billing staff time

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

Meeting the demands of multiple charge rates

keyboard and coffee mug denoting office work

With cash-strapped councils scrutinising ways to save money, care contract negotiations have become an even greater battleground where, among other things, service providers are being pushed to be more flexible in their charge structures. That means implementing multiple charging bands, which in turn means increasingly complex invoice calculations for managers – and more headaches.

To meet the financial demands of the care commissioners, evidence suggests care providers are being asked to accept a number of different charge rates for bands of hours in the day or group of days during the week over which they are providing care services. This means they can find themselves applying multiple rates for morning, afternoon and night care provision and, in some cases, additional rates for Saturday and Sunday.

The result is an administrative nightmare, with potential for miscalculations, loss of revenue and delayed payments affecting cash flow – unless you have suitable software in place.

Multiple charge rates are dealt with in seconds

For less than the cost of a tank of petrol a month, easyLog’s Home Care Studio software takes the hard labour out of your service’s admin and record keeping. Multiple charge rates can be defined and applied in seconds, along with multiple pay rates per employee if required. So you can be confident that funder invoices together with payroll are calculated accurately and efficiently.

And with other functionality including care planning and risk assessments records, personnel management incorporating comprehensive training and supervisions facilities and a variety of electronic visit recording options, there’s never been a more relevant time to explore what easyLog could offer your business.

To find out more about our specialist software for community care providers, visit our dedicated domiciliary care website or request a callback from one of our team.

Posted by administrator in Care home management, Domiciliary care and supported living, Invoicing staff time, Nursing home management, Payroll analysis, Scheduling software, 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

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

Prove your night care checks are being done

using handheld device displaying a care record during a night check

aR-Log calls up a client’s care record on a night check

easyLog has always recognised that night checks in the residential care setting are very important to prove that care is provided to the same high standard throughout the whole day. That’s why we introduced our simple a-Log solution some ten years ago to give a user friendly, built-for-purpose solution to confirm that night time room checks had actually taken place.

Ten years on and the care sector has changed dramatically – as has technology and easyLog. We have now released our aR-Log solution for night time checking – it’s suitable for monitoring community care visits as well – based on our NFC-Log handheld. This unit is about the size of a smartphone and has a similar screen. It connects by wi-fi to the software or by SIM if you are using the system in the community.

The NFC-Log handheld uses NFC proximity technology to identify the location and, like our a-Log handheld, records the time and date automatically when touched against an appropriate location tag. But our aR-Log solution can also do a lot more. Carers can be prompted to complete a simple on-screen document, which is user definable – did they turn the resident? Check the incontinence pad? Provide assistance? All of this can be completed in seconds using the touch screen. It can be a generic document, individual to a group, or specific to each service user – however you like to work.

From the recordings made, any issues noted that need follow-up by further action are automatically flagged in the software and by optional e-mail, bringing peace of mind and proving that your carers are providing the care you know they do 24/7.

You will find further information about our aR-Log night checks solution, along with sample screen images, in the care home management section of our website.

Posted by administrator in Care home management, Clocking and employee attendance, Invoicing staff time, Mobile worker tracking, 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

easyLog: Bringing further cost controls to your staff schedule

easyLog has introduced some significant functionality into its market-leading staff scheduling software module. Clients now have the option to enter daily predicted sales targets and then see an automatic projection of their anticipated profitability from the total number of hours on the rota and the employment wage costs for each day.

Although this feature would be welcomed by any type of business, it is especially helpful to easyLog’s growing number of clients in the retail and service sectors where daily wage costs are the biggest overhead and therefore the largest influence on bottom line profitability. The facility is incredibly easy to use. You simply enters your projected net sales and the software then displays the staff schedule hours total, the daily wage spend (based on the hours worked per person at their individual hourly rate held in the system) and daily wage spend as a percentage of projected sales. This latter statistic is often used to determine the manager’s budget for staff on any given day and is therefore especially useful.

An early and enthusiastic adopter

One early and enthusiastic adopter and user of this functionality is Jake Harris, owner of the busy Mokoko Coffee (formerly Jacob’s Coffee House) close to the main tourist attractions in Bath. “We operate on a daily budget, so we look at each day and work out when it’s going to get busy, when it’ll get quiet, when the peaks and lulls are likely to be, and how much money we are going to take,” Jake explains. “We needed the scheduling tool to be able to tell us what we would expect to spend on wages so we could make the necessary adjustments, such as shaving half an hour here, trimming an hour a day there.” Read our Mokoko Coffee case study here.

If you would like more information on easyLog’s range of staff scheduling solutions or wish to view the software, please contact easyLog on 01892 834406.

Posted by administrator in Business support, Flexible working, Latest news, Rota software, Scheduling software, 0 comments

Full-time, part-time, extra shifts – no problem

A flexible workforce is good for your staffing budget – but it can be a major headache when it comes to managing the rota and calculating pay.

If you have staff working full-time, part-time, extra shifts or a few hours here and there, read our case study to find out how one employer is using our software to take the guesswork out of managing his highly flexible workforce.

“We operate on a daily budget, so we look at each day and work out when it’s going to get busy, when it’ll get quiet, and how much money we are going to take,” he says.

“If we know we’re going to have a busy day we can afford to have more people in and on a quieter day, fewer people. So it’s not just about filling spaces or job functions but also about hitting the budget.”

Our case study features a retail catering business but we can create similar systems for all kinds of employers and industries, from hotels and restaurants to the healthcare sector and college campuses.

Posted by administrator in Flexible working, Latest news, Rota software, Scheduling software, 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

Go anywhere device records staff attendance on the move

easyLog has come up with a clever way of using mobile technology to register staff attendance – without a mobile phone.

Our new ar-Log handheld tracker is a convenient, reliable and easy to use method of recording the visits of workers who attend multiple locations in the course of their employment.

When arriving or leaving a location, the employee simply switches on the handheld and then touches it against a coin-sized button containing a unique ID. This creates a clocking, which the device immediately tries to download. If it cannot get a good enough signal, the reading is stored, along with the date and time, until a signal is obtained and a download can take place.

How it works

The handheld device, which is about the size of a TV remote control, contains a mobile phone SIM card and uses the GPRS network to send packets of data to a web service located either on a customer server or an easyLog-hosted server. This data then appears as an employee clocking on the customer’s easyLog software, showing the relevant name, location, date and time.

Any data-enabled SIM card can be used in the device. easyLog can provide suitable SIM cards on contract or the customer can use SIMs purchased through their own mobile phone contract. The handheld uses rechargeable batteries and a charger is provided with each unit.

Posted by administrator in Clocking and employee attendance, Invoicing staff time, Latest news, Mobile worker tracking, 0 comments

Schedule staff and invoice clients – all in one!

As an expanding business providing activity-based services for primary school children, Fit For Sport needed to be totally on the ball when it came to its back office systems. Yet, until recently, the company was struggling to organise shifts manually for its 250 staff with a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

Because of its complexity, this all-important spreadsheet could only be operated by two employees – a situation that was clearly unsustainable for a growing company. So Fit For Sport decided to look for a more technologically appropriate staff scheduling system.

A realistic return on investment

Fit For Sport admitted they found the selection process difficult. “We weren’t and still aren’t what I would call IT savvy,” says company founder and chief executive Dean Horridge. “Our objective was to find a software application that was user friendly, supplied by a company that we felt we could work with as the business changed and at a sensible price to provide a realistic return on investment.”

The company opted for easyLog’s e-Log+S off-the-shelf scheduling application, along with some bespoke software development. This centred on two functions:

  • A definable e-mail facility to inform clients about changes to their usual Fit For Sport representative and to provide client details by text to the Fit For Sport staff member
  • An interface with Fit For Sport’s Sage accountancy software, including a sign-off sheet for clients giving details of all sessions per month and the option to create an invoice in the Sage Sales Ledger

“That is just brilliant!”

As one of the two operators of the old spreadsheet-based staff rota system, Sally Webb, operations coordinator, was particularly appreciative of the new e-Log+S system.

“The software highlights any gaps in the schedule and indicates available qualified staff. I can then automatically send out a text message to advertise the shift,” she says, adding that the best thing is that now anyone can do this task.

“It avoids errors from employees misreading the old spreadsheet. Likewise, with just one click, clients are e-mailed the full details of their sessions without having to look up e-mail addresses, contact names and staff CRB details. That is just brilliant.”

Dean Horridge adds that the new staff scheduling system has had a positive impact on customer service as well as satisfying the original goals of enabling wider staff participation in the rota creation process and giving the business a sounder management platform.

“The easyLog software has heightened our awareness of staff downtime and costs, while matching staff to client requirements is much improved and more accurate. The integration with our accounts system means that bringing our payroll in-house is now realistically achievable and will save further time and overhead,” he concludes.

“We are currently exploring the expansion of our business geographically through establishing a franchise network. I know that the easyLog system will be a part of these plans.”

Fit For Sport runs curriculum PE sessions in schools throughout London and in the Midlands, as well as offering after school clubs and Kids Camps during school holidays. The company is also an accredited provider of sport and active leisure training and apprenticeship schemes and has formed a registered charity, the Fit For Sport Foundation, to provide wider access to Fit For Sport programmes.

Posted by administrator in Invoicing staff time, Payroll analysis, Rota software, Scheduling software, Timesheets, 0 comments