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Better Together: What K–12 Districts Can Achieve With Absence Management and Time Tracking

Red Rover

Insights | October 12, 2023

In today's fast-paced educational landscape, managing teacher absences (as well as the substitute teachers required to cover for those absences) and tracking employee time efficiently are crucial for K–12 districts. Many districts, however, are stuck with antiquated and disparate systems that don’t “talk to one another.” Time may get tracked in one system, absences in another, and substitutes in yet a third. In some cases, districts still require that employees track their hours on paper timesheets—a laborious and error-prone process. Much time is wasted on recordkeeping, correcting errors, and devising workarounds.

The finance and payroll department is a prime victim of this chaos; errors introduced along the way via faulty processes can have a disastrous impact. School districts are often the largest employers in their respective towns, and they have a vital responsibility to be in control of their spending and utilization of resources, including tax dollars. 

By utilizing a combined absence management and time tracking solution, districts can exercise better control over their employee-related expenditures and maximize the value of their investments. A modern solution can work cohesively to help accurately track hours and absences, find and place substitute teachers, and ensure smooth payroll processes. Integrating absence management and time tracking into one seamless solution can empower K–12 districts to optimize their operations and resource utilization.

Benefits of Integration

Why should school districts consider combining absence management and time tracking into one centralized solution? There are several key reasons:

Improved Workflows: Traditionally, many school districts rely on paper timesheets for tracking employee work hours and absences. However, paper-based systems are woefully inefficient—prone to errors, delays, and difficulties in data compilation. Integrating time tracking and absence management into a digital solution eliminates the need for paper timesheets and manual data entry. This integration streamlines administrative processes, reduces paperwork, and minimizes the risk of errors. Eighty percent of a district’s budget usually goes toward compensating employees, so accuracy is critical!

Enhanced Visibility: A unified time tracking and absence management solution with robust reporting features provides supervisors and administrators with real-time visibility into employee attendance and leave requests. This enhanced transparency allows supervisors to proactively manage staffing needs, ensuring that classrooms are covered and substitute teachers are assigned promptly when required. For example, when a teacher enters an absence request, the supervisor should receive an immediate electronic notification. They can see how many teachers are already out that day and where coverage is required. The ultimate end goal? Continuous student learning without interruption. Additionally, supervisors can better monitor employee work hours, enabling them to support teachers and other staff to maintain a healthy work-life balance, ultimately leading to a more positive and productive educational environment.

Greater Accountability: Integrating time tracking and absence management fosters a culture of accountability within the school district. Teachers and other staff become more responsible for accurately reporting their work hours and absences, as the system provides clear records of their attendance. Supervisors can also monitor and address any patterns of absenteeism, ensuring that employees are fulfilling their professional obligations. This accountability enhances workforce productivity and promotes a sense of trust and reliability within the school community.

Better Employee Experience: Teachers are pivotal in shaping students' lives and are increasingly asked to take on additional responsibilities beyond their regular duties. Empowering educators with efficient tools to manage their time effectively is crucial. By integrating time tracking and absence management into a single user-friendly interface, educators can seamlessly report their duties, log their hours, and request time off without the burden of cumbersome administrative tasks. This streamlined process saves educators valuable time, enabling them to focus on their primary responsibilities—teaching and nurturing students. As a result, a better employee experience leads to higher job satisfaction and increased retention of valuable staff members.

Exploring Different Types of Time Tracking Software

When considering the integration of time tracking with absence management, it is important to understand three different types of time tracking software: hourly/regular time tracking, Extra Duty time tracking, and substitute time tracking. Each software solution plays a crucial role in streamlining district business practices and offers unique benefits. Let's delve into each type:

Hourly/Regular Time Tracking: Hourly/regular time tracking software enables districts to capture and record the hours worked by their employees accurately. This type of software simplifies the process of tracking regular work hours, including clock-in and clock-out times. By automating the time tracking process, districts can eliminate the need for manual timesheets and reduce the risk of errors. Hourly/regular time tracking software ensures accurate employee compensation and real-time visibility into labor costs.

Extra Duty Time Tracking: Extra Duty time tracking software focuses on capturing and managing the hours worked by employees for additional duties or assignments outside their regular work hours. This could include tasks such as coaching, tutoring, or monitoring after-school events. Integrating extra duty time tracking with absence management allows districts to consolidate all time-related activities into a single platform. This simplifies the process for employees, as they can report their extra duty hours in the same system where they report their absences.

Substitute Time Tracking: Substitute time tracking software is designed to track and manage the hours worked by substitute teachers. Substitutes play a vital role in maintaining continuity in classrooms when teachers are absent. By integrating substitute time tracking with absence management, districts can monitor substitute usage alongside absences and make data-driven decisions to improve substitute fill rates and optimize resource allocation.

Integrating any or all of these time tracking software solutions with absence management can positively impact modernizing a district’s business practices. Payroll managers interested in “test driving” just one of these solutions might consider starting out with Extra Duty. It presents a case for easy implementation, as the same teachers who regularly use an absence management system are the ones who will most often need to report Extra Duty hours. 

In conclusion, by combining the dual powers of absence management and time tracking into one platform, school districts can modernize their business practices, simplify processes, improve accuracy, and enhance overall efficiency—ultimately saving valuable time and energy for administrators, teachers, and staff alike. 

Many school districts are missing a huge opportunity by using just one element without the other. Though both features can be used separately, using both time tracking and absence management together can streamline and simplify essential administrative processes for every stakeholder in the district, resulting in a more productive educational ecosystem.

As more and more K–12 districts recognize the benefits of integrating absence management and time tracking, Red Rover emerges as a trusted provider. Our K-12 workforce management solutions were purposefully designed for integration from the start—a unique approach that delivers critical interoperability. Our combined absence management and time tracking offerings empower districts to optimize operations, increase substitute fill rates, and manage resources effectively. If you're interested in experiencing the advantages of this powerful integration, we invite you to schedule a demo of Red Rover's absence management and time tracking solutions today. Discover how these solutions can seamlessly transform your district's HR processes and ensure a more efficient and productive educational environment.

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