Monday, May 14, 2012

"Open Shifts" for your weekly schedule! Yeah, they're pretty cool.

Life just gets easier and easier over here at Your Next Seven. Since launching in January '11 we've always given our employees and managers the ability to swap, release and pick-up shifts. One thing we've heard a few times from our managers though is the request to give the ability to put in "Open Shifts". These shifts are set up to allow management the ability to plug in some extra shifts and allow their staff the opportunity to pick them up! Well, today we're releasing the "Open Shifts Add-on".

As with our full suite of Add-ons you can head over to "My Account > Add-Ons" to activate this. Once activated you'll notice a new row on your schedule (currently only employee view.) It will look like this:

Just click "Add Shift" and you're good to go with the normal hours dialogue box you're used to when adding shifts. It's that simple. As if that wasn't cool enough, when an employee offers to pick up a shift you as a manager get the same awesome details that you would get when approving normal shift change requests. These details will include if the employee is already scheduled for that day and will let you know how many hours it will put them at if they picked up the shift. Check it out:

In case you're still curious as to how everything works, or you just can't wait to see it in action! This video walk-through is for you.

Just as a final FYI. This Add-on came at the request of our management staff who is actively using our scheduling services and we're here for them. If you have any requests or features you would like to see added in, just shoot me an email.

Your Next Seven, Inc - intuitive online employee scheduling
President / Lead Developer

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Messages System Improvements to Help with Employee Scheduling Communication

We know that on of the big draws to online scheduling is communication with your staff and always having that access at your fingertips. In the past Your Next Seven has had an "Alerts" window that allowed you as the manager to send out a SMS Text and Email to all of your employees with the push of a button. Now, even though that was awesome, we decided to make it awesomer (I think I'm going to coin that word.)

Introducing... Messages. Wait, messages? We've had that since the beginning. Not like this though, with our new Messages section you can now send out an email and/or a SMS Text to all or some of your employees. With advanced options available to both management and employees alike, communication is easier than ever. Here, enjoy some screenshots of the Messages goodness:

Dashboard View
On your Dashboard you will now see the messages (formerly alerts) widget. This will show the latest three messages that were sent out  as well as give you the ability to quickly navigate to your inbox and send a new message. Click on any of the previews to view the full message.

- So, we know that Dashboard View is pretty awesome. Now, on to the full view -

Yes, we're aware this is just simply beautiful. Feel free to leave any comments you'd like below. Now, for some substance let's walk through viewing messages from employees. You get a preview of the message left (100 characters to be exact) as well as the last time a message was added to the thread. What's a thread you ask? It's something like this:

The Thread
The message thread will allow all of your managers or employees that are tagged on the message to openly communicate. Need to discuss the upcoming meeting with your management staff? Planing a surprise birthday party? Need to put a message down for history letting your GM know what the last deposit was? Create a message and start a thread. It's really extremely simple to do and is always stored in history for your convenience.

- How do I create one of these magical "messages" you keep talking about? -

The best place to start when creating a new message is pushing the button that says "New Message" either from your Dashboard or your Messages page. (We like to keep things intuitive.) It's the features you want to know about. The features are something to behold for sure. Let's break down that page section by section.
  1. This shows your name. You know, in case you forgot.
  2. Quick and easy sending options. Send a message instantly to all of the management and employees by clicking their respective checkboxes, or drill down to specific recipients by clicking "Select Employees".
  3. Enter a subject line so the message content is easily recognized.
  4. Your message is what will be shown both in the "Messages" section and when the email is sent out. There is no limit to the amount of characters you can write.
  5. Easily copy your message to the optional SMS Text that will send to your employees. It automagically truncates your message to 140 characters.
  6. Optionally send out an SMS Text with your messages (up to 140 characters.) This can be the same or different than the original message written.
  7. Send it off! If the SMS section is filled out it will send an email and SMS to all of the employees tagged on the message. This will then create a message thread that employees can comment on. Ah... communication is great isn't it?

Well, that's all I have for you today folks. As always if you have any questions, comments or suggestions I'm always available to answer. Enjoy the new messaging features as we continue to make online scheduling easier than ever!

Feel free to watch our video on the new messaging features as well:

Your Next Seven, Inc - intuitive online employee scheduling
President / Lead Developer

Monday, May 7, 2012

Jerry Built Homegrown Burgers Review, The Woodands, TX

Hello blogosphere. So, I've had this blog for awhile and it's great for pushing out notices of updates and what not, but there's only so many ways you can improve an already amazing software. That's when I started thinking again (which is dangerous) I visit a lot of restaurants on a weekly basis and tend to try out the different foods at each of them. Sure I'm eating out a lot, but it's all to make sure the restaurants using Your Next Seven are quality right?

After looking at all my restaurant visits, that's when I decided.

I have to start reviewing these places.

Restaurant goers like to read reviews, but so many of them don't include the necessary awesomeness that is needed to really get a feel of where you're going to be eating.

In addition to the food (with pictures of course) I'll be looking at what else makes the restaurant great. The staff, environment, little knick-knacks here and there. All I hope for is that you'll see how great all of these places around The Woodlands and Houston are. Whether they use our software or not, they still have great food and that's what I'm into.

Now, for the first review...
Jerry Built Homegrown Burgers

Holy cow! (I apologize for the cheesy pun, it had to be said.) This place is amazing in all aspects of what a burger joint is supposed to be and then some. It starts when you walk through the door, which is typically held open by one of their many outstanding employees. Then you start the zig-zag through the line. Typically this would be pretty boring, but when you're surrounded by mounds of lemons, avocados and other fresh goodness it reminds you that this place strives for freshness. In fact, they even sport a "Partners" page on their website that emphasizes their commitment to working with local farmers and businesses. While supporting local business is great and all I know the real reason you're reading this is for the food. So here it is...

The Burger
Made from the leanest of cows, softest of buns and tastiest of homemade sauces. This burger is the perfect combination of everything you need, yes, need in a burger. I'm a burger guy myself and would eat one for every meal if my wife would let me (love you girl), and if I could do that I'd be eating a Jerry Built.
Outside of the normal awesomeness you'd expect in a great burger, they have these sauces and toppings that push it over the edge. Their Ernie’s Sauce and Chili compliment the burger well enough, but if you're feeling a bit like doing the tango on your tongue you would have to go with the Jalapeno Cream Cheese. In case you're wondering what that is, it's fresh jalapeno mixed with cream cheese. I also think they throw in a bit of "I have to eat more of this when's the next time I can come back" sauce, but that is yet to be confirmed.
The crinkle fries you see pictured are the perfect side item for this burger from heaven, and if you're looking for something a little different they have the option of sweet potato fries (also crinkled.)

The Drinks
After stuffing your face with all of this cow, jalapeno, potato amazingness you'll probably be ready to quench your thirst. Sure, you could go anywhere else and be satisfied with a coke or even a shake that comes out of some metal box, but why would you want to limit your taste buds? At Jerry Bulit I would typically get a fresh shake from Texas' own Blue Bell Icecream and farm fresh berries.
Not in the mood for the nostalgia of a burger and shake?
Grab a cup and head over to the future of the soft drink industry with Coca-Cola's Freestyle®. Coca-Cola's what!?! This machine of the future makes you the soft drink king. Mix and match a plethora of flavors and try to explode every one of your taste buds. Pro-tip: only fill your cup up half way each time and refill often with different combinations.

Goofing Off
As if the experience wasn't great enough, these guys had to go in and add one of the greatest hand washing machines ever developed. Basically you stick your hands in these two circles, Indiana Jones style, and instead of getting trapped they get cleaned. Water appears and spins like magic and presto! Just watch the demo below and you'll get the point. It brings pure joy to children and adults alike...

Honestly, this thing was just a genius idea considering the entire left side of the restaurant is a chalkboard for the kiddos (and some adultos) to draw on. Chalk dust cleans right off of little hands with this modern marvel.

Speaking of the chalkboard. Need a quick getaway from the little ones and don't want to fork out for a babysitter? Our boys ate, then quickly ran to the nearby chalkboard to practice their Van Gogh skills. Just don't forget to take them when you leave!

Wrapping it Up
All in all, this place is a stroke of pure genius with it's perfect mesh of amazing food, overly-friendly staff and little gadgets to make the entire trip an experience. Whether you're going on a date or bringing the clan, Jerry Built is the new place to be in The Woodlands or check out their original location off of Holcombe Blvd. in Houston. Highly, highly recommended. They've turned me into a life long customer.

Your Next Seven, Inc - online employee scheduling
President / Lead Developer