The easyLog Blog

The new mobile-friendly easyLog website is now live

 

Previous visitors to the easyLog website may have noticed that over the past few months things have started to change. We have given our sites a bright, modern new look and made them more accessible – particularly on mobile devices. The last section, the core home pages, have now gone live.

We have kept all the key product sections – staff scheduling and web-based software, clocking and staff attendance, cleaning management, care home software and domiciliary care – but have added a new section for supported living providers. These have all been given their own sub-domains so they are distinct from each other but still integrated into the main site network. We also have pages showcasing videos and case studies and, of course, information about the company and how to contact us.

Please take a look around and feel free to get in touch by email or phone if you would like to know more about any of our products.

 

Posted by administrator in latest news, 0 comments

Reconciling the risk and reward of cleaners’ flexible hours

male cleaner working in an office corridor

If you offer your cleaners the option of choosing when they work at client sites you will know that this involves both risk and reward. Employees who have greater freedom to fit their work commitments around their personal lives are likely to reward you by being more reliable, loyal and motivated. On the other hand, you run a bigger risk of work not being delivered within the hours specified in your client contract – which means spending more of your time monitoring when and where work has been delivered. There is a way to reconcile these two apparently conflicting aspects of flexible working, however: easyLog’s +Sb staff scheduling software.

At easyLog we have a growing group of cleaning company customers using our staff scheduling systems. Listening to them, we have added functionality that delivers ease of use with the detailed monitoring and reporting efficiencies they require – and at a sensible price that they have been unable to find elsewhere. Starting from £60 plus VAT per month for up to 25 cleaners, our +Sb scheduling solution provides a phone-based attendance recording app for each cleaner, scheduling functionality, pay analysis and reporting software on a managed cloud platform with daily backup, on-line training and telephone support – a complete solution, all developed and provided within the UK.

So, how does this all work?

Cleaners download an app from the Play or Apple stores and enter a code that automatically sets up their phones to link with the scheduling and reporting software that you use. They then go to a site, open the app and scan a QR code that you have printed and placed at each location to uniquely identify it. QR codes are generated for free on the internet. The employee does the same again when they leave the client’s site. These attendance records are automatically transferred into the software and compared in real time against the schedule of work on the staff rota. You can define if you require on-screen alerts or emails generated if a cleaner has not arrived. Similarly, the cleaner has a panic button on the app to create an alert if they have a problem.

Greater efficiency and control

If the cleaner has worked for the agreed period within the defined time bands then there is no further action to take – those hours will be passed into the Pay Report and analysed to the correct pay rate. An Authorisation routine highlights per cleaner any hours where the required cleaning period has not been met. Settings in the software allow the user to define any permitted leeway if attendance is shorter than the period defined, for example no tolerance or up to five minutes. The parameters can also draw attention to where extra time has been spent at the site thereby flagging the possibility of additional client charges and payment for the employee.

Analysed pay reports can then be produced across any period with hours broken down by the different pay bands that may apply for working during weekdays, weekends, bank holidays and so on. There is then the option to export the finished report into a third party payroll product, such as Sage, creating yet more efficiency in the process of producing employee payslips.

Explore further

If you would like to know more about what the easyLog+Sb solution could do for your cleaning business, please call us on 01892 834406, send us an email or visit the cleaning section of our website.

Posted by administrator in business support, cleaning management, employee attendance, flexible working, latest news, mobile worker tracking, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software, smart phone App, time and attendance, timesheets

Six steps to CQC-proofing your staff rota

 

smiling female carer with a resident

Setting the rota can be one of the most stressful and time-consuming managerial tasks, not least because ensuring a care home has adequate carers in place at all times is something that CQC inspectors will be looking at closely.

Suitable staff scheduling software can take a lot of the strain when it comes to creating a rota. Here are some of the many ways specialist solutions can help.

1. Ensuring cover is always available

One of the time-saving features of our scheduling software that customers depend on most is the ability to store employees’ regular hours on a rolling rota. There is no need to keep re-inputting data, the rota can be prepared as many weeks in advance as required and managers can see at a glance where shifts need to be filled. At the same time, staff can be confident of getting the shifts they want. When absences inevitably occur, the software can be used to find suitable cover quickly and easily, even at short notice. Employees can be filtered via criteria that determine their rate of pay, such as training, qualifications and seniority, so you can be sure of always having staffing levels that meet regulatory requirements without burning your budget.

When it comes to managing leave, easylog rota software can automatically check that the required cover is still available for a proposed period of absence.

2. Giving staff plenty of warning about their shifts

A reliable and timely method of informing staff about their shifts is essential for smooth continuity of care. By using our employee smartphone apps,  shift details can be sent from the main rota software direct to carers’ phones at the touch of a button as soon as the rota is set. Your carers can confirm the shift immediately, saving time and reducing the possibility of errors as shifts will always be available to view on the phone. Staff can also use the app for other routine tasks, such as managing leave and expenses and checking clockings against shifts, making associated admin faster and more efficient.

3. Comparing clockings with shifts

An integrated clocking system makes calculating pay simpler and more accurate and, more importantly from the CQC’s point of view, allows managers to show that no periods have been left uncovered. Our software can be used with any of our attendance options, from mobile phones and iPads to biometric handscanners, fingerprint readers and facial recognition devices.  We even have specialist electronic devices for monitoring night checks so you have a reliable record that routine but essential care tasks have been recorded.  To find the best match for your care home, just contact one of our team.

4. Providing adequate records

A further benefit of using specialist scheduling software is that a full record of the rota is available for CQC to inspect and can be retained for the statutory period without keeping multiple paper files. As well as saving space, this means records can be searched quickly and easily and electronic reports  generated as required.

5. Being able to show clients are receiving the right staff allocation

Supported living providers can prove care has been provided by allocating staff on the rota to individual or multiple service users. They can also show the local authority that the care it is paying for has been delivered through easily-generated reports and invoice clients directly from the software.

6. Using reports to improve service provision

The opportunity to produce reports is one of the key management benefits of a software-based rota. For example, shift and absence records can be used as an accurate input to staff supervisions and any problems can be pinpointed and acted upon – something that CQC inspectors like to see as evidence that fit and proper management is in place.

To find out more about our rota software and clocking options, or any other products, please request a call-back or contact us.

Posted by administrator in care home management, CQC Inspections, domiciliary care and supported living, employee attendance, nursing home management, rota software, scheduling software, time and attendance, timesheets

Manage holiday cover without losing your cool this summer

For most of us, summer is about sunshine, days out and getting away from it all for a week or two. But for employers it means more gaps in the rota to be filled and fewer staff willing and able to cover, plus additional complications when it comes to calculating pay. This is especially true of smaller employers and those in seasonal trades, who often find the holiday season the most stressful and exhausting time of the year.

Of course, scheduling software cannot take all the pressure out of summer staffing issues but chosen and used appropriately it can make life much simpler.

Dealing with the staff rota

The most pressing matter at holiday time has got to be ensuring you have enough people available at all times to keep your operation running smoothly. This is particularly challenging if your staffing requirements are variable at the best of times. But suitable rota software can really help – not only by alerting managers to potential gaps in the rota and providing suggestions for filling them but also allowing adjustments to be made quickly and easy, until the last minute if required.

easyLog rota software has in-built and optional features that take a lot of the stress out of managing holiday absences, no matter how complex your staffing levels. These include automatically checking that the necessary cover is available to meet your pre-defined staffing profile as soon as a leave request is submitted. Employees can also check their leave status and submit holiday requests directly to the software via their smartphones, freeing up admin time spent handling enquiries.

Calculating holiday pay

It is not just the rota that gets complicated in the holiday season – working out correct pay rates can cause a bit of a headache too. Among the issues you may need to take into account when calculating holiday pay are:

  • Staff who work variable roles, rates and/or shifts
  • Adjustments for overnights
  • Bank Holiday rates
  • Regular overtime – compulsory and voluntary
  • Routine out of hours work and on call shifts

easylog software can manage multiple pay rates, so calculating the correct rate of pay is simple. A Shift Analysis report, for example, automatically calculates an employee’s average pay per hour across any period. This can be used to determine the average hourly rate of the hours worked by casual and bank staff, for instance, and so the applicable pay rate for when they are on leave.

Managing leave requests

At this time of year, leave requests tend to come in thick and fast, often at short notice. And so time spent dealing with them also increases.

easylog rota software has a detailed holiday report that shows at a glance how much leave staff have already taken and what they have remaining. This is displayed in simple percentage terms, with a large negative percentage indicating they have a lot of holiday entitlement still to take and vice versa.

Employees can also use our rota app to check their holiday entitlement and book time off direct from their phones. The request goes directly to the main easylog rota software so admins can see at a glance if there will be cover available.

For more information on our rota and payroll reporting software and smartphone apps, please contact us or request a .

Posted by administrator in business support, care home management, cleaning management, domiciliary care and supported living, employee attendance, flexible working, Holiday pay, nursing home management, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software, smart phone App, timesheets

Soft landing for smaller businesses on the cloud

It is often said that the internet is a great equaliser and, for smaller companies, we are finding that very much to be the case. Thanks to the web high tech solutions are no longer the preserve of big companies with generous investment budgets – nowadays even micro companies operating on a shoestring can take advantage of sophisticated time and cost-saving technology.

One of the fastest growing options for our smaller customers is cloud-based services. The opportunity to run software via the internet, rather than on expensive real-world hardware, has made our staff scheduling and attendance management systems available to a whole new raft of customers who until fairly recently would not have considered it.

Replacing traditional hardware with smartphones

In particular, we are finding that cloud-based systems are proving popular with smaller companies that want to dispense with traditional hardware and connect to easyLog services from the outside world using smartphones instead.

The benefits are threefold:

  • There is no need to invest in infrastructure other than smartphones, which employers and staff usually already own
  • There is no software “footprint” – it does not have to be loaded onto a central desktop or laptop computer, although it can be if required
  • Browser-based services can be accessed anywhere, at any time – ideal for busy bosses who are constantly on the move

If you would like to find out more about our cloud-based services and how they can make your staff management more efficient, contact us or request a call back.

Posted by administrator in employee attendance, flexible working, invoicing staff time, mobile worker tracking, rota software, scheduling software, smart phone App, time and attendance, timesheets

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

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

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

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