Friday, 20 April 2012

Life, Times and LeaveWizard

Well it has been far too long since I last ventured into the world of blogging but it seems that life suddenly got a little busy for me. What with having my family growing with the addition of two fantastic boys Jacob and Lucas and the very latest arrival (just over 1 week old) is my new beautiful baby girl Isabelle, co-coordinating of NxtGenUG Southampton, software contracting with Fitness First and more recently Active Navigation, working on a fantastic online leave management product with my good friend Plamen Balkanski time just seems to slip away from me.

Plamen wrote a post a little while ago about our product LeaveWizard for the first time since we’ve been developing it and this prompted me to think about my own blog (albeit a couple of months later) and how I could resurrect it by starting to talk about the kind of things we are doing with LeaveWizard. Previously most of my posts have had a bit of technical bias and I am sure that there will be plenty more of that to come but to kick the blog off again I thought I would just talk about what we’ve been doing with LeaveWizard.

So what is LeaveWizard anyway?

LeaveWizard is something that both Plamen and I are completely passionate about, we both seemed to have generally bad experiences when it came to holiday bookings. It always seemed like a hassle going something a little like this:

  1. Go the HR team to pick up a holiday card
  2. Determine what holiday allowance you actually have remaining (after a few discussions with the HR team about what leave you didn’t end up taking in the end)
  3. Fill in all the relevant details and dates
  4. Put the holiday card on your managers desk for approval (it generally goes straight into their in-tray because they are very busy and they are never at their desk)
  5. Wait a couple of hours/days/weeks and ask your manager whether the holiday has been approved or not
  6. Your manager finally approves the holiday and passes it on to the secondary approver (once again going into an in-tray because they are not at their desk)
  7. Wait a couple more hours/days/weeks and ask the secondary approver if it has been approved or not
  8. The secondary approver finally approves the holiday and gets the card back to HR without actually telling you whether it was approved or not
  9. You then have to chase HR or the secondary approver to ask whether the holiday has been approved and you eventually get the confirmation you needed (this is normally the day before you are actually leaving for your holiday)
  10. At this point all is well from your point of view but more times than not it turns out that during the time it took to get your holiday approved, a couple of other people on the team also had their leave approved and they end up being on leave at the same time as you!!!
  11. This eventually causes a nightmare because you and this other guy should never be off at the same time and you end up getting in the neck because you didn’t collaborate over when you should or should not be on holiday!!

If this kind of thing sounds in anyway familiar then you will totally understand why we created LeaveWizard, we just figured it shouldn’t be that hard. So we set about creating a tool that would make the process something a bit more like this:

  1. Log on to an online system that is available any time and anywhere across the globe
  2. Instantly have access to your current leave allowance
  3. Click a request leave button and enter your leave dates and submit your request (if too many people in your department are off on those dates already you are instantly notified)
  4. Your leave request is instantly sent to your manager via email who can quickly see who else is on leave at the same time and instantly approve the leave request
  5. You are sent an email stating “<ManagersName> has approved your leave and it has now been sent to <SecondaryApproversName> for secondary approver” so you know exactly what stage your leave request is at
  6. The secondary approver receives an email detailing the leave request and can also see who is on leave at the same time and simply clicks “Approve” directly from the email content
  7. You are then sent a confirmation email stating that your leave has been approved…woo hoo time to go on holiday!

Now I don’t know about you but I know which process I prefer which is why we created a tool to allow us to do exactly that and a whole lot more from request and approving overtime, defining flexible work patterns, configuring time off in lieu LeaveWizard has become an extremely flexible holiday management tool.

If you think that you company could benefit from using a tool like LeaveWizard to management your staff holiday, absences and vacations then why not try it out, it is totally free to use for up to 5 users. I would also love to get your feedback on anything you would care to comment on.

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