Softworks Blog

New Customer Announcement - CDP Worldwide

Posted by Jimmy English on Thu, Aug 10, 2017

Softworks UK wins contract to provide CDP Worldwide with Market Leading Workforce Management Solutions

Softworks UK has won the contract to provide the Carbon Disclosure Project with eRostering, Absence Management and Time & Attendance Solutions. CDP Worldwide, Headquartered in London will use Softworks Time & Attendance Solutions for 140 staff across 6 departments.

Following a search process, Softworks was awarded the contract to provide their solution against competition from within the United Kingdom. Softworks Solutions are already used by many other not for profit companies including: Radius Housing, Focus Ireland, Cork Association for Autism, Blind Veterans UK and the Lauralynn Childrens Home to name but a few.

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CDP Worldwide particularly liked Softworks eRostering solutions which allows employees to check shifts with simplicity and ease. CDP is planning to expand the implementation of Softworks to its wider European operations in the future.

Andrew Ferguson, Softworks CEO, said: “We are delighted to be working with CDP Worldwide and look forward to seeing them benefit from our Workforce Management Solutions.”

 

Topics: Workforce Management, Time & Attendance, Automated Absence Management, Timesheets, Compliance, Employee Motivation, Mobile App

New Customer Announcement - Softworks wins Halifax International Airport contract to provide Time & Attendance Solutions. 

Posted by Jimmy English on Fri, Jul 21, 2017

Softworks has won the tender to provide their market leading Time & Attendance, Scheduling and Absence Management solutions to Halifax International Airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Canada)

Softworks will provide Halifax International Airport with workforce management solutions for over 200 employees.

Following the tendering process, Softworks was awarded the contract to provide their solutions against competition from within Canada and the US. Softworks Solutions are already used by other transport agencies including: Dublin Airport Authority, Shannon Airport and Dublin Bus, to name but a few.

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Halifax International Airport particularly liked Softworks Employee Self Service solutions which allows employees to record their own time & attendance, check work schedules and even to book absences and holidays, all via their mobile app. One of the most attractive features of Softworks Employee Self Service is that it increases the efficiency of Human Resources, Payroll and Operations staff by reducing the number of queries coming from employees.

Andrew Ferguson, CEO of Softworks, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this tender and we look forward to working closely with the team at Halifax Airport as they reap the benefits of our Workforce Management Solutions. “

Topics: Workforce Management, Time & Attendance, Automated Absence Management, Timesheets, Compliance, Employee Motivation, Mobile App

The Top 5 Challenges of Workforce Management

Posted by Jimmy English on Tue, Jul 18, 2017

Workforce management refers to the system of processes involved in the daily organisation and operation of employees in a working environment. In any organisation that has multiple departments with multiple employees there is going to be a certain amount of difficulty and complexity in the management of these employees. Some of most common challenges in workforce management include:Scheduling and rostering, Time & Attendance Tracking, Managing Absences and employee self-service options.

Let’s take a further look at these workforce management challenges:

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  1. Time & Attendance Tracking.

The main issues surrounding tracking employee time and attendance in any organisation typically result from the tracking being paper based, with employees manually signing in and out. Paper based time and attendance tracking is very open to innacuracies and dishonesty from employees.

  1. Scheduling and Rostering

Within any company there can be several different shift patterns requiring employees to be scheduled for different parts of the day. Staff levels can also be dependent on projected demand during busy or quiet periods. Paper based rostering is becoming increasingly inefficient in the modern workplace.

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  1. Managing Absences.

Planned and unplanned absences can both test a business. Unplanned absences can place unnceccesary strain on business due to the extra costs of covering the absence and the losses incurred while the absent employee is being replaced. Planned absences are simpler to deal with but will still present obstacles for a company.

  1. Employee self service

The increasing demand from employees for access to their time & attendance information and data is presenting a challenge for employers who still store this data in paper format. The requirement for transparency around employee data is difficult to comply with for employers who do not have this information stored digitally.

  5. Holiday Tracking

 Chances are, employees are going to want to take annual leave during the summer months when the weather is fine. Demand for time off mid year is going to be very high. Unfortunatley it will not be possible to accomodate everyone's holiday requests for the same time and it is often neccessary to stagger these requests to ensure that the company still functions fully.

 

To successfully compete in the modern business environment it is vital that companies implement a workforce management system to help them to manage and optimise employee output and performance. Workforce management solutions such as those provided by Softworks can assist companies to drive efficiency, reduce costs and ultimately improve business performance.

But don't just take our word for it! Book a live Demo here and see for yourself!

Book a Demo

Topics: Workforce Management, Time & Attendance, Automated Absence Management, Timesheets, Compliance, Healthcare

The benefits of introducing a Workforce Management System in the Healthcare Industry.

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Jul 10, 2017

In the fast paced and often hectic environment of hospitals and other healthcare services it is vital that the right staff are assigned to the right department, at the right time, to perform the right task. The effective management of a hospital centres on accuracy and efficiency.  To ensure the smooth running of their hospitals, more and more managers are turning towards workforce management solutions for the healthcare industry.

Common issues facing healthcare managers include:

Compliance: Healthcare providers need a tool that ensures all staff are rostered within working time regulations.

Patient safety: if key staff are tired and overworked, the safety of their patients could be at risk. Healthcare providers need to ensure their medical staff receive sufficient rest breaks.

Accuracy: healthcare providers need to ensure the accurate collection of employee hours worked for payroll.

Automation: Automation and pre scheduled hours allows healthcare and hospital managers to easily manage employee hours and meet staffing demands. 

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As well as addressing many of these common workforce management issues, time & attendance and eRostering solutions can provide a clear return on investment for healthcare providers.  Scheduling and time & attendance solutions give the healthcare sector the tools and systems they need to operate under strict budgeting guidelines, the high cost of labour and variable staffing needs.

Some of the benefits of Time & Attendance and eRostering Solutions that will yield ROI for healthcare providers include:

Optimising the workforce by aligning staff levels and labour resources and ensuring staff have the required skillset to carry out the task at hand.

Improving productivity by providing real time staff information for informed decisions.

Attracting, retaining and motivating employees by giving them more control and input over their work schedules.

As the leading supplier  of Time & Attendance and eRostering solutions to the healthcare sector in Ireland and the UK,Softworks understands the complex issues that healthcare providers face.

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You can find out more about the benefits of workforce management in the healthcare industry by downloading our Free whitepaper here.

For a look at a real life application of softworks solutions in one of Irelands largest hospitals, download our case study here.

But don't just take our word for it. See for yourself how Softworks Workforce Management Solutions can benefit your Healthcare establishment and book a Live Demonstration. 

Book a Demo

Topics: Workforce Management, Time & Attendance, Automated Absence Management, Timesheets, Compliance, Healthcare

The Cause and Cost of Absenteeism

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Jul 3, 2017

The Causes and Costs of Absenteeism in the Workplace

What Causes Absenteeism and how does it affect a company?

 Absenteeism is one of the biggest and most persistent obstacles to productivity and profit in a company. There are a number of factors that cause employees to be absent from work. Sickness, family problems and lack of motivation are all responsible for causing employees to be absent from work. Repeated and unplanned absences over an extended period of time can eventually begin to adversely affect a company’s overall performance.

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Below are two of the most common causes of unplanned employee absences:

  1. Disengagement: Employees who are not committed to their role or are not satisfied are more likely to miss time. They have less motivation to go to work and therefore are at a higher risk of taking unplanned absences.

 2.  Lack of work life balance: It is hugely important that employees have a good relationship between their work life and personal life. Employees who are over worked are more likely to take unplanned and unscheduled absences to maintain some balance in their lives.

 Employees who engage in unplanned absenteeism are putting an increased cost on their employer.

Some of the main costs of absenteeism include:

- The high cost of replacement employees, 

- The administrative cost of managing absence and a poorer service provided to customers due to shortage of labour.

- Absenteeism causes overtime, late deliveries and dissatisfied customers. Furthermore, employee morale is affected as other employees are expected to compensate for their absent co-worker.

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In the United Kingdom, absenteeism is costing businesses billions each year. The average employee in the UK take 10 unplanned absences every year.

What steps can employers take to minimise the negative effect of unplanned absences?

Ultimately, companies need  to implement a workforce management system to track and analyse employee absence behaviour. By identifying and understanding patterns of absence companies can take the necessary steps to reduce both the financial and indirect costs of abseentism.

Find out more about reducing absenteeism in the workplace and download our dedicated whitepaper here.

Softworks can help your company to achieve it’s absence management and attendance tracking goals. Get in touch with us here for a Demo of our Workforce Management Solutions.

Request a Live Demo

 

Topics: Workforce Management, Time & Attendance, Automated Absence Management, Timesheets, Compliance

Have a more productive Monday with Softworks

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Jun 26, 2017

4 tips for a more productive Monday with Softworks

We all know Mondays can be tough. You were at the beach, at the pub or at the much. Then before you know it the weekend is over and you’re back at your desk. Where did the weekend go?  It’s time to refocus for the week and get stuck into your work. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.. No need to fear though, because we have for you 4 tips that will assist you to be more productive this Monday!

  1. Turn off your phone.

I’ll be the first to put my hand up and say I’m on my phone way too much. Ireland as an employment environment is increasingly populated by young professionals with smartphones. For some, the temptation to update social media with the weekend’s antics during the work day is just too much. Switch your phone off, even for a few hours and you’ll find that your work rate and concentration doubles.

 2. Log out of social media on your laptop.

There’s not much point in turning off your phone if you’re just going to go on Facebook on your computer. Monday is the perfect opportunity for a social media detox. And we’re sure your boss wouldn’t be too happy to see you on Facebook instead of working. Unless your job specifically requires it, you should definitely limit your social media usage during work hours.

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  1. Make a list of tasks.

This productivity trick is helpful on any day of the week, particularly on a Monday. A list of jobs for the day will help to focus your attention and manage your time effectively.

  1. Hydrate and caffeinate.

Rough weekend? We’re all getting older and there’s nothing worse than sitting at work and still be feeling the effects of Saturday night.  Dehydration reduces brain function and concentration, so it’s always good to have a bottle of water handy and sip away.

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Mondays are bad enough so do whatever you can to readjust after the weekend and get your week off to a good start. 

Softworks are the market leading providers of workforce management solutions. Our services aid companies to effectively manage their employees time, attendance and scheduling, allowing them to focus on increasing productivity and reducing costs. Sound like something your company needs? Get in touch with us here for a Live Demonstration of our solutions.

Request a Live Demo

Topics: Workforce Management, Time & Attendance, Automated Absence Management, Timesheets, Compliance

The Benefits of Time & Attendance Automation

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Jun 19, 2017

In the rapidly progressing and fast paced business landscape it is vitally important that businesses adopt modern trends in order to maintain their competitive edge. One such trend is that Employee Time & Attendance and Scheduling is increasingly becoming automated. But are there benefits to automating these processes?

Accuracy

The main benefit of automated time and attendance lies in the reduction of the inaccuracies associated with manually clocking in and out. Incomparable accuracy compared with manual recording of time.  Automated time and attendance systems stamp out employee time theft by removing the approximate nature of manually clocking out or signing out.  By eliminating this particular drawback of manual clocking, companies can begin to save on overpaying their employees. Automated attendance tracking also provides an incomparable level of accuracy to manual attendance.

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Productivity

By clocking in at the start of the working day, employees enter the work mind-set and are more likely to be productive. This mental “switching into work mode” will boost employee productivity. Similarly, employees are less likely to slack off if they know that their time and attendance is being tracked.

Shift scheduling

The use of an automated workforce management system allows for greater flexibility in the creation and assignment of shifts. With an automated employee scheduling system, staff levels can be allocated to meet the demands and needs of the business. For example, in a manufacturing company more staff can be rostered to meet production demands. A hotel or restaurant can utilise their automated time and attendance system to forecast their required staff levels for anticipated busy periods.

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Compliance

It is vital that your company maintains compliance with employee working time legislation. With and automated time and attendance solution you can ensure that your employees do not work any more hours than they are legally permitted to. All employee time and attendance data is stored and is easily accessed if it is ever called into question.

With Softworks, we take the hassle out of tracking and scheduling your employees. Our time and attendance solution is one of the most powerful available on the market. But don’t just take our word for it. Try Softworks for yourself!

Get in touch with us here for a Live Demo of our Time and Attendance Solution.

Request Live Demo

Topics: Workforce Management, Time & Attendance, Automated Absence Management, Timesheets, Compliance

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, Timesheets, Performance

Timesheet Fraud – How well is your business protected?

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Mon, Apr 25, 2016

As a business if you are still relying on spreadsheets and paper timesheets to manage your employees’ time, activities, skills and costs, you could be leaving yourself open to inefficiencies, inaccuracies, non-compliance with working time legislation and in some cases even employee fraud. Inaccurate employee time tracking and timesheet fraud is a common problem in organisations that use manual processes. Some of this is due to conscious intent and some due to a lack of management controls.

In this blog I will detail some of the most common types of timesheet fraud along with ways that you can increase management controls, ensure legal compliance and protect your business from deliberate fraud.

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Types of Timesheet Fraud
Entering and/or approving incorrect data is one of the most common abuses of attendance information. When done accidently it can expose employee carelessness, flawed processes and a lack of management control, however when done deliberately, in simple terms it is fraud. Employees are responsible for entering their correct attendance data and supervisors are responsible for certifying that this information is indeed correct. While we all hope that the majority of employees are both diligent are honest, unfortunately experience shows that this is not always the case. Set out below are some of the most common ways employees can commit timesheet fraud.

  1. Inflating work hours - With paper-based timesheets it’s very easy for employees to enter incorrect times of arriving and leaving work and overstate or round their hours up to the nearest hour. Overpayment then occurs as the employee is paid based on falsified hours or rates.
  2. False data entry - If employee attendance data has to be retyped from timesheets or time cards into a payroll system, it is very easy for a dishonest employee to change the numbers. As well as being open to fraud, this type of process is susceptible to typos and mistakes. The less you have to rekey your time and attendance information, the more accurate your data and in turn the more accurate your payroll.
  3.  Nepotism - This type of fraud occurs when a manager favours a co-worker, relative or friend by scheduling them for a specific task rather than scheduling a different employee, who is also available to work, and may be a more cost effective choice. For example, if a job comes in for a service engineer, who also happens to be the schedulers buddy and is assigned to this job despite the fact they are already in overtime, your business is at risk of paying unnecessary time and a half rates to get that job done.
  4.  Errors due to delays in completing timesheets - Although not technically fraud there are often inaccuracies when employees fill in timesheets weeks or months after they have worked these hours. Supervisors then sign off on these timesheets when realistically it is unlikely anyone can actually 100% guarantee that these hours were worked particularly for supervisors who are responsible for large teams. 

How to prevent Payroll Fraud
While it may not be possible to eradicate payroll and timesheet fraud, there are ways to catch it and catch it early. The key to catching it and minimising the risks is to ensure you have safe processes, policies and systems in place that can’t be easily manipulated.

  • Use of electronic Timesheets - One of the easiest and most unobtrusive ways to accurately track employee time and activities is via electronic timesheets. Electronic Timesheets replace the need for paper timesheets and gather information on hours worked by employees. They interface with Payroll and Human Resources Systems. Electronic timesheets were designed to allow employees to easily enter their daily hours worked or assume their standard contract hours, as well as paid time off via their PC, laptop, tablet, phone etc. They were developed to reduce administration and manual tasks, increase payroll accuracy, ensure compliance with working time legislation and protect organisations against payroll fraud. Once timesheets are completed and approved, the system can then calculate payroll, based on the hours entered thereby avoiding the need for any manual calculations. With electronic timesheets, supervisors don’t need to sign off on “paper” timesheets which can be open to errors; instead they approve employees’ electronic timesheets online directly from their email or via their phone App. This ensures that timesheets cannot be changed later as once approved they go directly to payroll rather than back to the employee. With electronic timesheets you can allow employees to view and edit their time, enter absences, submit requests for leave and review their schedules reducing time spent looking for this information from others.
  • Entering and approving timesheet information regularly - The most common type of payroll fraud is the padding of timesheets by employees and the best control over this is ensuring that timesheets are completed and signed off regularly and in a timely fashion. With an automated system like Softworks, there is no need for administration staff to re-enter this information into the system. This allows you to completely eliminate the middle steps which could leave your business open to human error or fraud. The quicker that timesheet information is processed the more exact it will be. By leaving a time lapse between work done and approval you leave your business open to mistakes and deliberate fraud.
  • Make timesheet approval quick, easy & hassle free - If tracking time and attendance becomes too much hassle for employees and supervisors, timesheet accuracy goes down. The easier it is for employees to fill in timesheets and supervisors to approve them, the more accurate this information will be and the faster errors or attempted fraud will be spotted. Line managers don’t want to waste time chasing their team for timesheets and HR & Finance departments don’t want to waste time chasing line managers. Good electronic timesheet systems have built in functionality such as email alerts and SMS messaging reminding employees and managers about timesheet submission and approval. At the end of the day the process should be quick and easy and provide no disincentive to doing it. By enabling supervisors to easily and quickly edit, authorise and analyse, time, attendance, holidays, absences and additional time from one screen you will increase timesheet accuracy and alert supervisors quickly to any discrepancies. A good electronic timesheet system should offer all of this. With Softworks, employees and supervisors receive automatic email notifications when timesheets are due and they can approve or edit timesheets directly from their email or via their phone App.
  • Keep track of employees centrally - Managing variable working hours, times and days and tracking large numbers of employees and/or contract workers dispersed at multiple locations in real time can be quite a challenge. With electronic timesheets you can allow employees and/or contractors to check in from off-site locations. Electronic timesheets are 100% web enabled so both employees and supervisors can log in anytime and anywhere via their PC, Laptop, Tablet, Phone etc. making it easy to record employees’ working hours, times and days and track large numbers of employees at a central source no matter where office premises or employees/ contractors are located. This is turn makes it easier to track any discrepancies or unusual time and attendance which leads us into management reporting.
  • Management Reporting - In order to keep a close eye on timesheets, managers and supervisors should be able to generate and view reports easily. This will help them to analyse employee costs, overtime usage, time off and easily and accurately track hours spent on projects or tasks. Furthermore having a system that generates good reports will prevent employees from booking time to projects that don’t exist or are completed, or favouring employees on projects, without taking into consideration the cost implications 
  • Legal Compliance - Most countries today have working time legislation for health and safety reasons. As a business, it is your responsibility to accurately record your employee's working hours, overtime, annual leave and start and finish times. If you don’t, you could be at risk of prosecution for non-compliance or even face a lawsuit from employees. There is a growing body of case law involving class action lawsuits for unpaid overtime. Already lawsuits have been filed against many high profile organisations in the US including; Best Buy, McDonalds, Urban Outfitters, Apple, AT&T, Bank of America, CVS and Wells Fargo among others, alleging employers misclassified employees as exempt from overtime or failed to pay overtime to employees regardless of their classification.

    This is not just an issue in the US, this is a global issue. In Canada, Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice gave the green light to a class-action lawsuit against part of Bank of Montreal’s wealth management group that alleged the bank owed unpaid overtime to hundreds of current and former investment advisers. The lawsuit alleged BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. did not keep a proper record of the time employees worked and did not appropriately compensate employees when they worked overtime. The case followed other lawsuits over unpaid overtime brought against Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and the Bank of Nova Scotia by bank tellers and other employees who said they were unfairly denied overtime pay. The banks were hit with combined claims of $950 Million.

    In the UK John Lewis had to spend £40m to compensate staff who were accidentally underpaid for working Sundays and Bank Holidays over a seven year period. . No matter where in the world you are based, if you employ staff, ensuring legislative compliance and managing, recording and tracking working hours has never been more important. A good Time & Attendance Solution can automate this process for you and ensure that your organization is always 100% compliant.

Summary
Timesheet fraud is upsetting not just because of the money that companies lose, but also because of the breaches of trust that occur. While it may not be possible to completely eradicate payroll fraud, there are certainly ways you can minimise the abuse. You should have clear policies in place on what the consequences are for such criminal activity. You should also consider electronic timesheets as they have been developed and designed to minimise human error and deliberate fraud. The potential for timesheet fraud is significant and the consequences are far reaching and an expensive process. As a business you need to be diligent with your internal controls and management reporting so that issues such as; payroll anomalies, excessive labour costs, extreme hours worked, high cost projects are discovered at the earliest possible time and dealt with quickly.

If you would like to see Softworks Electronic Timesheets in action, contact us for a live demo and you can decide if Softworks could make a positive difference to your business processes and in turn bottom line.



Topics: Time & Attendance, Compliance, Timesheets, Fraud