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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

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

Are you and your staff ready for Brexit?

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If there’s one thing we can be sure about following the Brexit vote, it is uncertainty. None of us knows for sure what the coming months and years will bring, despite all the claims and counter claims. But when it comes to the European working time directive, it seems fair to say there will be no change soon because the UK already has an opt-out of the 48-hour week.

While this means there is no urgent need to rethink your staff scheduling system, it’s a good time to make sure you are prepared for any changes when they do come.

Having the right staff management system in place will help you ensure you have the optimum number of staff on your rota to keep your business running smoothly while controlling contracted hours, so you can keep costs down and service levels up.

Add to that the benefit of detailed budgeting, invoicing and payroll reports that can be tailored to your needs and you have all you need to keep a check on your staffing expenditure.

With an easyLog system, you also get a range of extra management tools that help streamline virtually all aspects of staffing, from training to HR and personal record keeping.

Visit our website to find out more.

Posted by administrator in business support, care home management, cleaning management, domiciliary care and supported living, flexible working, invoicing staff time, latest news, nursing home management, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software, timesheets

How to keep your home care staff happy by giving them the shifts they want – and you need

Setting a rota on a tablet computer

If you run a care agency, planning the rota is probably one of your least favourite jobs – it’s complicated, time consuming and often impossible to please every member of staff, no matter how hard you try. But creating an efficient and cost-effective staff rota does not have to be a headache-inducing chore.

easyLog’s home care software has been designed specially to help you plan a rota with your staff in mind. Our advanced rota facilities can ensure that staff are given adequate hours while guaranteeing that work is allocated in employee-friendly blocks. You can use the software to make sure that carers are not called back for a short evening shift after a long morning session, for instance, or even choose to avoid split shifts altogether.

And if you need to make last minute changes to the rota or schedule extra shifts for those that want them, that’s not a problem either. Our smartphone-based care and rota software provides up-to-date information ensuring all the information you need is always to hand, wherever and whenever you need it. Plus it has the advantage of keeping paperwork to a minimum.

Find out more about our specialist care home software here.

Posted by administrator in business support, domiciliary care and supported living, employee attendance, flexible working, rota software, scheduling software

Set your rota for the new living wage

staff scheduling with the easyLog rota app

It’s not long until April and the introduction of the National Living Wage, when virtually all employees aged 25 and over will be entitled to at least £7.20 per hour. For employers working to a tight budget, that means either gritting your teeth and upping the wages bill or juggling your rotas to keep staffing costs down.

Whichever you choose, controlling wage costs by selecting the right staff for the most appropriate job function has never been more important – and neither has having flexible and efficient rota management software.

easyLog’s scheduling system can take the hard work out of organising your rota with a helpful budgeting facility. This enables you to set your rota quickly and easily by filtering workers via factors that determine their rate of pay, such as training, qualifications and seniority.

You can read more about setting a rota to a budget with our staff scheduling software in our flexible working hours case study.

The government recommends taking these four steps to ensure you are ready for the National Living Wage:

  1. Know who is eligible in your organisation
  2. Make the appropriate payroll adjustments
  3. Let staff know about their new pay rate as soon as possible
  4. Check that staff under 25 are earning right minimum wage

Find out more about preparing for the National Living Wage at Livingwage.gov.uk.

Posted by administrator in business support, care home management, domiciliary care and supported living, flexible working, nursing home management, rota software, scheduling software

A Case Study on Forward Looking Dinosaurs

You can find an interesting new case study on the easyLog website about an implementation of the company’s staff scheduling software at a dinosaur-themed adventure park in Norfolk.

The Dinosaur Adventure park has expanded rapidly over the recent past and invested to make itself a major attraction in the local area. Their investment in easyLog’s staff scheduling software has also paid dividends as park operations manager Adam Goymour reveals, It’s given us a faster system, with an improved layout for departmental breakdown of rota costs, and provided the potential to look in far greater detail at our wage bill. It’s been well worth it.

Read case study

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, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software, timesheets

How many hours do you pay when the clocks go forward or backward?

That’s an interesting point given that British Summertime officially starts this Sunday at 2am with the clock jumping forward by one hour.

So if you pay night staff by the hour will you be paying one hour less for anyone working the night shift starting this Saturday? And correspondingly of course do you pay an extra hour when the clocks go back in October and British Summertime comes to an end?

Some organisations appear to rely on the supposition that an employee working on the night shift when Summertime begins will also be working on the night shift when Summertime ends 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, employee attendance, flexible working, invoicing staff time, nursing home management, 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

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