Tips & Tricks

Virtual TimeClock Tips & Tricks - January 2011

Happy new year! I hope the new year finds you and your business prospering. January is the busiest month of the year at Redcort Software and this year has certainly started off with a bang! We’re hopeful that it is an indication that the economy really is picking up steam as we head into 2011.

I’m very pleased with the feedback we’re receiving about the Virtual TimeClock ‘11 release with its powerful new tools for managing unwanted employee overtime. We’ve received a number of compliments on the new action windows for clocking in, out, and changing activities, as well as the new shift and shift differential reporting features. We worked really hard on this release so it’s gratifying to hear your feedback.

This month we’ll take a look at how to use the powerful new shift and scheduling rules in Virtual TimeClock ‘11.  In next month’s newsletter, we’ll sort through some of the other new features that make Virtual TimeClock ‘11 a must have time clock software update.

Shifts overview
Shifts are a powerful and flexible way to control when time clock users are allowed to clock in and out. There are basically two kinds of clock in and out restrictions. Users can clock in early as a courtesy, but not have their start time recorded until their shift starts. You can also completely prevent early clock ins before a user-defined grace period. Likewise, users can clock out late as a courtesy, but have their stop time recorded when their shift ends. Or you can prevent late clock outs altogether.

Setting up shifts
Setting up shifts is a two-step process: First, create the new shift and define your restrictions. Second, assign a shift to the user schedule for each day of the week. Go to the Lists menu and choose Shifts. Virtual TimeClock ‘11 already comes with a sample shift to help you get started. I want to mention a couple of special settings in the new Shifts window.

Differential - this setting is used when printing reports with the gross wages option enabled. Shift differentials can be set as either a percentage of base pay or a fixed hourly dollar amount. To enter employee wage information, go to the Lists menu and choose Users. Hourly rates can be entered under the Wages tab.

Auto clock out - this setting is used to record a stop time for all users still on the clock after their shift ends. All automatic clock outs record the stop time as the shift end time, even when setting a grace period.

Here’s a quick Tip:
Shifts can be quickly duplicated by clicking the tools button at the bottom left of the Shifts window.

Assigning shifts
Click the Schedules button from within the Shifts window. Select a user from the list and assign a shift for each day of the week. An unscheduled shift will automatically be assigned to each day that’s left without an assigned shift.

Here’s a quick Tip:
Jumping between the Shifts and Schedules windows is easy with new shortcut buttons. Be sure to check out the other new shortcut buttons scattered throughout the program to simplify navigation.

Shift reports
We’ve included new Shift Detail and Summary reports to help you analyze hours worked based on shift assignments. There’s also a new Report Writer option to summarize shift data on timecard reports, much like the activity and leave summaries you’re used to seeing. We’ve already mentioned the new ability to calculate shift differentials for gross wage and job costing reports. The Late Arrival report is probably my new favorite Virtual TimeClock report because it’s easy to run and easy to understand. This report allows you to instantly track tardiness for any employee for any period of time.

Here’s a quick Tip:
To access the various report options, go to the Reports menu and choose Report Writer. Select a report from the list on the left and click the Options tab.

Security overrides
There’s a new security setting related to shifts that you shouldn’t overlook because it works a little bit different than the others. You can handle shift violations in a couple of ways. The default setting in Virtual TimeClock ‘11 is to allow managers and time clock administrators to override shift rules. You can also turn overrides off completely. Go to the Tools menu, choose Security and click the Actions tab. Override Shift Rules is the second access setting.

Here’s a quick Tip:
If you want to see shift rules in action, come visit our new slideshow at Virtual TimeClock Tour.

If you want to warn, restrict, or prevent employees from clocking in early or clocking out late, then the new shifts feature in Virtual TimeClock ‘11 will give you exactly what you’re looking for.

Until next month,

Jeff Morrow

PS – New ways to get program help
Don’t forget to check out the new documentation updates we’ve included with Virtual TimeClock ‘11. The new Administrator Quick Reference replaces the old user’s guide and should make it easier to administer your time clock with screenshots and topics arranged contextually. Give the Employee Quick Reference to new employees as part of their orientation so they know how to set up their password and begin using the time clock right away. Both are available from the Help menu.