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

The Deck of Cards

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 of the antics that companies have uncovered through our Time and Attendance solutions. In our #ItCouldNotHappenHere series we cover our “favourites” – one in each post.

The joker in this pack is lateness. What do you do when you’ve been reprimanded for lateness several times and are about to score a hat-trick? We discover the answer every time we service a card machine when dozens of cards drop down the back of the device. Of course, you pretend to swipe in but really slip the card behind the machine and tell the supervisor that your card is “lost” and that you arrived on time for work today…

To find out more contact us

For more information on Time and Attendance download our pdf

July 21st, 1969 02:56 UTC – Man First Walked on the Moon

On July 21st, 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. 50 years on as we celebrate their milestone achievement in aeronautics, and our companies inspiration of space and time, HFX looks back at some of the technological developments that followed this historic feat.

  1. DNA testing – scientists began sequencing DNA molecules in the late 1970’s. by 2003 all DNA sequencing was completed.
  2. Electric Car – although electric cars have been around since the 1920’s, it wasn’t until 2008 when tesla revealed their first model that an electric car that did not have significant obstacles for production or sales.
  3. Fibre optics – from the 1970’s the quality of optical fibres improved enough to allow is use in communication appliances, quickly becoming the preferred choice for telecommunication and networking.
  4. Laparoscopy (non-invasive laser and robotic surgery) – the first minimally invasive surgery was carried out in 1987, while in the 1980’s lasers were discovered to be able to cut organ tissue. These developments helped make surgery more precise and safer.
  5. Photovoltaic solar energy – developments in photovoltaic solar energy in response to the oil embargo and energy crisis in the 1970’s has led to commercial solar power plants as well as individuals having the ability to heat their own houses and buildings.
  6. IEEE 802.16 – antenna which can transmit internet access up to a 30-mile radius at speeds comparable to DSL and cable broadband.
  7. Mobile Phones – 1983 Motorola introduced the first widely available handheld cell phone.
  8. GPS – in 1978, the first satellite in the modern Navstar Global Positioning System, GPS, was launched. In 2000 President Clinton granted non-military users access to an unscrambles GPS signal.
  9. Cloud Computing – a term first mentioned in 1996 in a Compaq document has been in existence since 2000 whereby Apple, Google and NASA have all had interpretations. Cloud Computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computer power without a direct active management by the user.  At HFX this particular development now enables us to offer a fully SaaS workforce management solution, whereby we have the capability to provide customers the use of our applications on a cloud infrastructure.

In an age where technology is ever developing, not only with new applications and development of existing technology, it is unfathomable to think that while brave astronauts were walking on the moon, back on earth DNA mapping hadn’t started, electric cars becoming part of the normal motor vehicle landscape was a wish and you still had to wait 13 years before mobile phones were to become widely available. With progressive technology it’s important to recognise how far developments have come to progress further. For without developments of the past you would not now have the latest developments from cloud-based software to technology that’s yet to be developed.

As we celebrate those who ventured into the unknown, we must recognise those behind the front line, the developers and engineers who made the Apollo 11 mission a success. Without those who had not contributed their part with forward thinking, technology and software would not be where it is now.   

To find out more about our workforce management solutions visit:  www.hfx.co.uk 

HFX closes first quarter with nearly £1m new business as retail sector invests in workforce management solutions

HFX achieves record £1million sales for Q1 2019

Flamingo Flowers, Blue Diamond Garden Centres and DX Network Services benefit from seamless and efficient workforce management with HFX’s cloud time and attendance and rostering solutions 

HFX, one of the UK’s leading developers of cloud-based workforce management solutions, has announced a record first quarter, with nearly £1m sales to new clients in the retail sector, including Flamingo Flowers, Blue Diamond Garden centres and DX Network Services, the delivery company. All three organisations have selected HFX‘s cloud Time and Attendance (T&A), as well as its Rostering and Cost Management solution, to manage large numbers of employees working across multiple locations. 

Flamingo Flowers, a supplier of flowers and vegetables to leading supermarket chains including Tesco and Sainsbury’s, has selected HFX’s solution to manage 1700 employees across its five UK locations and headquarters in Stevenage. 

DX Network Services, the parcels delivery specialist for the legal profession and passport office, has over 4000 employees across 70 UK sites, while Blue Diamond has 30 garden centres. They have also selected secure biometric fingerprint terminals to manage access control as part of the HFX’s integrated Time and Attendance solution. 

All three companies have invested in HFX’s Rostering, Budgeting and Cost Management solution to create and track cost-efficient rotas for staff, both to meet seasonal demands and to ensure compliance with working hours regulation and staff wellbeing.

Nicola Smart, COO at HFX said; “We have seen a massive increased demand for our cloud workforce management solutions. Cloud technology is accelerating the move away from large scale, monolithic enterprise suites to ‘Best in Class’ applications that provide ‘plug and play’ capabilities enabling organisations to put together a solution that meets their own individual requirements with ease.

“Our Rostering and Budgeting solutions reflect the New World of Work – companies can capture multi-dimensional attendance data in many different ways – by time, location, activity and cost centre. Having this information at their fingertips enables companies to plan resources and have the right staff working at the location, at the right time, to deliver their services or meet production targets profitably while ensuring staff wellbeing at the same time.”