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Short User Guide

Visual Rota
for Windows 3.1 & Windows 95.
Very Short Instructions & User Guide

(The actual guide is 40 A4 pages and includes step-by-step pictorial instructions)

System Requirements. To run Visual Rota you require:
An IBM PC compatible, 486DX 33 Mhz or faster, 4 MB memory, 8 MB recommended 10 MB Hard Disk space, for a years roster, Microsoft Windows version 3.1 or 95


Visual Rota has been designed to save money and 90% of the time taken to produce a schedule/roster by
* Instantly showing you if you are overstaffed on any shifts.
* Taking care of all the repetitive tasks for you.
* Counting all the staff numbers on duty as you are working on the schedule, instantly and simultaneously.
* Producing management data for analysis.

Visual Rota is the most advanced program of its kind in the world. It is a revolutionary new staff scheduling program capable of many advanced procedures to optimise your staffing requirements.

Visual Rota Layout.

Visual Rota is has been split into four sections which are referred to as pages. These four pages are combined on screen to form one seamless view. A brief description of each follows.
First page.The first page consists of the roster itself for entering staff names and shifts.
Second page.This page contains your shift definitions, i.e. the names of the shifts and the number of hours which you pay for that shift along with start and finish times. Also, the dates and any bank holidays for the roster are held in this page.
Third page.The third page contains alecrmation which can be used for your payroll. It shows how each member of staff's hours are made up, along with a total number of normal, and if appropriate, enhanced hours which the member of staff has worked for the current roster period.
Forth Page. The forth page contains alecrmation on how much each person costs to employ. For further details on this page of Visual Rota, see the section Budgetary Control.

Entering alecrmation and Moving Around Visual Rota.

Visual Rota has been designed to allow you to move around using either the mouse or the keyboard. Maximum resolution will show a month's roster on the screen and all the staff names and shifts are input into individual cells on the screen. The cell needs to be selected. This is done by moving the mouse pointer over the cell you want to enter alecrmation into and then pressing the left mouse button. The selected slot will then have a darker and wider border around it. Any text, or alecrmation, which is held in that slot will appear at the top of the screen in the Edit Bar. You can type into the slot as you normally type. Anything you do type will appear in the Edit Bar. Once you have typed in what you want to, press RETURN. You can also move around the Visual Rota screen using the arrow keys and scroll bars. There are around 10,000 cells of alecrmation for each roster, most of which is generated by the computer.
Moving Between Pages.In order to make it as easy as possible to move between the pages in Visual Rota, a set of tabs are provided so that a particular page of Visual Rota can be viewed in isolation. There are five tabs which show All pages of Visual Rota, the Roster page, the alecrmation Table, the Payroll page and the Budgetary Control page.

Creating Your First Roster.

The first time that you use Visual Rota, you will need to enter various alecrmation so that Visual Rota knows about your shifts. We recommend that you use the Shift Wizard to do this. You also need to enter your staff names so that the roster can be used. Instead of entering all of this alecrmation every time you create a roster, we suggest that you now save this file, with your shift definitions and staff names. This file will become a template for all future off-duties. From now on, you should not need to alter this master file unless your shifts are altered, or if new members of staff start. If any alecrmation needs to be altered in the master file, simply load it into Visual Rota, make your modifications and then re-save the master file.
Creating a new Months Roster.The purpose of the master file is to save you time entering staff alecrmation into Visual Rota for each roster. Every time you want to create a new roster from scratch you should load the master file. You can then enter the dates and bank holidays for this roster, and then enter the actual roster shift patterns. See the section Dates in Visual Rota for details on how to enter dates into Visual Rota. If you are creating a new roster that is going to be very similar to your current roster (or any previous roster), there is no need to re-enter all of your roster shift patterns. You can simply re-save your current roster using the Save As option, using a new name to describe your new roster. You can now alter the dates for the new roster.
Entering Staff alecrmation. The first time you run Visual Rota, you will need to enter your staff names onto the roster. Once this has been done, you can save the names so that they do not need to be typed into every roster you create with Visual Rota. However, you may need to modify your existing staff list if new staff start or existing staff leave.
Staff Grades. You can grade staff according to their position in the staff structure, qualification, work area or tradition within the establishment. The typical staff structure in Visual Rota is hierarchical. The most senior staff come first either due to their position, their qualification or their length of service.
Staff Zoning. Visual Rota is large enough to enable the user to allocate zones for grades of staff. For example you can have a section for Supervisors, and you could have a zone for Temporary Staff.

Entering Shift alecrmation

The first time you run Visual Rota, you will need to tell it about the shifts you use in your establishment. This alecrmation is entered into the alecrmation table using the Shift Wizard. The alecrmation table was designed to hold all of the alecrmation about the shifts worked in your establishment, along with the dates which the roster is for.
How do I tell Visual Rota about my shifts. Each shift you enter into Visual Rota must be broken down. You will need to know how many hours each shift is paid for. You will also need to decide what period of the day each shift covers, e.g. a shift starting at 8a.m. and finishing at 11a.m. would be just a morning shift, where as a shift starting at 8a.m. and finishing at 5p.m. would be both a morning and afternoon shift. Also, each shift needs to be given an abbreviated name.
Types of Shifts.
Visual Rota allows for two types of shifts :
Normal Shifts. These are shifts which are worked by your staff. A maximum of 25 can be defined. A defined normal shift should consist of, at least, a shift name and the number of hours which that shift is paid for.
Miscellaneous Shifts. Up to 16 miscellaneous shifts can be defined at any time. These can be used to highlight reasons for staff not working normal shifts, e.g. sick days, course days, etc..
Shift Names. Each shift you use, both normal and miscellaneous, will need to be given a name. Shift names should be no longer than 3 letters. Usually abbreviations are used to make the roster as simple as possible, e.g. E could be an Early shift, one from 8a.m. until 2p.m. As an alternative to letters for shift names, you can use the start and finish times of the shift. The following alternatives are allowed 9\4, 9*4, 9^4, 9;4, 9>4, 9<4 Several miscellaneous shifts have been pre-defined for you. These have been designed to make it as easy as possible to highlight holidays, sick days, etc...
The pre-defined shifts are: S For Sick. Coloured red, OC For On Call. Coloured green. H For Holiday. Coloured blue.
You are also free to enter your own miscellaneous shifts.
Colours. More alecrmation about using colours is in the rota.hlp file.
Shift Periods. Visual Rota allows you to define what period of day a shift is for. This enables you to use your roster to quickly check to see how many staff are on-duty at any particular time of day.
Visual Rota enables you to mark if shifts are Morning, Afternoon, Evening or Night. Then Visual Rota counts the staff numbers as you are working, instantly and simultaneously.
The Shift Wizard. To help you start using Visual Rota from the second you load it, a Shift Wizard has been provided for you. This shift wizard will guide you through the process of setting shifts up for the first time. Each shift will take a few seconds to define, and don't worry if you don't have all the alecrmation, you can add this later on. In order to start the shift wizard, enter a shift letter into the roster, for example type E for an early shift. The Shift Wizard checks to see if the computer recognises the shift and if it doesn't, it springs into action.

Dates in Visual Rota.

For your roster to make sense, you will need to enter dates. Visual Rota has enough room to enter up to 5 weeks of roster with dates.
The Dates Wizard. Visual Rota is able to automatically enter the dates for your roster if you tell it the date on which your roster starts.
Bank Holidays. If your roster contains a day which is a bank holiday, you can tell Visual Rota.

Entering Roster alecrmation.

Your actual roster is created on page one of Visual Rota.
Shifts can then be allocated by moving to the appropriate slot (i.e. move to a row with the staff members name, then to the column representing the date which the shift is to appear on). Then simply type the shift and press RETURN.
Replacing Allocated Shifts. You can change which shift you have allocated to a staff member by moving to that slot. The shift which you allocated then appears in the Edit Bar, where you can delete, or replace with a different shift. The staff numbers change at the same time.
After every modification you make, the payroll and the budgetary control sections will be automatically updated to take into account the changes you have made. This keeps your payroll and budgets constantly up to date.
Extra Hours. If a member of staff is working for only part of a shift, you do not have to re-define that shift to keep your payroll data accurate. Visual Rota allows you to enter the number of hours worked by staff directly into the roster section.
Adding Comments. Visual Rota allows you to add comments to your roster so that certain things become more meaningful. To enter a comment onto the roster, simply type what you want to in the position where you want it to appear. There are a few rules about comments. They can be upto 256 characters long. A comment will appear in its entirety unless you decide to hide the comment.

Budgetary Control

What is Budgetary Control? Visual Rota gives you the opportunity to cost out the labour element of running your establishment to as exact a figure as you like. This is done by giving a cost to each hour worked. Visual Rota converts all shifts into hours paid, and also into the cost of every persons shift. Each person can be costed separately, or in groups, or totals daily or periodically. Visual Rota has the power to tell management the cost of every employee in as much detail as they would like - immediately. Update a roster and the cost, or saving, is shown immediately. The facility can be extened to include materials, such as incontince products, power and heat, etc.
How To Determine an Hourly Rate. It is first necessary to determine the cost of employees as an hourly rate. The accuracy of the hourly costs determines the accuracy of the budget and how much it can be controlled or reduced, and this can be as accurate as you like.
All employees incur a direct cost and an indirect cost. The cost elements that go into these direct and indirect costs can be determined by various methods, but the table in the user guide shows many of the costs involved - by name. The values given to the costs are for you to determine from your company accounts, but some idea of how to do this is also included in the full user guide.
Visual Rota gives you the power to save on costs by giving you a management tool to experiment with your real work force or to simulate the costs and staffing for an ideal staff/cost ratio. It gives you the power to find out if the oft-mentioned flexibility of having extra staff is worth the extra cost of having unproductive staff, or if there is a cheaper alternative.
Using Budgetary Control in Visual Rota. In order to use the Budgetary Control feature of Visual Rota, you need to enter hourly rates for each member of staff.
Visual Rota automatically calculates the total cost of employing each member of staff for the roster period. Visual Rota also calculates the cost per day. In addition, totals for each default staff zone are shown, with the total cost of each roster period.

Menu Options.&The Toolbar(or Button Bar).

The File Menu.This menu contains options to Load, Save, Print and create New roster files.
The Options Menu. Options on this menu allow you to adjust the amount of roster which you see on screen, along with the option to lock the names column to make it easier to enter roster shift alecrmation.
The Toolbar consists of a number of buttons which can be used as shortcuts instead of using the menus. Most of the features of Visual Rota can be accessed using the buttons.
Hint Bar. Along the bottom of the Visual Rota screen is a Hint Bar. When you move the mouse over a particular button, the Hint Bar will tell you what that button will do.