Integrating Labor Management Technology To Help Ag Avoid Fines Amid the Pandemic
By Jeanae DuBois, Executive Director of Growth Marketing, Shift3 Technologies (November 3, 2020)
NOTE: This contributed content originally appeared in our sister publication, Global AgInvesting (GAI) News)
The ag industry traditionally has been slow to adopt new technologies into long-standing processes, but with the spread of COVID-19, businesses can lean on technology to help keep operations running safely, remotely, and accurately.
When it came to managing employees who work directly in the fields—their clock-ins, breaks, lunches, and clock-outs were traditionally recorded by a supervisor, often through pen and paper. With the current state of the world, in-person interactions can be dangerous and spread disease. There is no need for these added risks when these same tasks can be done safer digitally. Beyond the safety implications, digitizing processes can lead to more accurate information and streamlined processes that will be beneficial even post-pandemic. By adopting labor management technology at this moment, a company can future-proof their business for success even when things return to normal.
Businesses in the ag industry have often relied on paper forms and manual data entry for documenting; these methods can become cumbersome even in the best of situations. Time reporting tends to occur when field laborers are out on location, and supervisors are charged with inputting, tracking, and storing all of this information. This has given rise to a litany of problems which include errors from either the supervisor or the individuals back at the office responsible for entering the data into electronic systems. Corrections at any point in the process waste time, energy, and money. Also, having individuals go out and unnecessarily interact endangers their health, the health of those around them, and is an avoidable situation.
While the adoption of technology can be foreign, in the long term it can help mitigate problems and streamline the process. Digital management of this part of an operation can easily be accomplished either through a website designed for the desktop or a mobile application. A supervisor on location can carry a digital device, whether it be tablet or smartphone, and connect directly to an application where employees can clock in, clock out, log breaks, or track lunch hours. A mobile application can enable more convenience, where employees can directly download it to their personal smartphones and perform the same functions making things even easier. Through a simple user dashboard, all this information can be automatically viewed and shared within the company to assure compliance with all local, state, and federal labor laws.
The importance of regulatory compliance becomes even more evident now that companies are being held responsible and being fined directly for violations. While a one-time infraction might not seem like a lot, over time these mistakes can become costly and yet can be easily fixed through technology.
With the move to digital, if an employee misses their break or lunch, an instant notification can be sent, allowing the manager to quickly address and remedy the issue instead of waiting for an audit when it's too late to rectify the situation. The alternative is to stall operations while going through mountains of paperwork that could be easily accessible in a digital format. This system would also allow notifications to be sent directly to employees needing a reminder, so they can take their designated breaks or lunches—thus making them part of the labor management process.
By digitizing processes, you are prioritizing the safety of your employees by reducing physical interactions. In addition, companies can free up time for their employees to do other work that would otherwise be interrupted by having to manually gather and input information. Digital labor management technology can streamline a common process and it can easily be launched and adopted within your organization. While this technology may be foreign at first, the benefits definitely outweigh the learning curve and will lead to increased productivity and efficiency for your organization.
About the Author
Jeanae DuBois is an accomplished marketing and branding leader with over 20+ years in the industry. Joining Shift3 Technologies in September 2019, Jeanae manages an integrated marketing team,
focusing on inbound and outbound marketing strategy, campaign execution, branding, client development, public relations, corporate events and internal sales enablement.
*All views, data, opinions and declarations expressed are solely those of the author(s) and not of Women in Agribusiness, Global AgInvesting, WIA Today, or parent company HighQuest Group.