employee clocking options

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

What’s important in choosing an attendance recording app for your staff?

In the first of two blogs about using a smartphone app for employees to record their attendance, we explore the key issues that experience has taught us you should look for.

There are three important questions to ask when introducing attendance recording via a smartphone app to your workforce:

  • Is the App easy to use for the employees?
  • Is the App easy to download with the connection to my time and attendance software already set up?
  • Is it secure and not open to fraud by the employee?

Users of our Log-In App know that they can confidently say “Yes” to all the above. easyLog has created not only a simple to install and use app for the employee, but a solution that gives the employer confidence that any attendance record has been generated by the identified person. This latter point we’ll cover in a subsequent blog but in this one we’ll address those first two questions.

Automatically updates back-office software

The Log-In App is downloaded free of charge for the employee from the Apple, Microsoft and Google stores. easyLog supplies a five-digit Customer Code number to each organisation that the employee is prompted to enter when first opening the app. This automatically sets up the parameters in the app to link it with the web browser-based back office software that collates and reports on the time and attendance records received from the smartphones.

Next the user is asked to enter their own unique ID number given to them by their employer. This is saved in the App and means it will not need to be remembered again at the point of use.

And that’s it. When the employee uses the app they are presented with large, clear buttons that they touch to record if they are arriving or leaving a site. There are other user-settable options also to enable the additional clocking in or out from a break and a panic alert feature that will automatically send an email to defined individuals on pressing.

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, employee attendance, flexible working, invoicing staff time, mobile worker tracking, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software, smart phone App, timesheets

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

Developing the most App-ropriate software tools for your business

easyLog iPhone clocking app grabWhatever industry you are in or service your provide, you are probably finding that smartphones and tablets are increasingly finding their way into your working life – and are becoming just as indispensable as they are for social and leisure activities. The numbers speak for themselves.

Back in 2010, just a fifth of UK mobile phone users had a smartphone, according to eMarketer. Today, that figure is around 80 per cent. The trajectory of tablets has been even more rapid, with more than half of the adult population using one regularly by 2015 – up from a third in two years.

Harnessing the popularity of smartphones and tablets

Although it’s impossible to predict the future of emerging technology trends, we could see early on that mobile devices were going to have a major impact on the management of everyday tasks – and so easyLog began developing convenient app versions of key products from the start.

Initially we focused on apps for Android devices to keep costs down for customers. But as more people began using Apple and Windows devices, we have been able to offer more apps for iOS and Windows Mobile – such as our highly successful multi-location geolocation and QR code staff clocking app, Locate and Clock.

The popularity of these time-saving and simple-to-use apps has inspired easyLog developers to create smartphone and/or tablet versions of several of our other flagship products and increase the functionality available of apps already in the marketplace.

Expanding our app functionality and product range

The Care Logger smartphone app, for example, which is designed for domiciliary care staff, will soon be released with the option for carers to view their rotas, clock-in and view call information. Meanwhile, managers will be able to use the same app to schedule and reschedule calls.

We also have a remote clocking app in the pipeline that is appropriate for a wide range of business sectors. As always we are guided by making routine and complex tasks as quick and easy to perform for everyone involved, saving employers time and money. The move to mobile has really been something of a revolution for us and our customers and we don’t see any sign of it slowing down yet.

For more information on easyLog’s extensive range of products and latest apps, check our website or speak to one of our team.

Posted by administrator in care home management, cleaning management, domiciliary care and supported living, employee attendance, flexible working, mobile worker tracking, nursing home management, 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

Mike Ashley’s Parliamentary embarrassment – easyLog to the rescue!

When Sports Direct’s boss Mike Ashley was recently grilled for three hours by MPs about his company’s employment practices, it emerged that staff were automatically (and “unfairly”) deducted fifteen minutes of pay if they were even a minute late. More crucially, Ashley also had to admit that some employees at his Shirebrook warehouse were, in effect, being paid less than the statutory minimum wage.

Forgive a little smugness on easyLog’s behalf when we read reports of Mike Ashley’s embarrassment in front of the Parliamentary committee. But had Sports Direct been using easyLog’s +S staff scheduling software, these errant practices would have been prevented by some standard features in our rota module. For example, a Shift Analysis report automatically calculates the average pay per hour of any employee across any period, which would have highlighted the shortfall on payment of the Minimum Wage rate. Many easyLog clients also use this report to remunerate holiday accrued payments correctly to their casual and bank staff based on the average hourly rate of the hours worked at the applicable pay rate on the days they worked.

Additionally, our +S software allows lateness to be handled with practicality and a degree of subtlety perhaps unfamiliar to Sports Direct management. Any incident of lateness is highlighted in an Authorisation screen allowing a manager to decide on a case-by-case basis if an individual employee should be penalised and, if so, by how many minutes.

Unlike Mike Ashley, we’re sure that you’re not planning to have to answer to a Parliamentary committee about your employment practices. But having the peace of mind that your staff are being paid for their work and holiday leave correctly, and that this is being achieved with a minimum of manual intervention, are surely important issues for your business. If you’d like to understand a little more about how easyLog’s staff scheduling software could help with calculating your pay analysis and monitoring your employees’ timekeeping, please call us on 01892 834406, request a callback (call me back please) or e-mail us on info@easylog.co.uk  Mike Ashley we await your call…!

Posted by administrator in business support, employee attendance, flexible working, Holiday Pay, latest news, Minimum Wage, rota software, scheduling software, timesheets

Cloud options for every hosting scenario and budget

clouds on tablet PC to represent cloud server option

At easyLog, one of our defining principles is to help our customers benefit from the latest technology, whatever their size and way of working. As a result of a number of industry developments, including a significant reduction in the price of cloud server options and an increase in broadband speeds nationally, we are now pleased to be able to offer an expanded range of cloud-based facilities.

This means we have options to suit every type of hosting and server set-up and can provide high quality cloud services for almost every budget – in keeping with our principles.

Broadly, there are three main hosting models:

  • We can install easyLog software on your self- or externally-managed cloud server
  • We can manage your easyLog software and related functions on your cloud server
  • We can provide a full hosting and management service through our own servers

To discuss the different options and their relative benefits to your organisation, please contact one of our team or request a callback.

Posted by administrator in business support, care home management, care record management, cleaning management, domiciliary care and supported living, employee attendance, flexible working, latest news, mobile worker tracking, nursing home management, rota software, scheduling software

Clocking in with a QR code now available for iPhone

iPhone clocking app grab

The latest version of our multi-platform clocking app for iPhone can now be used with a QR code, or smart barcode – providing even more flexibility for cost-conscious employers.

As well as a choice of clocking methods, our smartphone clocking app offers a variety of possible data location options – making it suitable for a huge variety of working situations and employees. You can also choose what client and employee details are returned with the clockings, as well as whether you want the data sent to the chosen server immediately or held for subsequent download.

All our clocking options log location details, date, time and device ID automatically.

For further info about the app, read our blogs Smartphone clocking app offers more location data options and Now staff can clock in with a smartphone and a QR code. Alternatively talk to one of our team.

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

Now staff can clock in with a smartphone and a QR code

QR code for easyLog website

Clocking in (and out) with a smartphone just got as easy as scanning a tin of beans at the supermarket with the addition of a QR code option in our multi-platform employee clocking app.

QR, or quick response, codes are the 21st century version of the barcode. Developed for their readability and superior data storage capacity, they comprise a number of square black dots arranged on a white background across a square grid. The QR code image is easy to produce and can be placed on a sticker or in a folder, for example, so it can be used in a wide variety of locations.

QR codes can now be read and interpreted via smartphones simply by pointing the phone’s camera at the image. The location data read is then sent back to the host with timestamp and phone id, making QR codes an extremely versatile alternative or addition to the other location services provided on our clocking app.

Like the other staff clocking options on the app, clocking via QR code has been tested on Android, iOS and Windows phones.

Posted by administrator in domiciliary care and supported living, employee attendance, flexible working, latest news, mobile worker tracking

Get ready for the new 30 minute home care visit

Setting a rota on a tablet computer

With new guidelines recommending that home care visits to the elderly should last a minimum of 30 minutes, it’s more important than ever to have a simple and dependable staff clocking system and effective rota management software.

The guidance, developed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), does allow for shorter visits but only if they are not the main visit of the day – for example, a follow up to check if a client has taken medicine. It also includes taking steps to ensure that clients know their carers by trying to use the same ones whenever possible and letting clients know in advance if their carers are likely to be late or not turn up.

To find out more about our wide range of attendance monitoring and staff scheduling systems and how they can help you meet the demands of this new gold standard for home care, visit our domiciliary care and supported living pages.

Posted by administrator in domiciliary care and supported living, employee attendance, mobile worker tracking, rota software, scheduling software