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Building A Business Case For Telecommuting

October 18th, 2017 | Posted by ATS in Career | Employee Productivity | HR | Telecommuting Employees | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software - (Comments Off on Building A Business Case For Telecommuting)

Want to convince your boss that you should work from home? Make sure you have a compelling case, including facts to prove that working remotely will not impact your productivity. In other words, do your due diligence, talk to your HR personnel, other work colleagues, and be sure to take time to learn about your company’s history as it pertains to telecommuting, otherwise, it could backfire on you.

Building A Business Case For Telecommuting

Here are some tips from Melanie Pinola’s blog on LifeWire titled What You Should Know Before You Ask to Work from Home

“The first thing you should know, if you’ve never worked from home before, is that telecommuting has awesome benefits but it’s not for everyone.

There are many pros and cons to telecommuting. That said, if you want to give it a try, start with the basics below.

Find out what the current policy is

  • Check the employee manual. If there’s an existing remote work policy, then your chances of success are good. You can use the information provided to make your case in your remote work proposal.
  • If there’s no written information but some of your co-workers currently have flexible work arrangements, ask them for advice on proceeding. They’ll have the inside scoop on how easy it was to negotiate the work arrangement and how it’s working out for them.
  • Don’t worry if no one ever has established a flexible work schedule or remote work agreement at the company, though. You can be the first! (In my former job, I was the first person to start working from home regularly as a telecommuter as I was able to prove I could get my job done at home. See below for more details.)

Use your experience to your advantage

  • Because your supervisor’s support and approval will be key to getting your request granted, you’ve got a leg up if you are an established employee whom your supervisor trusts and values. Make sure you maintain that respect and continue to make yourself invaluable to the company.
  • Gather past employee evaluations that had positive comments related to critical telecommuting traits, such as: initiative, ability to work without supervision, and communication skills.
  • If you are a new hire, think about past experience at other companies that prove your ability to telecommute productively, such as occasionally working while traveling for work or working from home when needed on the weekends. If you don’t have past remote work experience, perhaps delay the request, however, until you’ve developed a strong rapport with your supervisor and proven yourself invaluable to the company.

 Be sensitive to your employer’s needs and goals
Look at the company’s mission statements, website description, and other materials to see how they present themselves. If they say they care about their employees’ well-being or are innovative/progressive companies of today, you can use these “branding statements” in your proposal.”

If you are still unable to convince your boss about the benefits of telecommuting, don’t be dishearten, simply try again in a few months. However, if your company has a no telecommuting policy, you should also be respectful of it by either abiding by the company’s policy, or find a company that offers telecommuting to its employees.

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Helpful Tips To Reduce Stress In A Tech Environment

May 9th, 2017 | Posted by ATS in ATS TimeWork OnDemand | Telecommuting Employees | Time and Attendance Canada - (Comments Off on Helpful Tips To Reduce Stress In A Tech Environment)

Technology companies including ATS, knows that a small amount stress can help employees move forward and perform at their best. What types of events can cause stress in a tech environment? Think about delivering a demonstration of your product, landing that much sought after customer, or deploying a solution on time and on budget. Participation during each of these stressful events–which are limited in length and can feel intense– can make employees kick into high gear and push themselves to get maximum results.

Helpful Tips To Reduce Stress In A Tech Environment

Staff writer for TechRepublic Alison DeNisco recent article titled 8 practical ways to make your tech job less stressful has some good tips for managing and monitoring stress in your tech company.

We have listed 5 of those tips in this blog. You can read the rest of the article in its entirety on TechRepublic website.

  1. Allow work from home and flex hours

Allowing employees to work from home certain days of the week is a major stress reliever, said technology consultant Anthony R. Howard. “Many folks in tech are mobile—only they really know how busy they are,” Howard said. “Life is simply better in the home office. It’s up to you to get to your objective, and in doing so you will need to create efficiencies.”

  1. Prioritize your work

Good time management is a skill that can be learned, according to Karen Williams, chief product officer at Halogen Software. “Take the time to differentiate between the really high-impact tasks you’re working on and the busy work,” Williams said. “Focus on the tasks that really matter and let the rest ride for the moment. Evaluate things like time constraints and potential profitability.”

  1. Build short sprints

When a team is presented with a large project, building short sprints—in which you chunk out small pieces of work for the team to focus on, one at a time—is a way to prevent burnout, according to Anjoo Rai-Marchant, chief customer and technology officer at HighGround.

  1. Write down your stressors

Whether you are anxious about a presentation or the results of an upcoming project, simply putting your worries on paper can relieve stress and improve your performance, said Andrew Filev, CEO of Wrike.

  1. Disconnect

As tech work often involves staring at a screen all day, it’s important to disconnect to avoid eye strain, neck pain, and increased anxiety, Filev said. “Instead of making a break by exchanging on social networks or sending SMS to your friends, turn off your screen, turn off your computer, and rest your eyes for a moment,” he said. “Read a book or magazine, go for a walk, or make a coffee and talk with a colleague orally.”

Bottom-line: Every workplace has some level of stress and this will depend on the industry and/or tasks being performed by employees. And, while it’s important to be mindful that your employees are not overworked-your workplace should challenge employees to reach their potential.

To learn about ATS Time and Attendance Solutions, or to attend a bi-monthly webinar, go to our website. And, to reach an account executive, call: 866.294.2467.

Have you ever wonder why your sick coworker chose to come to work? This behaviour continues to confound experts who lament that employees would do well to stay away from work when they are sick. Most of us know when we are too sick to work, yet we push ourselves and end up working too much and, by doing so, we may in fact, be prolonging our recovery time. And, to top it off studies have shown that a lack of sleep can weaken our immune system and make us more susceptible to colds.

The Data Shows Employees Go To Work Even When They Know They Are Sick

According to a recent survey by Monster, and highlighted in an article by Lily Martis,  a whopping 75% of employees chose to go to work despite being sick. The article reads in part; “In the survey, conducted globally, we found 20% of respondents said they always go to work when they’re ill, and 55% of respondents said they’d only take a sick day if their symptoms are severe. Just one-quarter of the respondents said they’d stay home and either work from home (10%) or take the day off (15%)”.

Most experts agree that if you work for an unreasonable boss or and have to go in to work, try to keep your distance from others, wash or sanitize your hands often, and cover coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or elbow. You can also cover with a tissue but be sure to throw it away immediately and then wash your hands. You can also suggest telecommuting to your manager, for a short period so your co workers are not subjected to your constant sneezing. And, if your manager is concerned about tracking your time while you are working from home, there are a few modern tools including; video conferencing and cloud computing time tracking methodologies. Emailing your manager every hour or so, with an update on projects you are working on, while telecommuting should put her mind at ease.

 

Working Long Hours Every Day, But Is It Worth It?

November 24th, 2016 | Posted by Apex Time Solutions in Absence Management | Benefit Accruals | Forecasting | Overtime | Retail | Scheduling | Telecommuting Employees - (Comments Off on Working Long Hours Every Day, But Is It Worth It?)

Every boss appreciates a hard working employee, especially one who will volunteer to stay at work longer to complete that project and meet a deadline. And, in the world of retail and hospitality it’s almost become the norm that employees are expected to work long hours and some split shifts-especially during busy periods Christmas holidays included. But, if all your company’s projects have tight deadlines, does that mean you have to work overtime every week? As an employee in retail, does your schedule include a lot of spilt-shifts? Sooner or later, working these long hours will eventually take its toll.

We all understand that from time to time extra hours are required to get the job done. But, when does all this extra hours you are putting in start to affect your health and, more importantly starts alienating you from your loved ones?

Working Long Hours Every Day, But Is It Worth It?

In an article Minda Zetlin for Inc.com titled ‘10 Reasons to Stop Working So Hard’ she eloquently describes some of the drawbacks of working crazy hours. In no particular order, we selected five reasons out her list that clearly makes a case for why should not be working long hours every time:

“Most of the work is less important than you think-A few years ago, hospice worker Bronnie Ware famously published the top five regrets she heard from her dying patients. Those who’d had careers all regretted the number of hours they spent at work. But many of her patients also spoke of dreams they wished they’d fulfilled.

Your mood is a buzzkill-The kind of irritability and impatience that goes with being overworked and behind schedule will cast a black cloud over the people around you both at work and at home. If you’re an employee, it will damage your career. If you’re a small business owner, it will harm your business.

Sleep matters-“The way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep,” Arianna Huffington said in a 2011 TED talk. She would know. She fainted from exhaustion and broke her cheekbone and is now something of a sleep evangelist. “I was recently having dinner with a guy who bragged that he’d gotten only four hours’ sleep the night before,” she continued. She considered retorting: “If you had gotten five, this dinner would have been a lot more interesting.”

Your judgment is impaired-The research is conclusive: sleep deprivation impairs decision-making. As a leader, poor judgment is something you can’t afford. Crossing some tasks off your to-do list, handing them to someone else, or finishing some things late is well worth it if it means you bring your full concentration and intelligence to the tough decisions your job requires

You suck when it counts-I can tell you from experience that going into a meeting tired and distracted means you will suck in that meeting. You’ll be bad at generating new ideas, finding creative solutions to problems, and worst of all you’ll suck at listening attentively to the people around you. That disrespects them and wastes their time as well as yours.”

Bottom line: Spending long hours at work might help you meet deadlines, but those long hours, especially when they are done over a long period of time, can affect both your physical and, yes mental state. When you spend a significant part of your day working, there is not enough time to rest and recharge.

 

 

Remote Workforce And The Rules Of Engagement

October 18th, 2016 | Posted by Apex Time Solutions in Cloud Computing | Telecommuting Employees | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software - (Comments Off on Remote Workforce And The Rules Of Engagement)

For many companies the notion of a remote workforce is inconceivable and it is something they would not entertain, regardless of changes in the working world. They have been doing the same thing for many years and see no reason to change. On the flipside there are some companies who may choose to incorporate a remote workforce to complement their standard operations, For example, you may decide that your technical support reps and sales personnel adds costs by driving each day to sit at a desk. And for some of the businesses, who have a rigid policy against employees working from home, will need to have some sort of work from home contingency plan in place when their employees are not able to travel due to bad weather conditions.

Setting a remote workforce has its pros and cons and, like every business model, considerable thought should be given to it before its implementation. Here are three tips to consider, courtesy of an article by Bartie Scott for Inc.com titled “3 Tips for Keeping Flexible Workers Happy and Productive”

  1. Balance fixed pay with performance incentives
    To prevent paying full freight for a flexibly-located or -scheduled employee who winds up as a resource drain, base some pay on productivity benchmarks. Holmstrom’s work implies that it’s best to set aside a portion of an employee’s potential pay for a time when his or her performance can be better evaluated. Good performance is a win-win, and bad performance means that allowance can be put back into the company.
  2. Measure performance against peers
    Besides breeding some healthy competition, comparing performance to peers better accounts for factors beyond your employees’ control and avoids punishing them for broader market downturns. Instead, if workers are given the same resources and training, individuals’ abilities will be revealed over time. High-risk industries that can’t afford employee churn and uncertain costs should provide more fixed compensation. Lower-risk industries can afford to try out offering performance incentives on new employees to reward the best and weed out those who can’t cut it.
  3. Leave room for uncertainty
    Hart’s incomplete-contract theory states that because performance is difficult to predict and unexpected events arise, contracts must lay out a method for decision-making in case of unforeseen circumstances. That’s why it may be pertinent to negotiate with a new hire to revisit bonuses or benefits after some time has passed and the employment arrangement is more predictable.

Here is a quote from Marten Mickos CEO of Eucalyptus Systems in a recent interview “Offices are so last century,” Having everyone in one location “was really an invention of the Industrial Revolution. It’s much more natural for people to work where they live.” He goes on to say, “We have a few employees I have never actually met.”  And, when asked how he knows they’re all working, he says “telecommuting can actually boost productivity, it’s much easier to fake it in an office than it is from home, where the only way to seem productive is to actually be productive.”

Bottom-line a remote workforce is not ideal for every company. However, the companies that implement telecommuting, the rules of engagement need to be clear so, both sides understands and adheres to the stated objectives. It’s also worth noting that not every employee is cut out to be a telecommuter. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline-hence, some employees; love the idea of driving to work each day to work at a desk in an office.

About ATS:
ATS offers a broad portfolio of time and attendance solutions that streamlines the collection, calculation, and reporting of employee hours for workforce management. ATS time and attendance solution eliminates the manual tasks of payroll preparation, thus- increasing efficiency and reducing errors in corporate HR and payroll departments.

To learn more, call 866.294.2467. And to view a demonstration or attend a weekly webinar go to our website.

Remote Workforce And The Rules Of Engagement

Remember when Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer informed her employees they could no longer work from home? Even before this story made headlines there were, and still are, a small number of companies who simply cannot wrap their heads around telecommuting partly, because it does not make business sense and most cases, it’s an unconventional approach for some executives and business owners. It’s important to note that there are several jobs that comprise of the regular 8:00am-4:00pm or 9:00am-5:00pm shifts and that these jobs require employees to be at their desks on a daily basis. But, when outside sales personnel, some creative positions or even software sales engineers who, spend roughly 80% of their time visiting customers– it’s quite baffling to hear that these individuals are required to drive to their company offices every day.

Is Telecommuting The New Norm?

For those who have the option of telecommuting and if you are still having difficulty developing a routine, the following is a few tips, gleaned, from an article titled “7 Ways to Make Remote Work Better” by Eric Samson contributor for Entreprenur.com:

1. Stick to a routine.
Maintain the same schedule at home as you do when you are in the office. This is helpful for a number of reasons. Since you are on the same timetable as your coworkers, you can ask and answer questions in a timely fashion. Another benefit is that you adhere to a normal routine. It is enticing to sleep in and start the workday late. But that might also mean working through dinner and even past midnight. Sticking to a reasonable work schedule will ensure both peak productivity and a healthy work-life balance.

2. Have a designated office space.
Identify a place in your home where you work best without distractions. Designate that space as your office, and nothing else. Of course, it is not enough to simply pick a desk, open your laptop and get to work. One of the most important things is that you create an atmosphere conducive to working. Make sure to have a clutter-free environment to maximize your organization and productivity. Have folders to store files and keep an inventory. This way you save time (and money!) looking for things. A tidy office space also helps you look professional during video conference calls.

3. Adjust your environment.
Take advantage of working alone by changing your surroundings to fit your needs. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that hot temperatures lead to declines in economic productivity. To avoid a sluggish work day, set your thermostat to a temperature that is most comfortable for you. Other researchers have found that playing nature sounds in the background improves employees’ moods and work efficiency. Add nature sounds to your playlist to optimize your ability to concentrate on your job.

You can read the rest of the article by on entrepreneur.com. It appears telecommuting is not as easy as it appears to be. If you are seasoned pro, you probably already know what it entails and if you are starting out, it would be wise to test the waters by doing it one to two days a week.

To learn about ATS and our time and attendance solutions, go to our website. You can download a prerecorded demonstration and to attend one of our monthly webinars, you can register online or call us at (866) 294.2467.

Is Telecommuting The New Norm?

A great deal has been said about Gen Y and how they are shifting the working landscape. Among other things, some have said they expect the big salaries but, do not want to do the work that goes along with these salaries. You only have to type in work + millennials in any web browser and you will find a plethora of sites with wide ranging perceptions about this group. In actuality, what this group of workers has done in the last several years is challenge the status quo especially in the corporate world. For example, many in the Gen Y group:

  • Do not purport to the daily grind of being stuck in traffic 2-4 hours each day for a 9-5 job. They believe if telecommuting can be substituted for 2 out of the 5 work days, it can increase productivity.
  • Are ambitious and like to be recognized as such, despite views to the contrary. Some of them are so fed up with how difficult it is to find a job after graduation that they are becoming entrepreneurs at a record pace.
  • Are adopters of the digital age and believe manual tasks can be completed easily and quickly through automation.
  • Likes to work in environments that are fun, offer perks over pay and will not bow to the pressures of having to “kiss up” to get a promotion.
  • Thinks that “working 60-70 hours each week and going to sleep with a smart phone beside you in the event, your boss calls is insanity.” These are the words of a Gen Y worker who said she witnessed this at a large firm and felt peer pressure to do the same.

The article “What Millennials Hate And Love Most About Their Jobs” sums up what most Gen Y think about today’s workplace. In every generation, there are good and bad apples. Generation Y is the future and should be celebrated as such. The ones that refuse to work and want to live in their parents basements until they are 40 or older are in the minority.

To learn more about ATS go to our website. You can also follow us on Twitter or join our LinkedIn business group.

The advent of employees working from home has been a challenge for companies and employees alike. Over the last 15 years, many fortune 500 companies have strongly encouraged their sales representatives to work from their homes. Of course, working from home is not suited to everyone.

Some companies will agree to their employees working from home if there are checks and balances in place. For example, an agreement between the company and the employee may require that the employee log in and out at the start and end of their shift and record projects they are working on.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages to this arrangement:

Advantages:

Time with the kids – A parent with small children will get time to spend with them and help in their development. There many successful businesses who have adopted the idea of employees working from home with great results. Some examples include: mom bloggers, many of whom balance blogging and recommending company products and also taking care of little kids, sales reps of major pharmaceutical conglomerates and technology companies to name a few.

Travel time –When working from home, you don’t have to contend with traffic or gridlock. Also the damage to the environment with all these cars on the road is insurmountable. Millions of people commute to work each day, spending numerous hours on the road, all of which has an adverse effect on their health.

Flexibility – You can choose which tasks need to be accomplished based on its deadline. Someone who is disciplined can get more done while working at home with no distractions from colleagues.

Disadvantages:

Personal chores – It takes someone with a great amount of discipline to work from home and ignore tasks such as; doing laundry, going out for a two hour coffee break with a friend, grocery shopping or watching their favourite soap operas for a few hours.

Human interaction – The lack of human interaction will be hard for some employees to get use to. The daily ritual of meeting at each other’s office cubicle to discuss who got booted off the latest reality TV series can be a stress relief for some people. Trying to replicate these activities through a teleconference with co-workers is next to impossible when working from home.

Temptation IslandThere are a range of other distractions for anyone who is working from home. If expectations are not set between the employer and the employee it’s easy for the employee to slack off. Productivity can suffer since there is no pressure to start work at a certain time or dress a certain way.

To read more about our business automation telecommuting tools, go to our website. You can follow us on Twitter or sign up to participate to in our monthly webinars. The next one is schedule for January 2012.