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Read the latest news and blogs surrounding access control, time and attendance systems and integrated security solutions with Tensor plc.

Wasting Time at Work case study image

Wasting Time at Work

Conducted by Salary.com, the 2007 Wasting Time Survey polled 2,000 employees across all job levels about how they spend their working hours. The top time-wasting activities included using the Internet for non-work-related purposes, socializing with co-workers and conducting personal business. The average time wasted represents a decrease from the previous year’s survey, when workers reported wasting an average of 1.89 hours a day. In the survey, 20- to 29-year-olds admitted they waste an average of 2.1 hours a day, with the wasted time dropping with age: Those aged 30 to 39 reported wasting 1.9 hours a day while those 40 to 49 wasted 1.4 hours. But some of the differences may be a question of semantics. Older employees tend to have a very strong work ethic who understand that some humdrum office tasks, like all-day meetings, have value that may not be apparent. The under-30 crowd is so used to instant feedback that that kind of thing to them seems to be wasting time. Younger workers may well have a higher standard for what efficient or effective use of time is. Younger workers often require time to learn what’s expected of them. While wasted time certainly includes Web surfing and non-work-related instant messaging, some of that behavior may be due to “inefficient processes,” such as waiting for computers to retrieve information or waiting for a return phone call. Employees generally rate their companies’ efficiency of work processes very low. Most people do tend to feel that there could be process improvement and the younger employees are even more impatient about those improvements being made. According to the survey, 14 percent of those who slack off said they did so because their hours are too long, 18 percent said they don’t have enough work to do and 11 percent said their work isn’t challenging enough. The whole HR community needs to realize that kids these days have grown up in a different environment, rife with distractions, and they are used to multi-tasking. When younger workers don’t achieve instantaneous results on work-related duties, they often get bored and turn to other tasks. It’s very important for HR to target under-30s through mentoring programs. Younger people particularly have a great interest in being developed. Fostering employee engagement, showing them what it takes to get ahead in the company and showing interest in them will help to motivate them and build commitment to the company. HR professionals should solicit feedback from workers on how to improve processes and reduce idle time. Employees usually have some very good ideas.

Managing on Their Own case study image

Managing on Their Own

Much has changed since the first official Labor Day in America was enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Grover Cleveland in 1894. Back then, workers sought job stability and most seemed comfortable with the idea of staying with the same company until retirement. But, while that percentage has decreased over time, new research indicates that only 2 percent of workers now rank job stability as a high priority for their next position. It now seems that the top three priorities workers want from their next jobs are: interesting work (29 percent), meaningful work (18 percent) and work/life balance, also at 18 percent. People realize that no job is permanent, that change is now normal and that they have considerable control over their own career – both with their present employer and a prospective one. It’s not that workers don’t want job stability, it’s that they know “that employers can’t guarantee that” in this day and age. So, people are really looking for work that works for them. Other attractions for job candidates are financial reward (14 percent), opportunity for promotion (8 percent), cultural fit (6 percent) and a boss they trust (4 percent). The survey of 976 participants across 33 countries, with three-fourths of respondents based in the United States, also found that women are slightly more likely than men to seek interesting work (30 percent versus 26 percent, respectively) or work/life balance (20 percent versus 14 percent, respectively). Most workers understand that they, not their employers, need to control their careers, according to the survey, which found that the majority (57 percent) of respondents don’t expect their employers to provide clear career paths – and that is a sentiment that increases with age. The drive to climb the corporate ladder, however, is slightly stronger in the Asia Pacific region, where 11 percent of employees are more likely to pursue jobs that provide an opportunity for promotion, compared to 8 percent in North America or 7 percent in Europe. A huge cultural shift has pushed away the idea in younger workers’ minds that taking a job results in a lifetime commitment. Most of the workers today, even professional ones, view their position as one where they view themselves as free agents who can move from one job to another without recourse. While they may consider themselves free agents, that does not mean that younger workers don’t want to contribute positively to their companies. There’s an expectation among younger people coming into the workforce that their jobs should provide more than just a paycheck, and that the job is fulfilling towards what they see themselves as doing during their lifetime. If there’s a way to allow for more decision-making or input from employees, that tends to help employees to view themselves more as contributors, and thus make them more likely to stay at their jobs. In addition, managers are uniquely placed to help satisfy employees, as they know each member of staff well and are able to help him or her connect the dots between the type of work the employee wants to do and what kind of work the organization values. Of course, keeping hold of valuable members of the workforce is a top priority for successful corporations, many of whom are implementing rotating or flexitime working, to enable their staff to preserve a positive work/life balance. Tensor manufacture and supply time and attendance systems that accurately record and process your employees’ clocking data. Multiple shift patterns can be monitored, analyzed and reported upon, giving you all the information needed for accurate processing of working time.

Building Security Technology case study image

Building Security Technology

The 9/11 attacks in Manhattan and Washington, D.C. led many building owners and managers to upgrade their security protocols and systems. Surveillance cameras, lobby turnstiles and other high-tech security measures became commonplace features within many large properties. Yet while experts generally agree that U.S. buildings are safer than they were before 9/11, they also warn that many building owners and managers have grown complacent on security issues since the attacks. That’s particularly disturbing in light of a recent warning from the federal government that al-Qaeda remains bent on carrying out “visually dramatic mass-casualty attacks” against domestic targets. But a vague threat seems to have triggered a vague response: Many building owners and managers are taking a wait-and-see attitude on costly security upgrades. In fact, it is feared that it will take another U.S. attack to once again grab the attention of the country’s $5 trillion commercial real estate sector. It is worth noting that building security measures are only as good as the public infrastructure that complements them, so it’s probably not so surprising that building owners and managers are still trying to meet 9/11 security challenges. Future adjustments, however, may not include high-tech security measures. With regard to 9/11, building managers have identified that technology will have little or no benefit in deterring a terrorist event. Hence, there is reluctance to invest in equipment that will have nominal effects. Cosmetics also play a role, as some businesses fear that their workplaces will resemble fortified bunkers with the addition of these systems. But some owners and managers are still in the market for security technology, and vendors keep rolling out more sophisticated products to serve this market. According to the Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA), spending on all types of security in private buildings climbed from 49 cents per sq. ft. in 2002 to 63 cents in 2007. Among the vendors seeking to capitalize on that additional spending are Tensor Time Systems Inc of Dayton, Ohio. Tensor offer an array of commercial security technology, such as the Access Lite door access control system, which has seen demand for these products rise substantially since 9/11. Buildings in Eastern and Northern cities have adopted security technology more readily that those in Southern and Western cities have. The stragglers, have more of an attitude that the problems will hit New York before reaching them. Whether you’re in New York or New Mexico, relying too heavily on technology as a “silver bullet” to ward off terrorists is the wrong approach. The best approach is to layer technical, physical and operational security as part of an overall security program to deter, delay or possibly detect the event before it occurs.

Increase of Minimum Wage case study image

Increase of Minimum Wage

The U.S. Department of Labor reminds employers and employees that the federal minimum wage will increase to $5.85 on July 24. With this change, workers covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will be entitled to be paid no less than $5.85 per hour. The law also requires that workers be paid on their regular paydays for all hours worked during a pay period. The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 amended the FLSA to increase the federal minimum wage in three steps: to $5.85 per hour effective July 24, 2007; to $6.55 per hour effective July 24, 2008; and to $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. A separate provision of the bill will bring about phased increases to the minimum wage in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and American Samoa, with the goal of bringing the minimum wage in those locations up to the general federal minimum wage over a number of years. The department’s Wage and Hour Division, which enforces the FLSA, has posted updated compliance assistance information on its Web site at www.wagehour.dol.gov. A revised minimum wage poster, reflecting the increases, is available for viewing, free downloading and posting. Alternatively, the public may order the poster through the publications order form available at the bottom of the site’s home page. Every employer subject to the FLSA minimum wage provisions must post, and keep posted, a notice explaining the FLSA’s provisions in all of its establishments so that employees are readily able to read it. A revised FLSA Handy Reference Guide is also available electronically on the agency’s Web site. This document provides guidance on related FLSA provisions, such as the payment of less than the full minimum wage to certain workers with disabilities, full-time students, and student learners who are employed under a special certificate. Additionally, the guide provides information on provisions relating to the payment of wages to tipped employees and workers under the age of 20. Employers and employees seeking more compliance information on the new federal minimum wage rate may call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free number at (866) 4US-WAGE (487-9243). Fact sheets, minimum wage posters for the CNMI and American Samoa, and further guidance are available on the division’s Web site. Many states have minimum wage laws with provisions that differ from the federal law. When an employer is subject to both the federal and state wage laws, the employer must comply with the provisions of each law. With changes in state regulation an inevitable part of the future, you may wish to consider investing in a time and attendance system, which automates the process of recording and paying wages to your employees.

Work-In-Process Is Top Objective case study image

Work-In-Process Is Top Objective

More than a third of the businesses using RFID are doing so to improve the cost, safety and reliability of managing work-in-process (WIP), according to a recent study. But most companies are finding it difficult to quantify, or even estimate, a return on investment from their RFID deployments. Nonetheless, for manufacturers and other process-intensive companies that follow “best-in-class” practices, RFID technology can reduce labor costs and improve production throughput. The study included an online survey and follow-up phone interviews with CIOs or other chief officers (29 percent), VPs or directors (27 percent), managers (22 percent) and staff members or consultants (22 percent) from 220 companies in a diverse set of industries. These firms are using, or planning to use, RFID to manage assets with a focus on WIP. The greatest number of respondents (28 percent) worked for manufacturing and assembly companies, with supply-chain companies accounting for 21 percent. Nine percent worked for health-care, automotive, energy or utilities firms, and the remaining 5 percent included retail, construction/engineering, aerospace and entertainment companies. The expectation that RFID will help improve a company’s bottom line is high: 93 percent of survey respondents said they expect the technology to help reduce the costs of doing business. And 72 percent said the first order of business in optimizing work-in-process is to determine how many items involved in the WIP are on hand. RFID can help them collect that information. The ways in which companies have used RFID to reduce failures vary, depending on the specific business process and industry. In some cases, for instance, the firms have leveraged RFID to ensure they’ve set up their production machinery correctly, to avoid costly mistakes. A large majority (81 percent) of companies that have implemented this technology to its strengths reported that RFID has saved them at least 15% in labor used to manage work-in-process. That said, some organizations are still struggling to quantify their return on investment (ROI) from RFID. Only a few respondents indicated their companies had already attained a positive ROI from their deployments, with just 43 percent of firms able to estimate the time it would take to achieve a positive ROI. Furthermore, only 27 percent of industry-average companies, and 9 percent of laggards, could estimate the time to attaining a positive ROI. Several factors make it difficult to achieve and measure an ROI. Most significantly, it can take a long time to integrate RFID with enterprise systems, which is critical to maximizing the payback from an RFID deployment. Additionally, it is often difficult to quantify the improvements RFID makes, and many companies do not have any pre-RFID benchmarks against which they can measure their returns. If you are looking at implementing RFID technology within your organization, Tensor manufacture smart card clocking systems, which enable you to keep track of work-in-process and job costing tasks.

Paid Sick Leave case study image

Paid Sick Leave

Starting on February 5, 2007, all employers must provide sick leave to each employee (including temporary and part-time employees) working within the geographical boundaries of San Francisco. More information can be found on the SFGov website. For employees in employment on or before February 5, 2007, paid sick leave begins to accrue on that date. For new employees hired after February 5, 2007, paid sick leave begins to accrue 90 calendar days after the employee’s first day of work. For every 30 hours worked, an employee shall accrue one hour of paid sick leave. Leave accrues only in hour-unit increments, not in fractions of an hour, and the maximum accrual is 72 hours of paid sick leave (effectively 9 days for employees working 8 hours per day). However, where an employer has fewer than 10 employees (whether full-time, part-time or temporary) the limit is 40 hours. Employers with paid sick leave provisions that are at least equivalent to the requirements of the ordinance are not required to provide any additional paid sick leave. The ordinance does not apply if the requirements are specifically waived under the terms of a bona fide collective bargaining agreement. There are a number of different circumstances under which sick pay can be used, including at times of illness or injury to either the employee concerned, family member or other designated person. Further regulations, as yet not approved, would have the effect of allowing employers to choose not to pay for sick leave used by employees between February 5, 2007 and June 5, 2007 until June 6, 2007, and removing any liability for penalties for a failure to pay for sick leave during this period. With changes in state regulation an inevitable part of the future, you may wish to consider investing in a time and attendance system, which automates the process of recording and paying sick leave to your employees.

One-In-Five case study image

One-In-Five

E-leashes and hectic schedules are cutting into vacation time as increasingly wired workers are finding it hard to leave the office at home. Although an improvement from 27 percent in 2006, 20 percent of workers say they plan to stay in touch with the office during their vacation this year. Nearly 15 percent of the 6,800 workers surveyed said that they gave up at least one of their vacation days in 2006 because they didn’t have time to use it. Ten percent gave up four or more days. Some workers may not be able to get away at all in 2007. Twenty percent of workers report that they won’t take a vacation this year and one-in-four (27 percent) will take five days or less. In addition, nearly one-in-ten (9 percent) will limit themselves to weekend getaways. When it comes to time off, more than forty percent (43 percent) feel they don’t get enough paid vacation. The majority of workers (70 percent) get two weeks or more of paid vacation; nearly a quarter of workers receive four weeks or more. However, twelve percent of the workforce does not receive any paid vacation. If workers had their way, 69 percent say three weeks or more of vacation is appropriate. Comparing industries, IT workers are the most likely to work while on vacation with more than one-third (36 percent) checking in with the office on their days off. They are followed by Sales workers at 32 percent and Banking / Finance workers at 29 percent. While only nine percent of workers say their employers expect them to check voicemail or email on vacation, others may feel the pressure to do so anyway. There are a host of reasons why employees feel compelled to forgo a vacation or obsessively check in. Some may fear if they are gone and things go smoothly, it will send a message that they aren’t needed. However, the opposite can actually be true. If you prepare in advance and anticipate issues, it can positively reflect on your management and organization skills. Fourteen percent of workers feel guilty that they are not at work while on vacation. Those trying to climb the corporate ladder are the most concerned, with 25- to 34-year-olds reporting the highest level of guilt (20 percent). This guilt may lead some to lie about accessibility at their vacation destinations. Nearly one-in-ten (nine percent) workers have lied to their employers, claiming they couldn’t be reached on vacation. When planning a vacation, we recommend the following tips to make your time off work-free and stress-free: Leave a Roadmap. A few weeks before you leave, start recording important information, key contacts and any deadlines that will come up while you are gone. If you leave co-workers with a guide that will help them address questions that arise and keep things moving forward, they will be less likely to contact you on vacation and you will be less likely to walk into a war zone when you return. Stick to an Itinerary. While it’s best to leave the office at the office, if you must do work, set limits and boundaries for yourself and your co-workers. Don’t let activities on vacation be interrupted by work. Set aside a half hour each day to think about work and stick to it. Instead of having co-workers call you, tell them when you are going to check in, so you can control the time allotted. Think Big. If you have a big project and a great vacation planned for the same week you can expect one of the two to give. Schedule the dates before and after the big stuff to lighten your load and enjoy your time off. What if You’re the Boss? If you’re working for yourself, make sure you anticipate your busy seasons by reviewing your previous sales and current situation. Save vacation time for slower periods and make sure to notify customers in advance. You may wish to consider investing in a time and attendance system, which automates the process of recording and paying vacation leave to your employees.

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