Thursday, December 29, 2011

Is Your Mac Getting Sleepy?

If you're running networked time clocks and clients are unable to connect to the time clock server at random times, or clients are being mysteriously disconnected, then you'll want to check the energy saver settings on the time clock server computer.

Go to the Apple menu and choose System Preferences. Select Energy Saver from the Hardware row. The first setting you'll see is a slide bar to control when the computer goes to sleep. Make sure this is set to Never. The second slide bar is for putting the display to sleep. This can be set to whatever you want because it doesn't have any affect on your time clock software. Next, you'll see a series of checkboxes. Make sure the one that says Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible is not checked.

Your energy saver settings should look something like this when you're all done:

If there's a delay when you go to clock in or out, chances are your time clock client computer is going to sleep as well. Keep it awake the same way.

Technical Support Team
Redcort Software, Inc.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Customizing Time Clock Report Dates

The Report Writer is a great tool for customizing the different timecard reports that are built into your time clock software, or for creating new ones. You can change report options, formatting, and even what data to include. If there's a particular report you run often, you may want to set the default date range so you're not always having to change it at run time.

For example, let's say you've created a custom report called 'Last Week's Labor Hours' but every time you run the report you have to change the date range from Current Period to Last Week. Here's an easy solution. Go to the Reports menu and choose Report Writer. Choose the report you want to customize from the list of reports on the left. You'll see a Default Date popup menu at the top, right below Report Name and Report Type. It probably says Current period. Click on it and pick Last Week from the selection list.

Save the changes and now whenever you run the report the date range will automatically default to the previous week. This is just a small example of what can be done with the Report Writer, so don't be shy about exploring some of the other options.

Technical Support Team
Redcort Software, Inc.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Setting a Static IP Address in Windows

One of the reasons time clock clients fail to connect to the time clock server is because the IP address of the time clock server computer changes. The reason this happens is because the computer running the time clock server is receiving a dynamic IP address from the router. This makes it easy on the end user since no configuration is required to set up your computer and use the Internet, but your computer may get a different address the next time the computer is turned on. That's why your time clock software works perfectly for months until you get hit with a power outage, or someone turns off the computer. When the computer is started again, clients can't connect and you get a message like the following when you launch the Server Manager.

You'll also need to set a static IP address on the time clock server computer if you plan on using Virtual TimeClock over the Internet. Here are some easy instructions for assigning a static IP address on Windows computers.

Setting a Static IP Address on Windows XP

Setting a Static IP Address on Windows Vista

Setting a Static IP Address on Windows 7

When you give a static IP address to a computer, the router may not know that address is being used so it may try to give it to another computer later. So you'll want to give your computer an IP address that's not likely to be given out to others.

Technical Support Team
Redcort Software, Inc.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Troubleshooting Overtime

We've talked recently about how to track down missing overtime on your employee time cards. The steps went something like this:

  • Check employee overtime assignments
  • Check overtime rule configuration
  • Check employee salary type
  • Check the shift restart setting

It's the last step I want to discuss because this setting's impact on your employee time cards can be tricky. Go to the Tools menu and choose Time Calculations. In the Daily & Weekly Overtime section, you'll see a setting that says "Hours off the clock before restarting daily overtime calculations". Basically, this setting controls how much time a worker has to be clocked out before a new shift is started. A new shift resets hours worked back to zero for calculating daily overtime. The default setting is 4 hours. If this is set too low, then daily overtime won't calculate because Virtual TimeClock thinks you want to start a new shift. Your time card would look something like this:

See, no daily overtime was calculated. If it's set too high, the next shift may be included with the first one. Your time card would look something like this:

See how the entire next day is combined with the previous day's hours as overtime? It's best to leave this setting at 4 hours unless you have a compelling reason to change it.

Technical Support Team
Redcort Software, Inc

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tracking Approved Overtime

We talk to a lot of business owners trying to solve a variety of time and attendance problems. Two of the most common we hear about are how to prevent buddy punching and how to prevent unauthorized overtime. We have some new security features coming next year that will help with buddy punching, and you can use the current shifts feature to help prevent unnecessary overtime.

You can keep track of approved overtime by using courtesy clock in and out restrictions. Remember, courtesy clock ins record the shift start time no matter how early the employee punches in. So what do you do if you have employees that need to work approved overtime either before or after their shift ends?

One method would be to create an activity called something like 'Approved Overtime' that's good for manual entries only. Since a courtesy clock in and out will automatically record the shift times as the recorded time, you'll need to add a manual entry for the approved overtime. This also makes the approved overtime hours clearly distinguishable on employee time cards.

Another method would be to prevent clocking in early or late without manager approval. However, this method only works when using clock in and out restrictions that prevent early and late punches.

Technical Support Team
Redcort Software, Inc