Tips & Tricks

Virtual TimeClock ‘Tips & Tricks’ - March 2011

I want to start out this month’s newsletter by thanking all of you who responded to our request last month to help us prioritize a number of future projects we’ve got on the development dashboard. Your feedback helps us prioritize our time to provide products and features that are of the greatest need to our customers.

I want to use this month’s newsletter to discuss display groups. I want to do more than just tell you how to set them up, we’ve already done that in past newsletters. Rather, I want to provide some practical examples of how you can use display groups and show you some display group related features that may not be self evident. Although the true power of display groups shines through with Virtual TimeClock Network Edition, you can still put them to good use with the Pro Edition.

Display Groups and Security
The genesis of the display functionality came from Virtual TimeClock users who were looking for a way for managers to better manage specific employees. This management included being able to clock certain employees in and out, view their timecards, and edit punch times. Prior to Virtual TimeClock ‘09, manager access was global, meaning if a manger had the security access to edit timecards they could edit the timecard for any employee. Users were looking for more granularity, the result was display groups. Display groups allow you to assign managers to a group of employees and that group of employees gets assigned to a particular time clock. Not only can an employee be a member of multiple display groups, but a time clock software user can also be a manager of multiple groups of employees.

Workers and managers are given different levels of access to each time clock program function. The Security tools window is composed of two separate columns. The first column is used to set worker access and the second column is used to set management access, which includes both managers and time clock administrators. Manager access works directly with display group assignments for determining which manager has access to particular worker data. The important thing to remember is that manager security is enforced after the display group is assigned to the time clock.

Here’s a quick Tip:
Managers are assigned to display groups from the Access tab of the user record. Display groups are assigned to time clocks from the TimeClock tab of the local preferences.

Display Groups and Activities
Another great use of display groups is to control what activities can be used at each time clock. Remember, every time clock entry gets assigned to an activity, which allows employees to record time for specific tasks, jobs, projects, functions, or even locations. For example, your warehouse time clock may only allow workers to choose activities that are related to the manufacturing process. However, your office staff time clocks may only allow employees to choose administrative activities. Two questions we often get asked are “How do I set a default activity for a particular time clock?” and “How do I disable activities that are no longer being used?”

It’s easy to set a default activity for a display group:
  1. Go to the Lists menu and choose Display Groups.
  2. Select a display group.
  3. Click the Activities tab.
  4. Choose your default activity from the Default Selection drop-down list.
  5. To force employees to pick an activity when clocking in, set the Default Selection drop-down to ‘None’.

To disable activities that are no longer used:

  1. Go to the Lists menu and choose Activities.
  2. Select the activity.
  3. Click the None button at the bottom of the list of display groups to remove the activity from all current selection lists.

Here’s a quick Tip:
Some companies may find it convenient to allow employees to create new activities when clocking in, especially if they’re tracking different jobs. Head back into the Activities panel of the Display Groups window and check the box that allows users to add new activities when starting work.

Display Groups and Worker Lists
One of the most common reasons to use display groups is to control what users are displayed on a particular time clock. For example, you may want time clocks in the billing office to only display billing office staff and other time clocks to only display medical office staff. The practice administrator’s time clock will likely display all staff. This is especially useful for managing large worker lists. Display groups aren’t just for the Network Edition (although they’re especially useful when networking time clocks). You can also use display groups with the Pro Edition. For example, if you have a morning shift and an afternoon shift with different workers and managers, you may set up a morning and afternoon display group to help you manage users more effectively even from a single time clock station.

Here’s a quick Tip:
If you want to create a personal employee time clock with only a single worker name, you’ll need to create a display group for each user with only one member, themselves! Be on the lookout later this year for a new personal time clock client that takes all of this set up work away because a single user time clock will automatically be created on user login.

These tips on using some of the less obvious features of display groups should help you more effectively manage employee time and attendance.

Until next month,

Jeff Morrow