A present & future solution for workforce management

In recent years, numerous software and app companies have joined the game of trying to solve construction business owners' mobile workforce management problems. Contractors still using a paper-based time tracking system grapple with questions like, "How do I know when an employee or crew actually showed up to work, and that they are not exaggerating their hours?" Or, "How do I keep track of what I'm spending on various tasks at the jobsite versus what I budgeted?"

It has become increasingly necessary for business owners to use technology in order to stay competitive and compliant with labor laws and regulations. However, the first wave of digital labor tracking required back-end software to be installed on a PC or several PCs in the office. Installation took time and effort, and the program was only accessible on the desktops of one or two individuals in an organization.

These days, with the demands of the competitive market, busier schedules and more spread-out workforces, construction business owners want the ability to access quality, real-time information anytime and on any device, for greater accessibility of information in the field and more control over one of their biggest operating expenses: labor.

With digital workforce management in the cloud, this is possible. Contractors only stand to benefit in an industry where mobility and flexibility are key. Cloud computing means the ability to access software that is hosted on a remote server. There are a number of applications you may use and not realize are actually hosted in the cloud, such as Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo, Pandora and more. Software as a Service (SaaS) just means you're accessing these Web-hosted applications on a subscription basis by paying a regular fee. SaaS benefits include lower upfront costs with no new hardware needed, lower total cost of ownership with no on-site server needed and total scalability.

There are many types of cloud-based applications designed for contractors that are becoming more popular by the minute. Cloud-based estimating and bidding software lets contractors work on bidding new projects from wherever they are, so getting new business falls easily into their workflow. Scheduling software based in the cloud means projects can be scheduled and changed on the fly, by anyone with permission.

Customizable, role-based permission is a huge benefit of cloud computing. But the main benefit of cloud-based computing is that it tears down the wall between the office and the field, making executive decision-making and the construction site accessible and possible from anywhere.

Cloud-based workforce management solutions consist of software that is stored on a remote server, as well as a field-based data collection device that can communicate with that software, whether it's a rugged clock or an app for your smartphone.

Clock-ins collected in the field are captured by the software, and payroll administrators, management or owners can now access time and cost code records as they are created. This allows them to instantly see their workers' whereabouts using the collection device's GPS tracking, so they can monitor hours and projects as they progress, stop overtime before it happens and handle payroll much more quickly.

Owners may wish for employees to be able to approve their time cards in the field; for supervisors to have more capabilities, such as time card editing from the field; and for HR or payroll administrators to have yet another, more detailed level of access. Essential to security and compliance in a system this open and accessible is for those with appropriate permissions to be able to lock the information to further edits.

With a cloud-based workforce management solution, you can accurately track your employees' time and attendance, process payroll more quickly and easily and do so much more to run your business more efficiently at any time, from anywhere.

You can also rely on employees for a greater degree of self-management. This allows contractors the flexibility they so sorely need these days, that ironically returns them to a simpler time before so much paperwork existed, freeing them to get their hands dirty, meet with more customers and do whatever it takes to watch their business grow.