We’ve spoken previously about using Time Clock MTS as an Employee In/Out Board. Using it this way is particularly useful for two main reasons, firstly, your employees will know at a glance if someone is currently at work or not, and secondly, in the case of an evacuation due to fire or other emergency you can easily print a list of employees that are at work. However, what happens if an employee is punched in but they are on vacation and you need to know when they are back? Or what if there is an emergency and an employee is punched in but they are off-site doing a client visit or attending a training course? To handle that situation we’ve got a system called Employee List Messages. These are neat little messages that can be displayed next to an employee’s name if you’re using the Employee List Interface. Those same messages will also be displayed on the Employee Status Report which can be printed quickly in the event of an emergency.
Employee List Messages in Action
Above you can see what employee list messages might look like in action. Note that Frank Hardy has a message next to his name as does Melissa Minh. You’ll see those same messages next to to the employee names when you print the Employee Status Report.
Entering Employee List Messages
Employee List Messages are controlled from the Time Clock MTS Administrator software from the Tools->Employee List Messages menu. You must be logged in as the administrator to access the menu.
The Employee List Messages Screen
Above you can see the Employee List Messages screen annotated to explain what the toolbar buttons do. Adding a message for an employee is dead simple, just click on the employee’s name in the list and then click the Add/Edit Message button and you’ll be able to enter message for that employee using the screen below:
Entering a Message
Note that you can just double click on an employee’s name and you’ll be able to add or edit the message without needing to click the toolbar button first. There are some other useful buttons that make editing messages a bit easier. The Clear Selected Message button will clear the message for the selected employee, the Clear All Messages button will clear the messages for all employees. The Restore Original Messages will reload all messages if you happen to make an unfortunate mistake with the Clear All Messages button.
That’s all there is to it. Employee list messages are a great way of keeping your employees informed of the whereabouts of each other, they are also a great way of keeping an up-to-date employee location list in the case of an emergency. It’s easy to use and something that will prove to be useful to almost any Time Clock MTS user.
Today sees the release of Version 6 of Time Clock MTS, the culmination of what has been 6 months of work. You’ll only have to take a quick look at the new release of the software to understand how much has changed, the biggest areas being the user interface and the reporting engine.
The New Employee List
Every form and screen in Time Clock MTS has been upgraded to reflect the latest look and feel that you’re used to seeing in Windows 10 and Windows 8. I won’t bore you with the details but we’re talking about nearly 100 screens and nearly 10,000 screen components that have been improved. Additionally we’ve made just about every button, list, check box, drop down box and label bigger and easier to read, as well as using a clearer font. This makes the software much more pleasant to use on large, high resolution monitors. It’s also much easier for employees to use on touch screens, whether they have big 24” touch screens or are using a 10” screen on a Surface Pro tablet.
You’ll probably also notice that a lot more elements on Time Clock MTS screens provide more instant feedback to your actions. That’s because we’ve upgraded many components with more modern versions that provide you with more responsive interface.
The New Report Display
We bit the bullet here and tossed out the old report display and printing engine in Time Clock MTS and re-built it from scratch. The reports you’re used to are still there, but they are now all displayed in an attractive print preview screen which allows you to customize the look and feel of your reports. There are proper tables, grid-lines, headers, footers, and pretty much anything you’d expect to see. Reports can be emailed easily directly from within the software as PDF files or via various Excel formats. Reports can also be easily exported to PDF, HTML, RTF, Excel, CSV, Plain Text and to various image formats such as JPG and GIF..
The software registration key system has been overhauled. The need to enter the number of clients and employees has been removed and some smarts have been put in place to automatically fill in the registration screen if you’ve copied your registration keys from one of our emails. It certainly works more smoothly and will prevent a lot of frustration for users new and old who are trying to register their software. It should also stop the registration details being dropped from time to time as Windows rolls out major updates.
As is usual with any major version upgrade of Time Clock MTS any user with a current support contract or who has purchased it within the last 12 months is eligible for a free upgrade. You’ll receive an email explaining how to upgrade, or you can view this page for instructions. If you don’t have a current support contract you’re still eligible for a 40% upgrade discount, just contact us and we’ll give you an upgrade coupon.
There’s been a bunch of other things changed in the software that I won’t bother detailing in full here. You can read the full release notes here for more details. However, here’s a few key things that may be of interest:
- The system used to get the time from our internet time server has been re-written a removed to an external component.
- The Add Punch and Insert Missing Punch have been enhanced to allow for easier data entry.
- Jobs can now be entered on the Bulk Add Time screen.
- The size of text on the Employee List has been increased and an extra large text size option added.
- The employee bulletin screen and all the logic behind it have been rebuilt. The way the screen worked before was, uh, interesting, now it’s a lot more logical.
We’ve been working on Time Clock MTS Version 6 for the last four months and as we’re coming to the conclusion of the testing phase we thought it was a good time to share some screenshots of the new version. As you can see the look and feel has changed completely and the reporting system has been completely re-written. Exciting times ahead!
Time Clock MTS Administrator Software
After spending the last two months working hard I’m glad to say that today (26 January 2014) we’ve released Time Clock MTS Version 5. This new version includes more than 40 distinct changes in the release notes and takes the first steps toward making Time Clock MTS more “internet friendly”. It also marks the debut of the Time Clock MTS Web Extensions helper program.
For existing users of earlier versions of Time Clock MTS who are thinking about upgrading you should be aware that Version 5 makes changes to the time clock database that render it incompatible with earlier versions. So make sure you back up your data BEFORE upgrading. Read More Here.
No doubt I’ll be writing a series of entries about the release of Version 5 but I thought it well worth the effort of summarizing the major changes in this blog entry.
Key New Time Clock Features
- Email Alerts – email alerts can now be sent based on certain events occurring in Time Clock MTS. Right now alerts can be sent when a new Time Off Request is raised, when a Time Off Request is approved or denied, or when an employee punches in or out.
- Green / Red Punch Indication Lights – both the Employee List and Keypad interfaces of Time Clock MTS provide a visual indication of a successful or failed employee punch.
- Emails – there’s a new screen for managing email addresses. These are used for email alerts but will be used for direct emailing of reports in the future.
- Client Specific Translations – you’ve been able to adjust the time clock screen labels for a while but now the labels can be different for each client computer. Allowing (for example) a time clock terminal in Spanish and one in English.
- New Reports – we’ve added three new reports.
Key Time Clock Enhancements
- Keypad View Timecard – employees using the keypad interface can now view their own timecard.
- Add Multiple Times Enhancements – a lot of time was spent automating the add multiple time punches screen to make entering time punches more efficient.
- 12 Character Badge Numbers – due to a design decision made a long time ago the employee badge number was restricted to 9 characters. We’ve managed to extend this out to 12 characters.
- Other Report Periods Added – the report configuration screen has some more time period buttons added to speed things up for users with semi monthly payroll periods.
- Edit Times Enhancements – the Edit Times screen has been enhanced. More information is now displayed for each time punch and the screen can (finally) be resized.
One of the major new features that is will be included in Time Clock MTS Version 5 (due to for release in January 2014) is email alerts. Email alerts can be configured by the time clock administrator and will automatically send emails to recipients of your choosing based on certain events happening in your employee time clock. Email recipients are configured on the manage time clock emails screen I spoke about a few days ago. Email alerts are set up on the new Email Alerts screen (see below) which will be available from the Tools->Email Alerts menu from within the Time Clock MTS Administrator software.
This screen is used by the administrator to manage email alerts.
The Email Alerts screen looks like many other screens in the software. A new alert is added using the New Alert button, existing alerts are edited by double clicking on them in the list or by selecting an alert and clicking the Edit Alert button. Deleting alerts is simply a matter of selecting an alert on the list and clicking the Delete Alert button. The initial release will include three different types of email alerts. The first is a raised when an employee creates a new time off request, the second is raised when the status of a time off request is changed by the time clock administrator, and the final type can be raised when an employee punches in or out (or both). I’ll preview the detailed features of each of these types of alerts in another blog entry in the next week.
As we get feedback from Time Clock MTS users after Version 5 is released we’ll be including more types of email alerts as time goes by.
The Manage Emails Screen
Above you can see what the Manage Emails screen is going to look like in Time Clock MTS Version 5 (due for release in January 2014). This screen will be available from the Tools->Options menu in the Time Clock MTS Administrator software.and is used to add, edit, and delete emails from the master email list. In the initial release of the new version emails will be used to send email alerts. In the future time clock emails will also be used to allow direct emailing of PDF versions of reports from the reporting screen.
It is suggested that you create emails for the time clock administrator, department supervisors, payroll supervisor, and any other employee supervisor. Of course each of these people will need to actually have an email account they can check. It doesn’t matter if this is their work email or a web based email system like GMail.