From XU Magazine, 
Issue 32

Simple solution to LEAVE a Complex Problem Behind

Create a more collaborative workplace with transparent Leave and hybrid work management

This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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This year at XeroCon in London, Xero released its Changing World of Work report. This report provided great insight into the attitudes and behaviours of small business employers and their employees in the UK. While the official research is focused on the UK, the sentiments amongst employees and employers globally are very similar.

The key takeaways are: 

  • Business owners are stressed about retaining and finding talent, and they are close to burnout due to too much admin.
  • Employees are also close to burnout, and reassessing what they want from their roles.

According to the report, small business owners in the UK spend 22 hours a week managing employee admin processes.

My first hand experience of these issues around communication and administration helped define what I work on today.

A few years ago, I was working in an engineering and design company with around 80 employees. The team were working across multiple jobs for multiple clients with different managers. This meant there was often confusion about who was in and out and people simply didn’t take time off as someone always expected them somewhere.

Each week the HR manager would spend hours extracting leave from Xero, sending notifications to managers, and updating calendars to ensure there was visibility of who was out of the office and who needed to take time off, and within hours, the data was often out of date. The impact of not doing this work was project delays, missed milestones, general frustration and team member burnout - all because nobody knew when their teammates were in or out of the office.

Around the same time I met my co-founder. Nathan had developed an early version of LeaveCal which I immediately started using. Since then, LeaveCal has grown into the most highly rated HR/Payroll app on the Xero App Store, managing leave for thousands of staff across the globe.

How does it work today?

Calendar feed

Using your existing calendar application, you can subscribe to your team LeaveCal and receive regular updates of leave that has been approved in Xero. Staff can subscribe via tools they already use, without requiring any extra training.

Leave Notifications

For team members who aren’t great at checking calendars, we can provide them with other options, like email alerts, Slack notifications, or even alerts into Microsoft Teams chats.

Custom Teams

In larger organisations, customers often only want to see what’s happening in a subset of the organisation. LeaveCal has the ability to create calendars and alerts for a Xero employee group, or you can define your own teams within LeaveCal.

Manager Notifications

Awareness of leave balances has become a critical part of running a small business. Not only are there implications for company financial liabilities, but it’s also a great way to manage employee wellbeing - how long has it been since each of your employees have taken a break? The LeaveCal Leave Balance alert for managers allows you to stay on top of your leave obligations.

Hybrid Work and Changing Teams

Many companies now have some form of hybrid work, alternate work arrangements, or subcontractors or employees offshore. LeaveCal allows you to bring all of this employee leave into the same place.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

LeaveCal can also incorporate employee birthdays and anniversaries into your team’s LeaveCal, so you’ll never forget an important occasion again!

We talked to two of our customers to tell us a little bit out their business, team and how  how LeaveCal is helping their business.

Dave Elkin (co-CEO) at Easy Agile

Easy Agile makes the world’s most loved Agile apps for Jira. In other words, we are a tech business which sells tech products to other tech companies. 

We really want to empower our team and provide them all with autonomy. We put a lot of thought into making this happen and in the end we found LeaveCal, which provides our team with the visibility of what their team members are up to. If someone is having a day off, we all know about it and we plan accordingly. Prior to using LeaveCal we were manually updating calendars and spreadsheets which was time consuming and inaccurate. Not to mention a waste of time.

The whole team receives automated alerts via Slack on a Monday morning. The LeaveCal Slackbot is also a great way for the team to plan their project resources.

Garth Stone  (Director) at We Make Online Videos

We Make Online Videos (WeMOV) is an award-winning video production company that helps organisations tell their unique story through the power of video. WeMOV makes the video production process an easy, accessible, and enjoyable experience for all involved.

We currently employ over 20 full-time staff members in VIC, NSW and QLD and have a wide range of contractors Australia-wide.

Our business is all about collaboration, so efficiently managing our team is crucial. Since we started using Leave Cal, our team’s leave and hybrid work arrangements have dramatically improved. Our management team has excellent visibility now, which means we can effectively juggle resources when it’s busy and quiet. 

At a time when finding and retaining staff is hard, looking for simple cost effective solutions to give team members visibility and transparency can be the difference. If you or your clients are using Xero payroll, the benefits from LeaveCal can be found in minutes. We find that designers, architects, consultants, other professional services, SaaS companies and even real estate agents are finding that LeaveCal is the starting point for all planning.

Why leave it there?

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