business support

New Staff Portal app lets employees manage their shifts straight from their phones

sitting woman using a smartphone to check her rota shifts

If you already use our rota software, you will know how much easier it makes juggling the hours that your staff want with the shifts you need to fill. You may even be relying on an easyLog smartphone or tablet app to make rapid last minute adjustments to the rota when people call in sick or there is some other unexpected staffing issue.

To make your life even easier, we have now added a new weapon to your rota armoury – a smartphone app specifically for employees. Staff members download the easylog Staff Portal app directly from the Apple App Store, Google Play or Microsoft Store and, once logged in, can manage their shifts quickly and easily at any time, wherever they happen to be.

Employees can use the app to:

  • See their allocated shifts on a rota in advance
  • Confirm that they are happy with the shifts by accepting them
  • Look back at past shifts and clockings to check their hours
  • Submit expenses and upload photographs of receipts from their phone
  • Send messages to managers and request holiday

For managers, there is no need to send rotas out by e-mail or print off a paper version, saving valuable time. Managers also get a reliable record of an employee’s shift acceptance, which goes directly into the main rota software, along with related clockings.

The easylog Staff Portal app is suitable for a wide range of employers and working situations. To find out more about how it can make your rota management more efficient, please contact us. Read more about our rota and timesheet software here.

Posted by administrator in Apple iPhone, business support, employee attendance, flexible working, invoicing staff time, latest news, rota software, smart phone App, time and attendance, timesheets, 0 comments

Can employees fool an app to falsify their attendance records?

In the second of our series of blogs about asking employees to record their attendance using an app on their smartphone, we consider what security features to look for to prevent the possibility of staff dishonestly covering up lateness.

It’s an interesting observation that employers implement time and attendance systems principally to deliver two results: first, administrative time savings through automated calculation of timesheets and pay analysis and second, to improve the accuracy of recording their employee’s attendance.

On that latter point, the ultimate guarantee to prevent an employee fraudulently falsifying their hours is to use a biometric reader that recognises an individual by a unique part of their body, such as fingerprint, face or hand. However, many of our clients have small numbers of staff working irregularly at a number of sites where it would be uneconomic to justify the capital cost of such equipment at each location. In these situations, the low-cost alternative is to ask the employees to use their own or company-issued smartphone to record their attendance at each site. But without biometric safeguards, how can you be certain that the time clocking was generated by the registered user of the phone? That’s where easyLog has consulted with its growing number of users and delivered a solution that gives the employer confidence that any attendance record has been generated by the identified person.

So how does our app prevent clocking fraud?

Firstly, the app is used with QR codes, the latest generation of barcode representation. Generated from free-to-use websites, they can be printed and assigned to each location to uniquely identify the specific site. When the app is used it accesses the camera of the smartphone and the employee simply moves their phone over the code until an image is captured to record the date, time and location. The app also records the GPS reference at the point the attendance record was made. This is significant if an employee should have thoughts that they could photocopy the QR code – and then record their attendance from the comfort of their bed for example – as it will automatically be brought to the attention of their employer!

Within the easyLog software, each location is defined with a unique reference (used by the QR code) and also has their GPS latitude and longitude coordinates entered against it. So if the QR code is scanned from somewhere different to its defined location, the easyLog software will know and flag accordingly with a link to Google Maps to identify the actual location of the errant clocking.

Software that can’t be fooled

Secondly, the app records the date and time that the attendance record is sent to the back-office timesheet management software application. This may not seem immediately significant but if the employee has changed the time on their smartphone – moving it backwards to avoid being flagged as late or forwards to falsely claim overtime – then this will be detected by the easyLog software.

Thirdly, when downloaded the app automatically creates a unique ID reference for the individual smartphone. Again, in an online world familiar with website cookies, this may seem like normal practice. However, it provides another preventive measure against the dishonest employee who may be tempted to help a colleague who is running late.

As mentioned earlier, each employee is given a unique number to identify that it is them using the app each time – and they enter this in the app when they first use it. So what if they change that number to use their smartphone to clock in on behalf of a colleague? The software automatically identifies the phone used for each attendance record from the unique ID reference so if it finds clockings from two different employees but with the same ID then it will be raised with their manager to take appropriate action.

Peace of mind for employers

We hope the anti-fraud measures that we’ve included in the app won’t actually require use but unfortunately rogue staff do exist. Most importantly perhaps, easyLog can give the employer the peace of mind that their workforce is recording their attendance accurately, easily and with certainty – and at a price that is economic for any size of organisation.

If you would like to know more about these features, other apps in our range and the time and attendance and staff scheduling modules with which they integrate, please call on 01892 834406 or email us on info@easylog.co.uk

Posted by administrator in Apple iPhone, business support, cleaning management, domiciliary care and supported living, employee attendance, flexible working, invoicing staff time, mobile worker tracking, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software, smart phone App, time and attendance, timesheets

GDPR and your data

Outline of a human palm against a motherboard to symbolise data security

As you will be aware, a new law governing personal data comes into force on 25 May 2018 – the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The legislation is designed to give individuals greater control over how their information is used and ensure that companies take adequate steps to store it safely.

Under the terms of GDPR, easyLog is a Processor, which means that we hold and manage personal data provided by Controllers (our customers) in order to do our work. Some of this data is sensitive, in that it can include medical and employment records, financial information and other personal details.

What we are doing to protect your data

easyLog has taken steps to ensure that our already robust data protection measures have been fully assessed and, where necessary, updated in line with GDPR requirements. For example, we have introduced encryption and two-stage password protection where appropriate and deleted obsolete data records.

At the same time, we have developed a new data protection policy, which is now available on our website. We have also been contacting existing customers by e-mail to request that they opt in to our online products, such as cloud services and remote support, in accordance with GDPR requirements. If you have not already heard from us, you will soon.

Helping you understand the impact of GDPR

We take our responsibilities under the new GDPR legislation seriously. Our updated privacy policy is written in clear and simple English to help you understand how the new law impacts the data that we may hold about and on behalf of our customers and also on any organisation that is thinking about becoming an easyLog customer.

Find out more

For more information, please read our updated privacy policy or contact us if you have any questions.

Posted by administrator in business support, latest news

NFC reading capability for iPhone added to easyLog’s Log-In app

Android smartphones have been quick to see and embrace the opportunities that NFC (near field communication) technology has to offer. easyLog customers have, for example, used NFC tags to uniquely identify locations in areas as diverse as property management, cleaning supervision and night checks at care homes to accurately record and report on employee attendance at any site. In reverse, staff can carry a NFC tag to identify their attendance by placing it on a growing range of terminals and readers located at a single or multiple places of work.  By contrast, Apple used NFC readers for its Apple Pay application but did not allow access to the wider software development community to provide the benefits that our apps were able to offer to Android users.

However, last summer Apple announced that it was opening up access to its NFC reader capability from the iPhone 7 model onwards; a capability that easyLog has delivered on with our NFCClock app now available at the Apple Store. The App gives the facility for staff to use their iPhone to easily record their attendance at any location with a NFC tag, specifying whether they are arriving or leaving the site.

If you would like to understand a little more about how easyLog’s software uses NFC technology on iPhones and maybe evaluate it with your own employees, please call us on 01892 834406, request a callback or send us an e-mail.

Posted by administrator in Apple iPhone, business support, employee attendance, flexible working, mobile worker tracking, timesheets

easyLog could have flown in to avoid Ryanair rota disaster

It has been a very public and ultimately expensive PR disaster for Ryanair over the last few days. And the fall out seems certain to continue for a few weeks yet. Social media is already awash with stories of angry customers left stranded by cancellations at short notice, ruined wedding weekends, football fans missing their team’s matches and, of course, much talk of compensation claims.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has blamed the cancellation of around 50 flights a day over a six week period to a rota mistake that allowed too many pilots holiday leave at the same time. Now we know Ryanair is not an easyLog customer but Mr O’Leary’s blushes (now that’s a condition you don’t often associate with the confrontational airline chief) would have been spared if his company had adopted our staff scheduling software.

Rota software helps ensure adequate holiday cover is in place

Two key features provide assurance to easyLog users that adequate coverage is in place at the point of staff requesting holiday leave. First, a staff coverage profile defined by the user automatically checks that the required headcount is still available if the leave is granted. Second, a detailed holiday report displays in simple percentage terms where each employee stands in relation to their annual holiday entitlement at any time: a large negative percentage reveals they have a lot of holiday still to take while the reverse shows they are ahead of their pro-rata allowance for the year.

Peace of mind for busy employers

Although you may not be running a large airline, we’re sure that having the peace of mind that you have adequate staff coverage during holiday periods and prompt reminders if employees are not taking their holiday entitlement is important for your business.

If you’d like to understand a little more about how easyLog’s staff scheduling software could help with holiday and general absenteeism, calculating your pay analysis and monitoring your employees’ timekeeping, please call us on 01892 834406, request a callback or send us an e-mail. It would be good to have a chat Mr O’Leary..!

Posted by administrator in business support, employee attendance, Holiday pay, rota software, scheduling software

Clocks going back – will your software pay your night staff correctly?

That’s an interesting point given that British Summertime officially ends this Sunday at 2am with the clocks going back by one hour.

So if you pay night staff by the hour will you be paying one hour more for anyone working the night shift starting this Saturday? And correspondingly of course do you pay one less hour when the clocks go forward in March and British Summertime starts?

Some organisations appear to rely on the supposition that an employee working on the night shift when Summertime ends will also be working on the night shift when Summertime starts and therefore a natural order and balance to these things exists. But that is rather wishful thinking to my mind. Across those two days within any year an employee could be on a different shift, be off sick, have left or be on holiday. And if they’re on holiday and you pay that by the hour then what calculation do you use then to ensure the correct remuneration?

Surprisingly I find some organisations blissfully unaware of the point I am making; and when I bring it to their attention there seems to be an immediate fallback position of the ‘natural balance’ rule I mentioned earlier!

Aware of this conundrum or not, it really doesn’t matter if you are an easyLog customer using our staff scheduling software  as you can resolve the issue either way. A simple tick box parameter allows you to specify if you wish to pay to the exact hours worked or to the normal scheduled shift. And that will take care of any holiday hours calculations and payments as well.

If you are a current customer that would like some help with implementing this feature please call our Support Desk on 0845 225 3011. If you don’t currently use our scheduling software but this article has got you interested in exploring what other clever and efficient things it could do for your organisation then call us on 01892 834406 and speak with one of our team.

Posted by administrator in British summertime hours, business support, care home management, cleaning management, employee attendance, flexible working, Holiday pay, invoicing staff time, Minimum Wage, mobile worker tracking, nursing home management, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software, timesheets

10 ways Home Care Studio can make work – and life – simpler

female carer visits elderly client

When you’re choosing a home care system, the chances are you’ll have a long list of boxes that need to be ticked. But we know from talking to our customers that often it’s the less obvious features that prove most valuable in terms of saving time and making delivering quality care that little bit easier.

The following functions of our Home Care Studio software may not be top of your checklist – but we think that once you’ve tried them you’ll wonder how you ever managed without them.

  1. Reviewing care plans on the move – on a phone

Our Care-Logger app enables carers to carry out evaluations and assessments as well as view care plans and tasks associated with client visits wherever they are via their smartphone – even when there is no internet connection. It can also be used to view and manage rotas and as a clocking device for ultimate flexibility and convenience.

  1. Set an ideal rota

We know most providers like to send a familiar carer face to their service users – and that most carers want some certainty over their rota. So that’s where the ideal rota comes in. A powerful and flexible function that allows you to define carers’ regular visit routes and then use this as the basis for the weekly rota.

  1. Log client visits by mobile phone

When time is money, an accurate and cost-effective visit tracking system is essential. One that is proving particularly popular with our home care customers is visit logging by smartphone. Using QR codes (smart barcodes), NFC tags or GPS global positioning technology, all are simple to use, highly efficient and surprisingly inexpensive.

  1. Update records on the go

With our specially-designed care-Logger app, carers can make visit notes directly into client records using their phones – no uploading or transcribing required. And to save even more time and bother, you can easily set up existing assessments in Home Care Studio.

  1. It’s not just about home care…

Our Home Care Studio software has flexibility built in – which means it’s equally suitable for supported living and agency care providers. This is particularly useful for customers who have multi-faceted care businesses.

  1. Personalise your invoices

You can customise your company invoicing by adding your own logo and adjusting the layout, creating a consistent, professional look and feel across your paperwork.

  1. Easy access to policies and procedures

Our policies and procedures section means staff can quickly and easily find important information when they need it, saving time and helping to ensure best practice is adhered to at all times.

  1. CM2000 interface

Because we know that, in the real world, larger care organisations especially use a variety of management tools, we have made our software compatible with other leading providers, such as Care Management 2000 for smooth transitions between systems.

  1. Client contributions made easy

Our invoicing section takes into account different payment structures, including client contributions, saving time and reducing billing-related headaches.

  1. Reports with everything

Whatever kind of report you want and however you want it presented, you’ve got it. You can even access a mileage report from Google Maps if you want.

If you want to know more about our domiciliary care and supported living system or any of the points above, request a callback from one of our team or contact us by phone or e-mail.

Posted by administrator in business support, care record management, care recording, domiciliary care and supported living, employee attendance, mobile worker tracking, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software

5 ways our rota software can help you be more efficient

using our rota app on the move

You already know that a computerised electronic rota is quicker, easier and far more reliable than an old-style paper-based system – otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. But you might not be aware that there are a number of spin-off benefits to our staff scheduling software that have a positive effect on other areas of your business. Here are just a few.

Take your office with you 24/7

Life, and work, doesn’t stop just because you are away from your desk. So we have developed versions of our software that enable you to access your staff rotas and other management tools, wherever you are and whenever you want. Our multi-platform, browser-based web solutions provide a cut-down version of our staff scheduling, attendance and other software for any type of mobile device, including smartphones. And for those who require full functionality while working on the move, we have powerful Android-based rota and timesheet solutions designed specifically for tablet computers.

Allocate staff according to budget

Staffing is probably one of your biggest costs, so you don’t want to waste precious resources by having the wrong balance of employees on your rota. With our staff scheduling software, you can set your budget and create a rota accordingly, so you are always on top of staffing levels – and costs.

Store a rolling rota

Save valuable time by storing employees’ regular hours on a rolling rota for as many weeks as you like. There’s no need to keep re-inputting data and staff can be sure they get the shifts they want.

Choose your clocking device…

Our software supports virtually all attendance devices and media, so all you have to do is find the right clocking technology for your business. From mobile phones and tablets to NFC, handscanners and biometric, our expert team can guide you through all the options and help you identify your perfect match.

…and payroll system

However simple or complex your clocking system and pay rates, our software has the functionality to import the data into your payroll application. Most major payroll systems are supported, including Sage, IRIS and Access.

To find out more about our staff scheduling software or any of the points above, request a callback from one of our team or contact us via phone or e-mail.

Posted by administrator in business support, cleaning management, employee attendance, flexible working, mobile worker tracking, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software, timesheets

5 hidden extras you get with care-Log+

A resident's life story record in a care home

A good care home management system covers all the essentials as standard – person-centred care plans, rota management, staff records and training, customisable reports and so on. But only the best comes with a range of special features that you didn’t know you needed – until you and your staff find yourselves depending on them every day.

easyLog’s care-Log+ software has been specially designed with input from care professionals to include little extras that help you get the job done easily and efficiently. Here are five of our favourites.

1 Life story – Our person-centred care records contain a Life Story section for storing family details, personal photos and other information, such as key life events, that can be used to form connections with your clients. It’s proved particularly useful in dementia care – especially when used by staff as a reminiscing aid on a tablet PC.

2 Risk-assessment scorecards – All assessment scorecards can be fully customised to accommodate your home’s way of working and changes over time, from modifying an individual question, response or score to adding completely new sections. Responses are colour coded using the traffic light system for clarity. And, of course, standard scoring tools are provided too.

3 Resident cash account – Financial record-keeping for your clients’ own funds, enabling you to keep track of their personal income and outgoings day-to-day.

4 Third-party document attachments – Save time on re-typing supporting information by simply attaching the original documents to your client’s record. All major formats supported, including Word and pdf. And you can do the same on your staff records with details such as CVs, disciplinary letters and so on.

5 Safeguarding section – Prove you’re consistently monitoring the wellbeing of those in your care with an auditable and automatically prompted review of the measures you have in place. The easy-to-use report generator allows you to present any data required in answering a CQC inspector’s question, from food consumed in the last week to activities undertaken since the start of the year. All queries can be answered quickly and simply, demonstrating the quality of care you provide.

To find out more about our care-Log+ care home system and how it can help your business, request a callback from one of our team or contact us by phone or e-mail.

Posted by administrator in business support, care home management, care record management, care recording, CQC Inspections, nursing home management

Five ways to stop fraudsters getting hold of your data

hooded hacker to indicate internet security

Technology is not just good for legitimate businesses – it’s also constantly providing criminals with new ways to commit fraud. One of the latest is ransomware, whereby hackers use malware to encrypt files stored on servers and then demand payment to restore the data – usually in the form of untraceable Bitcoins.

Sorting out the resulting mess takes a lot of time and effort and can be extremely stressful. These five simple steps will help you to keep your servers secure.

1 Be password savvy

Hackers target the weakest point of a server’s security, which is often the password. So choose only strong passwords – ideally containing a mix of upper and lower-case letters and numbers – that are not easily discovered and that you don’t use elsewhere. Change them regularly and remember to disable unwanted user accounts, for example when an employee leaves.

2 Back up regularly

We know it can be a chore but it’s essential to back up all your data securely and at regular intervals. Set up automated back-ups to run daily, sending data to a different physical location.

3 Don’t neglect your upgrades

However busy you are, make sure you find time to install all the recommended upgrades and patches for your server so the security is always up to date.

4 Switch off when you’re done

Always switch off remote desktop access (RDP). If you need this type of access set your firewall to allow only users from specific IP addresses.

5 Protect your dashboard

Have a separate password for your server dashboard and keep it extra safe. The server dashboard allows complete access to your server so you need to be extra careful.

For further advice on server security, please contact the easyLog team.

Posted by administrator in business support, latest news