Employee Scheduling Software- A Review

Employee Scheduling Software- A Review
Time is Money for every business, irrespective of whether it is small or large. For management, it becomes imperative to schedule staff roster considering convenience of staff as well as business tasks that needs to be accomplished in the due course of time.

The online available Employee Scheduling Software works without asking for registration. The software claims to save time and efforts as well. It does not demand for any additional system specification and works on regular system with standard configuration. 

An Overview of the Interface & Functionality
Interface: The User Interface of online employee scheduling software is simple and straight forward. Clean look and appearance makes it easy to operate for even first time users. Even those with novice technical knowledge can operate the software without any training.

Functionality: Software operates in few simple steps. User need to provide its ‘Username’ and ‘Email Address’. Roster for the next seven days can be made. All it needs is the name of the employee along with their email address. Once details for the schedule are made, schedule is sent to the employees on their email addresses.

Additional Features Offered
This Employee Scheduling Software incorporates a number of additional features and add-ons. Some of the customizable features are:
Schedule Reporting:
Projected sales, Labor Percentage and Schedules labor can be displayed at the bottom of the schedule. 

Notifications via SMS
Initial three alphabets of the employee’s task can be added to the text message.
Account reports can be entered and accessed including expenses, sales, operating ratios and labor costs.
Phone Numbers on Schedule
Phone number details of employees are added under their name on the schedule for quick access.
Custom SMS & Email
Additional information can be inserted in the scheduled SMS as well as email.
Compressed Layout
The ‘Compressed Layout’ add- on adjusts the height of the graph layout and enables you to access more number of users without scrolling the screen.
Hide Schedule Hours
When an employee logs in to access the schedule, this add-on hides the calculated/ total working hours of the co-workers from the list.
Add-Break Times
Break time can be added to the schedule and the total break hours will automatically be eliminated from the calculated working hours. 

Print Task Schedules
If the schedule is accessed with ‘Task Layout’, it provides the option to print individual task schedule. This can be accomplished by clicking on name of the task being assigned.

Open Shifts
Open Shifts can be create by the managers while preparing schedule and this can later be selected by the employee if they wish to pick it.

What Else is Offered by ‘Your Next Seven’?

Live Scheduling Stats
Users can browse through the Live Scheduling Stats that provides an overall count of the total users who are currently using the software in their organization. This provides a conclusion over the efficiency and scalability of the software.


Live Stats Feed on Dashboard
Once the user logs in to the account, live stats feed can be viewed instantly on the Dashboard and this feature is available in trial version as well.

Availability of Dual Editions
Employee Scheduling Software comes in two different editions. This includes ‘Trial’ and ‘Licensed’ editions. Accessibility to trial version is available for the period of 30 days from the date of registration.

Although, the freeware comes with limited functionality, it provides a straightforward idea over the functional features and efficiency of the software. This provides the ability to access the software without making any initial payment.
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How-to Guide on Building Your First WordPress Theme

How-to Guide on Building Your First WordPress Theme
Availability of free and paid themes is one of the main reasons that makes WordPress so popular for creating websites of all sorts and sizes. However, choosing a pre-built theme often restricts you from making the desired changes to it. That is not to say that you shouldn't consider choosing a WordPress theme, but if you can code it is advised that you should better create a custom theme from scratch.


In this tutorial, I'll share with you the basic knowledge of building a simple WordPress theme.

But Before You Start

There are a few important things you need to take into account, such as:
  • Create a sub-folder for your theme within your WordPress folder that can be located at the path: wp-content/themes directory. I've named my folder “new_theme” (you can replace the folder name as you deem perfect).

    Note: Remember that the name of your theme folder will be same as the name of your theme.
  • You must have basic knowledge of working with an FTP client (such as FileZilla or any other).
  • Lastly, before you begin with the process of theme creation, you must know how the layout of your site will look. And so, you can either choose to create a prototype of your website design or create a PSD to decide the final structure of your site.

How Can You Build a WordPress Theme?

Almost every WordPress theme comprises of various sections, including header, footer, sidebar, and a few others.

                         build first wordpress theme

In order to build your first WP theme, you'll have to create each of those files. Let's quickly view all the files that are needed to create a functional WordPress theme:

  • header.php – Just as the name implies, this file comprises of code that will be a part of the header section of the theme;
  • index.php – This is the main file of your WordPress theme that contain code for the main area of your theme. In fact, this code also helps in specifying where all the other files can be found;
  • sidebar.php – You can find information displayed in the sidebar section of your WordPress theme in this file;
  • footer.php – This file manages your footer data;
  • style.css – Lastly, the style.css file handles how your theme is styled.

All of the files listed above can be created locally using a text editor such as Notepad  and others, and then, upload those files via FTP. Or else, just utilize the “File Manager” tool available in your cPanel for creating WordPress files on your hosting account.

Let's now see what exactly each of the WordPress file contain:

1. The “header.php” File

Here's a sample code to demonstrate what a header.php file comprises of:

This is just a simple HTML markup that contains a single line of PHP code and some basic WordPress function. However, you can also add meta tags like your site title, keywords to be inserted in a page, etc. within this file. Let's see how the above code snippet works:

  1. The following line containing PHP code, basically, informs WordPress to load the stylesheet (i.e. style.css).

  2. Next, a class wrapper has been added to the beginning of a “div” - that is the main container of the site. The class is defined so as to modify the header section using the style.css file.
  3. Lastly, another “div” container contains a label “header” which will be called in the style.css file.

2. The “index.php” File

Let us now view the code present in the index file in WordPress:

So, let's see how the above code works:
  • The first line contains:

    < ? php get_header (); ? >
    This is a default WordPress function that comprises of the Main Area text to help users identify which exact section of your theme is shown in this area.
  • In the next lines of code, you'll only find some standard WordPress functions that are used to check out if there are any posts in your blog that are created via WP admin panel. If such posts exists, they will be displayed in the admin area.
  • Next, the sidebar.php file is included in the code using the following line of code:

    The sidebar file can be used for displaying post categories, archives etc.

    And an empty “div” is added to segregate the main area and sidebar of your theme from the footer area.
  • And at last, the below mentioned line of code helps add the footer.php file in the index file. This will help display the contents of footer file in each web page.

3. The “sidebar.php” File

The sidebar.php usually contains code that looks something like:

The sidebar.php file contains information that will be displayed in your theme's sidebar (Also referred to as widgetized region). The code in the sidebar file as mentioned above make use of default WordPress functions for showing the posts categories and archives.

4. The footer.php file

Next, the footer.php file that contains source code that looks like the following code snippet:

Here in this code, we're just adding a label named “This is my FOOTER section”. However, you can also add data such as additional links, the copyright information, etc. that you would want to display in the footer area of your theme.

5. The “style.css” File

And finally, the CSS file (or style.css) file is used to specify the elements within a WordPress theme. A typical stylesheet looks like:
body { text-align: center; }

#wrapper { display: block; border: 1px #999999 solid; width:90%; margin:0px auto; }

#header { border: 2px #999999 solid; }

#content { width: 78%; border: 2px #999999 solid; float: left; }

#sidebar { width: 25%; border: 2px #999999 solid; float: right; }

#delimiter { clear: both; }

#footer { border: 2px #999999 solid; }

.title { font-size: 12pt; font-family: verdana; font-weight: bold; }

This code will help in changing the background of all the pages in your theme and will add a border surrounding your site.

After adding all of the above discussed files in your WordPress install, your theme will look something like:

So, that's it for now! Hope that this post will clear out your doubts concerning creating a basic WordPress theme.

Samuel Dawson is a esteemed developer of HTML to WordPress theme with topical advantages. He gradually works very hard on all the projects with great passion. Samuel
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Make Your Meetings More Productive with these 8 Tips

Make Your Meetings More Productive with these 8 Tips
Meetings are always a hot topic of discussions in the corporate world. Regardless of the fact that a lot of jokes are made in this context, at some point it becomes inevitable to conduct them. You just cannot do without them. So, you might as well get used to the idea of having to attend meetings every now and then.

                                   productive meetings

The fact that at some point you will have to be a part of a meet is suffice to make you want to learn ways on how you can make them more productive. Here’s how you can make the most out of them and actually use them for the good of everyone -

1.    Have a direction

Know where you are headed with the meet. What is it that you intend to achieve from it? Have a solid agenda on hands to discuss in writing. Make sure the goals are written in an unambiguous manner for everyone’s clear understanding. A meeting that lacks direction is most likely to wind-up without any proper plan of action. Inform everyone of the very purpose for which the meet is being conducted. This will allow the people to come prepared with a few solutions already on their tips.

2. Have someone note down the minutes of meetings

People don’t remember every single detail that is discussed during the meeting. Assign someone with the job of noting down the important points and minutes of the meetings as soon as they are discussed. Don’t forget to share those minutes of the meeting with everyone afterwards. You could use mails or a project management tool to share that information with everyone.

3. Have a plan of action before wrapping things up!

Make it your sworn duty to not leave the chairs of the conference room unless you have had a solid plan of action on your hands. Do have a concrete plan of action before wrapping up the meeting. The very purpose of meeting should be justified. Ask yourself - were you able to accomplish whatever it was that you intended to from the session in the first place? If not, you might have to conduct one more meeting. Unless you can afford to do that, try to get that done in the very first meet.

4. Use hard facts to back up your views during the meet

Maybe you want to discuss the results of a campaign. Maybe you want to discuss how to improve things. But, do you have enough information and solid facts to back up your suggestions/complains? If you don’t, it’s quite likely that the meet will be nothing more than a gossip session. People need solid facts to act on and use as a reference point to tweak their efforts. Don’t just shoot arrows in the air blindly. Use hard facts such as reports from the campaign to support your views.

5. Listen more

You should listen twice as much as you talk. Reason? You get to know different people’s perspective on the subject. You get to see things in light that you couldn't see all on your own. Let everyone jump in and be a part of the discussion. The most successful meetings are those where everybody gets equal participation because then teams are able to come up with several different ways to accomplish the same goal. Therefore, as someone who has to conduct the meetings, start developing all the traits of a good listener.

6. Set a time limit to the meet

How much time you think the meet should take? To avoid time wastage you would need to set a limit to how long the meet can be stretched, and try to stick to it. You allocate time limit to every other task, then why not do the same for meetings as well? Try to stick to the lower limit. The practice will save you from rambling unnecessarily or going off topic.

7. Pick a timing everybody is comfortable with

Different people may be working according to different timelines. Be sure to first discuss with everybody in advance about the time that everybody feels comfortable with. You would not want to interrupt anybody’s flow of work. See to the fact that whatever the decision is regarding the timing, it is a unanimous one. One advantage to this practice is that no one will be able to make excuses for coming late. You can start the meeting on time and finish it within the dedicated time frame.

8. Focus on the solution, not the problem

You could keep questioning all the failures and what they happened in the first place. This is not to say that you don’t discuss failures. Sure you should do. But don’t keep the focus of meet on discussing why the problems happened. Get to the root of the problem instead of complaining about them and then move towards finding the solution.

So, do you promise to make your meetings more productive? Are you ready to make the above-mentioned changes in your work style? Do share your thoughts with us!

Shikha Menwal is a writer for ProofHub. She has a bachelor’s degree in computer sciences and writes on topics ranging from lifestyle to technology and management. In her free time she loves to watch comedy shows and read spiritual journalism.
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5 Reasons to Take Invoicing Seriously

5 Reasons to Take Invoicing Seriously
Invoicing is not the core function of any business. Most businesses don’t take the invoicing process too seriously. Many businesses send invoices that are late and others send invoices that are full of errors. Some small business owners and solopreneurs even admit that they hate invoicing. Is invoicing really a hindrance to business?

invoicing invoicera

Not exactly. Invoicing is, in fact one of the key processes to run and grow a successful business. Here are 5 reasons, a business should take invoicing seriously.

Maintain A Healthy Cash Flow
Cash is the most important aspect for the survival and growth of a business. If the business is not receiving on-time payments from clients, it won’t be able to meet basic expenditures like salary and taxation etc. Sending invoices in a timely manner, ensures that the clients are paying up on time. One can add a late fee to invoices to deter clients from paying late. Online solutions help in sending out automatic payment reminders. One can also add a due date on the invoice, to ensure that the client is paying within the specified credit period. These are useful in hastening the payment cycle of the business.

Client Relationships
Maintaining healthy client relationships is at the heart of every business. Managing the business communication effectively, helps in retaining clients and building better relationships. Sending out invoices in a timely manner and ensuring that all kinds of client queries are resolved, is an essential. The process also includes, sharing of estimates and getting them approved from the client. Management of the complete business communication cycle is crucial for client retention and satisfaction.

Disputed Invoices
Many businesses end up sending invoices that are full of errors. This is big a reason for worry as errors lead to disputed invoices and invoice deductions. Having an invoicing process that ensures that each and every invoice sent is error free, is very important to realize full payments for the invoices.

Financial Management
Keeping a record of all the business activities is extremely important for better financial management. Proper invoicing ensures that all the past invoices can be tracked with ease. This helps in analysing the periodic sales and revenue, easily. Financial analysis helps the business owner to forecast future business outcome and plan the course of action, accordingly. If the sales and revenue targets are not being met, the reason can be found out and appropriate action can be taken. Similarly the payment cycle and invoice ageing can be effectively analyzed to ensure all the clients are making timely payments.

A growing business must come forth as a professional one. Sending out professional and descriptive invoices helps the client understand the details of the transaction clearly. Mentioning the terms and conditions on the invoice, helps in ensuring that each and every business deal is a transparent one. Adding brand identity to invoices helps in improving the brand awareness and brand recall for the business.

An invoice is one of the most crucial documents for every business. A business must take each and every aspect of an invoice seriously and thus ensure better business outcome. Delegating the process to specialized teams with appropriate accountability is equally important.

Veronika Tondon is business enthusiast. She writes about emerging technologies and opportunities for business.
She is working as a Marketing Manager with Invoicera, a leading cloud invoicing solution.


Website: www.invoicera.com
Contact Number: +91-9350204838
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Tips for Outsourcing Product Development

Tips for Outsourcing Product Development
Outsourcing product development can be a money saving proposition for your business.  The right outsourcing strategy can help find the best fit teams for development of the product. One also has to ensure the stability of offshore teams, to get timely delivery of the project.


Here are some important tips and tricks:

Evaluating the Outsourcing Partner

It is very important to evaluate the expertise and experience of the outsourcing partner. Here are some key points to remember:
  1. Ensure that the outsourcing partner is an experienced player and has got a decent portfolio.
  2. Make sure that the teams working on your project, have the desired skill set for developing your product.
  3. The teams must be communicative and must take complete responsibility of the project.
  4. The infrastructure, facilities and work culture of the outsourcing partner must be evaluated as well.
  5. The scope of work to be completed in the project, must be clearly defined and mutually agreed upon. One must choose a development partner who provides a range of services from development to maintenance.

Managing The Level of Productivity
Productivity management is the key for getting the product developed on time. This is essential for reducing the time to market the product. Here are some key essentials of managing the productivity level of offshore teams:
  1. Use appropriate tools for communication with development teams. Tools like Skype and Google Drive are useful for staying touch and collaborating with ease.
  2. Having a single point of contact to manage the remote teams, is crucial. The resource can help them with their queries and ensure they are meeting their targets.
  3. Daily and weekly reports must be analysed to gauge the level of productivity being achieved.
  4. The teams must be given regular feedback about the expectations, going forward.

Security of the Project
One must ensure that the project is secure with the outsourcing partner. Here are some important points to remember:
  1. The track record of the outsourcing partner must be carefully evaluated before handing over the project.
  2. The outsourcing partner must sign a nondisclosure and a non-competing agreement before taking up the project

Agile     Development
One must ensure that the product is being developed using the latest tools and techniques.
  1. The project is divided into sprints and a sprint plan is shared with the client on a periodic basis.
  2. The team performance is judged on the goals planned and completed in during the sprint.
  3. The team meets on a daily basis and takes full ownership of the tasks to be completed.

Technical Evaluation
The product development should be thoroughly inspected for any kind of technical flaws.
  1. The quality of the code must be checked to see if the desired outcome has been achieved.
  2. The functionality and usability of the product must be checked thoroughly.

Attention to Detail
The more you know about your product, the better will be the outcome. 
  1. Write a detailed description of the product.
  2. Have a vision of the product and communicate it clearly, to the developers. 

Ved Raj is a business enthusiast. He writes about startups, remote teams and outsourcing.
He is working as a Marketing Manager with ValueCoders, a leading provider of remote development teams.


Website: www.valuecoders.com

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