Time tracking in Salesforce

Two years ago, we started down the route of time tracking on mobile devices for field and remote workers. All data from the mobile devices synced back into Salesforce in near real-time. Our goal was to give field workers the ability to get their work times into Salesforce on a mobile. We did build a simple way to track time automatically within Salesforce, but it was quite limited in functionality.

From our market research, we saw that there was a need for time tracking data to be synced to Salesforce. Since invoicing, project management and payroll were all within Salesforce, that work hours should be in Salesforce too made sense. PSA apps, ERP apps… all included time tracking as a part of their functionality. And those apps tracked work time for employees who worked within Salesforce. So, we decided that we would not play in that space – at the time.

Mobile and web apps

Mobile Time Tracker Clock out
Mobile Time Tracker Clock out

Our initial focus was on the mobile space where field workers and remote workers could track their work times. Our goal was to enable workers to track time easily and with little fuss on their familiar phones. Soon after, based on customer requests, we rolled out a Web-based Time Tracker. This was meant for workers who were not comfortable using mobile apps. The one big feature that we added in the Web version was the ability for users to enter time after the fact. This enabled workers to enter their time at the end of the day. Soon we rolled out the capability to enter multiple lines on a timesheet. Now, people who worked on multiple jobs during the day could enter a full timesheet once a day or week.

Time sheet entries on mobile, web or in Salesforce
Timesheet entries on mobile and web

With more customer requests, we added more functionality to both the Web and the mobile apps. We introduced configurable fields that could be displayed on both the mobile and on web apps. A new Team time tracking app on the mobile lets a single Team Lead check her entire team in. We updated the mobile app to allow configurable geo-tracking and photographs. This feature allowed us to minimize buddy punching. We introduced addresses that could be opened in Google/Apple maps to help field people find their next job-site. On the web app, we added an Approval mechanism for timesheets. Now managers and supervisors can approve/reject time entries for team members.

Over a year and a half, both the mobile app and the web apps grew with more functionality. But we did not do much on the Salesforce time tracking functionality.

Time Tracking in Salesforce

Over this calendar year, though, we’ve seen a renewed interest in time tracking inside Salesforce. To the point where now, over 60% of our leads are looking for Time Tracking within Salesforce.

The May 2019 EU Court of Justice ruling and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements have pushed time tracking to center stage. Any business that has employees is now affected by regulatory compliance for time worked, overtime calculation and break time compliance. And that has pushed interest in time tracking within Salesforce.

Time sheet entry in Salesforce

Luckily for us, because of our Mobile app, we had a lot of functionality within Salesforce already. The objects themselves, reports,  dashboards – all these existed. We have now added a number of other functions that make life easier with Salesforce. Some examples:

  • A Lightning component that can be added as a Time Tracker pop-up from the Salesforce utility bar, to track time against ANY object, including the one that the user is currently working on.
  • A multi-check in time tracking option that helps enter their complete timesheet for a day or a week at a time, after-the-fact.
  • A Summary Timesheet page that helps users within Salesforce select a date and add/see all the time entries for that day, so users can make sure they’ve recorded all their work for a given date.

Overall, we now have one of the strongest offerings for time tracking, be it on the mobile, on the Web or within Salesforce. And the best part is that you could have a combination of users, some using our mobile app, some on the web and others inside Salesforce. Regardless of where the time tracking happens, Salesforce is the single repository of all time tracking data. So integration with payroll, invoicing and ERP systems becomes that much easier.

We are thrilled to say now that we are the Timekeepers for Salesforce!

Setting up an iPad for public use.

Last week, I was speaking with one of our nonprofit customers who use the Kiosk version of V4S Mobile for tracking volunteers. One of the issues that she was wrestling with was how to keep the iPad secure, both physically and from an app usage perspective. So I researched some options for her. I figured that the information would be useful for other iPad app users, using iPads for public use in a Kiosk mode. So here goes:

Physical security.

There are plenty of devices available for managing the physical security of any iPad that you want to use in a public setting. Just look on Amazon.com and

Physical security for iPads
Physical security for iPads

there are plenty of options to suit any budget range and your specific physical needs. And these physical security devices are available for desk, wall, floor and rail mounting options. Whether you need a floor mount for your iPad, a wall mount for your Android tablet or a desk mount for your Windows Surface device, you have many options. With options for rotate, tilt and switch, these devices give your users the flexibility to use the iPad/Android device in a multitude of ways. Starting in price at around $ 50 going all the way up to $ 500, security devices span a large price range.

The next thing you need to think about is application security. How do you prevent users from switching apps on your iPad either accidentally or because they quickly want to check out their Facebook page?

How do I lock down my iPad for just one app?

There are two ways to lock down your iPad to a single app. Guided Access and Single App Mode. Guided is the quickest, fastest way to put an iPad in a Kiosk mode and is often thought of as parental control mode.  It allows you to temporarily lock and iPad or iPhone to a single app. To leave that app, someone will have to enter your PIN or provide your fingerprint.  The Single App Mode locks your iPad to a single app. This is a more advanced feature and this is what we suggest to our V4S Kiosk users.

Guided Access mode.

Guided Access is a quick and dirty method of locking your iPad to a single app. To do this first enable this feature by going to the Settings app and going to General > Accessibility > Guided Access. Slide the Guided Access slider to the On position.

Guided Access for iPads
Guided Access for iPads

Next, tap the “Passcode Settings” to set a PIN for guided access and choose whether or not you can exit Guided Access with a Touch ID, if your iPad has a Touch ID sensor. You can choose to use the same ID that you use to unlock the iPad or use a different one. Just make sure that you note down the ID in a safe place, in case you forget it.

Next, launch the app that you want to lock your iPad to. Quickly press the “Home” button three times. You have now entered the Guided Access mode. There are 3 main options to set up here: Hardware buttons, Touch and Motion.

Hardware Buttons

You can enable or disable specific hardware buttons including the Sleep/Wake buttons and the Volume buttons. If your app needs audio playback, then you should disable the volume buttons to prevent users from accidentally turning the

Hardware buttons for Guided Access for iPads
Hardware buttons for Guided Access for iPads

volume down. Similarly, you may want to disable the Sleep/Wake button to prevent the iPad from going to sleep (or powering off), if someone touches that button. The OFF state means that those buttons are disabled and will not respond when pressed, once you have started the Guided Access mode.

Touch

You can turn touch gestures (taps on the screen) on or off, depending on your specific situation. If your app needs to be interactive (as with V4S Kiosk), then keep Touch enabled. If you are playing a video in a loop and don’t want people to stop it, then disable Touch.

Motion

Use this option to prevent your iPad from changing orientation when the user rotates the device. To do this disable this option, slide the Motion option to off. If your app relies on a particular Portrait or Landscape mode, then rotate your iPad to the particular orientation, then switch Motion off. Now the display will remain fixed, even if the user rotates the device.

Starting Guided Access

Once you’ve set up all the Guided Access setting to the way that you want it, tap on the “Start” button on the top right of your screen. Your app is now running in the “Guided Access” or “Kiosk” mode! Try tapping on the Home button or the volume buttons. Depending on how you’ve set them up, you’ll see that they make no difference. You will see a small message on the screen letting you know that Guided Access is enabled.

Exiting Guided Access

Triple-click the Home button. Enter the passcode that you configured. You’ll be taken back to the Guided Access setup screen, where you can End or Resume Guided Access.

And that’s all there is to put your iPad into a “Kiosk” mode. Next week we’ll talk about how you can use the Single App Mode on your iPad.