staff clockings

New clocking options pages reflect changing times – and technology

Not so long ago, for millions of workers clocking on (and off) meant inserting a piece of card into a mechanical timepiece – a system that was devised in the 19th century. In recent decades, technology has transformed the world of recording staff attendance, providing affordable options to suit all kinds of employers and workers – and the revolution is far from over.

Just as in other areas of our lives, mobile phones and tablet computers are playing an increasingly important role in attendance recording, while related technology, such as SIM-cards and near-field communication (NFC), is making traditional electronic terminals more versatile and cost-effective than ever. Even biometric devices, such as hand-scanners, have moved from the realms of science fiction to the everyday.

As a result of these developments, we have been rethinking our range of clocking devices and the way we present them on our website.

We have created a whole new section dedicated to clocking options, which breaks each type of terminal or device into these five categories:

  • Mobile phones and tablets – possibly the future of attendance recording, these devices are based on everyday Android mobile phones and tablets, making them a cost-effective, simple and extremely versatile option.
  • Hand-scanners and other biometric – high-tech but affordable kit that provides evidence of identity as well as time and date.
  • Fixed card and fob terminals – robust exteriors and lots of media options make these devices suitable for a wide variety of users and locations, including outside.
  • Fixed SIM-card based terminals – simple and inexpensive, these devices are ideal for employers who want clocking data to be transferred automatically from remote sites.
  • Specialist mobile worker devices – a range of low-cost devices, from i-Button activated wands and fixed terminals to an Android handheld with NFC.

You can browse the whole section from our new clocking options home page.

If you would like any help choosing the most appropriate clocking device for your situation, please contact us.

Posted by administrator in Clocking and employee attendance, Latest news, Mobile worker tracking, 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

Software makes hand-scanners even more efficient

If you use hand-scanners you will already know they provide a simple and cost effective way of monitoring staff attendance at multiple sites – and now we have made them even more efficient by introducing new software that distributes hand templates to numerous scanners.

This means that you will only need to scan each employee’s hand once and the template record will be instantly available to all required devices.

Hand-scanners provide a reliable method of recording workers’ attendance in a wide range of situations, including dirty environments. To find out more about our new software or the benefits of hand-scanners, please call one of our team.

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Get your teeth into Android Lollipop

If you are thinking about upgrading your existing handheld devices, or are planning to start using smartphones and tablets for the first time, there’s no need to worry about running your easyLog rota management and staff scheduling software on your new hardware. All our apps have now been tested and are working on Android 5.0 Lollipop.

And remember, if you need any help and advice on choosing equipment, just give us a call. We’ll be happy to help.

Posted by administrator in Business support, Care home management, Latest news, 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

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

When does a staff scheduling problem not require a staff scheduling solution?

The natural response for care home owners and managers seeking a solution to staffing headaches is to look for staff scheduling software. Logical, but not always the right approach, because care homes present a special challenge when it comes to managing staff rotas and pay rates.

Special staffing needs require specialist software

Unlike most businesses, there are legal definitions for the number of staff required to care for residents and regular inspections by a range of statutory authorities test that these staffing ratios are adhered to.

Care home staff rotas change frequently due to sickness and holiday absenteeism and are often supplemented by part-time or casual staff who can be called upon at short notice. Full-time staff may need to work in different job functions to cover absences and be paid different rates for each role they perform. Hourly rates can be different for weekdays, weekends and public holidays, and change if the employee works over agreed contracted hours.

In addition, care home managers and staff are focused on providing care. Dedicated office staff are at a premium and often the manager or team responsible for creating the rota may find it easier to do so manually or with a general business package, such as Microsoft’s Excel or Word. All these factors point to considerable difficulties in implementing a software application that combines scheduling, timesheet management and payroll analysis.

That’s why easyLog created its e-Log+ software. We recognise that keeping a rota up to date, with the access and constant change associated with a care home, is difficult. The e-Log+ application therefore focuses on simplifying and automating the key tasks of accurate staff attendance records, absence management and producing a comprehensive payroll analysis.

How e-Log+ simplifies the payroll process

e-Log+ does this by comparing the timesheet data of each employee against a set of user definable shift times per job function. If a match is found the hours are passed automatically for payment. Any attendance that does not agree is presented in an authorisation routine that allows the manager to pay or part pay at any applicable pay rate or disallow if appropriate. Staff can be paid at different rates for working in each job they perform so that an accurate and comprehensive breakdown of paid hours can be achieved, no matter how complex the pay rate structure.

e-Log+ holds one more great feature: from the authorised hours of each employee, the software retrospectively produces an on-screen rota thereby enabling a cross-check against the externally held master rota. What’s more the user can enter any holiday, sickness, training or other absence on this rota to provide a comprehensive and complete staff and pay record.

So when does a staff scheduling problem not require a staff scheduling solution?

When the organisation is using the intelligent response provided by easyLog’s e-Log+ software, of course.

Posted by administrator in Care home management, 0 comments

Cleaning company wipes out manual timesheets

Contract cleaning is a competitive business, so a product that can cut costs and help win new clients is a worthwhile investment. At least, that is the view of John Milton, managing director of Matrix Office Services, who was so impressed with his first easyLog staff attendance system that he keeps getting more.

Quality and reliability

Matrix, a growing company currently employing around 90 staff, is a specialist provider of contract cleaning services to shopping centres and blue chip organisations. But it was finding that larger sites, where 20 or more staff could be working at a time, were putting its administration systems under increasing pressure.

“We needed a more practical, automated solution to monitoring staff attendance and calculating payments,” explains John. “I also wanted to distinguish Matrix in the marketplace and show our clients how serious we are about quality and reliability.”

Attendance records at a glance – and no absenteeism!

When John read about easyLog’s GPRS-based staff attendance system he was immediately impressed. Employees record their date and time of attendance at any site by touching an identification tag against a terminal, which automatically sends the information back to the main office in real time using GPRS technology (like a SMS text, but cheaper). The attendance record is instantly read into the easyLog software, so you can see at any time who is at a client location.

The system was first used by around 18 cleaning staff at a shopping centre in theWest Midlands. It was originally implemented with easyLog’s a-Log software, which provides simple timesheet reporting for each employee across any date range.

“There was no staff absenteeism for the first three months,” says a delighted John.

This pattern has continued, with reduced absences one of the major benefits of the system. “The attendance record provides undisputable proof of an employee’s timekeeping so there are no arguments about whether someone was late or not. A supervisor can therefore approach conversations about attendance with clarity and certainty,” he adds.

The shopping centre management team was also impressed. “They saw that we are serious about our long term involvement and that we could produce accurate management reports for them on demand,” John explains.

Automated pay analysis

The company has subsequently upgraded to easyLog’s e-Log+S staff scheduling software, which compares staff attendance against the shift on the rota and automatically creates a payment record at the correct rates.

Matrix has also implemented one of easyLog’s battery-powered aB-Log terminals at aLondon site where access to mains electricity is difficult. Staff again use an identity tag to record their attendance, but the records are downloaded by a supervisor at the site each week using a data transfer stick and then passed into the scheduling software manually.

John praises the easyLog support team for its help in getting the systems operational. “They were willing to listen and provided the advice we needed at any time,” he says.

He concludes that his easyLog products were a very good investment. “I am now providing a better quality service with reduced costs from a workforce that consistently arrives on time. I proposed the easyLog system on our last two tender documents and won both. That’s the result I was looking for.”

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

Useful staff scheduling tips

Keep checking our blog for useful staff scheduling tips that will save you time and money.

Posted by administrator in Scheduling software, 0 comments