Timesheets

Facial recognition – for hygienic and fraud-proof staff clocking

 

Recording attendance presents a far higher risk of virus transmission if staff are sharing a traditional terminal – which provides businesses seeking a fraud-proof clocking method with a dilemma.

If a fingerprint or hand reader is used by everyone, a strict cleaning regime needs to be implemented to ensure the well-being of staff and maintain their confidence in a safe workplace.

Should a company decide to install a proximity card or tag-reading terminal to avoid physical contact, then more traditional concerns come into play – such as whether staff are swapping cards or tags to fraudulently record the attendance of a fellow worker who is not actually there.

App-based attendance recording: low-cost, hygienic, tamper-proof

easyLog has for some time offered its clients app-based attendance recording that converts an employee’s smartphone into a hygienic, safe and reliable clocking device. Low-cost and easily implemented, these apps have various features that prevent an employee from falsely recording their attendance, including identifying the GPS coordinates where the clocking was made and recognising if the time on the phone has been tampered with.

Now easyLog has moved this technology even further ahead with its Geo Clock With Photo app for Android and Apple smartphones. This app takes a photo – like a selfie – when an employee records their attendance and automatically verifies it as genuine by biometric facial recognition. It combines this function with geolocation data, so both identity and location are confirmed in one record, providing total assurance that the attendance record is genuine.

Also available for tablets

This app is also available for a tablet to allow a site supervisor to record the attendance of individuals as they arrive – thereby maintaining a safe and hygienic clocking process – or as a wall-mounted device for recording entry and exit from a site.

If you want to be sure that an attendance record is genuine or you maintain a site that demands very secure management of the personnel who are allowed in, easyLog’s Geo Clock With Photo app may be the low cost answer to your needs. And with contact limited to each handset user – or, in the case of a tablet, a particular supervisor – you can be confident that you are reducing the risk of spreading infection too.

Find out more

Contact one of our friendly team on 01892 834406, request a callback using the form on the right or email us your enquiry.

Posted by administrator in Apple iPhone, Clocking and employee attendance, Domiciliary care and supported living, Flexible working, Latest news, Mobile worker tracking, QR code and biometric clocking, Smartphone app, Time and attendance, Timesheets, 0 comments

Facial recognition apps make clocking in as easy as taking a selfie

 

When it comes to attendance recording, few options are more foolproof than biometric devices. But even low-cost fingerprint readers and hand scanners require a level of up-front investment that may be beyond some employers – especially in the current economic climate. But if you want the rigour of biometric staff clocking without the hassle of dedicated devices, there is an answer and it is literally staring you in the face – an easylog facial recognition app for tablet or smartphone.

Evidence of identity that cannot be faked

Our facial recognition attendance apps are particularly useful because they provide evidence of the identity of an employee making a clocking, along with  time, date and geolocation data – so it is impossible for someone to clock in on somebody else’s behalf or from a different location. They are simple to use and install and can be downloaded from the Google and Android online stores, just like any other app.

easylog is currently offering two flexible facial recognition clocking app options – Face Log and Geo Clock With Photo – although we are constantly developing our attendance software range.

Face Log – the always on, fixed clocking option for tablets

This clocking app is for Android tablets and uses the front camera, so we recommend it is wall-mounted for convenience and security. As it is always online, it requires a reliable internet connection at all times. The facial recognition software compares, in real time, a photo taken during clocking with stored images of the employee. Clockings are only accepted if there is a match and are backed up by geolocation data, providing an extremely reliable “there and then” attendance record proving identity, date, place and time.

Face Log can also create clockings through voice recognition and manual photo identification. These options work in the same way as the facial recognition system, with clockings only passed if staff are recognised by the software. There is a further option of speech activation, although this is not biometric and so does not confirm the identity of individual employees.

Geo Clock With Photo – the fast and portable clocking app for tablet and phone

This fast and convenient app works with Android and Apple operating systems on smartphones and tablets. Front and back cameras can be used and it can work offline as well as online, so it is ideal for both fixed and variable locations with inconsistent internet connectivity, such as building sites.

To create a clocking, the facial recognition software takes a photo of the employee with the device’s inbuilt camera and combines this with geolocation data, date and time. Clockings are always accepted, even if the device is offline, and a record is stored showing whether the employee passed or failed the identification. If there is no internet connection at the time of clocking, the photo is transferred to the server when the device is back online, or the next time a clocking is made, and an identification is made retrospectively.

What happens to the clockings?

Clockings from all our apps are converted into an instant employee attendance record, which is automatically sent to our web browser-based software supplied as part of the solution. You can then produce detailed or summarised timesheets across any period per employee and location, deduct unpaid periods and export any report into Excel at the touch of a button.

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, Cleaning management, Clocking and employee attendance, Flexible working, Latest news, QR code and biometric clocking, Smartphone app, Time and attendance, Timesheets, 0 comments

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 12 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, Clocking and employee attendance, Domiciliary care and supported living, Flexible working, Invoicing staff time, Mobile worker tracking, Nursing home management, QR code and biometric clocking, Smartphone app, Time and attendance, Timesheets, 0 comments

Coronavirus disruption: stay on top of attendance and pay wherever your staff are working

 

These are unprecedented times where things are changing rapidly and businesses are having to deal with the unexpected every day. So if your staff need to self-isolate or you close your offices and ask them to work from home, how do you still operate a time and attendance system?

At the very least, you need a solution that is flexible, verifies the employee’s attendance wherever they are and can be implemented rapidly.

easyLog’s simple timesheet management system can be up and running within a day and can be accessed on any device with a web browser and an internet connection. It operates with a variety of easy-to-use attendance recording options, from an app on the employee’s phone or logging in on a website to calling an 0800 number.

So, with the support of easyLog behind you, whatever the coronavirus crisis throws at your business you can rest assured that your staff will be paid correctly and on time. And prices start from just £20 plus VAT a month, which might be the most pleasant shock your business has over the coming weeks and months.

You can find out more about our browser-based timesheet software and attendance recording systems on our website. Alternatively, contact one of our team for individual advice on the most suitable option for your business.

Posted by administrator in Clocking and employee attendance, Flexible working, Invoicing staff time, Minimum wage, Timesheets, 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 management software section of our website. You can also watch a video about managing flexishifts with our software.

Posted by administrator in Business support, Cleaning management, 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, Nursing home management, Rota software, Scheduling software, Time and attendance, Timesheets, 2 comments

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 callback.

Posted by administrator in Business support, Care home management, Cleaning management, Domiciliary care and supported living, Flexible working, Holiday pay, Nursing home management, Payroll analysis, Rota software, Scheduling software, Smartphone app, Timesheets, 0 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 Clocking and 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, 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, Clocking and employee attendance, Domiciliary care and supported living, Flexible working, Invoicing staff time, Mobile worker tracking, Payroll analysis, Rota software, Scheduling software, Smartphone app, Time and attendance, Timesheets, 0 comments

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 send us an email.

Posted by administrator in Apple iPhone, Clocking and employee attendance, Flexible working, Invoicing staff time, Mobile worker tracking, Payroll analysis, Rota software, Scheduling software, Smartphone app, Timesheets, 0 comments

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, Clocking and employee attendance, Flexible working, Mobile worker tracking, Timesheets, 0 comments

Sleep-in shifts: Still not put to bed?

female carer sleeping on shift

Since 2014 the payment of sleep-in shifts at an hourly rate rather than in a single agreed payment has been an ongoing and unresolved issue despite the ruling of an Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) in that year. The tribunal found in favour of at least National Minimum Wage hourly payments by deeming that the care worker was required to be at a place of work at certain hours and was at the disposal of the employer during that period. Furthermore the employee would be subject to disciplinary action if they failed to arrive on time for their shift.

How do you calculate hours when a carer sleeps on shift?

In 2015 it seemed further clarity was provided through guidelines issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. These stated that “A worker who is found to be working, even though they are asleep, is entitled to the national minimum or NLW [National Living Wage] for the entire time they are at work.” But this apparent confirmation must be contrasted with National Minimum Wage legislation published in the same year, which said a worker can only be considered to be “available” when “awake for the purposes of working”.

In another tribunal as recently as this May, involving a carer working for the charity Mencap, the EAT decided in favour of hourly payments for an employee on a sleep-in shift caring for two vulnerable adults. However, ambiguity was given a further lifeline by the judge, who declined to provide a general rule but instead emphasised that each case should be determined on its own facts and considered in relation to different workers’ circumstances.

Care software that handles every sleep-in payment option

Sleep-in shifts are most commonly worked by staff in the learning difficulties care sector and, as a supplier of market leading employee scheduling, attendance recording and care management software, easyLog has many clients operating in this area. Irrespective of the cost implications of any definitive future sleep-in shifts ruling, easyLog clients know that they have at their disposal a functionally-rich solution that enables them to pay their staff efficiently and accurately at both single and hourly payment rates even within a single overnight shift.

What’s more the software can embrace pay schemes where carers are paid at different rates for working with more behaviourally-challenged service users and be paid at higher rates for working in more remote locations. All instantly calculated, clearly presented and exportable into a wide range of third party payroll software products such as Sage and Northgate.

Please contact us if you’d like more information on how easyLog’s software can future-proof your business.

Posted by administrator in Care home management, Minimum wage, Nursing home management, Payroll analysis, Rota software, Scheduling software, Timesheets, 0 comments

Clocks going back – will your software pay your night staff correctly?

That’s an interesting point given that British Summertime officially ends this Sunday at 2am with the clocks going back by one hour.

So if you pay night staff by the hour will you be paying one hour more for anyone working the night shift starting this Saturday? And correspondingly of course do you pay one less hour when the clocks go forward in March and British Summertime starts?

Some organisations appear to rely on the supposition that an employee working on the night shift when Summertime ends will also be working on the night shift when Summertime starts 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 0333 343 1004. 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 to one of our team.

Posted by administrator in British summertime hours, Business support, Care home management, Cleaning management, Clocking and employee attendance, Flexible working, Holiday pay, Invoicing staff time, Minimum wage, Mobile worker tracking, Nursing home management, Payroll analysis, Rota software, Scheduling software, Timesheets, 0 comments

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, Flexible working, Mobile worker tracking, Payroll analysis, Rota software, Scheduling software, Timesheets, 0 comments

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 or send us an e-mail.  Mike Ashley we await your call…!

Posted by administrator in Business support, Clocking and employee attendance, Flexible working, Holiday pay, Latest news, Minimum wage, Rota software, Scheduling software, Timesheets, 0 comments

Are you and your staff ready for Brexit?

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, 0 comments

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.

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, Clocking and employee attendance, Flexible working, Payroll analysis, Rota software, Scheduling software, Timesheets, 0 comments

Mobile Worker Tracking: A growing issue requiring different solutions

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

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

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

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

Details of all our employee tracking solutions can be found on our website.

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, Clocking and employee attendance, Flexible working, Invoicing staff time, Mobile worker tracking, Payroll analysis, Rota software, Scheduling software, Timesheets, 0 comments

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, Clocking and employee attendance, Flexible working, Invoicing staff time, Nursing home management, Payroll analysis, Rota software, Scheduling software, Timesheets, 0 comments

Employee attendance management coming to a cloud near you

tablet-clouds-sml-crop

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, Clocking and employee attendance, Domiciliary care and supported living, Latest news, Payroll analysis, Rota software, Timesheets, 0 comments

Coming soon – new generation of NFC phone and tablet clocking terminals

Android-branded NFC tags and key fob

In a first for easyLog, we will soon be releasing a new generation of devices based on near field communications (NFC) technology, which will allow tablets and smartphones to be used as clocking-in terminals – and much more.

“This is a great step forward because it means we can supply an all-purpose reader built into an everyday device – a computer or phone – rather than one designed specifically for clocking in,” says easyLog’s Graham Rolando.

“It makes the technology more convenient and flexible and, at the same time, more cost-effective for our clients, which is something we think they will welcome.”

The easy-to-use and fully automated system operates on Android tablets and smartphones, turning them into fixed location clocking terminals or handheld devices carried by individual employees. It works in conjunction with special NFC-enabled tags, which come in a number of formats, including cards, key fobs and stickies.

The pack includes a master tag and user tags. Waving either type of tag near the device, or vice-versa, automatically invokes the software. A user tag will bring up a screen prompting for clock in or out. When an option has been selected, the device sends the record to the host computer. The master tag allows system administrators to configure the device and program user tags.

There are two handheld modes and one terminal mode:

  1. Software on smartphone with tag in fixed location (handheld mode 1) – suitable for domiciliary care or the cleaning industry
  2. Software on portable tablet with tag in fixed location (handheld mode 2) – suitable for night checks in care homes
  3. Software on fixed tablet with tags held by individual employees (terminal mode) – conventional staff clock-in

This product is available for order now. Tags can be configured with i-Button codes for seamless transition from the i-Button system.

Three further products based on this software will be available later this year:

  • NFC Employee Station – wave tag over device to see employee messages, rota and pay information (extension of terminal mode above)
  • NFC Care Room Checks – care records currently available via Care Logger automatically accessed in new front-end when tablet is presented to resident room tag
  • NFC Domiciliary Records – employees wave phone near service-user tag to display care requirements, visit information, care plans and risk assessments relating to the service user (extension of handheld mode 1 above)

For further information on any of our NFC products, please contact us.

Posted by administrator in Care home management, Clocking and employee attendance, Invoicing staff time, Latest news, Mobile worker tracking, Scheduling software, Timesheets, 1 comment

(TOIL) Time Off In Lieu now available in easyLog+S Staff Scheduling software

For those organisations, especially in the public sector, that operate a TOIL (Time Off In Lieu) system for their employees, help is now at hand to monitor and report on this efficiently within easyLog’s staff scheduling software.

A TOIL system allows employees, in agreement with their line manager, the option to take additional (non-holiday) time off instead of being paid at a higher overtime rate. Like a bank account with a running balance, an employee therefore earns TOIL hours and then has them debited as they take time off in the future. Usually TOIL hours must be taken within an agreed period or the TOIL credits are lost.

easyLog’s implementation of TOIL within its scheduling software allows the manager to see instantly the TOIL hours on the rota. The periods of TOIL both given and taken can be viewed together with the original shifts that were additionally worked  to earn TOIL and the shifts that will not now be worked due to TOIL being taken. Each employee has a TOIL account that can be viewed across any date range and shows the current balance of TOIL at any time together with any notes that the manager made at the point of agreeing, giving or removing TOIL periods.

The TOIL facility is available to any client currently on software support and will be provided within their next automatic upgrade.

Any organisation that is not a current user of our staff scheduling application but would like to discuss or see a demonstration of the software’s TOIL functionality can contact our offices on 01892 834406 or e-mail info@easylog.co.uk.

Posted by administrator in Care home management, Latest news, Payroll analysis, Rota software, Scheduling software, Time off in lieu, Timesheets, TOIL, 0 comments

Four easy steps to tracking your mobile workers

For a growing number of people, going to work doesn’t mean travelling to the same place at the same time every day. These days even smaller employers usually offer flexible hours and homeworking, while bigger companies are increasingly moving parts of their business to specialist remote offices. In fact, global market analysts IDC predict that by 2013 there will be 129.5 million mobile workers inWestern Europe– that’s more than the number of traditional workers.

According to IDC, mobile workers can be broadly defined as office-based, non-office-based and home-based. But in real life it’s a bit more complicated. We have discovered from working with our wide client base that mobile workers come in many and varied forms – and they are becoming more diverse all the time.

This makes choosing an appropriate mobile worker tracking and attendance recording solution difficult to say the least. So we have put together this four-point plan to make the process easier.

1. One size does not fit all

Do an instant audit of your mobile workers and break down their activities. Categorise them according to the extent of their mobility – for example, do they:

  • Always work from home?
  • Check in to an office daily or just from time to time?
  • Work at a range of company or client sites?

Also take a note of the numbers in each category and how often each employee visits a location. This should give you a picture of the diversity of your workforce and the kind of attendance system, or systems, you’ll want. For instance, you’ll probably need to consider whether staff arrive at a work location individually or in groups; if they are occasional, part-time workers or regular, full-time staff; if you need instant notification of their arrival or can receive the clocking record later; and whether you might need more than one monitoring system for different employees.

2: Make your investment count

Of course, there are cost-implications to take into account, too. For example, if you have staff who work for just a few hours a week at a particular location, you are unlikely to want to invest in a state-of-the-art visit tracking system based on smartphones or a biometric hand-scanner.

But just how do you work out which attendance monitoring hardware offers the best value for money? We always find it helps to decide where your main cost lies. If your workers are attending multiple sites on a regular basis, for example, it’s likely to be with the employees. But if you have a variety of staff making irregular visits to a single location, you should probably focus your investment on the site.

3: Keep an eye on the bigger picture

So you’ve found what looks to be your ideal attendance monitoring solution and it’s the right price – but are you sure it really meets your needs? What looks good on paper can sometimes be a let down in the field. For instance, can the system cope with more than one employee starting work at the same time? And what about ongoing costs? Have you got your clients’ permission to install terminals at their sites? And is the necessary infrastructure in place? It’s easy to overlook details like this when you have so much ground to cover.

The best approach is to look at what’s required from every point of view – your employees’, your clients’ and your own – before you make a decision. You may end up compromising on some details, but the system you choose has to work for everyone involved if it’s to be a success.

4: Big is not necessarily better

You may start off wanting an all-singing, all-dancing fully-integrated staff scheduling system with full payroll analysis and client invoicing functions, but experience shows that such complex, all-encompassing solutions are likely to prove a disappointment. Staff often have too little time or inclination to learn to use them properly and managers struggle to implement such a major project.

The issue of implementation is one that you need to keep in mind throughout the selection process. Sometimes starting smaller and developing your system as your needs change can be the most effective way forward. It’s easier to manage and, in an increasingly joined-up world, the best way to take advantage of future technology.

Posted by administrator in Clocking and employee attendance, Mobile worker tracking, Rota software, Scheduling software, Timesheets, 0 comments

Get the right biometric reader for staff clocking

Whenever easyLog is asked to supply a biometric reader for recording staff attendance hours we will only make one recommendation based on our current experiences – implement a hand scanner.

Installing a biometric time clock presents many advantages. It uniquely proves the attendance of each employee without any possibility of another member of staff clocking in on their behalf. A biometric reader needs minimal administration because there are no cards or tags to distribute among the workforce and it removes the possibility of staff being unable to record their attendance because they have forgotten their badge or tag. However, these advantages will be lost, and time could even be wasted in calculating staff hours, if the biometric recording device you choose is unreliable in its primary task of correctly recognising an employee first time and every time.

Until easyLog is presented with a fingerprint reader that identifies an employee every time then the following remain true:

1. A fingerprint reader is based on identification of the minute detail of an individual’s finger. A process that is fine for highly secure access control in a clean environment but not always appropriate for busy staff wanting purely to clock in and out.

2. A biometric reader must be compatible with the situation in which it is operating. If workers are consistently involved in a dirty environment, frequently immerse their hands in water or handle cleaning chemicals, for example, a fingerprint reader will always struggle to identify the employee.

3. If a biometric reader cannot identify an employee with 100 per cent reliability it causes doubt. This affords the employee with an excuse for not recording their attendance. The reader is entrusted with providing irrefutable proof of time and attendance and is therefore critically relied upon for the calculation of staff pay. It must work first time and every time.

Based on easyLog’s considerable experience of implementing biometric readers, the only reliable and value-for-money biometric reader at this present time is hand scanning. A hand scanner, appropriately for time and attendance, views the shape of the individual hand and verifies this against his or her record. Its reliability is not impaired by dirt, cuts, hand gels, subtle changes in hand size due to heat or cold or immersion in water. With only a routine weekly cleaning procedure it will carry on working consistently with any size of workforce.

easyLog has implemented hand scanners with all of its time and attendance, pay analysis and staff scheduling software modules. In all cases the reliability of the applications has been completely matched by that of the biometric reader.

easyLog is always reviewing its product offerings and will be very pleased to hear of user experiences of fingerprint readers that differ from our conclusions.

Posted by administrator in Clocking and employee attendance, Invoicing staff time, Mobile worker tracking, Payroll analysis, Rota software, Scheduling software, Timesheets, 0 comments