How is your firm tackling construction’s productivity headache? According to statistics released before the pandemic, construction businesses produce Gross Value Added of £25.50 per hour - £6 less than the UK average of £31.50. What’s more, construction productivity has only grown by 10% since the 1990’s - compared to 24% for the wider economy.
There is no ‘silver bullet' solution to this productivity predicament. However, new kinds of technology can help by boosting efficiency and enabling workers to do more. This is certainly the case for construction time and attendance software.
Let's see how construction time and attendance software can boost productivity on your sites and in your back offices.
What is construction time and attendance software?
Construction time and attendance software provides an efficient way of logging when workers arrive at and leave a site. It can take various forms, but the best-in-class software uses biometric technology (iris, face or fingerprint recognition) to log attendance.
The aim is to replace paper-based time and attendance methods which are often difficult to read, open to human error, and vulnerable to misuse (by, for example, ‘buddy punching’).
When they arrive at a site, workers scan themselves in with a biometric labour management system which records their exact time of arrival (and departure). This data is recorded digitally and sent to the cloud where you can see it straight away.
So how does attendance tracking technology improve productivity?
5 ways construction time and attendance software boosts output
As a recent think piece in PBC Today pointed out, no single innovation will solve the construction industry’s productivity problems. However, by investing in a variety of digital solutions that improve how sites are managed and infrastructure is built, the industry can up its game.
Here are five ways that construction time and attendance software can contribute to this goal.
1. Eliminates paper to improve back-office functions
The construction industry’s current reliance on paper time sheets has a strong tendency to clog your company’s back-office processes. When admin staff receive piles of handwritten time sheets, they must spend hours each week calculating exactly how long individual subcontractors spent on site before entering this data into a system. Besides being tedious and prone to errors, this is hardly a good use of skilled people’s time.
By using attendance software, this painful process is instantly eliminated. The exact time and date that your subcontractors arrived and departed from the site is automatically recorded in the cloud and this feeds data into your payment platforms. Automatic tracking solutions save hours every week for your back office staff, meaning they can dedicate their time to more valuable work.
2. Encourages punctuality for contractors and subcontractors
A major drawback of paper time sheets is that it is easy for any worker to round up their hours or shorten their breaks when filling in the forms. In many cases, this will have been done in good faith – after a long day, an individual may simply have forgotten how long they took for lunch. But, over the course of a months-long project, and with hundreds of workers on site, this adds up to a lot of missed productivity and inflated costs.
Once again, attendance tracking software eliminates the problem. Labourers will be much more conscious that they will not get paid for time spent off site. This motivates staff to be more punctual, work their full hours and, in turn, increase output.
3. Motivates individuals
On occasion, workers must stay late to finish a job. Most are happy to work overtime when sure about payment, but that is not always forthcoming. Just like your company wants to pay employees for the exact time worked, they expect the same when giving up their free time.
Once again, this is where workforce management software helps. Employees feel protected by the responsibility it puts on employers to pay the correct amount. It expels the risk of people failing to follow overtime rules. Confidence like this can be a real motivator and encourage staff to be more productive.
Beyond productivity: 7 more reasons to use biometric workforce management
3. Makes ‘buddy punching’ and time theft impossible
It is an unfortunate reality that buddy punching and time theft remain common on UK construction sites. This is a serious issue - according to one study by Experian, payroll fraud accounts for almost £12 billion per year. If workers are not on site, they clearly cannot be productive!
By using biometric workforce management solutions, you make it effectively impossible to perform this kind of fraud. Biometrics mean that only the individual can sign in using their face, iris or thumbprint - it is simply not possible for someone else to do this for them. This kind of construction time and attendance software reduces labour costs and improves output.
5. Allows you to manage projects more productively
One of the major challenges for productivity in construction projects is that project managers lack data to understand how long specific tasks require. This means that they may overestimate the amount of time some workers need to be on site, while underestimating time required by other subcontractors. This means that certain trades are left idle, while others are forced to work longer hours just to get the job done.
A smart attendance tracking solution can contribute to better employee scheduling. By tracking real time data about how many people are on site and how long they actually spend there, means that you get a clearer idea of the amount of time activities take. Using this data, you can better manage future projects and improve rates of productivity.
Biometric workforce management for construction
Construction time and attendance software provides several useful tools that can boost productivity in the industry. Whether it is motivating individuals to work harder, improving accountability or simply reducing paperwork, cloud-based time tracking solutions can be a useful weapon in your arsenal when it comes to tackling the productivity issue.
Causeway Donseed is the industry standard for attendance tracking using biometric data. Find out more about how it works here.