Best-in-Class Workforce Management Software from Industry Experts
Header

There Are Several Benefits To Upgrading Your Business Office Tools

June 12th, 2018 | Posted by ATS in ATS TimeWork OnDemand | Cloud Computing | Office | Productivity | Time and Attendance Toronto - (Comments Off on There Are Several Benefits To Upgrading Your Business Office Tools)

As creatures of habits, many of us do not like change and are emotionally attached to just about everything we own or things we like to do on a daily basis; from our handheld devices, to work stations or our favorite morning latte at the local coffee shop. Of course, when it comes to things like office software or hardware, we need to make sure we are using technology that is not from the 80s, otherwise it could impact productivity.

Windows10 has been around for a few years and despite its gradual adoption use in the world of business, it still has its detractors. Hopefully, you are still not using WindowsXP? And, if you are, hopefully you and/or your company’s IT manager are technology wizards with the smarts to support it.

There Are Several Benefits To Upgrading Your Business Office Tools

Sometimes, upgrading is a pain and most of us hate it. Here are some useful tips from an article titled 7 Reasons Why Your Business Should Upgrade to Windows 10 Now by Howard Wen for Business News Daily.

“1. Ransomware prevention
Computers running older versions of Windows are more vulnerable to ransomware. Windows 10 has a feature to thwart ransomware from locking up a user’s work and personal documents on their computer. The Windows Defender Security Center tool in Windows 10 lets you whitelist, or approve, which apps can access and change files saved in the Desktop, Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos folders.

  1. Stronger malware security tools

Windows 10 comes with Windows Defender Exploit Guard, which scans for, quarantines and removes malware. In addition to ransomware protection, it includes other tools that can be used to stop zero-day attacks, to block and quarantine malicious programs on your computer or office network, and to isolate infected computers on your network. Upgrading to Windows 10 gives you the option of subscribing to Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection. It’s a more sophisticated, cloud-based service for managing security threats across your business’s Windows 10 computers.

  1. Safer web browsing

Windows Defender Application Guard is available in Windows 10 Enterprise and Professional. It lets you use the Edge browser inside a virtual machine. If you or an employee unknowingly contracts malware by visiting a malicious website, it won’t be able to damage the computer or the network, because it will be confined inside this virtual machine.

  1. Keep your frequent business contacts on the taskbar

The My People feature lets you pin your business contacts as shortcut icons on the Windows 10 taskbar. Click the icon of a person to email them or start a video call through Skype. You can pin up to 10 contacts on the taskbar.

  1. More efficient updates for Windows 10

A technology feature in the Windows Update tool, the Unified Update Platform (UUP), significantly streamlines the update process. UUP identifies new changes to Windows 10 that your computer needs and downloads only those specific updates. Your computer won’t have to download a larger package. Microsoft says UUP can reduce the download size of Windows updates by up to 35 percent, sparing storage space on your computer and the time it takes to install updates.

  1. Sync your work between your personal and work computers

The Timeline feature saves “snapshots” of the Windows applications you were using at a given point of time. By clicking the Task View icon on the taskbar, you can select a snapshot to continue working on something where you left off. These snapshots are synced across your different Windows 10 computers (if you are signed on to them with the same Microsoft user account). For example, you can create a new spreadsheet on Excel on your home computer and work on it later on another computer at the office.

  1. Configure your business’s computers quickly

Windows Autopilot lets you set up system configurations that can be downloaded from the cloud onto your business’s Windows 10 computers. For example, an employee can take a new computer, connect it to your office network, and it will automatically be configured to your business’s required settings. A system configuration can be tailored for a particular employee. This Windows 10 feature makes configuring, managing, and resetting your business’ computers easier, faster, and more secure.”

Bottom-line: There is only so much you can do with older technology, whether its business software or hardware, once it starts to impact workforce productivity the inevitability of loss profits are sure to follow.

Keep current with ATS:

 

Three Ways To Help Your Employees Deal With Stress At Work

April 10th, 2018 | Posted by ATS in Absence Management | Benefit Accruals | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software - (Comments Off on Three Ways To Help Your Employees Deal With Stress At Work)

Employee stress comes in variety of forms and it can create an impact on themselves, their colleagues and your company. As a leader, managing employee stress is also part of your responsibility and to ignoring it shows a lack of regard for the well-being of your workforce. Stress in the workplace can have a negative impact on productivity and will eventually lead to company turnover, absenteeism, employee burnout as well as an increase in medical benefits and insurance claims.

Three Ways To Help Your Employees Deal With Stress At Work

In no particular order, here are three tips on how you can help your employees deal with stress from an article titled ‘Help Your Team Manage, Stress Anxiety, And Burnout’ by  Rich Fernandez for Harvard Business Review

  1. Exercise empathy and compassion:It doesn’t cost anything to be kind, and the benefits for managers are great. Empathy and compassion significantly improve employee performance, engagement, and profitability. A seminal research project at the University of New South Wales, which looked at 5,600 people across 77 organizations, found that “the single greatest influence on profitability and productivity within an organization…is the ability of leaders to spend more time and effort developing and recognizing their people, welcoming feedback, including criticism, and fostering co-operation among staff.” Additionally, the research found that the ability of a leader to be compassionate – “to understand people’s motivators, hopes, and difficulties and to create the right support mechanism to allow people to be as good as they can be” – has the greatest correlation with profitability and productivity. Empathy and compassion are good for people and good for business.
  2. Allow time to disconnect outside of work: According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, workers around the world spend 34 to 48 hours at work each week on average, and many engage in work or related activities after business hours. McKinsey Quarterly suggests that “always-on, multitasking work environments are killing productivity, dampening creativity, and making us unhappy.” And one of the most significant findings in employee pulse surveys that I’ve seen in companies large and small is that employees have an exceptionally hard time disconnecting from work.

3.Model and encourage well-being practices:  Worker stress levels are rising, with over half of the global workforce (53%) reporting that they are closer to burnout than they were just five years ago, according to a Regus Group survey of over 22,000 business people across 100 countries. And while stress can be contagious, the converse is also true: when any member of a team experiences well-being, the effect seems to spread across the entire team. According to a recent Gallup research report that surveyed 105 teams over six three-month periods, individual team members who reported experiencing well-being were 20% more likely to have other team members who also reported thriving six months later. Takeaway: understand and prioritize activities that promote well-being for yourself and your team. They could include such things as offering personal development tools, like mindfulness and resilience training; explicitly encouraging people to take time for exercise or other renewal activities, such as walking meetings; or building buffer time into deliverables calendars so that people can work flexibly and at a manageable pace.

Bottom Line:

Every job, regardless of the industry has a certain level of stress that every employee will encounter and while it’s up employees how they deal with the stress, it’s also up to you and will say a lot about your leadership.  The days of saying ‘leave your personal problems at home’ are gone. Always make time for your employees, especially when they approach you with problems, regardless if the issue is work related or a personal one.

Keep current with ATS:

As a corporate executive, you can book your business travel and request your preferred seat-from the comfort of your kitchen table or from anywhere in the world by using through your smartphone or tablet. So, why it is that your employees have to call their supervisor or someone in HR to request time-off?

With ATS Employee Self-Service (ESS) employees can request time off by using their smart phone, workstations or tablets from anywhere.

Here Are 5 Reasons Why You Need Employee Self-Service

Here are 5 reasons to use ATS Employee Self-Service:

Good-Bye Spreadsheets- Your employees really hate filling out paper work each time they need time off. ATS Employee Self-Service simplifies and automates employee requests for time off. When a request for time off is made, an email alert is sent directly to the employee’s supervisor to begin the request review process. HR, payroll and managers have decision-making information at their fingertips.

No More Using Emails To Request Leave-With ATS Employee Self-Service your managers no longer have to waste time trying to find that email that was sent some time ago by the employee requesting leave.

Time and Attendance Update Review-Employees can update their availability for shifts, request time off, view schedules, overtime, and trade shifts – letting them better manage their work-life balance.

Your Company’s Communication Tool Of The Future- Engage your entire workforce with a user experience that’s easy to navigate, wherever they are. Let all employees communicate and collaborate, even without a corporate email address.

Approval And Message Centre-You can tailor approval processes to your organization and, authorized users can view and audit the progress and approval status of a workflow to make sure it stays on track. Send personal messages or create and save distribution lists to message multiple employees at once. Notifications, reports and actions requiring an employee’s attention will also be delivered to the ATS Employee Self-Service Message Center.

ATS Self-Service is a powerful tool that will empower your employees and make them feel more engaged, increase their workforce productivity and free up valuable resource within your Payroll and HR departments.

To learn about ATS Employee Self-Service go to our website and download the demo. To reach an account executive by phone, call 866.294.2467.

Here’s More Evidence That We Need Sleep To Be Productive

March 6th, 2018 | Posted by ATS in Careers | Employee Productivity | Employee Self Service | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software - (Comments Off on Here’s More Evidence That We Need Sleep To Be Productive)

The benefit of a good nights’ sleep is far-reaching and yet, many of us tend to think four or five hours of sleep is all we need. We also know that going without sleep for too long makes us feel horrible, and that getting a good night’s sleep can make us feel ready to take on the world and tackle projects.  However, the always-on mentality in this current digital era of smart-phones and tablets, has given way to a false sense that less sleep is better.

Here’s More Evidence That We Need Sleep To Be Productive

Here are some tips from a couple of entrepreneurs, Doug and Polly White on the importance of sleep:

“Obviously, sleep is important. Humans need to recharge on a nightly basis to perform well. But work demands, family and personal issues and physical difficulties can get in the way of  a restful night’s sleep.

Quantity
As the numbers above indicate, adults need to sleep between seven and nine hours each night. We find that Doug needs seven while Polly prefers a bit more. To ensure that we get our shut-eye, we go to bed no later than 10 each night. If work demands a 4 a.m. start, we go to bed earlier to make up those zzzzz’s.

This takes discipline, but it’s worth it. Despite what many think, there really is no way to catch up on sleep. Sleeping in on the weekend won’t make up for a lack of sleep during the week.

 Consistency
While we may juggle our bedtime to accommodate an early start, this isn’t our preference. We find that going to bed and getting up at the same time each day helps us to fall asleep quickly and wake up naturally – without an alarm.

 Quality
The number of hours you sleep is important, but so is the quality of your sleep. Health issues, aging, hormonal changes and stress can deprive any of us of healthy sleep. One difficulty that occurs as part of the natural aging process is the inability to stay asleep. Older people may find that they wake up several times a night; however, this can affect younger individuals as well.”

Bottom Line:
Sleeping less than 7-8 hours per night, according to some expert, is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke whereas; longer sleep has been shown to improve many aspects of athletic and physical performance. And, the evidence is clear, a well-rested workforce equates to improved productivity, higher engagement and increased profits.

Keep current with ATS:

Want Happy And Productive Employees? Avoid These Mistakes

February 13th, 2018 | Posted by ATS in Employee Productivity | HR | Leave Management | Productivity | Talent Management | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software - (Comments Off on Want Happy And Productive Employees? Avoid These Mistakes)

Some companies extolled the virtues of their corporate philosophy in print and through the recruitment stages as an organization that cherish talent. It’s one thing to brag about how wonderful you are as a company, but it’s something entirely different if those things you talked about during the interview process, to lure good talent, do not materialize, once these candidates, become employees of your organization.

Want Happy And Productive Employees? Avoid These Mistakes

In writing for The HR Digest, Diana Coker dispenses some advice that you should heed in an article titled Dumb HR Policies That Demotivate Employees. Here are some of the things to avoid:

Merging Sick Leave and Vacation
This is one of the stupid rules most offices are still upholding till date, despite deep sensitization on this policy. Forcing your employees to take their vacations because they are sick is the dumbest thing any manager would do. As a manager, would you personally like to have your precious vacation because you are sick? The answer is NO if you want to be sincere. We all plan our vacations and deserve the best moment from it. Offices that merge sick leave and vacation will not only demotivate but encourage their employees to come to work sick, which means low productivity as well as exposing the healthy workers to the sickness if it’s contagious. At the tail end, the sickness goes round to everyone susceptible to it – going round to individuals that would still bring them to the office for more decrease in productivity. If an employee is sick and cannot go home because it would take away his or her vacation, they’ll force themselves to work demotivated.

 Banning Social Media
Recognizing social media as a channel for pleasures and distraction is already offensive and deprives your employees of a social life. Freedom to social media like Facebook or LinkedIn can help your employees to gain access to information that would help improve their performances. You can put it that banning social media limits your employee. Even if the employees are not being very professional as you want, getting their job done should be a criterion. Some employees go worst by banning internet use, that’s completely outrageous and a fight to force down productivity. Instead, keep your employee’s attention focused but don’t take away the trust.

 Crushing self-expression
I still can’t believe that some offices still keep up with this policy. Can employees not display personal belongings on their desk? That’s one of the dumb HR policies that shouldn’t have made it to the 20th century. It’s true that work environments deserve some level of sanity, but at the same time, people deserve to be who they are. This policy creates anxiety at work; it increases stress and renders break times invalid. Allow your employees to create a homey atmosphere. That helps them to be happier at work which improves productivity.

Keep current with ATS:

Are Organizations Responsible for the Happiness of Their Employees?

January 16th, 2018 | Posted by ATS in Benefit Accruals | Employee Productivity | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software - (Comments Off on Are Organizations Responsible for the Happiness of Their Employees?)

The happiness of employees at their workplace depends, on many factors, including; the actual jobs they are performing, and to a large degree the type relationship they have with their boss and colleagues among others. A study by the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive.

 

In his article, Happy Employees Is Good For Business Damon Burton lays out 5 benefits of a happy workforce. They include:

  1. Better decision-making abilitiesPeople are better equipped to make decisions when they are cheerful. On-the-job difficulties engender some degree of fear and nervousness in most of humanity, but satisfied people can return to their original mood faster after being faced with adversity.
  2. Happy people sell more– A simple search on Google of “happy people, productivity, success, business” are better at business” returns countless articles and several studies showing happy workers are more productive.   The expression of positive emotions can be an effective bargaining tool.
  3. Greater innovation– There’s strong evidence showing a correlation between happiness and creativity. Some studies have shown that happy employees have higher levels of creativity than unhappy ones. Being happy can free up the brain, allowing for increased mental flexibility and imagination.
  4. Reduction in lost productivityHappy people are healthier. When employees take less sick leave, they are more productive, thus improving the bottom line.
  5. Better customer service– This is a no-brainer. People like happy people. And when it comes to customer service, businesses need to be cheery. When employees’ morale is high, customer interactions reflect it. Happy people are the perfect people pleasers for customer service-based roles.

And, of course there is the conventional wisdom that purports to the fact that if employees are paid well enough they will be happy. While paying employees well should not be discounted, that’s only one component of an engaged, productive and happy workforce.

Keep current with ATS:

Every company wants to maintain its competitive edge by making sure its payroll costs is not too high while always looking for ways to increase its profits. Sometimes, that’s easier said than done. For example, a drastic cut to a company’s workforce or outsourcing of a department, might lead to decrease customer satisfaction and low employee morale. In other words, while it’s not impossible to achieve both objectives, it is sometimes easier on paper than in reality.

If your company is using a cloud-based business management software, the possibilities are endless. Today’s workforce is different from yesteryear and successful companies regardless of size or industry, know only too well, that in order to keep their position at the top they must find ways to improve productivity and streamline payroll costs. And, with the right cloud-based time and attendance solution, companies can do a whole lot more.

Want To Remain Nimble And Increase Profits? Cloud Is The Way To Go

Here are 3 ways companies can remain nimble and increase productivity and profits:

24/7 365 Days A Year-Availability:
In today’s every increasing competitive business landscape, not having access to data whenever you need it, equals lost decreased productivity and profits. The right cloud computing application is available no matter where your finance, payroll and HR managers are. As long as their device is connected to the Internet, they can gain access to data in real-time, respond to employee vacation and other leave management requests.

Adhere to compliance needs:
Changes in compliance and other workforce regulations continues to shift and companies need to ensure they are using a software application that is update all the time and meet the complexity of these changes as they occur. In a world of Big Data, cloud computing, using an application like ATS TimeWork OnDemand you get immediate compliance updates that’s pushed out automatically to the entire organization- as soon as they’re available. In short, this simplifies the process of keeping your time and attendance solution up-to-date and it also ensures that all users has access to the most current information and tools to do their jobs effectively.

The Cloud Propels Productivity:
When IT resources are focused on maintaining and fixing old Servers with existing antiquated solutions, they are essentially always playing defense. By deploying ATS cloud-based time and attendance your IT resource can focus on spending their time on other important initiatives.

In closing, when compared to on-premise solutions, cloud computing applications like ATS TimeWork OnDemand will help to grow your business profitably, and will provide your compare with more reliable information all in -real-time, drive faster decision-making, and thus, enabling you to quickly meet changing market demands to stay ahead of all your competitors.

To learn about ATS TimeWork OnDemand, go to our website. You can also register for a bi-weekly webinar or download a demonstration.

Productivity Is Important And, So Is Happiness At Work

May 22nd, 2017 | Posted by ATS in Productivity | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software | Workforce - (Comments Off on Productivity Is Important And, So Is Happiness At Work)

Every company wants a productivity workforce and why not? It can yield wonderful results, that include- happy customers. And, happy customers  will usually tell other companies with their industry, friends and/or family if they are happy with a product or service. However, in order to have a productive workforce, you have to be aware of your employees’ morale. A company with unhappy employees and a high turnover rate is unlikely to be a welcoming place for new and existing employees.

Productivity Is Important And, So Is Happiness At Work

So, how do you create a company culture that has happy employees who look forward to coming to work each day? Anna Verasai wrote a wonderful article for The HR Digest titled Happiness at Workplace is Not a Myth, and it includes, some of the following tips:

“Co-workers Bitten by the Happiness Bug
One thing no one of us can deny is the power of positive vibes. When you are around people who are sociable and have a tendency to chit-chat every once in a while happily it instantly makes working easier. Also, a smile is such a powerful tool that can brighten your day in just an eye-blink. Some colleagues are always there to help you get up when you are down, with a warm hug or maybe, your favorite ice-cream.

The Entertainment Factor
Now we all know one thing for sure that happening activities can easily boost your mood. A hang-out session after office, a funny co-worker, celebrating someone’s special day, dinner or movie plans with co-workers, it is so easy to create happiness at workplace, isn’t it?

Ambience Matters
There is a reason why experts say that the interiors and lighting around your desk can affect your mood at work. Try to keep your desk tidy and do not deck it up with files and folders all around. Hang some pictures with good memories, have a book you can read, take short breaks, or put up some fancy decors. Have a minimalistic approach so that you do not clog yourself mentally or your desk.”

So, it does not have to be all doom and gloom. Let your employees have fun while doing their jobs and you will be amazed at the results, including; increased loyalty and productivity and yes,  an increase to your company’s financial bottom line.

Is It Time To Abolish Daylight Savings Time?

March 13th, 2017 | Posted by ATS in Employee Time Attendance | Labour cost | Overtime | Payroll | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software - (Comments Off on Is It Time To Abolish Daylight Savings Time?)

Finding any benefit to daylight savings time is like searching for a needle in a haystack. The growing body of evidence that highlights its detrimental effects on human beings and their productivity far outweighs the incoherent argument for those who are in favour of keeping this ineffective ritual.

Is It Time To Abolish Daylight Savings Time?

An article written by Erik Sherman (which cites various studies) for Fortune, titled ‘How Daylight Saving Time Affects Your Health and Productivity’ reads in part;

“There is a productivity loss, according to David Wagner and Christopher Barnes, professors of management at the University of Oregon and University of Washington. Their studies found “workers tend to ‘cyberloaf,'” using computers for non-work purposes, on Mondays after a shift to Daylight Saving. One study, sponsored by a foam and cushion manufacturer, estimated a national productivity loss of nearly $434 million — about $1.65 per person. Wagner and Barnes say we don’t regain lost productivity in the fall when time shifts back. It takes up to 3 weeks for some to hit a normal rhythm, according to a study in the journal Sleep Medicine.”

Getting the general public to embrace and reap the benefits of the digital era and cloud computing was hard but, not as hard as trying to convince those still clinging to the outdated practice of daylight savings time. Change after all, is hard for some but given the fact that the data consistently points to an increase in; car accidents, strokes and loss of productivity-after switching the clocks for daylight savings time — it is only a matter of time before the general public, start to apply pressure to policy makers to eradicate this bi-annual tradition.

So, on Monday morning, if you feel grumpy, groggy and tired, (and with good reason) blame daylight savings time for your woes and take solace in the fact that you are not alone.

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