Time and attendance

Clocking in with a QR code: cheaper than chips!

The business world emerging from the covid-19 pandemic will undoubtedly be very different from the one that entered the crisis. It will be even more cost-conscious, given the additional overheads of making and keeping premises safe for employees and visitors, and staff will have a heightened awareness of hygiene, with frequently touched surfaces and equipment requiring regular and scheduled cleaning. Work is also likely to be more flexible in terms of where and when it is conducted, with split shifts and staggered start times – and, as a result, monitoring staff hours and calculating pay will be more complex and require greater input and control.

Smartphone attendance apps for the new normal

In line with our reputation for supplying low cost, robust and practical employee time management solutions, easyLog has ensured that its range of QR code-based attendance recording apps meet all the requirements of hard-pressed employers coming to terms with the new normal.

From just £20 per month plus VAT for a system covering up to 15 employees, staff can record attendance at a single or multiple sites using their own (or company-issued) smartphone and easyLog’s Location Clock App.

Simple to download from the major stores and install, the app automatically scans and recognises a QR Code that is defined per location. It converts this into an instant employee attendance record and sends this to the e-Log web browser-based software application supplied as part of the solution. This produces detailed or summarised timesheets across any period per employee and location, can deduct unpaid break periods and export any report into Excel for further analysis.

QR codes – the low-cost solution that covers all the bases

  • Low cost – just over £1 per month per employee for the cloud-based solution. easyLog provides software support as required, online training and daily backup. No up-front, one-off set up and training costs – everything you need is included in the monthly amount. The minimum contract length is nine months with one-month cancellation. Simple, clear and straightforward.
  • QR codes are free to generate and download from many websites. Your only cost is the paper and ink for printing.
  • Hygienic – employees use a smartphone which is always under their control, so there are no health concerns about multiple staff touching an attendance recording device and how clean and safe that unit remains.

For more information about attendance recording with QR codes, you can read this case study.

Find out more

easyLog offers a wide range of apps, attendance recording technologies and software. Talk to one of our team today on 01892 834406, request a callback using the form on the right or email us your enquiry.

Posted by administrator in Apple iPhone, Business support, Care home management, Cleaning management, Domiciliary care and supported living, Employee attendance, Flexible working, Invoicing staff time, Mobile worker tracking, Nursing home management, QR code and biometric clocking, Smartphone app, Time and attendance, Timesheets, 0 comments

Two-for-one app records visitor as well as employee attendance

 

Knowing which employees and visitors are in your building at any time is important, even in normal circumstances. In the present pandemic, however, this information – and the possible need for it to be available to health authorities in the event of local covid-19 cases – has become a heightened issue for many more workplaces, including those with smaller numbers of staff.

easyLog, the innovative provider of low-cost attendance management and staff scheduling systems, has delivered yet again with a value for money, tablet-based attendance solution that records both staff and visitor arrival and departure data.

The system works with standard Android tablets, such as those made by Samsung and Asus, and a local wireless connection – or a SIM card if used on a remote site, for example in the building industry. The app enables both employees and visitors to record their attendance by presenting a tab for each: reducing investment in hardware and software while also simplifying implementation and operation.

Simple and accurate two-in-one attendance logging

Employees select their name from a dropdown list and are asked to enter a PIN as confirmation. They then indicate by clear buttons if they are starting or leaving work. The app confirms the name of the staff member and the date and time of attendance. Importantly, if the employee has made a mistake – for example, by recording another ‘in’ clocking when they are about to leave the building – the app will question their action and ask them to confirm if their attendance record is correct. A simple step that helps reduce management involvement and produces comprehensive timesheet reports accurately and swiftly.

Visitor details are entered prior to their visit through the e-Log timesheet software, together with the name of the person they are due to meet. As e-Log is a web browser-based software application this can be done on any device – PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone – with a connection to an internet browser. This enables easy access and last-minute adjustments to be made by busy managers who may have infrequent access to office administration systems.

On arrival, the visitor is presented with a dropdown list of visitors for that day from which they select their name to confirm their arrival and again on departure. Should the visitor not have been pre-registered, they can enter their name and who they are seeing using the on-screen keypad on the tablet. Visitor details are held in the software for future use thereby simplifying the process of arranging further meetings.

Low-cost solution includes our browser-based software

Prices start from just £20 plus VAT per month for an organisation employing up to 15 staff. This includes the app, e-Log timesheet and visitor software, supply of a managed cloud platform with daily backup (meaning you don’t need to worry about implementing the software on your own PCs or network) and installation. We even provide an on-line training session to show you round the software and help you get operational as quickly and smoothly as possible. And that monthly cost includes telephone access to our help desk in case you have any questions or technical issues in the future.

Innovative, simple, low-cost and easy to use. Why not call or email us for further information?

Posted by administrator in Business support, Care home management, Cleaning management, Employee attendance, Latest news, Time and attendance, 0 comments

New ways of working post lockdown: staff rotas

It is looking increasingly likely that social distancing and other protective measures are set to be the new normal for some time to come – in the workplace as well as public spaces. As a result, many employers are facing difficult decisions about keeping their business up and running while ensuring staff stay safe.

One of the changes that many are considering is staggering staff attendance so the two-metre rule can be maintained – which in most cases means setting up a staff rota. For first-timers, this can be a daunting task.

With the help of purpose-built rota software, however, even the most complex working arrangements can be managed quickly and easily, leaving managers more time to deal with other tasks.

A rota is all about balance…

Setting a rota is essentially a balance between the cover you need and employee availability. It sounds simple – but when you throw in issues such as holiday entitlement, part-timers, unexpected absences, different pay grades, TUPE terms, public holidays, TOIL, flexitime and so on, it is far from straightforward.

Our scheduling software allows users to deal with all these situations and more at the touch of a button. It also allows employees’ regular hours to be stored on a rolling rota so there is no need to keep re-inputting data. And when there are gaps to be filled, the software can filter employees via criteria that determine their rate of pay, such as training, qualifications and seniority, so you can be sure of staying within budget.

Sharing shift info? There’s an app for that

Sharing shift information quickly and reliably is a key element of a smooth running rota. With our smartphone apps, shift details can be sent direct to employees’ phones as soon as the rota is set. They can also use the app to confirm their shifts and other related tasks, such as managing leave and expenses.

We can even supply smartphone or tablet-based clocking apps to keep an accurate record of attendance if required.

Find out more…

For more information about our rota software, or any other attendance management solutions, speak to one of our team.

Posted by administrator in Business support, Employee attendance, Flexible working, Rota software, Scheduling software, Smartphone app, Time and attendance, 0 comments

easylog updates care software app for temporary hotel hospitals

With the covid-19 epidemic causing disruption and hardship to businesses across the UK, particularly in the hard-pressed care sector, we were pleased to be able to help one of our clients meet the challenge of extending their care services to six hotels being used as temporary overspill hospitals.

Salisbury-based care group Abicare called us after they were contracted to provide care staff for recuperating patients from hospitals across Hampshire and Dorset. The carers were needed to look after both covid-positive and non-covid patients who were being accommodated in empty local hotels operated by major chains.

“Because of the unique nature of the contract, Abicare needed us to make some tweaks to their HomeCare software app and import a lot of new data,” says easyLog development director James Clark.

“The changes we made were chiefly to enable care staff to make more notes to meet the differing care record needs of patients and, crucially, to track patient visits so appropriate hygiene procedures could be followed. We worked with Abicare over a weekend to create a new instance of the software and get it up and running as fast as possible. We are proud to say it is already in use in the new hotel ‘wards’.”

Find out more

For more information about our care systems, visit our website. Alternatively, contact one of our team for a chat.

 

Posted by administrator in Business support, Care recording, Domiciliary care and supported living, Employee attendance, Latest news, Time and attendance, 1 comment

Keeping staff safe by maintaining attendance device hygiene

 

One of the side-effects of the coronavirus pandemic is that we have all become much more aware of hygiene procedures, with government advice on hand washing and disinfecting surfaces with increased regularity becoming embedded in the routine of our daily lives.

This has caused our clients to consider the most effective way of cleaning their attendance recording hardware and so address employee concerns about the frequency with which this equipment is touched by multiple people.

Regular hand-washing is more important than ever

Like any hard surface – whether it be a door handle, desk or computer keyboard – germs can survive for a varying period of up to 72 hours after contact (source: www.gov.uk). We therefore recommend cleaning your clocking equipment more frequently using the usual recommended method while also encouraging employees to follow the government’s advice on washing their hands more often and for a minimum period of 20 seconds.

How technology can make staff clocking more hygienic

Before the current pandemic, a quick visual check or once weekly clean would have satisfied most staff that the contact they had with items in their work environment was perfectly safe. Understandably that view has changed and may well continue even after the threat from Covid 19 has been seen to pass.

In the belief that attitudes may fundamentally change on hygiene in the workplace, we have been asked by clients if options exist for equipment that requires no contact by the employee.

In short, there is no attendance hardware used by multiple staff that enables zero contact from the user. As a minimum, the employee will need to enter the in or out direction of their record. A face recognition terminal provides the facility to stand away from the hardware and thereby minimise contact with it while also offering the advantage of unique biometric recognition. A tablet running one of easyLog’s attendance apps will still require an employee to touch it but provides a flat surface that makes the cleaning process simple and efficient.

Our smartphone app means users do not have to share equipment

If staff members each possess a smartphone, easyLog offers options with easily downloadable apps that allow reliable and accurate attendance recording without recourse to equipment used by others. Of course, the practicality of this will depend on the workforce, the numbers involved and layout of the entrance area and specific clocking location.

These are all options that easyLog is happy to discuss now or in the post-pandemic, and probably more hygiene-conscious, world into which businesses will emerge. Until that time, please stay safe.

Posted by administrator in Care home management, Cleaning management, Domiciliary care and supported living, Employee attendance, Nursing home management, Smartphone app, Time and attendance, 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. You can also watch a video about managing flexishifts with our software.

Posted by administrator in Business support, Cleaning management, Employee attendance, Flexible working, Latest news, Mobile worker tracking, Payroll analysis, Rota software, Scheduling software, Smartphone app, Time and attendance, Timesheets, 0 comments

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, 2 comments

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, Smartphone app, Time and attendance, Timesheets, 0 comments

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, Smartphone 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 send us an email.

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, Smartphone app, Time and attendance, Timesheets, 0 comments