* Happy 2014! 10 New Features for Flapps Time Tracking Software
We are very happy to write this blog post. We would like to announce and briefly describe the new features in Flapps. Features were gradually released to all users in January, therefore you may have noticed some of them already. Before going into details, I would like to thank you, Flapps users, for all the suggestions you have sent us. 7 of these 10 new features were suggested by current users and we want to assure you that we listen and always strive to make Flapps a better tool for you.
1. Select a Substitute
This feature is for managers and allows you to temporarily appoint a substitute during your time off. During this time, your substitute will receive time off requests and be allowed/required to approve or decline them as needed. A substitute has the right to approve the monthly timesheet of your employees as well. You will still be receiving all request emails and you can approve time offs during the substitute period. It is possible to appoint anybody within the company to be the substitute, even if they do not have a manager role.
To appoint a substitute, go to ‘My Settings’ -> ‘Select a substitute’, choose a substitute and click Save. Email will be sent to that person informing him that he has been assigned the new role. To cancel a substitution, go to ‘My Settings’ -> ‘Select a substitute’, select None and click Save. An email will be sent to the substitute informing him that the substitution has ended.
2. Default Page
This is a simple feature that makes your life a little bit easier by saving you a few clicks each morning. As the name suggests, you can select a default page that will load upon login in. Be it Daily Sheet, Projects Overview or Dashboard, anybody can choose the default page they use most often.
To select the default page for all your employees, go to ‘Configuration’ -> ‘Settings’ -> ‘General’ and select a Default page from the pull down menu. Employees can choose their default page individually by going to ‘My Settings’ and selecting their default page.
3. Time Zones
Flapps quickly grew to having users on 4 continents which pushed us to implement a time zone feature. This feature is important for those who use ‘Chronological; method of time tracking. To set the Time Zone, go to ‘Configuration’ -> ‘Settings’ -> ‘General’ and select a Time Zone from pull down menu. Date format selection will follow soon.
4. Countries and Regions
This is a very complex and important feature for large multinational companies using Flapps. It allows a company to configure which countries the company has offices and employees, to define public holidays for each country, and to define the types of time off for a particular country. Next step is to assign employees to countries and bingo, now your manager in New York tracks time and time off by US public holidays while approving time off requests of his subordinate in Malaysia according to their local calendar. Flapps supports countries and regions, as many countries have regional public holidays. Currently you can create custom holidays for each country, and we plan to provide a default list of major holidays for all countries.
5. Cost Centers
Cost centers allow you to create a group of employees for reporting purposes regardless of organizational structure or country/region. Currently, 3 time off related reports support the Cost Center attribute. We are working on a report to allow all reports by cost center.
6. Task parameters
There were some small changes to task settings that were suggested to us by a client. Track work breaks that are non-paid. Now each task can be set as ‘Time worked’ to include or exclude it into the total time worked. This is also useful for companies that want to track how much time employees spend on training, that is not counted as time worked.
7. Work Week
This was a complex feature that has already gotten us very positive feedback from our users. Up until now, Flapps supported a Monday through Friday work week with one setting for the amount of hours worked per week. With this update, you can create a custom work week beginning and end day and set different number of hours for each day of the week. For instance, some countries work Saturdays, Flapps can now accommodate that. If you have part time employees working Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, this now not a problem.
8. Time Off type
We added several new parameters for a Time Off type. If your year regarding time off does not last from January-December, you can now chose the starting month for each type of time off. To do so, go to ‘Configuration’ -> Types of Time Off and select a month from a pull down menu named ‘Yearly balance starts each:’ This will define which 12 months should be used to count the remaining balance for a particular time off type. Default value is January.
Flapps now supports time off types that are only visible to HR Managers only. For example, if your company tracks unexcused absences that get entered into Flapps by HR department and you do not want to show this type of time off to employees, you can select an attribute on the type of time off called ‘Visible to HR Manager only’.
And as mentioned above, types of Time Off are now specific to each country. If none is selected, then this Time Off type is applicable to all employees.
9. Employee Import
Flapps now allows you to import employees into Flapps from an Excel file. This is a great tool for large clients that need to load bulk employee data, including the organizational structure into Flapps. This is a real time saver. The import feature can also be used for mass updates or mass disabling of employees. If the imported file does not include particular user, Flapps will deactivate that Flapps user. If the imported file has different data than what is stored in Flapps, it will update the employee data.
10. Revamped Settings
Having added so many new features and settings, we found that some of our clients do not need all of these settings. Flapps now allows users to disable features as needed. If your company uses Flapps only to track time off, by turning off “Time Tracking features”, your menu will no longer contain Time Tracking, Clients and Projects and Expenses items. By customizing settings, you can make it easier for employees to use Flapps by having access only to relevant features. Setting a feature to OFF only “hides” the feature, it can be as easily turned back ON with all data and former settings back in place.
Even though my blog post title says new features for 2014, this is just the beginning of the year and we are already hard at work on many new features that will be rolled out throughout the year. We have some exciting new improvements and features we are working on that I’m sure you will surprise you. At the same time, I would like to encourage you to please send us your suggestions and ideas for new features and improvements. We greatly value your feedback.