T & A: What is it?

At HFX Time and Attendance is what we do. We’ve all heard our HR teams talk about T&A (Time & Attendance) but what is it?

T&A What is it?

What are Time and Attendance systems?

Time and Attendance systems (known as T&A) are the systems that used by companies and HR teams to track and monitor when employees start and stop work and record any absences in order to reflect the relevant adjustments in the employees’ payroll. More complex Time and Attendance systems will include additional features such as Rostering, and Visitor Registration.

Why are they important?

Companies that have Time and Attendance systems can monitor their employees’ working hours as well as any late arrivals or early departures. Employers are also able to see the amount of time taken on breaks as well as levels of absenteeism.

Employees also often like to have a system recording what they are really working as this provides complete transparency for their bosses and the HR department and creates a fairer working environment.

One key element of Time and Attendance is its integration with roll call and providing a Muster report. In the event of a fire alarm evacuation, the Time and Attendance system is able to provide a print out of all the employees on site, enabling an up to date count ensuring everyone is out of the building.

The benefit to businesses

There are many benefits that business can experience following the implementation of a Time and Attendance system these include:

  • Integration with the payroll system thereby avoiding manual input removes errors and ensures an accurate and timely payroll
  • Can be used to ensure compliance with labour regulations regarding proof of attendance
  • Provide employees with structure – once implemented, employees will know exactly when they must turn up by and when they are able to leave, with lateness and good timekeepers being able to be recognised with trackable data, eliminating any disputes regarding if employees were on time or not.
  • Holiday planning – depending on the Time and Attendance system in place, requested holidays can be recorded enabling management to plan around them in advance
  • Lightens administrative workloads – a Time and Attendance system eliminates the need for manual clocking-in cards. Therefore, there is no longer the need for HR employees to spend hours poring over figures and manually inputting the times as the data is collected automatically when employees clock in/out. The result is a more streamlined, error free process.  
  • Ensure regulatory compliance – if your organisation must adhere to industry specific regulations and ensure GDPR, Time and Attendance systems are able to be configured to organisations’ requirements creating alerts against any compliance issues while aiding with current GDPR compliance.

Ultimately implementing a Time and Attendance system allows businesses to control labour costs, reduce over payments that are caused by paying employees for time that they are not working, and eliminates the human error associated with the manual input of employee’s time.

Traditional Manual Systems…and Excel

Traditional manual systems involved paper cards which have times stamped on them using a time stamping machine. Due to the design of these paper time cards, HR were still required to input the times in which employees worked and as a result, errors could be made with the misinterpretation or wrong input of data.

While times have moved on and technology is ever present in the workplace, the manual input of employees’ times still occurs, only now with everyone’s friend Microsoft excel. Although Excel can rule out errors of mis-calculated time worked for payroll. It does not rule out the potential of inputting incorrect information.

Automated systems that can capture and collect such data which is then fed straight into payroll with an interface are able to remove the possibility of these errors occurring.

Automated systems

As technology has developed, so have the ways in which organisations can capture and collect their employees’ working hours. 

Modern time and attendance systems require employees to touch or swipe in order to identify themselves and record their working hours as they enter or leave the work area.

While swipe cards are still common in many businesses and offer multiple uses, options for bio-metric (hand reader, fingerprint, vein reader or facial recognition) and touch screen devices have continued to enter the market, providing different options to best suit the organisation’s needs.

HFX

At HFX Time and Attendance is what we do and what we specialise in, the reason why we have become market leaders.

Founded over 45 years ago and with over 1,500 customers, HFX has a proven history of developing innovative time management solutions. The latest generation of Saas Cloud solutions are highly customisable and can be configured to meet exact requirements, can support unlimited numbers of work patterns and provide seamless integration with all major HR and payroll systems.

Our solution comprises Time & Attendance, Rostering, Flexitime, Workforce Optimisation, Budgeting & Costing, Job & Task Booking, Access control and Visitors’ Registration and fits organisations of all sizes and sectors including manufacturing, public sector, services industry, leisure, construction, retail, contract cleaning, recruitment, logistics and hospitality.

HFX Devices

We provided a range of devices from Card, RFID or Fob readers through to finger print readers and hand recognition or even mobile apps and QR codes, in order to provide our customers with the best option for them and their needs.

HFX Devices

To find out more about our solutions contacts us at sale@hfx.co.uk or drop us a call on 03333447872

What is Legacy Software?

We’ve all heard the term legacy software , but who knows what it really means?

Legacy Software: What is it?

Legacy Software simply put is the generalised term used for ‘old outdated software and systems that are still in use’.

It doesn’t mean the software wasn’t good in its day, just that it no longer meets the needs of users today. Windows 95 was revolutionary when it was first released in 1995 but now almost 25 years later the same software and operating system no longer meets the needs of the 21st century computing.

At HFX we happen to know a thing or two about legacy software in the workforce management sector, we’ve developed a few over the last 45 years! It’s for that reason we know the importance of updating systems to ensure businesses can meet all their needs and requirements.

Many of us adapt and adopt the latest technology that makes our lives easier, but in business and around our workplaces it can often be a very different story. You may have come to work using your smart phone, but clock in/out using a solution that predated even the first smart phone on the market. Although in many cases legacy software still works, the chances of it meeting the needs of your business today to the same level as when it was first released is slim.

As with many things in society changes happen, from the size of business, to locations and objectives. Businesses continue to evolve and grow both in size and goals. Here at HFX we continue to evolve and grow as a company with the introduction of new rules and regulations such as GDPR – that is the nature of business.

From small companies to large, it is undeniable that all will struggle at some point with legacy systems, even e-commerce Boohoo came out in 2018 stating they still struggle with legacy systems.

While legacy software is the safe option as its been tried and tested for many years in the business, there are many issues that legacy software may be unable to address. From being unable to meet the evolving requirements of the business, to ECJ rulings and GDPR compliance to the user interface; the gap between what the solution can provide, and the requirements needed change each year. It still does what was required of it 10 or 20 years ago, it just can’t handle the evolving requirements that were never considered at the time.

However, the biggest challenge facing legacy software is that of cost. With legacy software becoming increasingly out dated and no longer in production or receiving regular updates, the cost and time involved to maintain the systems will continue to increase. Increasing to the point where it no longer becomes cost effective or feasible to maintain and inevitably faults occur and the system can crash or have serious downtime. Upgrading systems then becomes a top priority in order to meet the business needs.

At HFX, when we talk about legacy software, we look back fondly at our past developments and technological advancements of a time from Wintime to etarmis and not to our current and most advanced system yet: Imperago. As a fully SaaS Cloud solution, Imperago offers users the ability to choose a range of modules to fit their specific needs, from T&A through to Rostering and Access Control, as well as providing the ability to fully integrate with all the leading HR solutions. With a cloud-based system using remote servers, updates to software any support can be provided without engineers having to be onsite.

Change is hard, change is difficult, the server in the back office has always been there, but it’s not quite the same as it once was, the dust is thick, maintenance is costly and although it’s still going it can’t quite keep up. It’s time to move on and away from the on-premise T&A systems. It’s time to leave the legacy software behind with a salute for all that it has done and the foundations it laid for all that has come since and all that is still to come.

Legacy Software, we salute you.

HFX continues to reinforce its position as a leader in workforce management solutions in Logistics and Distribution

Two new business wins signed in quick succession at DX Networks and Dormole Limited

HFX, the market leading provider of Cloud Workforce Management Solutions, has signed two new clients, Dormole and DX Networks in quick succession, as its market share in Logistics and Distribution goes from strength to strength. These contracts continue HFX’s strong performance in 2019, after a record first quarter where the company closed nearly £1m in new business.

Dormole Limited has a range of subsidiaries that specialize in distribution to the retail and merchant trades; Toolbank – tools and associated products; BIZ Power Tools – power tools and accessories; Olympia Tools – European distributor for the Roughneck brand of hand tools and workwear; and Forgefix – fasteners and fixings. Dormole has selected HFX’s Time and Attendance, 3D Rostering with Budgeting and Costing and a door access control system with integration to one of the UK’s leading HR and payroll providers

DX Network Services, the parcels delivery specialist for the legal profession and passport office which has over 4000 employees across 70 UK sites, selected secure biometric fingerprint terminals to manage access control as part of the HFX’s integrated Time and Attendance solution.

Nicola Smart, COO at HFX commented: “HFX solutions are designed for use by organisations that have a diverse workforce spread across many sites, on the move or working remotely. Our solutions enable companies to plan their workforces, developing staff friendly shifts and rosters, tracking who is where and when, so that wages can be paid accurately and in a timely manner, while providing duty of care, and protecting lone workers. Our products are uniquely suitable for the business challenges faced by the distribution and logistics industries where keeping an agile and engaged workforce makes all the difference to staff productivity, customer service, and at the end of the day, profitability.”

HFX’s workforce management solutions include time and attendance, rostering, shift planning, flexitime management, access control, clocking both via wall/door mounted devices and via PC/laptop/mobile app, all of which are already integrated with all major HR and payroll solutions. HFX is a sponsor of the Lone Worker Safety Expo, being held at No. 11 Cavendish Square – The King’s Fund, on 15 October, 2019.  For more details visit: http://www.loneworkersafetyexpo.com/#about

The Shuttlebay Project Pt. 1

@theshuttlebay

If you haven’t already seen or heard about our Shuttlebay project, where have you been. In the first instalment of our Shuttlebay series we take a look at where the idea came from.

In late 2018, hfx was outgrowing its office, and needed a larger building to accommodate our colleagues. But we also wanted to create something unique for our visitors, a reception area that reflected our vision of a New World of Work and showcase our technology and the amazing skills of our colleagues.

We’d written about the impression visitors often get when they visit a company for the first time (read https://hfxworkforce.com/2018/06/27/what-are-you-really-saying-to-your-visitors/) and we wanted our visitors to have a memorable and positive experience. We’ve always done things a bit differently (see our website www.hfx.co.uk) and we wanted our physical presence to be similarly, well different.

Initially it was going to have a modern feel with functional tech, that is until one of our colleagues suggested – perhaps half in jest – that we should have swooshing doors just like the ones in the popular Sci-Fi franchise Star Trek. That comment literally overturned months of previous design work and began our Shuttlebay project.

Some suggested we just record some noise and play it with electric doors, but that would be cheating. We resolved to do the real thing, pneumatic powered sliding doors…Not something we had done before, but then just like the franchise, we needed to boldly go where no-one (well mostly) has gone before… and so began our 12-month mission.

As of September 2019, our Shuttlebay project is heading towards the final stages of construction with the second set of doors being hung as this is being typed while progress on the operational and cosmetic elements of the Shuttlebay continue to progress towards the finish line. To keep updated with the all the progress while also being one of the first to see the finished product when the time comes follow across our socials on @theshuttlebay

A Guide to ECJ Ruling

Tracking employees  – the key to meeting workforce regulations

ECJ rules EU employers must track working time

The ECJ Ruling – what it means for the UK workplace

The recent ECJ ruling[i] states that all workers have a right to limit their working hours and to take adequate rest. The ruling also recommends that the only way to ensure that these rights are met is for employers to accurately record hours worked, including overtime.

This EU Working Time Directive (WTD) is more stringent than the UK Working Time Regulations (WTR). In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforces the requirements of the WTR[ii]

Nevertheless, Regulation 9 of the WTR requires a UK employer to keep “records which are adequate” to show whether weekly working time limits and the time limits on night working are being complied with.

An employer’s responsibility – duty of care

While this is a recent ruling, it has always been the case that employers have a duty of care to employees. Indeed, a lack of time recording can open up employers to claims if an employee has come to harm, either with an accident or ill health, as a result of working excessive hours.

Many companies find that accurate recording of hours can also improve staff wellbeing and morale, by ensuring that they are compensated for time worked by monitoring absences and holidays and time off in lieu (TOIL).

Accurate recording of working hours also brings business benefits

Workforce management technology has become a key tool to help organisations record and manage staff working time. Time and Attendance (T&A) systems used to be a way of managing hours for traditional workforces – for factories, retail outlets and the public sector. Today a T&A system can provide real time visibility of the entire workforce attendance and location anytime, anywhere.

With integrated HR systems, an accurate recording of hours can help to:

  • provide accurate HR data – provide essential data for HR, whether payroll, sickness or holiday leave taken
  • support legislation compliance –  such as health and safety risks for lone-workers or machinery operation
  • ensure fairness and transparency – enable staff working hours to be managed equitably, improving morale
  • improve efficiency and productivity – by creating shift patterns that marry up staff skills, expertise and choice with the needs of the business
  • provide insights into employee working habits – and the true productivity of the organisation.

New cloud-based T&A solutions available today can offer additional flexibility. They enable companies to provide staff with a remote login facility – and to add or take off staff as numbers go up or down, according to demand. Cloud technology also ensures no costly IT overheads, hardware or software upgrade maintenance and they provide the benefit of extra security with hosted data.

Meeting working legislation – ways to manage staff hours

Workforce Management solutions help organisations to manage three key areas of workforce attendance:

  • Time and Attendance
  • Access Control
  • Rostering

These systems can also now become integral to HR and workforce planning to support key business decisions. They can provide the foundations to help companies better manage labour costs, productivity and ensure employee wellbeing – and provide a healthy return on investment.

Time & Attendance

Every organisation is different and may need to monitor working hours to support flexible working hours and Time off in Lieu (TOIL). Or they may have annualised hours contracts, to meet seasonal peaks and troughs, which require close tracking to ensure they meet working legislation.

A Time and Attendance system enables a company to record staff attendance, often in real-time by collecting data in a number of ways. They range from the traditional clock on the wall that uses cards, tokens or biometrics, to apps that employees can download to their mobile devices, online apps, even dialling in by telephone.

The data provides an accurate record of staff working hours, including absences, lateness and overtime. A T&A system provides a transparent and equitable way to record hours and ensures that staff are accurately paid in a timely manner. By providing a fairer way to manage habitually late arrivals or those who take longer lunch breaks, it can also help with employee morale.

As well as providing managers with data on attendance to comply with legislation and wellbeing, from an operational perspective it ensures managers are alerted if staff do not turn up, so that cover can be arranged. Integrating the attendance data with payroll software ensures automatic and accurate overtime calculations. This not only reduces administration, but also builds trust and confidence in staff that they are being fairly compensated.

Key benefits of an HFX T&A system

  • enforces compliance to employment regulations
  • ensures accurate attendance data and automated timesheets to populate payroll
  • provides real time data collection and instant views of staff whereabouts
  • reduces absence, time theft and overtime
  • helps manage multi-site operation, even worldwide
  • improves efficiency and reduces labour costs
  • enables efficient management reporting
  • reduces administration and increases productivity.

A cloud solution delivers flexibility and is cost-efficient

A fully hosted cloud T&A system is fast to implement, with no waiting for a lengthy software implementation project. It is easy for staff to use and there are no costly server upgrades and ongoing maintenance costs required.  Integration with existing third party HR and Payroll systems means that data can be easily shared, avoiding re-keying, saving time and potential errors,

Access Control

Many organisations can also benefit from a single system to manage attendance and access to their building and secure areas. Today’s Access Control systems do more than just control access to a company’s premises. They provide a wealth of information about a building or area occupancy data, for example, which parts of a building or site that are being used, and when. This is useful to:

  • secure areas and staff, for example, hazardous areas or offices where sensitive information is kept (important for GDPR data security)
  • help monitor and ensure lone worker safety and maintain accurate records
  • manage building heating and lighting use efficiently.

A new addition to physical proximity cards and coded access for clocking in is biometric access control, which provides a more secure means of authentication. PIN numbers can be shared and fobs or cards lost or stolen, whereas a biometric device with a fingerprint is truly secure. The access data provides real time details of which members of staff are in and where.

Again, a cloud solution, such as HFX Imperago, provides additional security benefits. Information is stored in the cloud as well as locally, so even if the network fails, doors will still operate. Security is maintained and should the worse happen, data can still be accessed.

Rostering

Workforce management systems can help to ensure that schedules address working time compliance issues, as well meet staff requirements based on demand for services. Rostering ensures that staff attendance is planned and within working legislation – and that work is completed on time and to budget.

3D Rostering for a multi-dimensional view of the workforce

Almost every workforce management solution provides rostering, but this can be limited to basic shift planning. While traditional T&A systems focused purely on recording time to pay, now with Access Control they form next generation systems that enable organisations to gain a multi-dimension view of staff activity.

This includes not just when they worked, but where they carried out their work, what activities were completed and for which client or customer. This multi-dimensional view enables organisations to identify where the costs are going and optimise their plans and workforce accordingly.

Summary

HFX Imperago 3D rostering takes it a step further by enabling staff to plan not just staff time, but also location, activity, client (and any other important attribute). Costing and budgeting can also be associated with each roster or shift, providing managers with the hard facts when deciding to approval extra overtime, for example. With T&A and Access Control systems seamlessly working together, organisations can Plan-Record-Optimise in a continuous feedback loop until real efficiencies are truly gained.Summary

Workforce Management solutions offer flexible ways to support the operational deployment and management of staff hours, ensuring compliance with working legislation. Today, T&A, Access Control and Roster systems have become integral to HR and workforce planning to support key business decisions. They can provide the foundations to help companies better manage labour costs, productivity and ensure employee wellbeing. They can also provide a healthy return on investment.

For over forty years HFX workforce management solutions have been used by many private and public sector organisations to manage working hours transparently and equitably, on site or remotely, improving productivity and employee wellbeing. Many organisations are already realising the benefits of managing their workforce with T&A and effective, proactive rostering, supported by the right technology to make it happen. It’s all about time.

About HFX

Founded over 45 years ago and with over 1,500 customers, HFX has a proven history of developing innovative time management solutions. The latest generation of Saas Cloud solutions are highly customisable and can be configured to meet exact requirements, support unlimited numbers of work patterns and provide seamless integration with all major HR and payroll systems.

HFX works with organisations of all sizes and sectors including manufacturing, public sector, services industry, leisure, construction, retail, contract cleaning, recruitment, logistics and hospitality.

For more information about the HFX Group, please visit www.hfx.co.uk


[i] The Court of Justice of the European Union [Directive 89/391] https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/j_6/en/

[ii] http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/faqs/workingtimedirective.htm

Steroid Returns on Investments

With over 1,500 customers you’d expect us to hear some rather extraordinary stories and you’d be right. In our 45+ year history we’ve heard many stories about the antics that companies have uncovered through our Time and Attendance solutions. In our #ItCouldNotHappenHere series we cover our “favourites” – one in each post.

Steroid Returns on Investments

A Time & Attendance system will pay for itself within 12 months although six months is more likely in our experience, and in some cases as quick as six weeks.

Our favourite is a depot where all overtime was eliminated instantly. How? Well previously no-one at the isolated depot turned up to work Monday to Friday, with the supervisor (who was in on the game) reporting a backlog of workload and the need for the team to work weekends (on overtime of course). With the implementation of Biometric Time & Attendance the game was over and normal working resumed and costs plummeted.

The Phantom Menace

With over 1,500 customers you’d expect us to hear some rather extraordinary stories and you’d be right. In our 45+ year history we’ve heard many stories about the antics that companies have uncovered through our Time and Attendance solutions. In our #ItCouldNotHappenHere series we cover our “favourites” – one in each post.

Ever wondered where George was? Well until a Time & Attendance system was installed no-one had cause to question him. He was never late, never sick and rarely – if ever- took holidays. In fact, he was an exemplary employee, bar for the one simple fact that George didn’t exist despite receiving a regular salary! In a large business, with so many employees, it’s hard enough to track the real ones, let alone the ghosts unless you have a Time & Attendance system. Then the ghosts mysteriously do a vanishing act…

To find out more contact us

For more information on Time and Attendance download our pdf