Tips & Tricks

Virtual TimeClock Tips & Tricks - September 2012

My wife has recently crossed the line from amateur to professional ‘texter’. Professionals know all the word shortcuts and don’t let punctuation slow them down. Amateurs spell out each word and end each sentence in a grammatically correct way. I’m an amateur. I know people (I’m sure you do too) who won’t answer their phone to save their lives but will respond instantly when they receive a text! Texting has filled the gap between the formality of email and the instant communication of a live phone call. Virtual TimeClock messaging serves a similar purpose.

I decided to start keeping an unofficial list of why customers use Virtual TimeClock messaging. We’ll discuss the most common in this month’s Tips & Tricks newsletter. If I’ve missed any obvious ones, please drop me a note and let me know.

Feature Spotlight - Messaging
I’ve received  comments from customers over the last several months about how much better messaging is in Virtual TimeClock ‘12. When I asked them to explain (because I didn’t think we changed that much), most of them said it’s easier to know when you have new messages. Because we’ve made message alerts and access to your mailbox more visible, more customers are discovering that the built-in messaging module can be a nice productivity booster. We also added the ability for managers and time clock administrators to send and receive messages even when they’re not a member of the display group.

Here’s a quick Tip:
Use messaging as a spam free, self-contained email system or as an alternative for companies that restrict email access but would still like a method of interoffice communication.

Types of Messages
Messages tend to flow in one of three directions: employees to management, management to employees, and employees to employees. Here’s my list of the most common.

  • Vacation Requests – Employees can request days off by using a subject like “Vacation Request” and including the dates in the body of the message. Managers can approve days off by replying to requests and adding “Approved” or “Denied” to the subject.
  • Missed Punches – Employees can notify managers of missed punches or clarify timecard hours. For example, “I stopped by the bank on the way to work, please clock me in at 9AM” or “Jeff approved 30 minutes of OT on Monday.”
  • Request Supplies – Notify appropriate staff of low supplies. For example, “Used the last toner cartridge, please order more.”
  • Company Announcements – Notify employees of accomplishments, scheduled meetings, or changes in office protocol. Verify employees have read important notices by requiring they reply back with the word “OK” appended to the subject line.
  • Work Alerts - Alert employees to changes in their schedule or project priority. For example, “Amanda, you’ll be working with Dr. Smith today” or “Redcort’s business cards need to be finished by 3PM.”
  • Request Help - Ask other employees for assistance with projects or activities. For example, “Angie, will you help me with the Morrow case when you get back from lunch?” or “Eric, can you close for me tomorrow?”
  • Employee Announcements - Let other employees know about special milestones. For example, “It’s Pat’s birthday today. There’s a card in the break room for everyone to sign.”

Here’s a quick Tip:
Each message will be stamped with the date and time so you know exactly when the message was sent.

Message or Timecard Note?
Time clock users sometimes wonder what the difference is between a message and a timecard note. Here’s the main three.

  • Messages are always directed to a recipient or group of recipients. Timecard notes are only visible on employee timecards.
  • New message alerts are available as soon as you log into the time clock. Timecard notes may not be seen until the timecard is printed.
  • Messages can be deleted anytime. Timecard notes become a permanent part of the timecard record.

Here are some reasons to use timecard notes. When you punch in, you can add a note about why you’re running late. When you switch activities throughout the day, you can add a note about the job or project you were working on. When you clock out at the end of the day, you can add a note with how much tips you collected or your mileage from traveling between offices.

Here’s a quick Tip:
If you need to upgrade to take advantage of the latest  time clock features like timecard notes and enhanced messaging, follow the upgrade instructions on our time clock software support page or give us a call at 888-207-0005. We’d love to help!

Until next month,

Jeff Morrow