An abacus among computers. Why is the implementation of a standard TNA system a bad decision?
Such systems used to replace attendance lists signed by employees on each working day. Identifiers and readers were revolutionary, because they automated the process of recording the working time. Today, however, they are fast becoming things of the past. Standard TNA systems are not advanced enough to meet the requirements of contemporary enterprises.
Classic time and attendance solutions are basically readers located at the entrance to the company premises and identifiers (cards) which employees have to place against the readers to record the fact and the time of their arrival/exit. Due to some misuses (e.g. using someone else’s card), such solutions had to be extended with the options of employee identification through biometric data (e.g. papillary lines) or images from a camera that captured each person using the reader.
Disadvantages of standard TNA systems
The TNA system we know were developed several decades ago. And they have not changed much since that time. Meanwhile, technology has advanced and it offers possibilities of which employers could not dream of in the past. So why should entrepreneurs reach out for outdated solutions? A TNA system which only enables recording employee entries and exits resembles an abacus in the land of computers. Sure, it can be used to count things, but the process is tedious and inefficient.
What are the basic downsides of outdated TNA solutions?
Little benefit to the company using the solution. In practice, TNA systems can perform only two functions, i.e. record the working time and control the access to premises.
Limited capabilities. Standard TNA systems measure the time employees spend at work, but they are unable to verify how the working time is actually used. In fact, they fail to perform its key function, which is to record the actual working time.
Vulnerability to misuses. A standard TNA system can be easily cheated, e.g. an employee can clock his or her colleague in, even though that colleague fails to arrive at work.
Incomplete data. It is common for employees to forget about using the card, which makes the time and attendance data incomplete.
Low practicality, high costs. A standard TNA system is very difficult to use in open spaces or in enterprises which occupy many locations and rooms: placing a reader/turnstile at each entrance is simply impractical and expensive. That is the case, for instance, with logistic hubs that have multiple docking stations which make it possible for people to leave the building unnoticed.
Non-compliance with regulations. Even the seemingly advanced functions such as the use of biometric data or a camera for the identification of employees entering/exiting the premises leave much to be desired. The Personal Data Protection Office asserts there is no legal basis for the employer to process biometric data of employees or to use video surveillance for the purpose of recording time and attendance. In this respect, therefore, such systems also fail.
No support of remote work. Common TNA systems can operate only within the company buildings. They cannot support the working modes which have recently become very widespread, e.g. home office.
IoT – a new technology for new times
Do employers have no other choice but to use outdated and unreliable technologies? Of course not! State-of-the-art solutions such as TIMATE offer entrepreneurs more possibilities than the simple recording of time and attendance. They serve to support team management, employee safety monitoring, employee location and the use of the working time.
Though many entrepreneurs find it hard to believe, they really do not need readers and turnstiles in order to record the working time and to monitor its use. Thanks to the IoT technology, they can use smart identifiers and central stations to make the entire process self-operating, totally automatic and requiring no actions from employees. The only thing that employees have to do is to carry their ID cards with them.
Importantly, data collected by TIMATE can be effectively used for purposes other than recording time and attendance. The information about location and the time devoted to particular tasks enable better work organisation as well as detection and elimination of irregularities in production processes. Such data ensure employee safety by allowing to quickly locate a person who had an accident and they also support evacuation. The data regarding the employees’ moving, coming and going show whether they work in line with their job requirements, e.g. whether a warehouse operator is on the move and an office worker sits at his desk. This type of information can also be used to detect falls and organise immediate help if someone has been injured.
Modern-day IoT systems process all of that data automatically, relieving managers of some routine tasks related to personnel management. They also allow to share time and attendance data with employees, e.g. on cards equipped with displays. As such, they support assessment and motivation.
Today, companies that wish to record time and attendance can choose from among multiple options which significantly exceed the capabilities of standard TNA systems. These options are worth considering if an entrepreneur looking for such a solution wants to record time and attendance, but also to monitor business processes and identify problems. The elimination of problems results in better work organisation and actual savings. That is something a TNA system won’t do for you.
How to implement an IoT/IoB system effectively? The power of consulting
The implementation of a system that aims at improving business operations should be a positive experience for the company and its employees. A new tool, new possibilities, better organisation, enhanced performance… But every change encounters resistance. That is why this process must be properly managed. For instance, with the help of a consulting company.
Where do problems come from, anyway? Usually it is the management board that decides to carry out the implementation. The board is convinced that the chosen tool will be the best one for the enterprise. However, it is not the board that will be the key user of the new system.
The key users will be employees who are often very sceptical about changes. They see no point in “improving what is good”. They want to operate in an environment they know and understand. They are unwilling to make some extra effort in order to become familiar with the new tool and its features.
We experience this, when we implement the TIMATE system. Employees who have received their cards and get daily information regarding their work are not always able to make effective use of the system’s multiple capabilities. Why? Because they fail to understand why it has been implemented. And where there’s no understanding, there will be no success either. It should also be noted that doubts regarding the new solutions can be extremely diverse.
First and foremost, managers want to learn about financial and organisational benefits that the new system will bring. They want to see the numbers. In the case of TIMATE, it is very easy to demonstrate the benefits. We have hard data supported by real-life examples that show the scale of savings generated by our solution. We provide well-documented instances of process optimisation and elimination of organisational errors in companies where our tool has been operating for a longer period. The management board learns all relevant facts during the selection process.
Managers, team leaders and supervisors usually fear that the new system will increase the workload. However, they have no reason to worry, since TIMATE plays the role of an automatic boos that relieves managers of some parts of their duties. TIMATE keeps a watchful eye on time and attendance, it automatically provides employees with feedback regarding their tasks, and it also reminds them of the necessity to follow the OHS regulations and take breaks.
Furthermore, the system generates data about how teams are working. It facilitates a better division of duties and task management. Importantly, our tool provides automatic and daily assessment of the team management quality, e.g. of the manager’s work. This may cause some anxiety, but in fact it serves to optimise and facilitate the organisation of work.
The TIMATE system has been designed to help employees carry out their daily tasks, to ensure their safety at work and to increase their motivation. In fact, the new tool requires only one thing from employees: they have to carry their TIMATE cards with them. The card performs several functions: it is the employee’s ID, it collects work-related data, it sends messages and it also enables access to specific rooms, premises or locations.
Just as it is the case with any novelty, this system may raise doubts. What kind of data does TIMATE collect? Does it protect privacy? Does it emit any harmful radiation? Though the answers to these questions will set everyone at ease, it is important to convey these answers clearly and timely to all users of the new system.
What should be emphasised is the fact that the main task of the TIMATE system is to provide a correct diagnosis regarding errors, irregularities, inefficiencies, required changes and areas for improvement.
Change management or the synergy of implementation and consulting
Who can tell about the new tool and its impact on the work quality improvement? When it comes to large enterprises, a well-prepared internal department (e.g. HR) can communicate the implemented changes. In other cases, external consulting companies can be of help.
When the TIMATE system is implemented, the best way to go about it is to engage in a close collaboration with a consulting company. Such companies identify management problems and implement lean management. They work by auditing all of the business processes within an enterprise. Such an audit can take months. But it can also be carried out on a daily basis, minute by minute. That is exactly what the TIMATE system can do, collecting data required by consulting companies, including the data regarding the organisation of processes and areas for improvement. Such data are recorded by the system every minute. And they can be analysed right away. Thus, the time needed to obtain the information about how the enterprise actually functions becomes considerably shorter.
On the other hand, for results and data to be most reliable, employees must know how to use the provided system correctly. Benefits will be explained and changes will be communicated by the consulting company that is one of the beneficiaries of the implementation of the tool in the audited enterprise.
We are now launching a pilot program that will verify whether this synergy will bring about the expected results. That is what we hope for!
The employee as an internal auditor – how TIMATE automates the process of changes in enterprises
Audit. This word often gives rise to anxiety, because it is associated with control and punishment. But it is a misconception. First of all, an audit verifies whether a company functions in such a way that it can achieve all of its goals, whether its operations are cost-effective and optimal. An auditor is the entrepreneur’s ally and advisor. Usually, companies hire external entities for such tasks or they establish an internal audit department. However, several people checking on how the company functions in selected areas may not notice problems which grow and make it impossible to reach optimal results.
But what if all employees were to take part in the audit process? What if they were to identify and report errors in production, logistics and business processes and, thus, give the company an opportunity to eliminate irregularities just as soon as they appear? TIMATE makes it possible on a daily basis!
How an employee becomes an auditor
TIMATE puts each employee in the shoes of an internal auditor. This happens, because the system makes employees notice and report errors and processes and the work organisation. How does it work?
TIMATE collects data on how employees do their job in six areas: time and attendance, use of the working time, safety, task performance, plan performance and management (this function is available to managers). At the end of the working time, each employee is assessed on the basis of such data. Emoticons with a smiling, neutral or sad face are assigned to particular areas. Employees know right away how efficiently they performed the tasks on the given day, whether they used their working time well, if they adhered to the OHS rules and if they completed all of the assigned tasks.
Importantly, the assessment system can be correlated with the bonus system, i.e. positive assessments turn into points which, later on, get converted into financial bonuses. As a result, employees treat the assessment they get seriously and react when the system gives them a negative evaluation.
What will they do when that happens? If the reason for the negative assessment is a late arrival at work, no helmet on the employee’s head in an area where it is required or slow performance of tasks, the employee simply needs to improve.
However, it may happen that a sad face is not due to the employee’s fault, but it results from errors in processes. When a task is left unperformed, this may be causes not by an employee’s laziness, but by problems in logistics or the work organization. An employee fails to work effectively, because he waits for a delivery of components, for a machine to be repaired, for the assistance of the team whose members do other things at the moment. In such a case, the employee can tell the superior what did not work in the processes and caused downtime or safety violation.
Benefits of auditing
Such an ongoing internal audit performed by all employees brings huge benefits. First of all, enterprises obtain immediate information about any irregularities and can respond right away. As a result, problems do not grow slowly month by month, as it happens when the audit is performed once or twice a year. Errors are eliminated instantly, which improves the company’s performance.
Such a type of audit is also effective, because all employees want the information about errors in processes to reach their superiors so that the errors are removed as soon as possible. No one is happy getting a negative assessment with no fault on their part.
Finally, this audit is much cheaper than a regular audit performed by external companies or by designated employees.
No company performs at 100% of its capacity every day, because business performance depends on multiple factors. The key to success is rapid identification and elimination of errors. In consequence, the organisation will be more effective, while its employees will be satisfied and motivated.
If you want to learn more about how TIMATE automates business processes, write us at: email@example.com.
TIMATE and the Internet of Behaviours – a new dimension of business support
The Internet of Behaviours (IoB) is not a widely known term, though it actually impacts the way enterprises are operating today. One of the examples of how IoB changes businesses for the better is TIMATE.
First of all, what is the Internet of Behaviours? It is a technology that allows to explore how its users behave and then to influence their behaviours. IoB is based on the data received from the sensors used in the Internet of Things (IoT). The value added of IoB consists in the analysis and interpretation of such data, which allows to gain insights and suggest different patterns of behaviour to users.
This may seem familiar to companies which already use TIMATE. Why? Because our system works on the basis of the data collected by sensors, including the information about movement and location of employees. Furthermore, TIMATE makes it possible to structure and understand the data via the analysis module, while the messages sent to the users’ cards influence their behaviours, providing a simple and effective motivational system.
What information does TIMATE get from the employee actions?
The TIMATE cards and devices are equipped with sensors which obtain a lot of precious data. For example, they indicate the employee location (i.e. the zone) and the routes that employees use around the company premises. The system also monitors whether employees move only within the permitted areas and whether they use personal protective equipment. It verifies how much time employees devote to particular tasks as well as whom they meet and where (which is of special importance now, during the pandemic). The system can also detect accidents (falls and loss of consciousness).
Such data provide the basis for the employee behaviour analysis and allow to make conclusions about how the enterprise functions. It may turn out that business processes are not fully optimal (e.g. employees wasting their precious time while waiting for the delivery of items they need for work; employees covering long distances many times everyday, because their workstation is exceedingly far from the locations they need to reach to get their job done, e.g. warehouses). The observation of how the TIMATE card users behave helps to better understand business operations. Moreover, it allows to identify the areas that need improvement.
How does TIMATE influence the behaviour of employees?
The second aspect of IoB is the way it can change behaviours. TIMATE also does that.
- By sending messages to employees’ cards, employers/managers remind them of the need to perform/refrain from an action (e.g. disinfect hands, put on a helmet, leave a hazardous zone, take a break etc.).
- Thanks to the data from the TIMATE system, an enterprise can reorganise its processes and change the way employees work.
- The new motivational module makes employees internal auditors in their companies. Their work is assessed on a daily basis, so they are able to identify inefficient processes or errors in the work organisation which affect the assessment.
Who benefits from IoB?
IoB is a new technology, so it is no wonder it gives rise to doubts. Does an enterprise really need all the data it collects? Is it actually lawful to influence the behaviour of employees?
As for TIMATE, it is clear and simple. The system does not collect any sensitive data, but only information about employee movement and location. In addition, the changes based on such data are beneficial to both employees and employers. It is a win-win model. The enterprise improves its operations, which is good for everybody.
IoB is at the starting point of its development. However, the appropriate use of this technology can help many businesses enhance their activities here and now. Check it out. It is worth it!
Assessment, motivation and quick response to problem. A modern company according to TIMATE
An enterprise that wants to develop despite changeable external circumstances must be agile and respond quickly to new situations. In practice, managers need ongoing access to data regarding work and business processes. TIMATE has extended its system with a new module which provides daily assessments of how a company operates and suggests changes that can increase effectiveness and savings.
How does it work? TIMATE collects and analyses current data pertaining to employees’ work as well as production and business processes within an enterprise. At the end of each working day, such data get converted into an assessment which is displayed on the cards of all employees and team leaders. This assessment is divided into six areas:
Time and attendance
The system generates the assessment of employees’ punctuality, the amount of time devoted to work and breaks (including statutory and non-statutory breaks, e.g. lunch, coffee, cigarette), overtime and undertime.
Use of the working time
TIMATE informs whether employees perform the assigned duties and tasks. For this purpose, it checks if employees spend the right amount of time in motion, e.g. in the area of the production floor / in a warehouse, or at the computer. Each enterprise defines its individual norms in this respect.
The system checks and records if employees adhere to the OHS rules and regulations. They include wearing helmets and protective clothing within zones which require them. The system also provides accident alerts, the SOS function and responding to safety messages. On this basis it generates daily assessments.
TIMATE verifies if employees perform the tasks assigned by the superior and displayed on the card as a list of actions to do on the given day.
Thanks to the open API, TIMATE easily integrates with internal systems for work schedule planning, ERP or CRM. Daily tasks assigned to each employee are elements of short- or long-term plans. The degree of plan performance is assessed at the end of each business day.
TIMATE cards for managers display a daily summary of their teams’ work. The assessment covers particular areas of operation and the team management. The overall evaluation of the team is the average value of the scores recorded on the given day for all team members.
Each area has its own icon. At the end of each business day, employee can see five icons on their cards along with the respective assessments in the form of clear pictograms (smiling, neutral or sad faces). A manager’s card displays six such icons and assessments.
Evaluation drives changes
Why should we assess employees and their work on a daily basis? Because this way we get the ongoing monitoring of the company’s operations and we can identify problems as soon as they come up. If a team shows a lower assessment in a given area, it is sufficient to check detailed graphs and analyses in order to find out what is wrong. As a result, it is possible to implement necessary changes in processes and improve efficiency.
Motivation at the fingertips
The assessment module can be used for the purposes of motivating the employees. A positive daily assessment can be translated into points which will become the basis for rewards and bonuses. The system also allows to reward employees and co-workers with special “recognition” or “appreciation” which gets recorded in the application and on the card.
Thereby managers and employees can continually increase their bonuses. They clearly see it pays to strive for the best, because their work is assessed everyday, noticed and recognised through an increased financial bonus for the given month.
Safety of real properties during the pandemic. TIMATE makes it possible
Employees working from home, schools and restaurants closed. It would seem that such circumstances are not favourable to the development of the commercial property sector. However, surveys indicate that the number of office buildings and warehouses in Poland is growing. What changes is the way they are used. First of all, owners, tenants and managers have to follow the sanitary guidelines and ensure the safety of their employees and guests. TIMATE can help here.
According to CBRE, 96 modern office buildings with the total area of 1.6 million square metres are now being erected in Poland. 41 of them will be put into service this year. E commerce is growing rapidly, so there is a larger demand for warehouse spaces. In the first half of 2020, the lease of such spaces broke the record and reached nearly 2.43 million square metres. It is 25% more than in the same period of 2019, says CBRE report on the storage space market in Poland. Though the real property market is doing fine, owners and lessors have to take additional efforts to make the property space use safe.
How to maintain safety in office buildings and warehouse?
The Ministry of Economic Development, Labour and Technology along with the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate have prepared guidelines for entrepreneurs with respect to the organization of office work. Their goal is to enhance the level of employee safety and minimize the risk of infections as well as to limit the number of interactions within the same area at the same time.
How to adjust offices and warehouses to the new requirements in practice? First of all, employees and guests need to be provided with protective equipment (masks, disinfectants). Secondly, adequate distance has to be maintained between co-workers and there should be more social spaces so as to prevent too many people gathering in kitchens and chill-out rooms. Thirdly, one-way movement system should be organized along with zero-touch door opening systems, if and where possible.
TIMATE can help with all of this.
Audio messages and signals
The TIMATE card offers functions and options that can be effectively used in office buildings and warehouses. First of all, it allows to display any type of messages and transmit audio signals. As such, it can remind of the necessity to disinfect hands or to leave a room where too many people have gathered. The card will also ensure that its owner will keep the required distance from his or her colleagues.
The location function
The system can identify the areas of the premises where employees or guests are located. It can also indicate the routes they take and how they move around. Based on such information, it is possible to designate additional social spaces, the spots for disinfectants or one-way routes allowing for safe movements between rooms or floors.
Touchless door opening
TIMATE enables door opening in the zero-touch mode. Importantly, the system opens doors only to authorized persons, so it minimizes the risk of too many people meeting in one office. A company which rents spaces in an office building has the guarantee that only its own employees can enter their company’s premises. As a result, the safety of both people and information is enhanced.
If such a system already exists in an enterprise, TIMATE can easily take over its functions so as to avoid card duplication.
SOS – help at your fingertips
TIMATE cards are equipped with the SOS button. An employee who feels unwell or dizzy, e.g. due to high fever, can call for help immediately. If it turns out the employee is ill, the employer can easily identify the persons who have interacted with the employee and should therefore be quarantined.
Remote work support
The card can also be used as a tool to confirm the performance of tasks outside the company premises, e.g. during home office or a business trip. The employee uses the task list on the smartphone and chooses the next tasks to perform. By placing the card against the phone and using the NFC technology, the employee confirms the start and the completion of the task. TIMATE records the time devoted to the task on condition that the employee has the card on. When the card is put against the phone, the work location gets recorded based on the phone’s GPS.
The card enables permanent and quick communication between the employer and the employee, task schedule preview and monitoring, and providing the info about breaks.
The technological and other changes introduced now by the managers of commercial properties will pay off. They will ensure safety and make the real property sector prepared for similar circumstances in the future.
Working in a hybrid model. Choose technologies which ensure safety and effective contact with employees
Recent months have brought huge and unexpected changes to the work organization in multiple companies and industrial enterprises. Many of them have implemented the hybrid model which allows to reduce the number of people working together in an office or a plant, thereby increasing the employee safety level. How does TIMATE support organizations which decide to use such solutions?
First of all, let’s talk about the hybrid model itself. The key principle is the rotation of employees which actually work on the company premises. When one part of the team is at the office, the others work from home. As a result, it is easier to maintain the required social distance.
The report published by Pracuj.pl says that 40% of Polish employees support this working model. They would like to come to the office at least once a week. 39% of responders want to return to the office on a regular basis, but with the option of remote work at least several times a month.
Of course, the home office option is not available to everyone. Blue-collar workers, production specialists and the majority of factory workers have to be at their work stations everyday. In this case, the employer should ensure appropriate sanitary conditions.
How can TIMATE help?
Home office. Communications and tasks
When a company implements the hybrid model, TIMATE can support the entrepreneur in the scope of both remote work and on-site operations. Our smart card functions as a platform for communication with the employer, when the employee works from home. First of all, the card displays tasks to be performed on the given day and allows to mark the time when the task is started and then the time when it is completed. Additionally, the card:
· Is a tool which confirms the task completion
· Reminds of the need to take a break
· Informs when the overtime starts
· Allows to notify of absence and provide the reason (e.g. sick leave or a business trip)
Working on-site. Safety and control
Surveys conducted among employees and entrepreneurs in recent months indicate that safety is now the top priority for both groups. TIMATE is a system which ensures safety, also when employees work on the company premises. How is this done? The TIMATE card supports the following functions among others:
· Contactless entry and exit via gates
· Temperature measuring sensors (upon the consent by the employee)
· OHS messages, e.g. reminding of the need to disinfect hands
· Active assistance in keeping the safe distance between employees
· Statistics preventing employees from gathering
· SOS button which allows to report violations of the OHS rules or situations when the employee feels unwell
At the present moment, we can assume that enterprises will not return to the regular on-site work in the nearest future. In many cases, they will choose the hybrid model of operation. Technologies such as TIMATE can provide effective assistance in this transition.
School during the pandemic. Chaos or an opportunity to digitalize education?
The beginning of the new school year in September will be different than ever before. Students and teachers will return to schools after an exceptionally long break. Also, the school environments will be completely new. Most probably, the rules of the sanitary regime will have to be followed in order to ensure the safety of students and the school personnel and protect them from COVID-19. It will be a challenge, that’s for sure, but there are ways to deal with it successfully. The good news is that technologies can help students and teachers to function effectively in the new realities.
At the moment, we are waiting for official guidelines regarding the school work organization after the summer break. It can be expected that, similarly to enterprises, educational facilities will need to introduce the following procedures: measuring temperature, disinfection of hands and surfaces, restriction of gatherings and social distancing.
Perhaps schools will organize breaks at different times for different classes so as to limit the number of students outside classrooms during breaks. Maybe some lessons will still be organized remotely. Regardless of which solutions will actually be implemented, technologies can help people comply with the new rules.
A student ID, a student grade record and SOS in one
Well aware of the new challenges in education, we collaborated with Euvic IT to adjust the TIMATE system to school environments. Our smart card can now function as a student’s or teacher’s digital ID, a student’s grade record, a lesson plan or a library card. Simultaneously, it will ensure students’ safety thanks to the SOS button which can be used to call help in the case of an accident, a dangerous event or bullying. The card will also assist in evacuations and will remind of the necessity to disinfect hands.
Our system does not collect biometric data of teachers and students. Outside the school premises, the card does not display the user’s photo and name. In contrast to smartphones, the card contains no games, social media functions or other applications that would distract students, but it allows to contact them and determine their location. Thus, it improves their safety.
What benefits does our card give to students and teachers?
- A lesson plan from Monday through Friday, a grade record (grades from the given day), daily homework for each subject, a library card
- Automatic checking of students’ attendance
- An identifier of each student (first and last name, class, photo) and his/her location in the school (floor, classroom)
- Measuring distances between students and between students and teachers
- Measuring students’ temperature
- The SOS function with one button (accidents, violence), fall detection, faints, loss of consciousness
- Monitoring the number of students during breaks (automatic scheduling of breaks for different classes)
- Messages (e.g. “Time to wash hands”)
- A lesson plan from Monday through Friday with classrooms
- A teacher’s identifier (first and last name, subject/function, photo), location in the school (floor, classroom)
- Automatic checking of teachers’ attendance
- Measuring distances between students and teachers
- Measuring teachers’ temperature
- The SOS function with one button (accidents, fire, other events), fall detection, faints, loss of consciousness
- The option to send information to the teacher’s card with a reply function
- Monitoring personal protection equipment (e.g. masks, visors)
Importantly, TIMATE can be integrated with other tools already used in schools, e.g. Librus and Vulcan. There is no need to abandon these technologies which have been supporting schools for a long time. They can be simply extended with new possibilities.
Though the situation is difficult, it seems that it can actually help in the digital transformation of schools. A new technologically advanced school is just around the corner. Let’s move in that direction!
How to overcome the crisis? Bet on the analysis of processes and employee safety
The global economy is facing a huge challenge. The general slowdown, the restricted flow of people and materials, and the frequent shut-down of manufacturing plants result in poor bottom lines and, in consequence, a crisis. But do the present circumstances get us into nothing but trouble? Not at all.
How should entrepreneurs react in the time of threat and downturn? Of course, there is no one rule of thumb which can be followed in each and every case. However, there are several guiding principles which can help companies survive the hard times and emerge from the crisis in a better shape.
First: stay calm
That’s what any entrepreneur should do first of all. Haphazard actions and panic are the worst enemies of business. Though the pandemic made companies face new, sometimes completely unprecedented situations, disorganized and arbitrary reactions will not help them keep their heads above water.
Second: look, analyse, eliminate
Another thing an entrepreneur should do is to analyse all processes happening in the company. Why? To check if resources are used in an optimized way and if there is any waste down the lines. For many companies which normally operate on the basis of automatic routines, a crisis is a good opportunity to take a closer look at how they actually function. Thus, they can detects areas and processes that need improvement. They can fix defects and reduce costs.
How can you analyse processes? Well, TIMATE is a useful tool for that. One of the modules in the solution can perform analyses of various collected data. Importantly, TIMATE also generates indicators. You don’t have to analyse your data on your own and then wonder what they actually mean.
The system does it for you. TIMATE can analyse data from various angles and combines them into a transparent whole that can be easily understood. In consequence, entrepreneurs get a clear insight into how their employees work, how they use their working time, if they are safe and where they are located. Based on such data, you can organize work more effectively, you can eliminate inefficient processes and you can ensure optimal management of resources.
Third: contain the threat
The COVID-19 pandemic is a threat to employees’ health. A disease outbreak on the company premises often means you have to shut down all operations and go through the quarantine procedure. Such downtime generates losses.
However, this can be avoided. Again, TIMATE can be of assistance. Its functions allow the employer to remind the employees of the necessity to keep the distance and to wash or disinfect hands. The system can measure the employees’ temperature remotely and react when it exceeds a predefined level. Additionally, the smart card prevents larger groups of people from gathering at one location. If anyone gets ill, the location function will show the interactions of the infected person so as to decide who should be quarantined.
Another function useful in containing COVID-19 is the SOS button which normally serves to report accidents and dangerous situations. Under the new circumstances, an employee can press the button when he/she feels unwell or meets a potentially infected co-worker. A quick response in such situations, isolation of the ill person and immediate medical aid effectively contain the spread of the virus.
The economic slowdown affecting companies all around the globe does not have to result in losses and close-down. A calm and smart approach to the new situation, an analysis of the company’s operations, implementing optimization, a better use of resources and ensuring employee safety will bring short-term positive effects that will translate into long-term benefits in the future.
Analysis – the queen of business data
The general impression is that in recent years data have become the most popular topic of business discussions. We encounter data in various contexts nearly everywhere. Even though the process of collecting information is today taken for granted, the effective analysis of data that can lead to significant insights is another kettle of fish.
Let’s imagine the following situation. We monitor people working in our enterprise. The time and attendance system such as TIMATE provides us with information about the clock-in/out times, the amount of time which employees spend in particular rooms and the time they need to perform specific tasks. What can be actually concluded from such raw data, even if we take a closer look?
Not much. In fact, sometimes false conclusions can drawn on the basis of such data. For example, we check some information about two employees who unload pallets and we clearly see that one of them needs 20 minutes to get the job done, while the other performs the same task in 30 minutes.
Her Majesty Analysis
It is only an effective analysis of data from various angles, comparing diverse factors, will provide managers with true answers to questions regarding employee performance. In the example presented above, the analysis of the available information will reveal that the second employee is not at all lazy or less efficient, but he simply has to get the pallet from the other end of the factory. Meanwhile, the first employee collects and unloads the pallet at one location. In this case, it is extremely important to take into account the correlation between the time of the task performance and the distances covered by the particular employees.
What can we do with such information? A lot. We have learned that the different amounts of time that the two employees need perform the same task do not result from inefficiency or sluggishness of the second worker. In fact, the manager is to blame for poor and ineffective organization of processes. It is now sufficient to implement several improvements to optimize the processes and increase the company’s effectiveness. Only data transformed into knowledge can provide actual solutions.
The key to understand employees.
Unfortunately, managers often have no time to observe how people in their team actually work. In consequence, they frequently do not understand how their employees work. They compare results, but fail to seek the underlying causes.
However, it can be changed by the analysis of work-related data and its various aspects such as time, place, temperature in the room etc. This detailed insight into the processes can lead to the effective optimization of all operations in the company. Importantly, it also allows to assess employees fairly, to appreciate their commitment, to improve working conditions and to engage in motivational talks.
A solution that meets today’s needs.
Until recently there have been no tools that would enable the collection of specific information related to the use of the working time and its analysis in different configurations. TIMATE is a game-changer, since it can analyse data from various angles and combines them into a transparent whole that can be easily understood.
The system consists of several modules, including the module which analysis the use of the working time. It can quickly and easily respond to inquiries about what the employees are doing, whether they are safe and where they are currently working. The employer can use the collected data for comparisons in order to develop individual working standards and to optimize operations.
Only data analysis and the right tools such as TIMATE can provide entrepreneurs with information about how the employees actually work and which changes are necessary to streamline processes in the organization and thus to boost its competitive edge.
Less is more: use technology to chase away the post-holiday spleen
The sense of detachment from reality, problems with concentration and the longing for carefree days – this is how you feel when you get back to work after holiday. It is really hard to avoid the post-holiday spleen, especially if we think that eight hours will be enough time to make some order out of this chaos. How to regain control over our professional life and find a way to get some rest… at work? It turns out that new technologies designed in line with the slow life principles might be helpful here.
Technology for health
Quick, colourful and in line with the newest trends: that’s our fast food kind of life today. In this mad rush, we lose our precious health, our identity and the sense of what is ethical. In the era of all-encompassing technology, it is hard for us to get away from the virtual world full of pressure and unattainable ideals, which is destructive to our self-esteem and our motivation to work. On top of all that, all the imminent deadlines, rising performance indicators and new important projects coming along the way do not make the situation any better. Where, in all this, do we find time for the rest that we deserve?
Unfortunately, even the best holiday will not make our reserves of rest last very long. When you enjoy the holiday time, your organism functions in a completely different way and you need at least several days to get back in the saddle and return to the effective task performance mode. Moreover, the autumn season does not help and if you strain yourself too much to get all the overdue things done, your health might be in danger. First of all, when you return to work after holiday, remember about the breaks. This can be difficult, especially for people who tend to dive deep into the work at hand. For all those who keep forgetting, there is a technology that will remind them of the lunch they need or signal another hour of overtime they work.
On the one hand, Time and Attendance (TNA) systems have become popular in recent years, while on the other hand, the available solutions do not make it possible for the employee to monitor the time worked. We have designed a device that counts the hours and overtime at work, allowing both the employer and the employee to view the statistics. Moreover, the system also takes the work safety into account and sends reminders about breaks, says Tomasz Łempiński, CTO at TIMATE, the company designing and manufacturing the ethical TNA system.
Why measure the working time?
TNA systems can now be found in many businesses and their main task is to measure the hours worked by employees. Usually, they are based on the clock-in/clock-out procedure with the use of an access card or a fingerprint reader. It is obvious that such a system gives the employers the information they need, but it can be cumbersome for the employees. It doesn’t have to be like that: this process can now function in an automatic and unattended way, giving both the employers and the employees the same level of access to all information related to time and attendance at work.
What’s the smart trick about TIMATE? All you need to do is carry around an ID card that is recording your time at work. At first glance, it looks like the standard system using the common access card, but in fact it is an electronic, fully automated device which eliminates the routine (and unnecessary!) recording procedures, says Tomasz Łempiński from TIMATE. What is more, when you put this device against the screen of your smartphone, you can read all the information about the hours you have worked.
This mechanism resembles training systems, wearables and smartwatches that function the same way, only they collect different types of data (e.g. workout time and intensity). The similarities can also be seen in the analysed data visualisation through clear charts which allow to assess the work quality within particular time intervals. This solution can be helpful in coping with the post-holiday stress, since the card gives us an intuitive control over our time at work, so we can take better care of our health and well-being.
TIMATE is a personal health assistant: the card will select the break format based on the type of work that we do. It is very simple: the system analyses data from the motion sensors and recognizes the style of work in order to suggest e.g. a lunch break, some exercise or taking a rest after physical exertion. Moreover, the smart card can also save you from catching a cold by providing current information about the weather conditions, explains Tomasz Łempiński.
Keep the balance
When we get back to work after holiday, we have no other choice but to catch up on all the stuff that needs to be done. We often get down to this business very chaotically, still remembering the great time we had and the sunny beach. We try to get things done as quickly as possible. This is not effective at all and it can also be bad for your health. What if you stop obsessing about the things you need to catch up on and simply listen to your electronic assistant? Well, TIMATE makes it possible.
The whole system is based on the slow work principle which combines a conscious ritual of work with reasonable time management. The card enables flexible adjustment of tasks to the employee’s current health condition. So if you feel more tired than usual, you can ask your employer to give you more freedom in organizing the work schedule, since the statistics provided by TIMATE show you the number of hours you can use. Such an ongoing control allows to avoid post-holiday overworking and is crucial for eliminating the stress caused by the excessive number of tasks and duties at work.
What inspired us to create TIMATE was the lack of solutions that would benefit both the employers and the employees. Our card has no direct Internet access and it does not enable GPS installation. It uses a statistical analysis of motion measured by the sensor built into the employee ID without collecting any personal data. It is a fair win-win solution that gives measurable benefits to both sides, says Tomasz Łempiński from TIMATE.
Time will tell if the slow work technology can actually help to reduce stress at work. Right now one thing is for sure: regardless of the TNA system used by the employer, always remember about your breaks and find the time to leave aside all worries, tasks, deadlines and projects, at least for 15 minutes. It is equally significant to keep the right balance between life and work. The autumn is coming, so brace yourself and get the rest you need every day to effectively avoid the post-holiday spleen and crisis. And remember: even the best technology will not force you to take proper care of your health: that is solely your responsibility. So before you work overtime again, without even a short moment for regeneration, ask yourself: is it worth it?
We don’t want to live in a science fiction world!
A routine examination in a corporate doctor’s office. A nice physician gives you a container with a tasty liquid which has an undetectable micro-sensor hidden in it. After you swallow the preparation, it starts working and the monitor shows numerous charts, diagrams and figures describing nearly all aspects of your health condition. Heartbeat? Hydration? Blood analysis? There you go! In the recent film by James Ponsoldt titled The Circle, this is the vision of the healthcare system in the biggest corporation in the world. A bit scary, isn’t it?
In the trap of benefits
Thanks to the microchip implant we can get access to the rooms on the company premises and we will start a printer or log into the company computer with just one gesture. Though such activities do not require any special skills, this new technology will win over everyone who is fed up with numerous passwords and access codes by allowing to forget all of them thanks to a convenient and automatic under-skin implant. Benefits to the employer include full monitoring of the employees’ working time and each operation they perform with the use of the micro-device. But that’s not all.
Employees with implants can pay for their dinner with a simple movement of the hand. This is just a beginning, since the technology will surely develop and the changes will be broader and bolder. Is the futurist vision of a society where each person is subject to a complete control by the state still just a good idea for a science-fiction storyline? That is doubtful, since those who will queue up for the new technology will be not only large corporations, but also governments. Information collected by internal sensors can become a virtually irresistible temptation.
Keep calm and find the balance
Are companies that stand against advanced biometrics condemned to digital exclusion? This question inspired us to seek a technology that would be compliant with the employee personal data protection. That is how we created TIMATE, an answer to the immediate needs of the contemporary world of business.
This device solves several problems related to the record-keeping of time and attendance. First of all, it ensures a control that is, importantly, mutual. What does it mean? On the one hand, the working time data are collected by an intelligent card and transferred via the cloud system to the employer; on the other hand, the ePaper display in the card allows the employees to access the data as well. Secondly, TIMATE gives you the freedom to switch off the control at any time. This is different from the under-skin microchips which are difficult to remove and cause problems when you start a new job. With TIMATE all you have to do is take off the identifier and put it away.
Our main drive was to find a compromise between the necessity to record time and attendance (TNA), the priority of the employee safety and the effective use of new technologies allowing for the automated control. It took us several years to design such a system. Fortunately, it was worth it, since our R&D efforts resulted in a product that completely redefines the concept of TNA systems and is radically different than the microchip implant solution.
It could be said that our invention is a practical alternative to the roller coaster of total control and we have designed to for the benefit of the society, not against it. It functions by analysing the human motion, but it’s not the motion of one individual. It detects the similarities of the card motion in the system to the cards of other users as well as the motion intensity over time. How is this done? Thanks to the built-in sensor. The key advantage is that the motion data collected by the card cannot be directly used to identify the card’s owner. As a result, no sensitive information is gathered and the personal data protection regulations are not violated, which is not the case with biometric systems.
Each of us would like to become a hero in a science-fiction thriller for a while, but living in such a world is a completely different matter. Benefits resulting from the implanted microchip quickly lose their value if we set them against the threats of such an advanced surveillance. What do you think? Can the ethical TNA system stand a chance against the ethically and legally dubious biometrics?
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