2020 Trends Shaping the Future
of Absence Tracking

The global pandemic has taken businesses by surprise, changing the very way we approach team management, monitor work progress and check on employees at their workstations throughout the day.

Companies that have continued to operate and found ways to engage their workers throughout this bizarre period in human history are enjoying more positive financial and performance results than their less lucky counterparts. Like so, the quarantine has promoted teleworking and emphasized the importance of remote workforce management tools, including absence trackers.

It’s demonstrated that the application of smart tools for absence tracking during the pandemic provides many benefits:

  • Simplified leave management workflow;

  • Practical analysis of employee availability trends;

  • Deeper understanding of increasingly diversified reasons for employee absences;

  • More streamlined, flexible and error-free approach to PTO accrual.

However, an opportunity to gain these advantages isn’t bound to the quarantine period alone.

The pandemic has only shown that remote work may be a great and, in many senses, a safe direction to go. Still, it’s not the main thing contributing to the normalization of flexible work arrangements. Other (more significant) factors produce a massive necessity to substitute the outdated absence tracking solutions with more responsive and innovative methods.

In this article, we will discuss the trends shaping the future of absence tracking: from technological progress to social-cultural dynamics. By the end of the reading, you will have a solid idea of how high-quality absence trackers can help your firm increase competitiveness through:

  • Process optimization,

  • Higher employee satisfaction,

  • And managerial efficacy.

But first, let’s talk about the place of absence tracking products in the global economy.

General Market Trends

Absence tracking forms a part of the global workforce management software market. According to a recent report by MarketsandMarkets, in combination with other core market segments – scheduling, attendance monitoring, time and HR management – it is now valued at US $6 billion. As per the data provided by PR Newswire, the market had a total value of about US $4.25 billion in 2017, which indicates that, over the years, it has been growing at a relatively moderate pace.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the global economy hard, slowed down its growth and adversely affected almost every industry. Nevertheless, we may validly expect further expansion of the workforce management market in the future. The MarketsandMarkets forecasts predict its compound annual growth rate to be as high as 9.3% within the following five years.

Estimated and predicted growth of the workforce management software market, 2017-2025

We also have all the reasons to believe that absence trackers will be getting more technologically advanced and innovative, and there are two main factors contributing to that:

  • Intense competition: The workforce management market is now characterized by a low concentration rate. It means that although some industry players, such as Kronos or Bitrix24, are more popular among consumers than others, new entrants still have plenty of opportunities to build scale and capture a significant market share. With that said, the level of competition between software companies in different market segments is pretty high at the moment. To outperform rivals, companies need to create more customer values and develop unique, high-quality products.

  • Technological progress: Automation, AI, cloud computing and other innovations are redefining our approach to business management. Digitalization has become the norm. Meanwhile, traditional paper-and-pencil and manual-entry tools are turning hopelessly obsolete. By continuing to implement them, you risk falling behind on many fronts, including staff retention.

Research evidence reveals that the installation of internal social media tools may result in about a 20% rise in employee satisfaction. Moreover, 80% of job candidates regard the level of technological advancement in companies as a critical point in favor of joining their team. Therefore, as employers’ quest for talents and superior process optimization continues, the use of innovative digital tools for absence tracking and leave management is going to become more and more common.

High-tech office environment

Absence Tracking of Tomorrow

General market trends show that demand for workforce management software is on the rise, and the increasing popularity of these products is determined by how the business environment and the management practice are evolving.

Let’s explore the impacts of several environmental factors on the future of absence tracking in the long term.

Increasing Need for Flexible Work Arrangements

Technological advancements provoke a drastic socio-cultural shift.

Just imagine that the majority of younger individuals didn’t use cassette tapes or floppy disks even once and never lived in the world without personal mobile devices. Younger people are accustomed to utilizing smartphones and social media daily and are generally more tech-savvy than their parents. These factors alone differentiate their worldview and values from those of more senior persons, and one of the most apparent differences between generations may be observed in their attitude to work attendance.

Numerous studies have repeatedly shown that flexibility and mobility are two of the primary values of Millennials, who:

Thus, it is pivotal for businesses to adjust their cultures and internal processes in a way that suits younger employees’ needs and interests.

The adoption of flexible work arrangements is a means to achieve that.

Telecommuting will become more widespread among firms even after the end of the quarantine and the mandatory work-from-home period since this work model solves a massive problem for employers – the attraction and retention of young talents.

Flexible work arrangements

Workplace flexibility is, however, associated with several difficulties for employers and managers:

  • It results in a larger population of telecommuting employees and, thus, produces more reasons to be absent from the office. In this case, it is much harder to monitor employee availability and ensure that workers are engaged in professional activities when they are supposed to.

  • Besides, managers need to make the absence tracking workflow as simple as possible to ensure the precious time isn’t wasted on continual submissions and approval of leave requests.

Hence, the application of high-quality scheduling and absence tracking tools is a must for companies that want to offer more flexible work arrangements to employees.

actiPLANS is a perfect example of a smart instrument for leave management that supports a flexible approach to employee scheduling. It allows users to plan the preferred work time and leave periods in advance or make immediate changes to personal timetables whenever such a need arises. actiPLANS promptly notifies managers about schedule modifications and employee leave requests, while also enabling them to automate the request approval process for a simplified absence management workflow.

actiPLANS mobile app

Flexible PTO Accrual Policies Promote Productivity and Employee Loyalty

As workplace flexibility increases, it is reasonable to expect that the conventional approach to PTO accrual is also going to fall into disuse gradually.

Nowadays, many companies still offer a fixed amount of days off to workers per year and utilize a limited number of standard leave types, such as vacation and sick leave. However, some innovation- and people-oriented firms start to offer more leave time perks to their staff members, letting them choose when they want to use PTO – on a standard public holiday or any other day of the year.

Here are two main trends motivating businesses to increase flexibility in terms of PTO accrual:

  • Globalization is transforming socio-cultural dynamics. The change in values of younger generations is just one thing, whereas the growth in social and cultural diversity is another. With a fixed set of days off and holidays, it’s impossible to satisfy the varying needs and interests of individuals from multicultural backgrounds who profess different religions, have disparate family responsibilities and pursue dissimilar goals in life. In other words, a personalized approach to time off accrual is now merely a recognition of the fact that our communities are becoming more diverse. By failing to foster greater flexibility in this regard – not only in the future but even today – companies are facing an elevated risk of employee dissatisfaction and high staff turnover.

    Workplace diversity = Higher number of leave types
  • Leisure activities are proven to be effective in promoting productivity. In the past, managers encouraged overtime work and severely limited holiday allowances, believing that it’s possible to enhance performance efficiency in this way. However, a growing body of research evidence reveals that such an old-fashioned approach is counterproductive. By making employees work without sufficient rest periods, managers push them towards the verge of burnout. In turn, poor psychological well-being negatively affects productivity and creativity and causes higher rates of absenteeism, which can be very costly for businesses of all types. It means that by providing workers with more time and opportunities to relax, companies may promote presenteeism and achieve desired performance results much better.

Overall, PTO is an excellent form of reward for hard-working employees, regardless of which purposes it may serve: to participate in religious festivities, fulfill civic duties, set off in a year-long voyage around the globe or take care of a loved one.

Even if managers don’t plan to differentiate a multitude of leave types their workers can enjoy under a flexible PTO accrual policy and keep a detailed record of reasons why employees are absent, a vital necessity to register when and for how long their subordinates are absent remains.

Absence tracking is core to better analysis of workforce capacities and more effective workload distribution decisions, and actiPLANS can satisfy all these management needs. It allows the creation of custom leave types for users to choose from. Moreover, it provides a clear visual overview of employee availability along with the number of hours they worked, which makes absence tracking as easy as pie.

Leave Time & PTO Report in actiPLANS


Absence management of tomorrow is going to be more streamlined, flexible and responsive to the interests of individual employees, whereas the utilization of digital absence trackers will be a routine procedure.

Nonetheless, you don’t need to wait for the future to come to invest in a smart absence management tool. You can make leave management more efficient and introduce greater transparency and flexibility into the process by starting to use a high-quality absence tracker today.


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