Softworks Blog

Mairead Walsh

Recent Posts

Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort Beds in Softworks, Time, Attendance and Rostering Solutions

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Thu, Oct 8, 2015

Labour is undoubtedly the largest single variable cost for hotels. Hotels consistently struggle with balancing workforce costs with hotel profitability. By over staffing they drive up costs and by under staffing they sacrifice service levels. In order for hotels to achieve growth and profitability targets today, there is an absolute need to operate much more efficiently. Today’s integrated Workforce Management Solutions including; Time & Attendance, Rostering and Absence Management, can offer hotels the tools and processes they need, to balance the high cost of labour, tight budgets and variable staffing needs without putting customer loyalty, service, employee satisfaction, or profitability at risk.

Softworks client Druids Glen & Golf Resort has kindly agreed to let us share their story about how they are using Softworks to assist them to manage their employee's Time, Attendance and Rostering. 

Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort is a five-star hideaway nestled in 400 acres beside the Wicklow Mountains and the Irish Sea. Facilities at Druids Glen include; 134 deluxe bedrooms and 11 suites, a choice of dining options with two AA Rosette restaurants, Hugo’s, two championship golf courses, luxury Spa, 18 Case metre swimming pool, conference, wedding, banqueting & event spaces. 

Druids Glen wanted a system that would provide them with an accurate collection of hours worked by employees for generating payroll, operational planning and legislative compliance. With variable start and finish times of shifts, they needed an automated system to accurately track hours. Furthermore, they needed to be able to easily create work rosters for full time, part-time and seasonal employees while adhering to company policies and procedures. They required a system that would enable them to have the right person, in the right place, at the right time and at the right cost.

According to Andrew Prior, Finance Director, Druids Glen;

“ At Druids Glen our attention to detail and outstanding level of service brings guests back time and time again. While at the same time, as a commercial business, we need full visibility of all our costs. Softworks has given us the tools and operating parameters, we need to arrange optimum resource plans and schedules, while delivering management controls over wages, labour overhead, overtime, shifts, absence management and other major costs drivers in a business like ours. “

Download our case study to find out more about;

  • Druids Glen key requirements.
  • Why they chose Softworks rather than another supplier.
  • How they currently use the system across the resort.
  • The benefits it brings to their day to day business and operations.  

 You are very welcome to download the full case study via this link







Topics: Time & Attendance, Hospitality, Case Studies

Why Sweden is introducing a 6-hour working day with full pay!

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Mon, Oct 5, 2015

Last April the government of Gothenburg announced that public sector employees would work less hours in an experiment to improve mental and physical health and increase productivity.  Mats Pilhem, Deputy Mayor of Gothenburg, hopes the six-hour staff would take fewer sick days. Now other businesses across the country are following Gothenburg’s decision and implementing the change.

Personally I think it’s about time we shook things up a bit.  When you think about it, the so called 9 to 5 or eight hour working day originated out of necessity during the Industrial Revolution in Britain in the 1800s. So much has changed since then in terms of how, when and where we do business, it makes you wonder why so many organisations are holding onto a working day that was created over 200 years ago.

In the UK and Ireland, the average worker works approximately 8.5 hours per day with Americans working slightly longer with an average 8.7 hours. By working longer hours, we tend to think, we will see the benefits later but this rarely works in our favour.  According to Linus Feldt, CEO of Stockholm-based app developer Filimundus, who have also implemented a six hour day,

"I think the eight-hour workday is not as effective as one would think.  To stay focused on a specific work task for eight hours is a huge challenge.  In order to cope, we mix in things and pauses to make the workday more endurable. At the same time, we are finding it hard to manage our private life outside of work. We want to spend more time with our families, we want to learn new things or exercise more. I wanted to see if there could be a way to mix these things."

Filimundus switched to a 6-hour day last year, and say their staff have not looked back.  The rationale behind the move is that because the working day is shortened, staff will now be more motivated and have more energy to get more done in the shorter period of time.

At Toyota service centres in Gothenburg, working hours have been shorter for over  a decade. Employees moved to a six-hour day 13 years ago. Customers were unhappy with long waiting times, while staff were stressed and making mistakes, according to Martin Banck, the managing director, whose idea it was to cut the time worked by his mechanics. From a 7am to 4pm working day the service centre switched to two six-hour shifts with full pay, one starting at 6am and the other at noon, with fewer and shorter breaks. There are 36 mechanics on the scheme.

According to Banck,

“Staff feel better, there is low turnover and it is easier to recruit new people,” Banck says. “They have a shorter travel time to work, there is more efficient use of the machines and lower capital costs – everyone is happy.” Profits have risen by 25%, he adds.

Let us know what you think about introducting a six hour day in your organisation. You may also be interested in downloading our paper - How to Strategically Use Flexible Working Arrangements to Benefit your Business


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

How retailer Clas Ohlson is using Softworks Time & Attendance and Rostering to satisfy Business and Operational needs - Case Study

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Thu, Oct 1, 2015

Effective workforce management has never been more critical to the retail sector due to the competitive nature of the industry, the ever increasing higher standards of service being demanded and the necessity to control operating costs.As the workforce is the single largest controllable expense for retail, labour is often a key driver to financial success or otherwise.

Softworks client Clas Ohlson has kindly agreed to let us share their story about how they are using Softworks to assist them to manage their employee's Time, Attendance and Rostering.

In this case study we examine;

  • Clas Ohlsons key requirements.
  • Why they chose Softworks rather than another supplier.
  • How they currently use the system across their stores in the UK.
  • The benefits it brings to their day to day business and operations.  

 You are very welcome to download the full case study via this link





Topics: Retailers

10 Reasons Why You’ll Love Softworks Time & Attendance

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Mon, Sep 14, 2015



Award Winning Time & Attendance, Rostering and Absence Management Solutions

For twenty five years Softworks has been assisting companies to organise the working day in a way that makes them more productive and profitable by adding value to their operations. Here are the top ten reasons why choosing Softworks will benefit you, your employees and your organisation.

  1. Return on Investment - With our flexible subscription Cloud and On-Premise offerings, your ROI can be a matter of weeks.
  2. User Friendly Look & Feel - Following research with our customers, we’ve designed a brand new web interface with a bright, fresh, look and feel that’s even easier to use and navigate!
  3. Get the information you need faster - Jump straight into actionsAccess an employee’s Timesheet, Balance, Calendar etc. all from the main screen.
  4. Employee Self Service included as standard - Employees can easily check balances, request holidays and absences and view timesheets. Easily access via web, iPad, smartphone etc.
  5. Save time with actionable email alerts - Receive and approve employee timesheets, holiday and absence requests via actionable email alerts - you don’t even have to log in!
  6. Data Analytics & Dashboards - Enable your managers and supervisors to analyse workforce analytics with intuitive and comprehensive dashboards with visual real time reports.
  7. Rules Automation - Parameterised, user configurable rules engine to cater for all your company, legislative, union and country specific policies and rules.
  8. Integration - Softworks integrates with several leading 3rd Party applications including;  Oracle Peoplesoft, SAP Success Factors, Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, Ceridian, Workday, ADP, NGA, Ultimate and many more…
  9. Easy Upgrade Path - We provide a simple upgrade path where you can import your historical data. By moving to Softworks you will instantly be upgraded to the latest workforce management technology.
  10. And the best reason... You’ll love it! - Softworks gets rave reviews from customers, who love the cool new features and functions. Plus you’ll love working with us!

Contact us today for a free demo of our award winning Time and Attendance Solutions. We promise you won't be disappointed! 

Topics: Time & Attendance

How to ensure your absence policies deliver every time

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Absenteeism is not something that is confined to a few sectors of the economy. It is one of the most persistent obstacles to productivity, profitability and competitiveness. It can cause overtime, late deliveries, dissatisfied customers and a decline in employee morale amongst workers who are expected to cover for an absent employee. Ultimately, absenteeism is a huge financial drain on a company’s bottom line with the indirect costs often exceeding the direct costs. In this article I will reveal why absenteeism remains a persistent problem for organizations, despite the fact that many have clear and well thought out policies in place. I will show you how to promote a culture of attendance and explain why a strategy of proactive absence management is key to the successful eradication of absenteeism.

So why do absence policies fail?

Many of the organizations that we have worked with over the last 25 years have had first class policies on absence management. They have been well planned, thought out and communicated to employees. The failure of these policies has been down to the reliance of organizations on line managers to implement, track and take ownership of these policies. Understandably, managing absence becomes just another headache for a busy line manager. As absence management is usually not considered part of the manager’s core responsibilities or key performance indicators, there is very little incentive to devote time to this area. It also means that action is rarely taken before it is too late or, at all. Set out below are further reasons why absence policies fail;

  • Processes and policies are in place but not consistent – different managers enforce it in different ways.
  • As soon as organizations stop tracking how the policies are implemented absence rates rise.
  • Tracking manually is a nightmare so managers are reluctant and will prioritize “more important” tasks.
  • Senior management don’t appear serious – why should other managers bother?

How much is absenteeism costing your organization?

Absenteeism rates vary among Softworks customers with some customers experiencing a rate of less than 2% and others going into double figures. Figures also vary within organizations. Have a look at the table below for the savings that can be obtained by a 1% reduction in absenteeism based on the size of your company and your location. For the purpose of this exercise I have taken the following average annual salaries. North America $48,000, Europe €36,000 and UK£25,000.

Reducing Absenteeism by 1% - Cost Savings

Number of Employees

North America























The figures above are the direct savings based on what absenteeism costs from a salary basis. However, don’t forget the other costs set out in the table below.

Add Tangible Costs
  • Sick pay scheme
  • Replacement cover
  • Additional overtime
  • Lost productivity/level of service
  • Increased administration & forms processing
  • Legal costs of potential claims


Plus extremely damaging intangible costs
  • Fostering a culture of absenteeism acceptance
  • Management, HR and payroll time dealing
  • with absence
  • Company Image
  • Employee Morale
  • Company Reputation


Taking these costs and savings into consideration, there really is no excuse for not taking a closer look at absence management. There is a proven way to dramatically reduce the incidence of absenteeism in your organization. While it will take a bit of work, the results and savings to be made will more than compensate for the effort. Remember, the costs and savings above are calculated for one year only. Your organization will bank these savings, this year and every year going forward.


What can we do to help stem the tide of absenteeism?

Just as an employer analyzes labor turnover, an organization should look at sick leave trends. Is absence higher in one department or under a particular supervisor? Are workplace practices or policies affecting absences? Do children’s illnesses in turn lead to your staff taking time off? Many companies are still using the restriction of sick pay and disciplinary procedures to tackle non-genuine illness, but increasingly using the carrot rather than the stick is being recommended. Implicit in this approach is the address of the wider causes of absence.

Research shows that improvements in employee attendance can be achieved by making absence management an integral part of their overall company policy - by creating an “Attendance Culture”.  It seems that the shift has been away from a punitive approach of ‘absence control’, in favour of enlightened ‘attendance management’ strategies which aim to provide a working environment which maximizes and motivates attendance. Organizations with the lowest absence rates are those where managers take responsibility for managing absence. However many organizations are still struggling with this as managers are reluctant to face the problem head on or are too busy with more “important tasks” to follow up. Furthermore if the business does not truly measure the cost of absenteeism the benefits of managing it are not clear to managers. This is where you should consider an automated absence management system.  With an end to end automated solution to manage absence, line managers are provided with easy to use tools and in turn motivated to manage absence effectively.

An automated absence management system basically sits in the background and kicks in as soon as an absence is recorded. From that point on, every step is automated giving businesses, a systematic and automated way to track and manage absence. This offers organizations a consistent, systematic, fair and automated way of reducing absenteeism. The product does not replace an organization’s current HR Systems, rather it can be installed as a standalone system and/or integrate with systems that you already use.

How can an automated absence management system assist your organization?

  • Automates the entire ‘end to end’ absence management process, applies policies and assists managers implement it in a consistent, uni-formal and fair manner.
  •  Enforces organizational procedures while keeping senior management in the picture in terms of how effectively the process is being implemented i.e. number of employees at each stage, managers not following procedure, how the business/teams are doing versus targets, etc.
  • Automates the generation of warning letters, intuitive emails, documents, reminders and step by step online forms i.e. return to work, disciplinary, etc.
  • Completely configurable to each organization including workflow reminders.
  • Creates good habits right from the start and ensures managers consistently follow the process. If they forget, the system will send reminders or escalate it when necessary.
  • System delivers so managers don’t have to think.
  • As complicated or as straight forward as you want in terms of stages and steps in the process.*
  • Full audit trail so the manager and the organization is protected.
  • Relationship between managers and employees is not strained as the “system” rather than the manager is driving the process.
  • Patterns are uncovered so employees playing the process will be detected and parameters can be set to highlight people playing the process.

Why will an automated system deliver every time?

It works because it is an end to end automated process and includes 3 essential key elements. The process is

  1. Led from the top - Senior Managers can set targets for the business that can in turn filter down to area managers. With on-going reporting, senior management are aware, involved and supportive of the process.
  2. Implemented by line managers - Line managers will use the system due to its logical step by step process. As soon as a supervisor or manager enters the first absence the system kicks in and the automated process begins generating eForms, letters etc. Everything is within the system ensuring a clear audit trail that will protect the employee, the manager and the organization. 
  3. Monitored throughout - With on-going monitoring and management reporting, problems can be picked up at the earliest stages and sorted before they become both costly and disruptive to the organization.


It is clear that the rewards of attendance management are there to be reaped for those who are ready to take action.  By becoming proactive and automating your absence management, you can easily manage, track and understand issues before they go too far.  Both managers and employees follow a logical series of steps and procedures. These steps are dependent on each organization’s absence rules and policies and can be configured to suit. Absences can be entered by managers and/or employees using a simple step by step process that is hassle free for both the employee and the manager.  By automating you are creating a system that benefits the entire workforce by proactively delivering the right information, to the right person at the right time so that they can take action. It automates the entire process, provides real time analysis and streamlines and standardizes internal processes and policies so that an organization can enjoy substantial savings to their bottom line and in turn build a platform for future growth.


Topics: Absenteeism

How to use Flexible Working Arrangements to Benefit your Business

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Tue, Mar 10, 2015

We all know that flexible working arrangements bring many positive benefits to an employee’s life including a better work/life balance, greater job satisfaction, more autonomy, increased energy, creativity, motivation and morale. Flexible working gives employees greater ownership and control of their own time and working hours enabling them to manage their responsibilities outside of work. This can in turn reduce stress and anxiety for employees, who are struggling to balance their busy lives.

For a long time employers viewed flexible working as simply an “employee perk” or something used by working mums, who fancied a few hours out of the home and a bit of “pin money” doing  “mummy jobs”. There was little understanding or interest in exploring the true benefits of offering flexible working and how these arrangements could be used to drive business goals and objectives.

Many employers were happy to sit on the fence, wondering will this “new fad” take off, while simultaneously, employees were embracing flexible working arrangements and actively seeking out employers who could offer them a better work/life balance.  It’s pretty clear by now that flexible working is no fad, it’s a trend that is set to continue, with many countries now legislating for it.  If you are still sitting on the fence, it’s time to jump off and get on board. If it is introduced as part of your overall business strategy it can make a major contribution to your business and in turn your bottom line.

Flexible Working

Types of flexible working arrangements

First off, let’s look at the many types of flexible working arrangements. As every organization is different, a wealth of options has emerged over the years. We have set out below some of the most popular arrangements. 

  • Part-time: Working less than the normal hours, less hours in a day or less days in a week.
  • Flexitime: Also known as flexi-time, flex time, flex scheduling or the implementation of a flexi system.   Generally includes core working hours that must be worked by employees, as well as flexible working hours where employees can come and go as they please.
  • Annualized hours: Employee hours are worked out over a year rather than a week/month. Employees have to work a certain number of hours over the year but they have some flexibility about when they work.
  • Compressed hours: Employees work agreed hours over fewer days.  
  • Staggered hours: Different starting, break and finishing times for employees in the same workplace.
  • Job sharing: Sharing a job designed for one person with someone else.
  • Remote Working: Telecommuting, working from home, virtual.

With such a wide range of options available it’s possible to find an option that can meet both your employees’ needs and your business goals and objectives.

The Rise of Flexible Working

In recent years we have seen a huge increase in the use of flexible working due to improvements in communications and information technology.  Employees don't necessarily need to be in their office every day of the working week. People can now work from home on a regular basis whilst remaining in touch with the office.  Furthermore, there is an increased demand for flexible working with employees seeking flexibility over both their time and space. They do not want fixed hours, but instead prefer to choose the hours they work. For many young workers, flexible working is now considered the norm rather than the exception.  

At the same time, organizations’ demand for flexible working has also increased. With businesses now having to meet the 24/7 customer need for their services, there is a demand for flexible working. The recession has drastically changed the nature of work, reducing the number of full-time jobs and causing many organizations to rely on part-time and temporary staff, assigning them to flexible working schedules. Some have sought to optimise the use of organizational resources such as office space, computers and desks through shift work and working from home.

Benefits of Flexible Working Arrangements

Leading organizations have come to realise that there are solid grounds and very tangible benefits to offering flexible working arrangements. I have set out below some of the frequent business and financial benefits cited by organizations.

Business benefits

  • Enhances recruitment and retention.
  • Increases staff motivation by providing a greater sense of control.
  • Reduces stress, fatigue and unfocussed employees, through the ability to better balance work and personal responsibilities.
  • Increases employee satisfaction and morale.
  • Improves commitment and productivity resulting from support for personal work style preferences.
  • Reduces absences and tardiness.
  • Improves coverage and scheduling for the department.
  • Improves transportation and parking options.
  • Uninterrupted time for creative, repetitive, or highly detailed work.
  • Better customer service, ability to offer extended time and days.
  • Improves health and wellness for employees.
  • Positive company culture, good for the public image of the organization.



Financial benefits

  • Helps retain staff and cuts down on training costs and costs associated with the settling in period for new employees.
  • Reduces overheads – it may be possible in some instances to double up on facilities e.g. desk sharing etc.
  • Allows employers to extend service hours, reducing the need for overtime.
  • Working hours can be matched with peaks and troughs of the business to maximise productivity and cut costs.
  • Inexpensive benefit to implement and automated solutions provide a quick return on investment.
  • Reduces costs in relation to absenteeism, sick leave and tardiness.
  • Reduces employee turnover and recruitment costs.
  • Potential for more office space options and reduced real estate costs.
  • Improves scheduling for peak periods and reduces costs by scheduling in line with business demand.




How to use flexible working arrangements strategically

As every business is different, simply knowing the benefits is not enough. In order for each business to achieve their unique business goals, it’s essential to plan how they will use flexibility strategically and deliberately within their overall business purpose and objectives. Flexible working needs to have a clear, coordinated and widely understood goal behind it, otherwise it will be merely a programme or policy that sounds good, but hasn't permeated its way into the day to day business.  This requires dedicating time and resources to figure this out and come up with a coordinated cultural change process. A process that clearly defines your unique business rationale, for greater flexibility in your organization’s working arrangements.

Introducing Flexible Working Arrangements

Flexible working will not work for all roles, companies or activities therefore your strategy needs to be driven by the unique structure of your organization.  If used properly it can lead to positive and profitable outcomes for your business including:

  • Cost Savings - Businesses that recognise work is a resource rather than a place you go to are already making savings by adopting flexible working practices.
  • Increased productivity and performance - By creating an environment where employees have higher levels of satisfaction and motivation, productivity also increases, which has a positive impact on the bottom line.
  • Attracting and retaining a talented workforce - In order to continue to attract, retain and develop talent, businesses need to understand what drives their workforce. Modern workers are increasingly expecting more when it comes to balancing work and family life.

The Future is Flexible Working

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. Recent research from PwC, the London Business School and the University of Southern California reveals that what may have attracted potential employees in the past – high pay, bonus schemes and rapid promotion – is not what the millennial generation sees as key priorities today. [1] They polled over 44,000 workers born between 1980 and 1995 (the so-called Generation Y) in 18 countries about their attitudes to work, and found that this very significant portion of the workforce tended to value a sustainable work-life balance and flexibility over financial rewards. In effect, this means that the incentive of high earnings is no longer the driving force.  For employers, it indicates that a shift in attitude towards the 9 to 5 that will mean that workers may have greater loyalties to organizations that appreciate their personal commitments.


Ultimately, flexible working arrangements will need to fit into your organization’s strategic workforce plan. Considering the talent shortage in many countries and the ongoing pressure to attract more young people into the workforce, while retaining the knowledge and expertise of older workers, flexible working arrangements will be critical to your workforce strategy now and for the future.  If you are introducing a flexible working strategy you should make sure that it is given the time and thought, associated with implementing any new strategy into the organization. Planning should include members of the management team, from the top, down. If management are not convinced that flexible working can benefit the bottom line and improve competitiveness, the strategy will not work. It is a fundamental principal of flexible working that the needs of the business are met. 

We have also published a free to download White Paper on this topic that includes working case study examples. You can download via this link


Topics: Employee Retention, Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working

How to create an effective Workforce Management strategy

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

If your organisation is attempting to function without an effective workforce management strategy, they will struggle to achieve the level of productivity, cost effectiveness, flexibility and agility required to compete and adapt to today’s marketplace.

Your workforce management strategy needs to focus on all the activities that are required to
manage and sustain a productive, cost-effective and happy workforce. This means consistent policies and procedures around managing employee time and attendance, scheduling and absences.

Time and attendance Strategy

In today’s highly regulated global economy this is no easy task. Areas such as compliance now extend far beyond local, state, and national borders. The job of ensuring compliance and keeping up to date with legislation and regulations has become increasingly difficult and complex. As more and more organisations are discovering, failure to comply is very serious and can result in hefty fines and legal implications, along with a fall in employee
morale and bad publicity.

It is for these reasons you need to ensure that your organisation has an effective strategy in place for workforce management that includes the areas of; time and attendance tracking, staff scheduling, absence and leave management, regulatory and legislative compliance.

In order to develop an effective workforce management strategy you need to include the following six areas.

1. Standardisation of processes and policies.
2. Automation of time and attendance tracking.
3. Automation of employee scheduling function.
4. Review employee/manager self service options
5. Implementation of proactive absence management procedures.
6. Formalisation of flexible, remote and mobile working strategy.

Let's look at each in a bit more detail.

1. Standardisation of processes & policies

First and foremost you need to standardise your rules and policies. Consistency and transparency is key when it comes to managing employee time and attendance, scheduling and leave. Employees need to clearly understand the processes and policies behind procedures, and be confident that they are being applied fairly across the organisation. Furthermore external organisations need verifiable proof including auditable trails that employers are implementing policies in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

2. Automation of time & attendance tracking

I can’t imagine that there is any organisation out there that wants their managers spending their time managing time sheets to the detriment of managing their team. Particularly, in industries such as manufacturing, retail, healthcare and services. In these technology driven times, it makes no sense not to automate time and attendance tracking. By doing this, you free up departments such as HR, Finance and Operations for more strategic tasks and give your line managers the time they need to manage their team. Furthermore you improve data accuracy, reduce payroll errors and control labour costs. Automating time tracking has been proven time and time again to bring significant and tangible benefits to an organisation.

3. Automation of employee scheduling function

One person too many on a schedule is a costly mistake and in many cases can mean the difference between profit and loss. With automated scheduling you can pre-plan your schedules to optimise your cost revenue ratios. They enable supervisors and managers to accurately create schedules that align labour with forecasted demand, while adhering to company policies and regulatory compliance. Depending on the requirements of your business, you can choose from an out of the box, quick to install web based scheduling solution, to a bespoke real time scheduling & optimisation system.

4. Review employee/manager self service options

If you offer managers and employees self-service facilities you can increase productivity across your entire organisation. Employee self-service enables employees to enter their leave and scheduling requests and then route these requests to the appropriate person for approval. This both empowers employees and gives them greater control over their hours, holidays, shift swap requests etc. Giving employees more control over their working lives, is a proven method of attracting, retaining and motivating them. Furthermore automation reduces the pressure on line managers and improves employee relations as it is viewed as a fair and just system.

5. Implement proactive absence management procedures

Absenteeism is not something that is confined to a few sectors of the economy. It is one of the most persistent obstacles to productivity, profitability and competitiveness. It causes overtime, late deliveries, dissatisfied customers and a decline in employee morale amongst workers who are expected to cover for an absent employee. The indirect costs often exceed the direct cost of absenteeism. In order to manage absenteeism effectively, you need to take a proactive approach. By using an automated solution to manage absence you ensure that you have procedures that are led by senior management, implemented by line managers and monitored throughout the process so that action can be taken at the earliest opportunity. Automated proactive absence management systems provide a solution for the entire workforce by providing real time analysis, streamlining and standardising internal processes and policies and ensuring your organisation is compliant with all relevant regulations and legislation.

6. Formalisation of flexible, remote and mobile working strategy

Businesses today need a flexible and agile workforce, ready to scale up and down as appropriate to cater for the demands of the marketplace. By the same hand employees today are looking for a better work life balance. The so called 9 to 5 or eight hour working day originated out of necessity during the Industrial Revolution in Britain in the 1800s. So much has changed since then in terms of how, when and where we do business, it makes you wonder why so many organisations are holding onto a working day that was created over 200 years ago. To Generation Y-ers, a 9-5 shift can seem like a prison sentence! Flexible working brings many benefits to an organisation including better retention rates, reduced costs and improved productivity. 

An effective Workforce Management strategy will assist you to operate more agilely and make more informed decisions based on actual real time data. Organisations that utilise the latest advances in workforce management technology and implement the tools and processes that assist them to better align employee schedules, activities, and costs with business goals and objectives will be the most likely to experience considerable and measurable gains.

Topics: Time & Attendance, Labour Scheduling, Absenteeism, Business Processes

Tis the Season for Increased Absenteeism Rates

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Tue, Dec 16, 2014

With the season of Christmas parties, boozy lunches and festive drinks upon us, many organisations will experience increased “sickies” this month.  Did you know that the cost and disruption of short spells of absence and questionable "sickies" is often far greater than for occasional, longer periods of absence? This is why more and more organisations are using The Bradford Factor to discourage and tackle short spells of absence. 

 Christmas Party
The Bradford Factor is often used due to the fact that it, both proactively discourages unnecessary absence in the first place, and it uses set procedures to identify and tackle persistent absenteeism. The Bradford Factor measures the number of absence incidents and the duration of each incident to compute an absence score for each employee.

Evidence from industry suggests; that the higher the score, the more disruption the employee’s absence is causing an organisation. It is important to bear in mind if using the Bradford Factor that it is only one method of looking at absence and may not be appropriate for all organisations. The scores act best as a trigger to prompt line managers to investigate a case further. If you would like to read more about the Bradford Factor, you are very welcome to download Softworks Free Guide. 

Download Free Guide


Topics: Absenteeism, Bradford Factor

Meet Softworks at the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Mon, Oct 6, 2014

HR Technology Conference resized 600

Softworks are delighted to be exhibiting at the HR Technology Annual Conference & Exposition which is taking place this week in Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas.  We will be demonstrating Softworks Version 8, which is our latest and greatest product release! 

For over twenty years Softworks has been assisting companies around the world organize the working day in a way that makes them more productive, profitable and add value to their operations. 

Softworks Time and Attendance Solutions capture 100% of your organization's rules and work practices. The system encourages and enables the consistent adoption of company policy, protecting you from potential legal action on grounds of unfair treatment, breach of health & safety or entitlements not being granted.

Version 8, includes some nifty new features & functions including our unique email timesheets, allowing you to both receive and approve employee timesheets and clockcards via email alerts without even having to log in! 

If you are attending HR Technology this year, make sure you drop by booth #2154 and we will show you the features and functions within Softworks Version 8, that our customers say they just can't live without!


If you are not attending but would still like to find out more about how our solutions can assist you and your organization, schedule a live demo with us today. We will organize a time and day that suits you.

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Topics: Conferences, Webinar / Online Presentation event, Softworks

Employers Struggling with High Absenteeism Due to ‘Secret’ Carers

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Mon, Oct 6, 2014

New research from CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, reports that more than one in three employers have reported an increase in absenteeism due to staff struggling to cope with their caring responsibilities outside of work. However, only one in six organisations have policies in place to help achieve a better balance between their home and working lives. 

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The annual CIPD/Simplyhealth Absence Management survey shows that savvy employers put policies in place to help staff fulfil their caring responsibilities outside of work while continuing to meet the demands of their job.

  • Flexible working arrangements are by far the most common type of support (68%), followed by compassionate leave (53%) and (paid or unpaid) carers’ leave (48%).
  • Two-fifths (42%) offer access to counselling services and three in ten offer career breaks and sabbaticals.
  • One in six organisations offer access to financial services (17%) or options to purchase additional annual leave days (15%).
  • Although only one in six employers say they have organisation wide policies or guidelines in place for carers, an additional two fifths report that they do offer support to individuals on an ad hoc basis.
  • The CIPD is now calling on more businesses to adopt a formal policy to support workers, and ultimately benefit business.

Dr. Jill Miller, CIPD Research Adviser, comments: “Supporting those with caring responsibilities to balance their work and home lives, and therefore retaining our talent, is a key issue. Recent UKCES research has predicted that there will be four generations working side-by-side by 2030. With this 4G UK workforce, employers are having to manage an increasingly diverse range of employee needs. We’re seeing intergenerational issues coming to the fore; and in particular, a rise in the number of people with caring responsibilities. And this is an issue that is set to increase for the growing ‘sandwich generation.’ As people have children later, and are looking after parents in the ageing baby boomer generation, they find themselves caring for both their children and their older relatives.

“It’s therefore absolutely vital that employers have strong wellbeing policies in place, and communicate the benefits of flexible working to their employees, who all have the right to request to work flexibly under new legislation. But most importantly, line managers need to receive adequate training on how to have constructive discussions with their staff about the various benefits available to them. And it’s proven that flexible working can improve engagement and productivity within the workforce. With this in mind, hopefully in the future more workers will be able to handle the demands of caring.”

Corinne Williams, Head of HR at Simplyhealth, comments: “Adapting both working practices and health and wellbeing initiatives to support the changing needs of today’s modern workforce is a must for organisations. The expectation that employees conform to rigid working patterns is becoming a thing of the past as demands on an individual’s time continue to increase. This ‘sandwich’ generation are operating at capacity and it’s essential that they receive as much support as possible to help them meet their commitments at home as well as at work. Although it’s great to see that this year a fifth of organisations have increased their wellbeing spend, it needn’t cost the earth. Understanding the issues affecting your employees and equipping line management with the tools they need to help support them is key to a healthy, happy workforce.”

Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy at Carers UK, said: “3 million people are juggling work with caring for an older or disabled loved one. Without the right policies in the workplace and the support of good quality, flexible and affordable care services, these employees often feel unable to juggle it all, with millions feeling they have no alternative but to give up work to care. We estimate this costs business £3.5 billion a year, with extra costs to the economy and to the families themselves in lost earnings and pensions."

You can access the full report here. If you are looking to reduce absenteeism rates in your organisation, you may also be interested in downloading our free whitepaper Top Tips - How To Reduce Absenteeism In Your Organisation.



Topics: Time & Attendance, Absenteeism, Work-Life Balance