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

Transport Coping Without Opt Out case study image

Transport Coping Without Opt Out

The Freight Transport Association says that the prospective cost to UK industry of losing the opt out to the Working Time Directive and restricting working hours to 48 per week will obviously be enormous. However, lessons can be learned from the transport industry, which has been operating the Road Transport Directive since 4 April this year with no opt-out. Despite the undoubted problems and costs, early signs indicate that the transport sector is coping with the problems. Reducing working hours to 48 will clearly impact on the whole of UK industry, including some workers involved in transport, notably van operators and drivers. During the last two years the Freight Transport Association has been engaged in an education and information process aimed at its members and others throughout the transport industry and designed to alleviate, as far as possible, the operational problems coming from reduced hours and the consequent cost increases. The government’s own impact assessment report suggested a loss of productivity of close to ten per cent, coupled with a cost of around £1 billion. FTA negotiations with government resulted in more flexible regulations than had been expected and when combined with a comprehensive programme of training and information, the production of support and advice for record keeping and a general handholding process, much has been possible to help member companies to understand and cope with the problems. Transport has led the way in dealing with the worst effects of the legislation and will provide the most practical and valuable case study of ‘how to live with the WTD’ if the opt-out is finally withdrawn from the UK. Transport operators have already begun to implement the changes necessary for life without the opt-out by installing time and attendance systems, which accurately report employees’ working time. A case in point is Initial City Link who, since installing their Tensor System, have not looked back.

NHS Working Hours case study image

NHS Working Hours

A recent report in the British Medical Journal has warned that many doctors within the NHS are exhausted. A number of UK hospitals have reviewed shift patterns following the adoption of the EU Working Time Directive, and have found that many junior doctors were regularly working a 91-hour week as a series of night shifts. Recent studies in the US have shown a 36% rise in serious medical errors caused by trainees working between 77 and 81 hours per week, compared to those working around 65 hours per week, with the risks increasing exponentially with each consecutive night shift worked. The British Medical Journal has called for staffing patterns to be reassessed and staff scheduled for only a single or double night shift. It has also suggested that the NHS should follow the example of the aviation industry, which has introduced set sleep periods for crew flying overnight. Dr Simon Eccles, chairman of the British Medical Association’s Junior Doctors’ Committee said that "the problem is not necessarily the Working Time Directive itself, but the way hospitals have responded to it". He also said that although the directive was implemented in order to reduce overall working hours, "moving everyone on to shifts is the only way to deal with the problems thrown up by the directive". The NHS must now review its working practices in order to maximise doctors’ safety and efficiency, and to safeguard the interests of patients. An efficient time and attendance system eliminates the problem of monitoring the work patterns of doctors and so ensures that those employees working difficult shift patterns or very long hours are noticed quickly. This enables changes to be made to work schedules, thus ensuring the safety of patients and doctors alike.

Inefficient Office Practices case study image

Inefficient Office Practices

British employees are wasting up to 640 hours – that is 80 working days every year – as a result of inefficient office practices. New research suggests that the average office worker is losing nearly three hours (160 minutes) of potentially productive time every day. According to the research, the number one time wasting culprit is technology, with slow personal computers (PCs), computers crashing and print jams causing the average British employee to waste up to 48 mins each day. Office-based employees also cited that dealing with colleagues can be a time drain, with the average employee wasting 34 minutes on this every day. This is closely followed by time spent dealing with unnecessary phone and conference calls (26 minutes per day) and attending unnecessary meetings (23 minutes per day). It is true that no office can ever be 100% efficient, but it’s ironic that so much time is being wasted on the very devices that we trust to streamline office processes. Whilst we all accept that the phone and PC have a vital role to play in making the office more efficient, it would seem that office workers believe they can also complicate life – 55% of office-based employees believe technology can create extra work and just over half (53%) disagree that office processes are now simpler than 10 years ago. Furthermore, 73% of those interviewed cited unnecessary emails and 88% unnecessary telephone calls as frustrating. In fact, the barrage of unwanted communication has become so bad that nearly one quarter (23%) of office workers interviewed are considering a career change to a new non office-based job. Despite this general antipathy towards technology however, 90% of office workers surveyed agree that automated systems which only need to be set up once – such as efficient time and attendance clocking machines – help to run their lives effectively. With a high proportion of British full-time employees working long hours, psychologists believe that British businesses may be able to cut down on working hours by addressing such inefficiencies. Top office time wasters in every day office life: Slow PC /PC crashing and general technological failures/errors and print jams (48 mins) Time wasted dealing with colleagues (34 mins) Unnecessary phone /conference calls (26 mins) Unnecessary meetings (23 mins) Sifting through unnecessary e-mails (16 mins) Searching for files / info that hasn’t been filed in the right place (13 mins)

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