Softworks Blog

Clean out your Computer - Workplace Management and Optimisation

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Feb 13, 2017

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Let’s be honest – there’s nothing more frustrating than a slow computer. You’re in a hurry to get your reports typed and your emails sent and they just – won’t – load. Is it a virus? You better hope not or the IT department will be after you. It’s very likely that your sluggish computer needs to be cleaned out. The more unnecessary and scattered files you have on your computer the more memory being used, and thus the slower your computer will run.  An uncooperative computer is going to have an adverse effect on your productivity and as a result, your company productivity. Luckily, there are simple steps you can take to fix this common workplace issue:

  • Sort through old files and either remove to an external drive or delete them altogether.
  • Defragment your computer’s hard drive.
  • Store all files directly to the cloud – a practice which is becoming commonplace.

Workforce optimisation involves a lot more than sorting through your computer every once in a while. In fact, to truly optimise your company and maximise potential return you should consider investing in a workforce management system. A workforce management system allows you to track all aspects of your business. One of the biggest costs to a business today is labour optimisation; managing time and attendance, scheduling & rostering and absence management.

 Identifying and recognising the needs of your business or the area to be addressed will help you select the right workplace management system. It is also important to consider your employees and colleagues. A new workplace management system will take a while to get used to, and will require buy in from your entire team.

It’s also important to ensure that your new workplace management system integrates with any current applications running in your company. If you have already implemented a HR or payroll system, make sure that your chosen workplace management system will work with them.

Investing in workplace management solutions for time and attendance, eRostering and workplace access is a big step for any business. Before you make a decision, do your research! Read our free and impartial whitepaper on ‘Selecting a Workforce Management System’ for some tips and advice before you buy. You can read our whitepaper here.

Download our free Whitepaper on Selecting a Workforce Management Solution

 

Topics: Workforce Solutions, Workforce Management, Workforce Optimisation

National Sickie Day - Managing Employee Absence

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Feb 6, 2017

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Today, the first Monday of February 2017, is National Sickie Day. Around 350,000 people across Ireland and the UK will call in sick to work today. While winter colds and flus still linger and some people may have legitimate reasons for being absent, others may not be as genuine. Here are some of the worst excuses people have used to justify their absence:

  1. I need to arrange a birthday party for my dog. We all love our canine friends, but seriously?
  2. I got arrested. Your weekend may have been a heavy one, but not that heavy.
  3. My dog ate my shoes. Was he annoyed that you missed his birthday?
  4. I have no way to get to work. Pull the other one

Unexplained or unplanned employee absence can have a detrimental effect on a business. Understaffed companies will tend to underperform and fail to meet daily goals, resulting in financial loss. Employees will be forced to increase their workload to compensate for their absent co-worker, leading to an increase in stress levels and a drop in production. Other negative effects of unplanned employee absence include overtime costs, dissatisfied customers and employee morale.

If your company is regularly experiencing unplanned absences and you believe a trend is developing, it may be worth your while to investigate Softworks Absence Management Solution. Softworks Absence management solution has been designed to track and manage employee absences, and to ensure that your company is not adversely affected by unplanned employee absences.

By providing accurate real-time attendance information, our solution can help to minimise the negative effects and expense of unplanned absences such as sick leave, as well as assisting to manage leave entitlements such as; maternity, parental, adoptive, carers and force majeure.

Perhaps most importantly, softworks absence management software can help you track and analyse absences and identify trends allowing you to rid your company of absence related costs.

For more information on reducing and managing employee absenteeism and on how Softworks Absence Management solution can help your business, click on the links below!

Learn more about managing absences.

Absence Management Whitepaper

Topics: Time & Attendance, Labour Scheduling, Absenteeism

Beating Blue Monday

Posted by Eimear McCarthy on Mon, Jan 16, 2017

Monday-1.jpgAs if January isn’t bad enough, today has been marked one of bleakest days of the year – the dreaded Blue Monday! With daylight hours still short, consistently bad weather along with the hangover of Christmas – financially and emotionally, still looming over all of us, it’s easy to see why the third Monday of the year is linked with lots of people feeling low. So, what can be done to battle the Blue Monday fears?

  1. Get Organised

Try and reduce stress by thinking about which situations occur regularly and cause you the most stress.  

  • Declutter the office and your desk space.
  • Make lists so you have everything in order and you can get the most important tasks completed firstly.
  • Client meetings? Plan the journey and allow extra time if it is not a journey you do every day. Look up alternative routes to have other options and make sure you have the clients contact details with you, just in case.
  1. Go out for Lunch

Beat Blue Monday by organising a work lunch with your fellow co-workers. This is a great way to catch up outside of the office. A change of scene is always good so picking a new cafe/restaurant or somewhere you don't regularly go would be a nice treat for during the week.

  1. Exercise and Fuel your Body

Regular exercise is important for our physical and mental health. It helps boost your energy levels and immune system. Fit in a walk on your break. If it is too cold to exercise outside, attend a gym class or go swimming. With flexible working, you could go to the gym before work or during your break.

Food choices can have a huge impact on how you feel during the day. Eating healthy should be something we all do on a regular basis and just a once off to help beat blue Monday or the January blues.

  • Bring your own lunch and snacks to work. This will eliminate the temptation to buy sugary and fast foods.
  • Try and prepare lunches/dinners in advance and freeze them so it saves time and eliminates doing it after a long day at work.
  • Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your mood, such as caffeine, alcohol and trans fats.
  • Eat more Omega-3 fatty acids to give your mood a boost. The best sources are fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines), flaxseed and walnuts.
  1. Be Positive!

If you are really feeling Blue Monday, try and stay positive and make plans after work.

  • Use flexible working and get the most out of your evening
  • Go to the cinema
  • Meet friends or family for dinner
  • Cook a new recipe
  • Book a weekend getaway or summer holidays
  • Go for a walk
  • Grab a coffee & get lost in a new book
  • Catch up with an old friend
  1. Contact Softworks!

Not only can we benefit your company but we can benefit your employees too. Take Flexible Working, it can lead to a healthy work-life balance along with improved job satisfaction, increased energy, better staff morale and reduced levels of stress. Having the right work-life balance is increasingly important with more and more people finding that their working day is getting longer as businesses struggle to keep up with the demand for 24 hour services. 

Contact Us Today!

Take on the January Blues and Blue Monday by making sure to be organised, positive and healthy. Make 2017 a year to celebrate your many triumphs!

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working

Numbers may be everything but information is key for accountants today

Posted by Oliver Mitchell on Tue, Jan 10, 2017

Accountants deal with numbers all day, every day. It’s a fact of life as an accountant, whether it’s a book-keeper for a sole trader or a CFO for a large PLC, numbers are everything in this role.

We analyse the numbers, we test the numbers, we double check the numbers, we maintain them and finally we report them.

In all of that work and apart from the reporting techniques and parameters, we don’t try to affect them. They are the reality, they are the real financial snapshot of where a business is at in any given moment.

The modern day accountant is not just a number cruncher any longer. Of course that’s still the primary role, but it’s no secret that now more than ever companies are tapping into the other attributes that accountants typically have to help them in other areas of their business. An understanding of the intricate relationships between their activities and each financial aspect of them enables an accountant to have a very broad perception of a company.

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There is a saying that ‘Money is everything’, and who understands money better than an accountant? After all, that’s what a majority of their day is spent working with. But maybe the word ‘everything’ in that saying is more about the ability to have an influence on everything within the business as a whole.

Numbers don’t grow by themselves. It takes a team of people to make a business tick; Sales, Marketing, Production to name but a few and within each of these areas’ accountants can add something of value. It might not be a game changer, it might not result in doubling of profits, but then that’s not an accountant’s function. We’re not the specialist in every field, usually just in one, but, within that field of expertise there is a chance to be unique from any other function and make contributions to every facet of a company. A review of a sales structure, a tweak of payments terms, efficiency exercise on costs, it all adds up.

Softworks solutions can operate as another tool in the armoury of an accountant. Yes it provides timesheets, rostering solutions and absence requests but it also provides information on specific activities within every aspect of a business in the form of time expended and its related cost and who better to analyse these numbers and identify ways to make improvements than an accountant.

Topics: Accountants, Performance, Timesheets

Updated Blog - France Win New Law 'Right to Disconnect'

Posted by Eimear McCarthy on Mon, Jan 9, 2017

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This is an update on my blog from February 2016 - France Set to Pass New Law Giving Workers the Right to Ignore Work Emails Outside of Contracted Hours.

France have won the law that employees do have the 'right to disconnect' from work emails outside of typical work hours. From Sunday January 01, 2017, French companies with more than 50 employees will begin drawing up policies with their workers about limiting work-related technology usage outside the office. The reasoning behind this law is that too many people were suffering from work-related stress which can leak into their personal time. The country is trying to tackle the modern-day scourge of compulsive out-of-hours email checking. Under the new law, companies will be obliged to negotiate with employees to agree on their rights to switch off and ways they can reduce the intrusion of work into their private lives.

The measure was introduced by Labour Minister, Myriam El Khomri, who commissioned a report submitted in September 2015 which informed about the health impact of "info-obesity" which affects many workplaces.

Some large groups such as Volkswagen and insurer Axa in France have already taken steps to limit out-of-hours messaging to reduce burnout among workers. Actions being put in place include cutting email connections in the evening and weekends. In 2014, the German vehicle-maker Daimler set up an optional service for workers going on holiday; instead of sending an out-of-office reply, they could opt to have all new emails automatically deleted while they were away.

Here in Ireland and the UK, we may not have such a law in place but we can make use of flexible working. It can allow people to adapt their ways of working to best suit their needs, while still committing to their careers.

If you would like to learn more about flexible working or any of our other solutions, contact us today!

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Work-Life Balance, Flexible Working

Time and Attendance Solutions – Then and Now

Posted by Eimear McCarthy on Fri, Jan 6, 2017

Another New Year has begun and the first thing on everyone’s mind is New Year’s resolutions and what the future will bring. But let’s not forget how we got to where we are today. It all had to start from the beginning and this certainly goes for Time and Attendance solutions. Since being invented they have come a long way so we wanted to share with you where it all began!

November 20, 1888 – the date the first time clock was invented by Willard Le Grand Bundy, a jeweller in Auburn, New York. The Bundy Key Recorder was a mechanised time recorder which comprised of several type-wheels which were controlled by a clock movement. It was used by Birmingham City Transport to ensure that bus drivers did not depart from outlying terminals before the due time.

Bundy Clock

Modern Time and Attendance solutions take advantage of today's sophisticated networking protocols to link time clock computers together so employees can be monitored in real-time while maintaining the time card data in a secure and centralised location. Integration with online payroll systems saves time and eliminates data entry errors. The benefits of modern time and attendance systems are virtually endless.

Even though Time and Attendance solutions have greatly reduced the amount of time needed to prepare time cards for payroll processing, it still protects business owners and employees for the same reasons as that very first punch clock.

As computers have become more sophisticated, so have Time and Attendance solutions. If you have been to the Titanic Museum in Belfast, you might have noticed the Harland & Wolff time clock, which was used during the construction of the Titanic. Small wooden boards were used to keep track of workers time. To help prevent “time theft”, machines like this were introduced into the shipyard to record hours worked more accurately. As you can see from the pictures below, a lot has changed over the years!

Titanic Time Clock

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We’ve come a long way from wooden time keeping boards to mobile apps - Managing Time & Attendance may just have been revolutionised! Softworks Time and Attendance App allows employees to clock in and out on their smart phones from wherever they are and includes their GPS location.

You can get a quick demo of our solutions via this link and a demo of our new app also. It couldn't be easier! Now that we know how far Time and Attendance solutions have come, we are really looking forward to seeing what is next - watch this space!

You can keep up to date with Softworks by following us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Topics: Time & Attendance

Five Ways to Beat the January Blues

Posted by Eimear McCarthy on Tue, Jan 3, 2017

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Happy New Year! December was a fun-filled month of celebrations with family, friends and work colleagues, lots of delicious food and plenty of relaxation. Today however, is the first day back to the office for the majority of people. This may more than likely be followed by the dreaded “January Blues.” We have listed a few ways to help keep you upbeat, get back to being motivated in the workplace and beat the January Blues.

1. Hold Motivational Meetings

At the end of every week or month, hold a quick meeting with employees to share their accomplishes. Use this time to compliment employees who have gone beyond the call of duty or who have achieved something exceptional. Employees will come to expect the meetings. They will also welcome the chance to share their successes and challenges with you and their co-workers and experience a supportive vibe.

2. Be Flexible

Flexible working is one of the most useful tools in helping workers achieve a healthy work-life balance. It can allow employees the ability to adapt their ways of working to best suit their needs, while still being fully committed to their careers. Mercer carried out a survey on over 1,500 employees across UK and Ireland, which showed that 52% of workers are very concerned about maintaining a healthy lifestyle while holding down a job. Flexible working arrangements can help reduce stress as employees working flexibly are more satisfied with their job and lives, and they experience better work-life balance.

3. Promote a Healthy Workplace

Food choices can have a huge impact on how you feel during the day. Eating small, frequent and healthy meals can help your body maintain an even level of blood sugar, keeping your energy and focus up, and avoiding mood swings. Low blood sugar, on the other hand, can make you feel anxious and irritable, while eating too much can make you lethargic.

  • Bring your own lunch and snacks to work. This will eliminate the temptation to buy sugary and fast foods.
  • Try and prepare lunches/dinners in advance and freeze them so it saves time and eliminates doing it after a long day at work.
  • Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your mood, such as caffeine, alcohol and trans fats.
  • Eat more Omega-3 fatty acids to give your mood a boost. The best sources are fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines), flaxseed and walnuts.
4. Have Fun

Everyone will stay motivated if things are kept interesting and entertaining in the workplace. There are several ways to have fun in the workplace.

  • Hold a breakfast morning once a month.
  • Set up a walking, running or exercise group during lunch or after work.
  • Create a social club (if one is not already in place). Ask all employees what they would like to do for January & set up a poll. This could range from a day trip to dinner and drinks after work.
5. Contact Softworks!

Start the New Year by contacting Softworks. Not only can we benefit your company but we can benefit your employees too. Take Flexible Working, it can lead to a healthy work-life balance along with improved job satisfaction, increased energy, better staff morale and reduced levels of stress. Having the right work-life balance is increasingly important with more and more people finding that their working day is getting longer as businesses struggle to keep up with the demand for 24 hour services. So to help make 2017 the best year yet, get in touch today!

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working, Softworks

Merry Christmas from Softworks!

Posted by Eimear McCarthy on Sun, Dec 25, 2016

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Everyone at Softworks would like to wish you and your families a very Happy Christmas. Thank you for your business during the year and we look forward to working with you again in 2017.

We are delighted to be starting the New Year with our new website. We hope you all like it!

Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Topics: Christmas

Software \ Mobile App Developer - Bray, Co. Wicklow.

Posted by Eimear McCarthy on Tue, Nov 29, 2016

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Softworks are looking for a highly motivated Software \ Mobile App developer to join our team at our HQ in Bray, Co.Wicklow.

We have a number of world class Time and Attendance products that we are currently building out onto our Mobile platform.

  • You love creating intuitive easy to use software products and we do too!
  • You love keeping up to date with the latest technologies and so do we!
  • You love simple solutions to complex problems and so do we!
  • You love software development….

We build our software products with a keen eye for design and usability while always keeping in performance in mind.

Working alongside the Product and Development Managers, as part of a small team, the successful candidate will directly influence how we design, build, maintain, test and deploy our software.

We assume a passion for keeping up to date with the latest technologies, for creating intuitive software products and developing simple solutions to complex problems on the part of any interviewee.

Must haves:      

  • 4 years’ experience developing web based software
  • HTML5
  • JavaScript
  • Cordova
  • Ionic
  • Angular
  • C#
  • Visual Studio
  • Asp.net
  • CSS3

Wish list:

  • MVC
  • Bower
  • Knockout
  • jQuery
  • TFS\VSO
  • Entity framework
  • SQL
  • LINQ

To apply please send your CV to Gary Ashton - gashton@softworks.com

Topics: Vacancy

Most Outrageous Excuses for Being Late to Work

Posted by Eimear McCarthy on Thu, Nov 24, 2016

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Lizard surgery, Homeland Security and Vaseline trucks. What do they all have in common?

According to a study from CareerBuilder, they are among a list of outrageous reasons workers claim they have been late for work.

Below are some of the bizarre reasons for being late to work:

  • I thought of quitting today, but then decided not to, so I came in late.
  • My hair caught on fire from my blow dryer.
  • I was detained by Homeland Security.
  • I had to chase my cows back into the field.
  • A black bear entered my carport and decided to take a nap on the hood of my car.
  • My lizard had to have emergency surgery in the morning and died during surgery. I had to mourn while deciding whether to have the lizard disposed of by the vet or bring the lizard corpse with me to work.
  • There was fresh powder on the hill. I had to go skiing.
  • There was a store grand opening and I wanted to get the opening day sales.
  • I had to finish watching “My Name is Earl.”
  • All of my clothes were stolen.
  • I was confused by the time change and unsure if it was “spring forward” or “fall back.”
  • A Vaseline truck overturned on the highway and cars were slipping left and right.

CareerBuilder also asked how often employees are late to work, 25 percent (1 in 24) admitted they are late at least once a month, and with 13 percent saying it is a weekly occurrence.

With Christmas only a month away, it is getting colder and much harder to get out of bed in the morning. For some people, this can make getting to work on time a difficult task. You would be surprised of what could get in the way of your morning routine. Many of these excuses are extreme and may have more to do with one's creative imagination than anything else. However, you can bet employers are going to hearing more late-to-work excuses especially coming up to Christmas.

In order to prevent tardiness in your organisation, why not take advantage of Softworks Flexible Working and deploy a Time and Attendance system.

Flexible working is a very positive choice that needs to be embraced by more organisations. It doesn’t only provide employees with job satisfaction, better health, increased work-life balance, and less stress, it also benefits employers. With higher productivity levels, less turn over, and reduced absenteeism, employers will be able to retain qualified employees and also save money. With flexible working, excuses for being late to work will be less necessary as employees will have the flexibility to work around appointments, family events and of course, all of the excuses listed above!

Softworks Time Management Software will allow your organisation to build a clear picture of employee time-keeping through comprehensive reports on attendance, absenteeism, overtime, flexi-time, rostering and holiday leave. Softworks Time and Attendance is one of the most powerful tools available for recording and analysing hours worked. Used to manage employee attendance and produce real-time reports for analysis by management as well as to collate personnel information. It allows you to build a clear picture of employee time through detailed data and reports on attendance, absenteeism, overtime, flexi-balances, rostering and holiday leave. Scalable and completely configurable, it applies and automates processing your organisation’s unique pay rules and policies accurately and consistently and is fully compliant with legislation.

The survey also found more traditional excuses for being late to work are still very common:

  • 53 percent blamed traffic and road conditions.
  • 33 percent said oversleeping.
  • 28 percent on bad weather.
  • 15 percent on getting children to school.

By implementing Softworks Flexible Working and Time & Attendance Software, employees and employers will be able to overcome the traditional excuses of being late to work (along with a few of the outrageous ones too!).

Request a Free Demo Today!

You can also turn your administrative nightmare of managing employee time & attendance into a dream come true with Softworks new self-service app. Softworks app enables employees to record their own time, attendance, holidays, absences and check work schedules via their smart phones/tablets. Softworks app is a joy to use and loved by employees and managers alike, but you don’t have to just take our word for it, find out more via this link.  

You can keep up to date with Softworks by following us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Topics: Time & Attendance, Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working