e-Log

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, Holiday Pay, invoicing staff time, mobile worker tracking, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software, smart phone App, time and attendance, timesheets

Mobile Worker Tracking: A growing issue requiring different solutions

According to American analytical research company Techworld, (source: Techworld mobile worker research) this year it estimates there will be 1.3 billion mobile workers in the world. That’s a lot of employees who do not regularly attend the same place of work each day. Or put another way, that’s a lot of staff presenting their managers with some interesting logistical issues if they are required to complete a timesheet to record their work hours and location.

easyLog has always been mindful that the mobile worker requires a fundamentally different approach to electronic time and attendance management versus their static colleagues. Immediate issues arise in terms of the IT infrastructure that is available at any location, does the worker have a company-provided or a personal mobile phone? does the employer require just an attendance record or are there greater efficiencies to be gained from providing additional work-related information and data entry options?

In addressing these scenarios easyLog has developed a wide array of tools to assist the employee in recording their hours and working more efficiently. These in essence can be divided by either the type of solution platform used to record attendance, for example mobile phone, hardware device, land line call, PC login record, etc and by the visit scenario. So is the employee a regular visitor to the location? Do several staff visit the location? Are there multiple sites that an employee will visit in a day or week?

easyLog’s experience will help you find the most suitable and cost effective solution for the employee tracking requirements that you have. And this may involve different approaches to specific groups of employees within your organisation. This ‘mix and match’ response is very typical amongst easyLog clients but the solution will still present a single and common interface for the tracking and recording software.

Details of all our employee tracking solutions can be found on our website: http://easylog.co.uk/T+A_clocking_options.html

If you would like to discuss any functionality or issues raised in this blog please call one of our team on 01892 834406 or e-mail us on info@easylog.co.uk

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

Employee attendance management coming to a cloud near you

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Soon managers will be able to monitor attendance, authorise hours and calculate pay for their mobile or office-based staff on the move and without any need for a PC whatsoever.

Our development team is currently building a web browser and Android version of our popular e-Log attendance management software  with Html5, CSS3 and PhoneGap development tools. This will allow our clocking management solutions to be operated on the cloud, anywhere and anytime – and with any kind of device.

Watch this blog for news of trial downloads in the near future.

Currently easyLog offers a range of staff clocking options using NFC-enabled Android tablets and phones.

Posted by administrator in business support, care home management, domiciliary care and supported living, employee attendance, latest news, payroll analysis, rota software, timesheets

New clocking options pages reflect changing times – and technology

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Not so long ago, for millions of workers clocking on (and off) meant inserting a piece of card into a mechanical timepiece – a system that was devised in the 19th century. In recent decades, technology has transformed the world of recording staff attendance, providing affordable options to suit all kinds of employers and workers – and the revolution is far from over.

Just as in other areas of our lives, mobile phones and tablet computers are playing an increasingly important role in attendance recording, while related technology, such as SIM-cards and near-field communication (NFC), is making traditional electronic terminals more versatile and cost-effective than ever. Even biometric devices, such as hand-scanners, have moved from the realms of science fiction to the everyday.

As a result of these developments, we have been rethinking our range of clocking devices and the way we present them on our website.

We have created a whole new section dedicated to clocking options, which breaks each type of terminal or device into these five categories:

  • Mobile phones and tablets – possibly the future of attendance recording, these devices are based on everyday Android mobile phones and tablets, making them a cost-effective, simple and extremely versatile option.
  • Hand-scanners and other biometric – high-tech but affordable kit that provides evidence of identity as well as time and date.
  • Fixed card and fob terminals – robust exteriors and lots of media options make these devices suitable for a wide variety of users and locations, including outside.
  • Fixed SIM-card based terminals – simple and inexpensive, these devices are ideal for employers who want clocking data to be transferred automatically from remote sites.
  • Specialist mobile worker devices – a range of low-cost devices, from i-Button activated wands and fixed terminals to an Android handheld with NFC.

You can browse the whole section from our new clocking options home page.

If you would like any help choosing the most appropriate clocking device for your situation, please contact us.

Posted by administrator in employee attendance, latest news, mobile worker tracking

Full-time, part-time, extra shifts – no problem

A flexible workforce is good for your staffing budget – but it can be a major headache when it comes to managing the rota and calculating pay.

If you have staff working full-time, part-time, extra shifts or a few hours here and there, read our latest case study to find out how one employer is using our software to take the guesswork out of managing his highly flexible workforce.

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“We operate on a daily budget, so we look at each day and work out when it’s going to get busy, when it’ll get quiet, and how much money we are going to take,” he says.

“If we know we’re going to have a busy day we can afford to have more people in and on a quieter day, fewer people. So it’s not just about filling spaces or job functions but also about hitting the budget.”

Our case study features a retail catering business but we can create similar systems for all kinds of employers and industries, from hotels and restaurants to the healthcare sector and college campuses.

Posted by administrator in employee attendance, flexible working, latest news, rota software, scheduling software

Possible printing problems in our .NET applications

It has come to our attention that a security update recently released by Microsoft is disrupting printing in the .NET versions of e-Log, care-Log and Care Studio.

The security bulletin is MS12-025, released on 10 April 2012. Update 2656374 affects Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, while update 2656369 affects Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Windows 7 does not appear to be affected.

Currently the only fix is to roll back the update but we are seeking more information from Microsoft regarding a resolution to this issue.

You can find out more by going to Microsoft’s online support centre, article ID 2671605.  Alternatively, please e-mail easyLog support.

Posted by administrator in latest news