and wait to gain access. They simply present their mobile device to the time tracking device and gain entry in seconds.
Since the integrated time tracking and employee scheduling system lets senior care workers complete punch requirements individually on their SmartLinx Go mobile app, it minimizes the time they spend at the time clock and alleviates long lines during shift changes. When staff complete the punch requirements on their phone, they receive a time-sensitive QR code and a five-minute clock-in window. With its large interactive screen, the SmartLinx time clock can present messages and remind staff to keep their distance as they enter or exit the facility.
Screen employees for virus symptoms
Today’s time tracking solutions protect employee confidentiality and ensure they answer CDC-approved health screening questions before they start working. Rather than requiring dedicated workers man the entrances and screen incoming employees, long-term care operators are turning to intelligent time clock and integrated mobile workforce management apps and cutting costs in the process. The integrated time tracking and workforce management system presents the questions and confidentially stores employee information.
Promote full staffing
You can do so much more than record employee time. Make sure you put people in the right place at the right time and use your time clock to help.
Early time tracking methods simply recorded employee attendance. When integrated with an employee scheduling and workforce management software, today’s time tracking system helps operators staff their long-term care facilities to support fluctuating resident needs and regulations.
When purpose-built for long-term and post-acute care, an employee scheduling system can develop employee schedules that support evolving resident population and their healthcare needs. Employee schedules are created based on PPD census values as well as organizational policies.
Systems that are fully integrated with time tracking solutions share employee scheduling and attendance data in real-time. The employee scheduling system uses the live attendance data to track attendance against real-world needs and adjust employee schedules to accommodate changing resident acuity and PPD values. The workforce management system can present at-a-glance views of live staffing information and alert administrators when their staffing falls below internal and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Systems (CMS) standards.
Administrators can get at-a-glance views of scheduling gaps for multiple facilities and drill down for more information. The workforce management system will then display who is qualified and available to take the open shifts. Not only that, the SmartLinx workforce management system will also tell administrators who can work each shift without incurring overtime. At the click of the mouse, you can offer the open shift to those workers who will see the requests on near real-time on their mobile app and respond accordingly.
When they arrive at work, staff can confirm their availability on the interactive time clock. Since it was automatically updated with the new employee schedule, the SmartLinx time clock will recognize them on the new schedule and grant them access.
Enforce attendance policies — automatically
Though often overlooked, routine attendance policy violations drain a healthcare facility’s bottom line. For example, employees often punch into work a few minutes early and punch out late. Though many instances may be justified, the practice adds up to big expenses, and often triggers unnecessary overtime.
An advanced employee time tracking and integrated employee scheduling can help stop these expenses before they start. Equipped with sophisticated time tracking software, the time clock automatically compares new punches against the employee’s schedule and restricts early, late and unscheduled punches. Employees who arrive early must wait to punch in while those who are not scheduled to work must obtain manager permission before they can punch into work.
Eliminate buddy punches
Workers can no longer cover for tardy or absent co-workers by entering their colleague’s badge id and access code. The time tracking system can automatically confirm the worker’s identity though biometric recognition capabilities as well as the integrated mobile and corresponding QR code. The time-sensitive punch in window limits access to one employee and prohibits them from inputting a “buddy’s” information. Time clocks equipped with thermal sensing also validate the employee’s identity while documenting their temperature and sending the results to the integrated employee scheduling system.
Employees can punch in and out of work six times faster with an intelligent, touchless time clock like SLATE. They complete punch in requirements quickly on their mobile workforce management app and then present the corresponding QR code to the time clock. As long as they comply with the employee schedule, they can quickly enter the facility while the necessary employee id and punch information is automatically sent to the integrated scheduling and time tracking system. See how Trilogy streamlines scheduling at 110 facilities with SmartLinx.
Better engage employees
If you want to improve employee engagement, you must alleviate as much frustration as possible and show employees what matters to them matters to you. Interactive, intelligent time clocks tell employees their needs matter.
They start by providing staff the flexibility they need to get their workday off to the best start. Of course, touchless access helps ward off germs and demonstrate your commitment to prevent inadvertent virus transmission.
Mobile apps grant anytime anywhere access to scheduling and other key data. By integrating the two tools in an intuitive platform, you help employees focus on the important work ahead of them rather than having them jump through multiple, little hoops just to get started. For example, they no longer need to run to the HR department or access, complete, and email forms to submit a PTO requires but can simply use the mobile app or the time clock’s interactive touchscreen.
Put answers at employee fingertips
However, suppose an employee forgot their phone. You need a time clock that can quickly and easily verify their identity, align it with their work schedule, and grant access. Intelligent time tracking devices with biometric capabilities, like fingerprint scanning, can do this.
Advanced time clocks, like SLATE, can do this and much more. SLATE’s 10- inch interactive touch screen lets authorized users view schedules, request changes, and fix their punch history in seconds.
Balance work-life responsibilities
Every day, long-term care and senior living employees walk a tightrope, balancing their efforts between two deserving parties: residents and family members.
In addition, many senior care workers juggle shifts at multiple facilities and routinely work rotating shifts, double shifts, and split shifts. These fluctuating demands can be tough to keep up with and consequently place lot of stress on worker.
Integrated time tracking and employee scheduling systems can help alleviate some of their burdens by offering employees a way to easily keep up with their complicated employee schedules. In addition to automatically notifying staff of new schedules, these workforce management solutions can give workers access to their schedules and key capabilities anytime, anywhere via a mobile app, like SmartLinx Go.
Whether they’re at home, a child’s soccer game, or in line at the grocery store, employees can access up-to-date schedules, swap shifts with co-workers, and submit and view requests.
To see how an integrated time clock can improve operations at your organization, request a demo of SLATE here.