Part-time Britain creating management challenges

The growing trend for businesses to employ workers on a part-time basis to cut costs could prove counterproductive unless they introduce workforce management solutions to monitor their working hours, says Christian Berenger from Auto Time Solutions.

To help cope with the impact of the economic slowdown over the past 18 months, many companies have been creating jobs on a part-time basis rather than full-time.

For many businesses employing people on a part-time basis has provided them with the flexibility to cope with demand during tough economic times without adding fixed payroll costs, whilst workers have generally been happy to accept part-time and temporary roles to make ends meet.

At the same time industries that employ a lot of part-time and hourly paid workers, such as warehousing, retail and leisure sectors, have started to experience signs of growth.

The growing number of part-time workers has helped to lead the UK employment recovery with the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showing that the number of people out of work fell by 86,000 to 2.51 million in the three months to October. Indeed it is estimated that 27% of the UK workforce now work on a part-time basis.

But Christian Berenger, business development director at Auto Time Solutions says that businesses need to consider workforce management solutions if they are to effectively manage and measure the cost savings achieved by employing part-time staff.

He says: “Over the past couple of years part-time and temporary jobs have driven the employment recovery in the UK as employers have looked to control costs and remained cautious about offering permanent jobs.

“Whilst employing part-time workers has proven to be a cost-effective option for businesses during tough economic conditions, it is essential that businesses have sufficient processes in place to manage shift patterns and part-time hours. Without effectively monitoring the working practices of employees, issues such as lateness and absences could have drastic implications on a business by significantly inflating payroll costs.”

Today’s web-based time and attendance systems can help businesses to effectively monitor the working practices of part-time staff by accurately managing their start and finish times. By accurately managing their attendance, employers can improve the accuracy of their payroll and employees are guaranteed to be paid accurately for the time they have spent at work.

The latest systems use biometric terminals to verify a worker’s attendance, thereby helping to prevent buddy punching, the fraudulent act of workers clocking in and out for one another.

Likewise, by accurately monitoring staff attendance organisations are able to control issues such as lateness and unauthorised absences which can have a drastic impact on payroll costs and the overall productivity of the business.

The latest workforce management solutions also offer scheduling and reporting features which can help managers to organise their staff rosters according to projected demand and reduce managerial time spent on administration.

Christian Berenger adds: “The employment of part-time and hourly-paid staff creates significant managerial challenges. If managed correctly using a workforce management solution part-time staff can prove highly cost-effective during an uncertain economic climate. But if not, the employment of part-time staff could prove counteractive, damage the business and be more costly than first thought.”