In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, facilities management organisations face higher-than-ever expectations from clients. Many details are at the forefront of customer judgement including cleanliness, personalisation, and staff attentiveness, which facilities management businesses need to ensure remain high priorities all the while working against increasingly small margins.
Facilities management organisations need to be flexible and have the resources to make quick scheduling adjustments to meet client agreements. However, time is money and there is mounting pressure to reduce overtime costs and manage budgets more effectively.
Recent studies found that Australians were working an average of 4.6 hours of unpaid labour per week. This translates to an annual average of 240 hours of unpaid overtime per year. Based on a standard 38-hour workweek, this is equivalent to more than six weeks of unpaid work per worker per year.
Understanding exactly what is happening as it’s happening across a disparate workforce can create a positive, long-lasting employee and client relationship. Real-time data holds the key to unlocking these benefits.
Real-time data minimises compliance risks
There are ever changing government regulations and industry standards that facilities management organisations need to remain vigilant about; however, one of the key benefits of leveraging real-time employee data is reducing these compliance risks. Maintaining proactive compliance processes can not only mitigate the risk of non-compliance, but it also provides more visibility into costly labour trends and can improve workforce efficiency.
To ensure that Australian businesses remain compliant with regulations, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has the power to investigate any business. The FWO can enforce infringement notices with financial penalties if it’s in relation to record keeping or pay slip obligations or commence litigation in serious cases of non-compliance. Compliance audits from the FWO are expected to become more commonplace, particularly for contract cleaning organisations, as this sector was announced as a priority area for 2021-22.
A large part of non-compliance can often occur in relation to employee contracts. There are many rules around what employees are entitled to, including the hours they work, frequency of breaks, and minimum wages, which are set out in the National Employment Standards (NES). It’s imperative that facilities management organisations ensure they follow these standards and awards for employees in contracts, agreements, and in practice, otherwise it can create a serious breach in conduct.
Real-time data can provide organisations with an up-to-date view on employee working hours to ensure that staff are rostered in accordance with the minimum award conditions in the NES. The data can also provide accurate information on the training, skills, and licences of individual employees to ensure that workers are not tasked with duties they are not qualified to complete and businesses can provide staff with the required training or licensing.
Real-time insights support flexible management
Businesses need to ensure that staff are accounted for and punctual, and that clients are receiving the best service available. This can be difficult, and sometimes near impossible, without an adequate system that can track rosters, clients, new requests, and sudden changes. Managing these processes manually won’t suffice for facilities management organisations attempting to keep up with changing demands and remain competitive in the market.
Facilities management organisations must always aspire to be agile and adaptable despite restricted budgets and staff shortages. This is especially true in the face of growing pressure to provide clients with personalised experiences, and attendant, helpful staff.
Visibility of rostering and timesheet data can maximise operational productivity and streamline employee scheduling. It can also help businesses to meet new and urgent requests from clients. For example, if a client has a sudden need for an employee with specialised training or licences, they can immediately see which staff members have what qualifications. Then, the business can rearrange rosters if necessary to confirm that a qualified employee will be available to tend to that client’s needs.
It’s no longer enough for facilities management organisations to simply meet customer expectations; in this competitive environment, organisations need to exceed expectations and provide services that go above and beyond. Leveraging real-time data can help business to achieve this by minimising compliance risks, managing staff effectively, and adapting to customer requirements seamlessly.
Gideon Joseph, practice director, ANZ/SEA, UKG.