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Automation makes Absence a “Professionally Managed Predicament”

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Abstract: With the modern-day Absence Management gaining the status of “empowerment”, organizations are most likely to become better cost managers.

Absence is a productivity killer and in its roots, absence management was all about cost and loss management. However, the modern professional world has been able to adopt a humanistic approach with regard to absence management by highlighting the importance of work-life balance. And this has worked to point out the simple truth – absence is inevitable! Acceptance of the fact has inspired modern organizations to make absence planning an integral part of workforce management. With absence management  getting an employee-friendly appearance, organizations are most likely to leverage the benefits of sophisticated absence planning tools that are devised to guarantee unhindered workflow. Based on high-level coordination initiatives, absence management tools   provide managers with a transparent platform that enables them to avoid last-minute surprises. An efficient management of employee absence  works to strike the perfect balance between personal entitlement to leave and future operational requirements.

The Cost Chronicle

Inappropriate management of absence can cost organizations more than 8 percent of payroll. However, organizations might want to reconsider their “entitlement” culture with a 2010 Kronos survey claiming that the full cost of employee absence may shoot up to an equivalent of 35 percent of payroll. The impact of absence can be measured in terms of lost wages and productivity, loss of profitability, administrative burden, lower employee engagement, and customer dissatisfaction. Absence, whether planned or unplanned, carries the following cost implications:

  • Decrease in Productivity: Efficiency of operations is most likely to get compromised when managers assign the extra work to other employees. The pressure of extra workload gets amplified when employees are required to train or assist new or replacement staff. Performance of overtime duties may affect employee morale and this may go a long way to cause adverse impacts on service delivery.
  • Financial Costs: The organization may need to bear the burden of extra costs that normally accrue in the form of overtime fees and wages of replacement workers.
  • Administrative Costs: Vendor services and staff time required for absence control and additional efforts applied for the hiring of replacement employees or the re-assignment of the other employees invite administrative costs.

Numbers Speak!

An annual survey report on absence management, published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in 2012, revealed the following cost picture:

Average annual cost of absence per employee per year  

                                                                                                   

Cost (£) per employee per year Median  5% trimmed mean Maximum
All

600

1 187

4 389 173

Manufacturing and production

456

971

80 000

Private sector services

513

861

52 000

Public services

647

721

20 000

Non-profit organizations

700

44 975

4 389 173

This table was included as a part of the CIPD’s thirteenth national survey of absence management trends, policy, and practice. The cost analysis was based on inputs from 667 UK-based organizations that employed a total of 1.7 million personnel.

The See-through Setup

The objective of absence management is to prevent situations of calendar clashes and allowance disputes. And this actually works to promote a productive work environment that rests on the pillars of administrative efficiency. Effective absence management relies heavily on the proper calculation and allocation of benefit accruals. This process needs to be based on transparency so that managers can design on-time alternative “cope-up” strategies. This, in turn, calls for the easy availability of auditable leave and absence related data. With automation being the ultimate solution for most of the problems in the present-day world, we can definitely expect to see phenomenal results through the deployment of an automated absence management  process.

Tech Talks

Automation of leave management  not only gives HR and line managers the ability to manage time-off with minimal impact to business, but it also promotes greater employee engagement. It provides employees access to past leave records and accurate information on available benefit days or current account balances and future accruals and this way, it facilitates decision-making. The electronic leave management process  provides employees with a self-service platform that allows them to make “responsible” leave requisitions. It also enables line managers to coordinate leaves more efficiently within their team or department.

The Way Ahead

If you think deeply… automation, how hi-tech it might appear to be, is actually empowerment in its core essence. And such empowerment comes through a greater control over information resources. With modern-day organizations demonstrating an employee-centric attitude in all their attempts to reach productivity targets, we can expect to see further evolution of the absence management  technology which may actually challenge the current cost-absence correlation.

Reducing employee vacation scheduling dilemmas in 3 easy steps

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With the arrival of sunnier days, there is one inevitable dilemma that all business owners will soon have to face – employee vacation scheduling. For most business owners and managers, keeping their employees happy and at the same time preventing business operations from serious disruption, is quite a challenge. It’s almost sure that at some point complications and conflicts will occur. Instead of having nightmares about what can happen when two or more key staff members request the same vacation days, it is better to implement these three easy steps ahead of time to minimize problems with vacation scheduling in the future.

 

1. Vacation policy. It is always a good idea to have a clear, written company policy on vacation leaves, which would be presented to all new hires. It should contain basic rules of applying for vacation leave, for instance:

– how long in advance the absence request should be submitted,

– indication of peak periods in business, when taking any vacation days is discouraged,

– information that in case of extraordinary situation all employees might be requested to rearrange their vacation plans. Some of those events may include: market changes, health related leave of another employee and other important and unexpected reasons.

 

2. Temporary replacement. It is crucial to always think about who will be able to cover for absent employees in your company. Everything can happen. Beside the vacation period, people can get sick, especially during the flu season or have important family reasons to take couple days off etc. In order to keep business operations running smoothly, it is important to be prepared for every situation that may occur. Vacationers should prepare basic information for those who will cover for them during vacation period, including: any passwords, important information, key contacts, summary of work in progress, projects deadlines etc.

 

3. Vacation scheduling software. Implementation of OffiServ online application can save many business owners and organizations time, money and headaches. It allows to easily manage all aspects of scheduling vacation requests. Some of the OffiServ benefits include:

 

Easy scheduling. Every employee has their own absence planner including all vacation and sick days presented in clear and easily manageable form. Color marks indicate whether their requests have been accepted or not. It takes only one click to submit vacation request or to cancel existing ones. OffiServ application supports vacation planning during the year, showing how many days of each leave type are still to be used by employees.

 

Automated absence requests workflow. When an employee marks vacation days in their calendar, OffiServ application automatically generates vacation request and sends it directly to the employee’s manager for approval.

 

Tracking made simple. OffiServ allows to quickly check who is currently on vacation. Managers can check all absence plans of their employees and employees can easily check vacation plans of their colleagues for more efficient vacation and temporary replacement planning. You can even integrate your other IT systems with OffiServ via simple API (application programming interface) to implement comprehensive presence management in your organization by taking into account current employee status to optimize your processes.

 

Flexible configuration. Regardless of where the company is based, OffiServ can be easily configured to suit all needs of the companies and organizations, including adjustment to specific country law and holidays and to specific absence types.

 

Developing a good and easy to follow system of employee vacation scheduling and tracking can make a huge difference in staff efficiency and their motivation. Keeping employees happy is crucial for smooth business operations. Thanks to implementation of OffiServ application for planning, tracking and managing all aspects of employee absences, it is easy to make sure every staff member is satisfied.

Analyzing the top ten benefits of using OffiServ Help Desk service in your office

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Analyzing the top ten benefits of using OffiServ Help Desk service in your office.

 

Help Desk systems are created for employees to report any issues that may occur during everyday operations. We could probably think about hundreds of reasons why the owners of enterprises should use automated Help Desk services like OffiServ in their offices. We will try to recognize the top ten of them below.

 

1. Efficiency. Thanks to using OffiServ Help Desk system  users can easily and conveniently report their problems and related updates. Business owners are paying top salaries for their employees knowledge and experience, so it would be a shame to waste their time on ineffective processes like, for instance, dealing with office equipment not working properly. Thanks to OffiServ Help Desk application it’s easy to keep users informed about the status of their ticket, so they can make better decisions and use their time more efficiently.

 

2. Diversification and multitasking. Technicians, whose work is supported by OffiServ Help Desk, can solve many problems at once. For example, when different issues occur at the same place, support crew can save time on making one trip to the location instead of multiple ones. If there is more than one person in the organization working on tech issues, implementing Help Desk system can help to avoid a situation of doing the same job twice. 

 

3. Easy solution to all problems. OffiServ Help Desk application offers its users one easy solution to all their problems at the same location. Employees can simply create new tickets, check the status of existing ones and close no longer relevant tickets at the same spot.

 

4. Time tracking. Every business owner knows that ‘time is money’. That’s why an optimization of its use is really important in any business. OffiServ Help Desk allows to track time spent on fixing specific problems, so it’s easy to determine approximate length of any repair for future reference.

 

5. Group purchase requests. When employees request any items, they no longer need to ask for them in person or over the phone. Grouping purchase requests in one place allows users on both sides to use their time more effectively and helps to make sure everyone in organization will receive any important tools to fulfill their job.

 

6. Prioritization. There are different levels of importance when it comes to solving operational issues on a daily basis. In order to keep employees  productive and operations running smoothly, it’s good to know which of the problems need to be resolved first. Implementation of Help Desk system allows technicians to determine which of submitted tickets have the highest priority, so they can work on them first.

 

7. Reoccurring tasks. Many of incoming tickets refer to issues that have already been solved in the past. Problems occurring frequently can be easily resolved, thanks to support crew having easy access to previously submitted tickets. Again, it saves lots of time and helps allocating human resources in more efficient way.

 

8. Deadlines. It’s easier to sort through the projects, organize and complete them, when they have deadlines. OffiServ Help Desk allows to track multi-step tasks through to completion. It also helps with prioritization of tasks for better use of company’s resources.

 

9. Right person for the right job. Depending on a nature of an issue, incoming tickets can be easily assigned to the person that has the right set of skills to resolve them. It allows for better use of time and resources, also eliminating issues with inefficient task juggling between employees responsible for tech support.

 

10. Information organized. While reporting over the phone usually provides technicians with more specific information about the issue, automatic Help Desk services allow to collect lots of data that can be stored and used to improve the actual business operations in the future. Implementing OffiServ Help Desk application provides business owners with detailed reports, that can help them to optimize any of the processes having place in their organizations.

 

Time consuming daily tasks, that slow down business operations, can be easily eliminated. Even those business owners, who have delegated an employee to answer phone calls and log problems manually, could save much of such important resources, like time, money and labor, hiring automated OffiServ Help Desk service. Thanks to use of Help Desk, information can be easily organized, and interactions and processes within the organization simplified.

Impact of Well-Organized Internal Office Processes on Employee Efficiency and Motivation

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Understanding the Linkage between Quality Internal Support and Employee Motivation and Efficiency

Abstract: What you give is what you get and vice versa. Internal support is the backbone of performance and ultimate outcome and the two are intimately linked.

The heartbeat of an organization is determined by the free flow of communication across its various departments. With internal office processes playing a pivotal role in internal customer service, it becomes really fascinating to discuss the positive impacts of quality internal support and well-organized office processes on employee efficiency and motivation. The quality of internal customer service influences the competency of an organization in the area of service delivery to its external customers. In simple terms, an employee who gets high level of support from his company’s admin team is able to meet the expectations of the external clients to a greater extent.

The Stress and the “Soft” Hope

With last minute requests and constant emergencies creating a stressful environment for the internal support teams, it makes sense for them to adopt a “help me help you” approach so as to promote realistic expectations with regards to timelines and quality. Such an approach relies on internal customers’ inputs and prioritization of requests for its success. Most internal support issues are the outcomes of isolated working styles of departments and their focus on their own priorities. Luckily, this scenario is moving onto a much brighter side with the advent of automated business operations tools. Thanks to the software boom for its priceless contribution on internal support and control by way of centralization of organization-wide communication.

The Internal Customer Survey diagram produced by Quantum Management Indicators explains the interdependence concept with precision:

Image

Automation Redefines Internal Customer Service

Red tapism was a concept of the past and this does not apply to modern-day organizations that need to respond to clients’ requests with immense promptness. Internal office support tools are designed to facilitate internal customer service in a systematic and systemic way and establish clear channels of communication among the support teams, employees, and their reporting authorities. And this goes a long way to reduce the stress levels of the internal service provider and the internal customers at the same time. More importantly, it fosters healthy relationships.

Solutions Rest on the Cloud

With internal office processes becoming a cloud-based service, employees need to input their requisitions into a common virtual platform accessed by his manager and the operations staff. Such a platform typically comes with features that facilitate progress tracking. Needless to mention, this clarity of communication helps teams to estimate the timelines within which a problem can be solved. The deployment of programmed process management tools has simplified the otherwise complicated and time-consuming internal operations such as leave management and HR services, resource planning, and processing of purchase orders. Such tools are designed with a “We can manage what we can measure” concept and this allows support teams to evaluate and improve the efficiency of the processes and implement a cost-cutting strategy with utmost success.

The Perfect Cause-and-Effect Relationship

The saying “Charity begins at home” applies to the service provided by support teams. Organizations with excellent external customer service and not-so-efficient internal support often thrive on the edge of acceptability. And there may be situations in which lack of quality internal support may result in poor service delivery to the external customer. With poor client feedback creating all that tension, the line and staff authorities will have nothing else to do than to point fingers at each other. Additionally, poor performance and negative feedbacks impact an employee’s motivation, morale, and future performance to a high extent.

Raising Internal Support to New Heights

Internal customers should not be taken for granted just because they don’t have a choice! Good business has its roots in an outstanding internal customer service. High communication environments promote interdepartmental collaboration, goal alignment, and coordination of processes and procedures and this way, they help departments operate with high efficiency. With technology and modern-day communication being connected with a single thread, it does not take much to conclude that today’s internal customer service has become smarter with a high-tech look and appeal. Luckily!

Absence Management and Custom Free Days

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Last weeks we were working on an important piece of Absence Management in OffiServ. This feature is custom free days. It allows companies to configure their own holidays. These days are not counted into leaves taken by an employee.

We have just rolled the feature into production system!

Configuration

At the beginning free days have to be configured. This can be done on Vacations → HR Administration page. At first, proper year should be selected in combobox on the right. Then a new free day can be added using “Add New Free Day” button. Each free day has a name and a date.

admin-1

If there was a mistake a free day can be modified (using pencil icon on the right) or removed (red delete icon).

Usage

Now free days are in effect. User’s absence page shows a calendar that presents also configured free days. If mouse is moved over a free day a tip is displayed that shows a name of a free day.

cal-1

When selected leave spans over a free day, the day is not counted into taken days. When new free day is added during existing leave then it will be subtracted from counted days.

Summary

Custom free days allow companies configuring national holidays but also their internal free days. Such days are not counted into taken leave.

OffiServ Is Going Live!

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We are preparing OffiServ for going commercial! So it is the right time to announce OffiServ pricing.

We worked hard to create a pricing model which should fit needs and budget of every customer while still allowing OffiServ to ramp up the business and secure OffiServ‘s development and quality of service.

We offer 3 subscription plans, effective today:

  • OffiServ Free – you can use this plan for trial, pilot deployment or small team with very tight budget for maximum 5 people.
  • OffiServ Standard– ideal solution for a small and medium organizations. The plan is free for first 30 days for all our new customers and even longer for our existing Beta customers.
  • OffiServ Pro – for bigger organizations. Not yet available in the on-line payment system. Write an email or submit a special payment assistance request on the payments page to get a quote for the Pro plan.
Image of Payments page

Payments page – click to zoom

The plans differ also by number of available features. Additional User Packs and Feature Packs can be simply added to Standard and Pro plans. You can read more on the OffiServ pricing at our new pricing page.

Terms Of Use have been revised according to the new pricing model.

Note to Our Beloved, Existing Beta Customers

If you are our existing Beta customer: In compliance with our Beta Terms Of Use we offer you at least 60 days free with your current settings (number of users and selected features).

We do appreciate your commitment and trust in OffiServ: in case you need more time to decide on the pricing plan or arrange the decisions necessary within your organization then please do contact us – we’d like to work out a pricing model fitting you best.  Also please drop us a message if our standard offer does not fit your organization or you have any other doubts or thoughts on the pricing model.

Payment methods

We provide you with convenient, credit-card based payment method based on the globally known, secure PayPal service. We accept  SWIFT/IBAN wire transfers as well. In case you need to arrange other payment method or require any special treatment you can use “Special assistance or custom payment method is needed?” option.

Payment methods selection is available once you choose Standard Plan and save your settings:

Payments methods selection in OffiServ - screenshot

Payments methods selection in OffiServ

About OffiServ sp. z o. o.

OffiServ sp. z o. o.  (en: LLC/Ltd) is a new commercial law company, settled in European Union‘s member state of Poland, one of the strongest economies in EU.

The company has been funded by the OffiServ Team members.  The company has already received significant capital investment by ARP S.A. Capital Fund backed by EU’s Innovative Economy Programme (Measure 3.1 – Initiating of Innovative Activity).  The strong capital support and settlement in stable EU member state makes OffiServ reliable and secure business partner.

In case you need any additional company details for your purchase decision, drop us an email or submit your request through “Special assistance or custom payment method is needed?” option on the payments page.

Summary

We strive to make the service better, more useful, with more features and higher quality and user experience. To dedicate all possible resources to the service development, going commercial is a natural step. All your feedback is very appreciated! You can contact us directly through e-mail or by submitting a Problem to OffiServ in Help menu of the application or by using “Special assistance or custom payment method is needed?” option after choosing the appropriate payment plan on the payments page.

OffiServ sp. z o.o. Team.

New look’n’feel and user profile picture

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As you might have noticed we’re trying to find the best new appearance for OffiServ. A few weeks ago we have rolled out fresh UI design but we all agreed that it still could be a bit leaner. So we made another try and we think we made it. Today our users are able to test brand new, shiny design.

Along with new look’n’feel we would like to introduce new feature which fits nicely the new design, a kind of cherry on top of the cake. From now every user can upload her or his profile picture and can be easily identified by her or his company colleagues. This picture will be heavily used in every module and every feature and every time you have to select user it will be just there.

Using the profile picture is really fun and easy. If you want to add your photo click your name on the right side of the title bar and you will be redirected directly to the user’s page. On the left side there is a big photo of you (or it will be photo of you after your initial upload process). Click on Change photo button below the picture and select your file directly from your computer. It can be any image file especially Jpeg and PNG.

The resolution of the image file is quite irrelevant but keep in mind that uploaded picture should have at least 100×100 pixels. Image after upload will be automatically preprocessed which includes resizing and cropping process.

Using Gravatar service on daily basis?

If you use Gravatar service to maintain your photo over multiple websites just click Import from Gravatar link and your photo will be automagically uploaded into OffiServ. Simple, isn’t it?

Having a problem uploading your profile picture?

If your profile picture won’t upload correctly, try using a different browser first. If that still doesn’t work, compress and save your photo as a PNG file and then try to upload it again.

For Windows XP and Vista:

  1. Click Start and go to All Programs.
  2. Go to Accessories and click Paint.
  3. Click File, and then Open and locate your photo file.
  4. Click Image, and then select Stretch and Skew.
  5. Enter 50 in both the Horizontal and Vertical stretch fields and click OK.
  6. Click File, and then Save as type and choose PNG as your file type.
  7. Upload your photo

For Windows 7:

  1. Click Start and go to All Programs.
  2. Go to Accessories and click Paint.
  3. Click the Paint button (left of the Home tab), and then click Open to locate your photo file.
  4. On the Home tab in the Image area, click Resize.
  5. In the Resize area, select Percentage.
  6. Enter 50 in the Horizontal and Vertical boxes.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Click File, and then Save as type and choose PNG as your file type.

For Mac OSX:

  1. Open your photo using Preview from your Applications folder.
  2. Go to Tools and select Adjust Size.
  3. In the Image Dimensions dialog box, choose Fit into: Custom.
  4. Change width and height no larger than 500×500 and pixel size of at least 100×100.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click File, and then Save as and choose PNG as your file type.
  7. Click Save.
  8. Upload your photo.

We hope you like new design of OffiServ and this cool profile picture feature. Do not hesitate to send us the feedback or post us on our wall on Facebook profile. We want to deliver business oriented application but we all know that behind the scenes there is always human sensitive for usability and elegance.

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