Time Differential: Online Shift Management Feature

At Orbital Shift, we developed our software to not only provide a solution for existing challenges in the workplace, but to also accommodate the always-changing needs of companies across many industries. The feedback, and ideas, of businesses that utilize our service is the driving force behind our innovation, and we are steadily rolling out new, progressive software features.

Ticking clock hands

One of our newest features, which we refer to as the "Time Differential Column", is an exciting addition to our comprehensive time-tracking capabilities. With your help, we identified a need for a better way to manage employees' scheduled shifts compared to actual hours worked. Let's take a closer look at the Time Differential Column, and how it can be utilized for your business.

A Closer Look at Our Online Shift Management

If you are already using our software, you are probably familiar with the transparent shift management interface that is an essential organizational tool for managers, and employees. If you haven't had a chance to try out our services, here's a quick look at that interface.

Screenshot of Orbital Shift scheduling interface.

"Position A", which you see in the top left corner of the above screenshot, simply refers to one position or job title within your organization. A restaurant, for example, may designate "Position A" as servers, "Position B" as hosts/hostesses, and so on.

The example above displays the interface that business owners, managers, and employees can reference to review assigned shifts for the week. We know that Jess Turner, for instance, is assigned to work on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.

A few employees, like Katie O'Neal, may hold multiple positions at the business. We were able to display this in a straightforward way by notating "(Position B)" under any shifts that are assigned for her second position.

One final, important feature to point out in the above screenshot is the light green vs darker green coloring. This feature shows us the exact times that each employee clocked in and clocked out for their assigned shifts. The light green color indicates scheduled time, and the darker green displays actual time worked.

Our shift and time clock management features have proven to be useful across many industries - from restaurants and hotels, to universities and country clubs. However, we wanted to take it a step further and find ways to make our software an even greater asset to your overall company goals. We found that all of our clients, regardless of industry, were also looking for two additional ways to utilize our shift management software: tracking employee accountability, and managing the budget.

Screenshot of Time Differential filter.

The Time Differential Column

Our solution to both requests is represented by a simple +/- icon in the "Filters" tab on the left side of the "Schedule" page.

Once you click that box next to the +/- option, and select "Apply", you have successfully integrated the Time Differential Column within the shift management interface. Here is what the shift schedule looks like now:

Screenshot of Orbital Shift interface with addition of Time Differential feature.

Can you spot the difference? A quick before and after comparison shows us that the +/- applies a new column, directly to the left of Monday's schedule.

Imagine, for a moment, that you are a manager of a restaurant and need to review your employees' schedules for the week. Here is what you can find out from the above screenshot:

  1. Leading up to today (Thursday, as designated by the vertical, red line), total projected time worked for "Position A" amounts to 123 hours and 41 minutes [123:41].
  2. The -09:19 in the third column provides more insight into actual time that was filled in "Position A". The (-) next to 09:19 tells us that we are under the total hours assigned for "Position A" by 9 hours and 19 minutes.
  3. We can pinpoint the performance of each individual employee by looking at the third column. Jess Turner, for example, is on track to work 22:22 hours this week - around 3 hours and 38 minutes less than the total time she was scheduled to work.
  4. Katie O'Neal is on track to complete 18:02 hours for "Position A", leading up to today, and 43:24 total hours for all positions. She is over that time by two minutes in "Position A", and is on track to be under her total scheduled time by 1 hour and 6 minutes.

Our clients have found significant value in this functionality as it allows them to track the accountability of each employee. Many businesses rely on timeliness and employee reliability to run a smooth operation every day, and it can quickly become detrimental to the company if shifts are frequently missed. On paper, it can be challenging to identify what - or who - has led to such a huge discrepancy in hours. Our shift management software provides the ability to track each employees' time, manage hours for each position, and export that data for easy review.

Shift Management Software: A Budgetary Solution

When a business like a restaurant thrives on day-to-day sales and revenue, overall goals, and total company revenue, can often be overlooked. However, the cost of absenteeism and tardiness quickly add up. In fact, showing up late to work is estimated to cost US businesses more than $3 billion every year.

It's certainly beneficial for managers, and business owners, to see the visual component of assigned vs actual hours, as demonstrated by the +/- symbols. At Orbital Shift, we are always looking to make our services even more advantageous, so, you guessed it - we took it one step further.

We knew that one of our overall goals when we developed this new feature was to help business owners manage their budget. To tie in budget with our online schedule, we added one more filter: "expense". When "expense" is selected, we have this updated schedule:

Screenshot of Orbital Shift interface with addition of expense column.

The fourth column lets us know the projected labor expense. In a perfect world, our employees would complete shifts on time, every time. However, we know that businesses can quickly accrue additional costs or missed revenue opportunities from overtime, missed shifts, and tardy employees.

In the above example, employee hours already worked, and shifts they have yet to work but are scheduled for, are projected to cost the business $1,226 this week. Imagine how more proactive managers could be at controlling labor costs by monitoring this real-time information before the pay period is over. Without a quick, easy way to track those costs, business owners can easily be blindsided by the substantial cost of inattentive shift management.

Manage Your Budget, and Employees, With Our Time Tracking Software

We know that business owners, managers, and employees lead busy lives - that's why each of our features are built to make your shift scheduling and management as quick and easy as possible.

There's never a wrong time to invest in the tools that will help you track, and manage, your company's schedule and budget. However, we want you to feel comfortable with our features before you fully commit, and that is why we offer a free 14-day trial.

Contact us today at Orbital Shift to learn more about the Time Differential Column, our software features, and our tips for utilizing time clock and shift management software to generate continued success for your company today, and in the future.

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