Softworks Blog

Manufacturing the perfect Workforce Management System

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Mar 27, 2017

 linkedin_Manufacturing1_1200x627-1.gifManufacturing the perfect Workforce Management System.

 The manufacturing industry in the UK and Ireland is rapidly expanding post economic downturn. Growth in the manufacturing industry has led to a positive boost in employment levels. The growth in the manufacturing industry in the UK and Ireland has also raised a number of workforce management issues for manufacturing companies.  By identifying these issues, manufacturing companies can begin to implement workforce management solutions.  Some of the major workforce management issues for manufacturing companies include: creating easily adaptable rosters and schedules, timesheet fraud and manipulation caused by ‘buddy punching’ and inaccuracies between time and attendance and payroll.

   Do any of these issues sound familiar to you? Fortunately, they are all easily resolved. Softworks Workforce Management is currently working with manufacturing companies in the UK and Ireland to deliver them with effective and sustainable workforce management solutions.

Some of our current customers include Apple, Formica and Kerry Foods.

So how exactly do Softworks help manufacturing companies?

  1. End to End Automation

Our workforce management software helps eliminate any inaccuracies in an employee’s time and attendance and their payroll.  Automating your time and attendance will result in an automation of payroll, removing any discrepancies.

  1. Biometric Timekeeping.

By implementing biometric time and attendance systems, you remove any possibility of ‘buddy punching’ or attempted time and attendance fraud.

  1. Flexibility of Rostering.

With the nature of the manufacturing industry, flexible working hours and shifts are a necessity. Softworks eRostering allows manufacturing managers to ensure allocation of adequate resources within prepopulated budgets and costs.

In the manufacturing industry, companies are always striving to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Time and Attendance solutions from Softworks can help you do just that. 

But how do you know which Workforce Management System is right for you? Our guide to selecting a Workforce Management System will provide you with an unbiased guide on choosing the perfect workforce management system for your manufacturing company.

To find out more about how Softworks has already assisted a major manufacturing company,download our case study on Aughinish Alumina.

                   

 

 

 

 

 

                             

 

 

Topics: Time & Attendance, Workforce Solutions, Workforce Management, Manufacturing

Motivating the Modern Employee

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Mar 20, 2017

 

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Motivating the modern workforce.

It’s the Monday morning after St.Patricks weekend . The odds are that a great weekend was had by all and that spirits are currently a little bit low. With that In mind it is important to bear In mind that employee motivation is probably lower than usual. Employee motivation is a tricky area at the best of times. There are many factors that affect your employee motivation levels ; from issues within the workplace that you can control, to external issues happening outside of work.  It is important that managers focus on the workplace issues that they can control in order to maintain high levels of employee motivation.  How can managers influence employee motivation In the workplace?

  1. Lead by example: If your employees see you working hard then generally they will follow suit. By being a role model to your employees and demonstrating your passion for your work you will motivate them to emulate your behaviour and work ethic.
  2. Communicate: Communication is a vital part of any workplace. Employees must know that their manager is open and available for queries and consultation when necessary. Being available for clarification and feedback shows that managers are interested and involved with an employees work and will encourage employees to maintain high standards. Ensure daily communication with employees and let them know that they are important.
  3. Create a motivational environment: In order for your employees to succeed they must be working in an environment that is conducive to success. Set tasks and attainable progression goals that motivate your employees to work hard. Be available for encouragement and guidance. By assigning responsibility and delegating important tasks you are motivating your employees to step up and realise their potential on their own.

Remember that employee motivation is nearly always influenced by the atmosphere and internal environment of the workplace. If, however, employees are dealing with issues outside of the workplace that are impinging on their levels of motivation then it is the responsibility of the manager to identify and deal with these issues. Ultimately , employee motivation rests on the shoulders of the manager. 

A major factor in boosting employee motivation lies in giving them ownership of managing their time and attendance. By implementing Sofworks Workforce Management Solutions employees will have greater control over managing how they clock in and out, book holidays etc. which will certainly lead to higher levels of employee motivation.

 

                                   Request a Free Demo Today!

 

 

 

 

                             

 

 

Topics: Employee Retention, Happy Workers, Healthy Workplace, Work Team

Workplace Naps and Employee Productivity

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Mar 13, 2017

 

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Napping in the workplace- employee productivity

Does your workplace encourage napping during work hours? Napping is becoming increasingly common and popular in the workplace. Global companies such as Facebook, Google and Hubspot have dedicated nap rooms where employees can catch some quick shut eye during the work day. And while the Irish workplace hasn’t quite fully accepted this trend, there are many tangible benefits to employees taking naps during work. Napping during the working day has been proven to lead to better employee performance and attitude. Some of the workplace performance benefits of napping during the working day include:

-Improved employee mental performance

-Increased alertness

-Increase in drive and motivation

-Boosting Productivity

The average working day is 8 hours. That’s 8 hours in front of a computer screen. It can be challenging for companies to maintain a high level of engagement from their employees for this long period of time. Companies that have introduced napping into their workplace have found that the employees who avail of workplace naps are happier, healthier and more productive. Ultimately, an increased or improved employee output is beneficial to the company. Therefore it is in the company’s best interests to ensure that their employees can function at an optimal output.

Despite the positive evidence towards the benefits of napping in the workplace, there are still negative associations with this relatively new workplace initiative.  There are some studies that suggest that napping during the workday is a sign of laziness and lack of motivation.  However, the employee productivity benefits associated with having a quick nap during the working day certainly seem to outweigh the possible negative connotations.

If you are considering implementing an allotted napping time for your employees then you should consider introducing it as part offlexible working arrangements. Flexible working allows employees to maximise their output within less rigid working hours, and to work when they feel they are at peak productivity levels. Workplace naps could quite easily become part of your company’s flexible working arrangements.

All in all, workplace naps would work best as part of a larger integrated plan to improve employee productivities and efficiencies over a period of time, leading to a happier and more productive workplace!

 

                                   Request a Free Demo Today!

 

 

 

 

                             

 

 

Topics: Happy Workers, Healthy Workplace, d, Work Team

What does it take to build a strong Work Team?

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Mar 6, 2017

 

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Sourcing and recruiting the right employees can be a challenge for companies. An even bigger challenge can be making these new employees feel part of the team. Once your recruiting process is complete, you then need to integrate your new employees into the company environment. A strong team atmosphere in the workplace is a vital component of any company’s success. In the past, companies have focused on developing employees as individuals. Companies are now beginning to learn that exceptional results come from exceptional teams. But what does it take to develop and maintain this team mentality and vision?

  1. An understanding of the company goal(s).

If employees don’t understand the core values and goals of the company they work for, how are they supposed to succeed? Team players work towards a common goal. In order to ensure success, you need to ensure that your employees are committed to achieving these goals.

  1. Strong communication.

The overall team environment of your company is divided into smaller teams that comprise of different departments. Different departments often work side by side on various projects and need to communicate on a daily basis to make sure projects are progressing as expected. Without communication, teams will find it harder to achieve success.

  1. Team Building Activities.

How can team members work together effectively if they haven’t ever met in person?  Particularly in larger companies of 50+, it is a good idea to bring team members together in a social environment. Barriers are down and employees can get to know each other better, leading them to work more effectively together. And while it may not be possible to bring every single member of a company together in a social setting, fostering relationships between employees will have a hugely beneficial impact on team production.

And of course at the core of a strong team environment is market leading Time & Attendance software. With Time & Attendance software from Softworks, you give your team ownership over managing clocking in and out. With your entire team utilizing the same Time & Attendance system, the team mentality is further strengthened. Read more about our time & attendance solutions here.

                                   Request a Free Demo Today!

 

 

 

 

                             

 

 

Topics: Happy Workers, Healthy Workplace, d, Work Team

Millennials in the Workplace

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Feb 27, 2017

 

 

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Millennials in the workplace - attracting your new workforce.

 The term ‘Millennial’ has been gaining quite a lot of traction lately. They seem to be becoming more and more prominent. But what exactly is a millennial? And how are this emerging generation affecting workplace dynamics and hiring practices?

For the uninitiated, a ‘millennial’ is a person born between the late 80’s and the early 90’s. They tend to be digital natives and as a result are significantly more comfortable with new technologies than older generations. 

Recent research indicates that by 2020 over 75% of the Irish workforce will be comprised of millennials. With this new workforce, companies and employers will be faced with a new set of challenges. For example:the average tenure of a millennial employee in a particular role is less than 2 years.

Typically, these employees view new roles as opportunities to upskill and advance in their careers as opposed to settling down. Millennial employees are driven: they want engagement and they want advancement.  On a practical, tangible level millennial employees look for flexible working environments. They place a high value on the ‘work/life balance’.  Millennial employees also want the flexibility to work from home, or to work remotely.

How can employers attract this new generation of employees?

Employers are now being faced with a difficult scenario. How can I attract top millennial talent while maintaining my company’s values? The first step is to introduce ‘Flexi – Time’. ‘Flexi – Time’ offers a number of advantages to a business. With ‘Flexi Time’ businesses can stay true to their core values, while adapting to retain employees.

By introducing ‘Flexi- Time’ companies can meet the changing demands of their employees. In meeting these demands, employer/employee relations are improved. Employees feel that they are being listened to and are receiving the recognition they deserve. When employee engagement is improved, there is a corresponding upswing in output.

Ultimately, millennial employees seek to be given the freedom of flexible working. With Flexible working, companies can increasingly attract millennial employees.

 

                                   Click here to Download our Whitepaper on Flexible Working.

 

 

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working

The Benefits of working from Home.

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Feb 20, 2017

 

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Working from home – the benefits of flexible working arrangements for employees.

Your office can be a distracting place, especially on a Monday morning. People are catching up after the weekend and the coffee machine is on overdrive. While you would expect your co-workers and employees to be well rested after the weekend, it is often the complete opposite and concentration levels are quite low. Monday mornings could be the perfect opportunity to introduce Softworks Flexible working arrangements into your company. The majority of people would relish the opportunity to avoid the Monday morning commute and work from the comfort of home instead. And despite the common perception; there are several benefits of working from home, as part of a Softworks Flexible working arrangement scheme. Here are some examples of why companies should implement Flexible working arrangements for employees:

  1. Less Distractions: Pets and family member aside, working remotely from the quiet of your own house lets you avoid the myriad of distractions that come with working in an office environment. In the office, peoples phones are ringing, the radio is on and it’s often hard to concentrate. Working in your home office or even at your kitchen table with some peace and quiet allows you to zero in on your daily tasks.
  2. Increased Productivity: Less distractions leads to higher levels of productivity for your staff. By creating an environment for your employees where they have minimal distractions and higher levels of satisfaction and motivation, productivity also increases, which has a positive impact on the bottom line. Happy workers are productive and higher quality workers and productive workers drive business.
  3. Adapting to Shifting Mindset: With more and more millennials joining the workforce, companies need to adapt to match the emerging talent. Millennials view work as a thing, rather than a place. So companies will need to free themselves from the traditional nine to five mentality if they want to attract and retain this generation of workers. In order to attract and retain top talent, businesses need to be able to respond to employees demand for non-full-time working hours and/or flexible working time schedules that will suit their chosen lifestyles and to balance work and family life.

You can learn more about the multitude of business benefits of flexible working by downloading our whitepaper here.

                                   Click here to Download our Whitepaper on Flexible Working.

While Flexible working arrangements may seem to work in favour of the employee, there are also benefits for the employer. Above all, employees that are content tend to work harder and longer at achieving company goals. And that should be the focus of any business.

 

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working

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