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Tracking holiday requests

Leave Dates is a free HR tool that allows managers and employees to track past and future holidays and absences in one location. Ideal for small and mediumsized businesses with a busy or remote workforce, the website and mobile app provide a shared calendar, where workers can input their holiday dates and managers can approve requests. Useful features include a ‘chat’ function that allows team members to discuss their request with a manager in real-time; a virtual wall chart highlighting team members’ time off; and reports by team member or department. Leave Dates is offered in three versions: a free version for light users; a monthly subscription, costing from 80p per user; and an annual membership for £7.20 per user.

HR insights at your fingertips

Help in making critical business decisions
Help in making critical business decisions

Circal has launched a new platform giving HR directors the knowledge needed to make critical business decisions. Jointly developed by Expedite, the company behind Working Futures, and OJO Solutions, the platform provides users with personalised news feeds, podcasts, videos and community forums, alongside networking and professional development opportunities. Expedite MD Christian Milam said: “Often, the best way to solve a problem is to speak to your peers, to collaborate with those working through the same issues. We thought ‘surely there’s an app for that’ and when we couldn’t find anything that fit the bill, we started to build Circal from the ground up.”

You spend, Sweep does the rest

Launched in the summer, Sweep is an automated expense tracking system for freelancers, start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises. It uses the latest technology to automate transactiontracking, smart payment categorisation and real-time expenses reporting. Simply download the app and link your bank account to it: Sweep will detect any new payment you make and turn it into an expense report in realtime, filling all fields with information and currency conversion rates that are 100% accurate. All you have to do is add a picture of the receipt or opt out if it is a personal transaction. For managers and business owners, Sweep simplifies expenses approval, integrates with accounting systems and generates automated expense reports.

Profiting from experience

Qoorio deepens individuals’ understanding of a subject by putting them in touch with people with first-hand experience of it in exchange for money or a donation to their favourite charity. Two people can arrange to meet for a coffee, chat online, pick up the phone, or connect in any other way. Every person can set their own rates and decide to donate a part or all of their earnings to charity. Author and write Gabija Grušaite, who co-founded the social media platform with Justas Janauskas (co-founder of pre-loved fashion marketplace Vinted), said: “We are all stuck in our social bubbles and associate with people who are similar to us. It is hard for an artist to get business advice from friends or for a lawyer to find a knowledgeable person to navigate her through the tricky world of art collecting. That is what Qoorio offers – access to real-life knowledge.” Qoorio recently received second round investment of 2 million euros for product development and international expansion.

Staff engagement made easy

Using the up-to-the-minute employee engagement platform
Using the up-to-the-minute employee engagement platform

One of the world’s largest online sellers of used books, World of Books, is using the StaffConnect mobile employee engagement platform to keep its workforce informed of company initiatives and best practice and to gather feedback from frontline and deskless workers in sales, distribution and warehousing, who make up more than 75% of its workforce. World of Books purchases unsold inventory from UK charity shops and resells the books to millions of customers in more than 190 countries via its own website, as well as on eBay and Amazon. More than 20% of the books it receives are re-sold to book lovers or donated to worthy causes, with the remainder being recycled. After finding its existing communication tools – email and an intranet – ineffective at gathering feedback and hard to access by deskless employees, World of Books started to look for a platform that would allow two-way communication with employees. In the end, it chose StaffConnect’s cloud-hosted mobile employee engagement platform personalised with World of Books branding. This platform, which includes a mobile app and analytics, enables employees to access company and usergenerated content and managers to engage with workers and request their feedback as part of the decisionmaking process. Patrik Öqvist, Chief Marketing Officer at World of Books, describes the app as a gamechanger: “Two-way communication is vital to engagement. Deskless workers need a voice to contribute to the organisation’s views, instead of communication only occurring top-down. Having the ability to keep our collective mission top of mind with all people, regardless of role or location, has been a game-changer,” he said.

Expenses for dummies

One of a raft of enhancements to its small business platform announced at Xerocon London 2019, new automation features in the Xero Expenses app make it easier for users to claim for mileage. Employees simply need to input the distance travelled and the claim value will automatically be calculated based on the rate per mile/ kilometre offered by the employer. Xero Expenses has received acclaim for creating a simpler expenses experience, winning the Data and Expense Management Software of the Year Award at the Accountancy Excellence Awards in the UK and Expense Management Software of the Year at the Digital Accountancy Awards.