Watching the Clock: will flexible working benefit employees?

Written by Charlotte - 17 Jan 2018 Category: HR software

Between 2016/2017, around 12.5 million working days were lost in the UK due to anxiety or depression.

Between 2016/2017, around 12.5 million working days were lost in the UK due to anxiety or depression. Could reducing the amount of hours in the working day or adopting flexible working policies contribute to improving employee well-being and overall satisfaction?

Is less more?

In 1930, the British economist, John Maynard Keynes, suggested that thanks to technological advancements and significant productivity gains, we would all be enjoying a 15-hour work week by 2030. With only 12 years to go till we hit Keynes prediction, things don’t seem to be entirely on track!  According to one study, due to the productivity boost brought about by computers, it’s now possible to complete what was the equivalent of a full workday in 1970 in 1.5 hours. We’re far more productive than Keynes ever imagined, yet our working hours show no signs of changing. Despite the continuing digital revolution and associated leaps in productivity, the average working week is still around 40 hours, with many employees working well beyond that.

Workplaces in Sweden have been trialling a seven hour working day, where the results showed that sick leave was reduced by 10%. Inspired by the Swedish trials, an agency in the UK has started giving one hour back to employees each day, without reducing pay.


If working fewer hours is not a viable option, perhaps the solution lies in flexible working? Flexible working involves an agreement between employer and employee where the standard working arrangements in terms of working hours, working location and the number of days worked per week are tailored to some degree to suit the employee. Traditionally associated with the rights of parents or carers, many organisations are starting to realise the potential benefits of offering flexible hours, such as increased productivity and staff retention, and are opening up flexible working options to the wider workforce.

Facilitate Change

Feeling inspired to try flexible working? If your organisation is looking to implement changes to its working structure, it’s vital to use appropriate technology which will easily facilitate this change and boost new ways of working.  CiviHR has built-in features which let you easily assign different working patterns to different member of staff. For example, one member of staff could be working a 40 hour week over compressed hours, with ten-hour days Monday-Thursday. Another might work half days on Monday and Friday from home. Whatever the days, leave is calculated automatically from each designated working pattern, removing the chaos that comes with trying to juggle different entitlements. You can test it out for yourself by creating different working patterns on our demo site.

Looking Forward: our vision for CiviHR

Written by Charlotte - 10 Jan 2018 Category: Non-Profits

In our last blog, we outlined CiviHR’s core functionality and the project goals for 2018.

In our last blog, we outlined CiviHR’s core functionality and the project goals for 2018. We’d like to take this one step further now and share some of our plans for the medium and longer term.

Our vision is simple: we want to create software that covers the whole employee lifecycle from recruitment to exiting. We’ve made a good start; the current modules let you manage staff contracts and leave requests, assign different tasks and monitor workflows, advertise and apply for vacancies, and run reports. Staff members also have the convenience of accessing the Self Service Portal to request leave and maintain personal details. It’s simple to use and covers the essential HR management needs, but we’re not stopping there.

In the medium term, we intend to add Payroll Exports, and Appraisals, as well as further developing the Recruitment module into a comprehensive Applicant Tracking System so that you can convert candidates to employees or volunteers and, when the time comes, oversee the leaving process and the advertisement of vacancies to complete the employee lifecycle.

In the longer term, we intend to add Timesheets, Expenses and Asset Tracking. We want CiviHR to be comprehensive HR software, but without a hefty price tag. This principle is at the heart of everything we do, and any future plans will always keep this firmly in sight.

CiviHR: Where we are and where we're heading

Written by Charlotte - 20 Dec 2017 Category: Feature

As we approach the end of 2017, I thought it would be a good idea to do a roundup of where CiviHR has got to and where we are heading in 2018.

As we approach the end of 2017, I thought it would be a good idea to do a roundup of where CiviHR has got to and where we are heading in 2018.


The system currently consists of the following modules:

  • Staff profiles: store key details such as job contracts, emergency contacts, and right to work. Update job contracts to reflect a recent pay rise or search through the history of past revisions.

  • Leave management: staff can request leave, sickness and overtime and managers can approve online. Flexible working patterns are supported.

  • Tasks & Workflows: define your own workflows as a series of individual tasks. Set due dates on each one, and assign them to the relevant managers. Track progress through the dashboard so you can make sure that everything is finished on time.

  • Reporting: choose from a list of standard reports or create your own interactive tables and charts using our drag and drop pivot table reporting.

  • Self Service Portal: staff can log in to the Self Service Portal at anytime, from any location, and on any device.

The front end follows the Shoreditch design, now with sharper colours and contrast that conform to WCAG guidelines.

Staff Profiles

These hold contract details, relevant documentation and other essential HR information for each member of staff. Job contracts and job roles are stored here, along with all personal details such as emergency contacts, bank details and career history. You can update job contracts for any change of terms such as pay rises or increased holiday allowances,  and you can view a history of past revisions.


Staff can request Holidays, Sickness, Overtime and TOIL via  the Self Service Portal, with requests specified in hours or days. You can update leave entitlement for staff and create different working patterns per contract. For example, if an organisation has two members of staff working to one FTE role, with one person in Monday-Wednesday, and the other working Thursday-Friday, these different working patterns can be recorded in the system and the appropriate leave entitlements automatically calculated for each person.

Tasks and Workflows

Tasks consist of individual actions, and multiple tasks can be grouped together as one workflow, similar to those used in CiviCase. Joining and Exiting workflows are built into the system by default so that these admin-heavy processes can be streamlined, with everything recorded in one place.  Keep track of documents like passports and visas, store copies, and generate reminders of when they need to be renewed.


We’ve made reporting data quick and simple, thanks to a pivot table design.  Easily monitor headcount and leave, query the underlying data and summarise in a pivot table or chart. Create custom reports and save new configurations by dragging and dropping field labels to display results using colourful, engaging displays like heatmaps, bar charts or line graphs.

Self Service Portal

Staff can view their personal details and edit contact information for themselves  and their emergency contacts. They can apply for leave, read policy documents, look up staff in the directory, and view any tasks assigned to them.


Our focus for 2018 is split two ways; the first priority is to improve  the user experience, the second priority is to add new features to boost functionality.

Making CiviHR Simpler to Use

  • Contact actions: scheduled for January, HR relevant actions will be added to the current available options. This means you’ll be able to perform many more HR tasks without having to leave the Staff Profile screen.

  • Dropdown lists: all dropdown lists will be directly editable via a shortcut that appears next to each list, so new values can be added without having to leave the active screen.

  • Configure menu: all configuration settings will be grouped according to module in order to make each one easier to find. Those settings that are of no particular value to HR Administrators will be hidden.

  • Setup wizard: when HR Administrators login for the first time, the wizard will run through the main default settings for the site so that these can either be confirmed or changed to something more suitable.

Adding New Features

  • Payroll export: the ability to extract payroll relevant data from CiviHR in a form that could be sent to a payroll bureau for the processing of salaries and the generation of payslips.

  • Appraisals: manage the appraisal process via a new workflow that will be included in CiviHR by default. Keep track of what’s been completed and by whom, and what’s outstanding.

  • Recruitment: advertise internal vacancies and have staff apply online via CiviHR.


Take a look at CiviHR via our demo site or start using it today by completing the signup form.

About CiviHR

CiviHR is a project to create affordable HR software for non-profit organisations. By developing open source technology the benefits can be shared with non-profits everywhere.


CiviHR is a project to create affordable HR software for non-profit organisations. By developing open source technology the benefits can be shared with non-profits everywhere. 

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