Many customers ask us how they can ensure their workers get the breaks they need during the day, especially when trying to optimize the day's work.
This can be done using our Automated Breaks feature.
In this article
- What is the Automated Breaks feature?
- How to set up Automated Breaks
- Create break jobs for your workers
- Running the optimization
What is the Automated Breaks feature?
Automated Breaks works with our Route Optimization feature. It enables all workers' breaks to be scheduled and incorporated into an optimized route to maximize worker and fleet efficiency.
- Jobs and worker breaks are scheduled within a single optimization, simplifying the optimization process and making the overall optimization more efficient. This is especially beneficial when job durations are long as it ensures employees get their breaks without compromising on the volume of jobs they can complete.
- You can spread your workers’ break times over a specified time ensuring your workers are not all on a break at the same time.
- Workers are prompted to take breaks through the mobile app. This helps your organization meet employment law obligations and take care of employees’ welfare.
- It accurately records the time spent on employee breaks for reporting and audit purposes.
How it works
Automated Breaks combines the use of a special Break Job, a Break Tag, and a time window to schedule a worker’s break in an optimization. A Break job is different from regular jobs included in route optimizations in that it does not include a geocoded step.
How to set up Automated Breaks
Before you can set up Automated Breaks you must have the Health and Safety feature enabled in vWork. Contact your vWork account manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need a hand with this.
To create Automated Breaks you must:
- Create a break tag,
- Create a break job template that you will use to create break jobs from, and
- Add the break tag to the user settings of every mobile worker you want to use in route optimizations.
1. Create the break tag
The break tag is attached to the mobile workers you use in route optimizations. It allows them to be assigned to break jobs that are scheduled in the optimization between regular jobs. You create the break tag in the Health & Safety settings.
To create the break tag:
- Go to Settings>Health & Safety>Tags
- Add a tag called break.
2. Create the break job template
Now create a template for your breaks.
The break job template is a job template just like any other template. You can give it whatever name you like; eg, morning break, afternoon break, lunch. You can have several break templates for each type of break your mobile workers take during the day.
When you create a break job template make sure you include the following information:
- Planned duration: Give the template a planned duration that matches how long the break should be; eg: 15 mins, 30 mins, 1 hour.
- Steps: You must have at least one step so the worker can record the break as done, but if you want to record the actual duration of the break, we recommend you create at least two steps (eg, Start break and End break). You can have more than two steps if needed.
Note: Please do not add an address to any steps. We want the worker to be able to take their break wherever they are at the time the break job is scheduled. This is also important to ensure the optimization calculates the most efficient route.
- Custom fields: If you need to, you can add custom fields to record extra information related to the break.
- Break tag: Make sure that your new break template includes the break Health & Safety tag so that we know to include the job in the optimization.
- Time window: Finally, add a time window to the template. This tells us when we can schedule this break for the worker. For example, lunch may be a 30 minute break that can be taken anytime between 11 am and 1 pm.
Note: Create a time window for every day the break job template may be used. For example, 11 am -1 pm, Monday through Friday.
3. Add the Break tag to your mobile worker's User settings
You must make sure that every worker you use in your optimizations, who will need a break, has a break tag added to their user settings.
To add a Break Tag to your mobile worker:
- Go to Settings >Users>Users
- Select the User from the User Management page.
- Scroll to the Health & Safety Tags section.
- Add the break tag
- Click Update.
Create break jobs for your workers
Once your template is all set up, you can create the breaks for your workers by creating break jobs for them.
- It does not matter how your break jobs are created; they could be created in any number of ways including manually, via a bulk import, using one of our repeating job modules, or even via the API.
- Your jobs should be added to the worker's schedule on the correct day at roughly the time you want the break to occur. For example, a lunch break with a Time Window of 11 am to 1 pm, might be scheduled for your mobile worker on Monday at 12 pm. This is within the time window specified for the break job.
Running the optimization
You can now run your optimization as you normally would. The break jobs are included in the optimization following these parameters:
- When you select a mobile worker and choose to optimize their day we will automatically include any break jobs already on their schedule. Note: Break jobs don’t appear on the map on the optimization page as they don’t have a geocoded address.
- We will ensure the break is not moved to another mobile worker even if the Ignore planned worker checkbox is checked.
- We will ensure the break is scheduled between jobs in the most efficient way possible whilst still respecting the Time window you have selected.
- We will include the duration of the break in the mobile worker's schedule, but will not add any extra travel time for the break.
- The worker will receive the break job just like any other job. It will appear on their phone scheduled to the optimized time and they should complete it like any other job on their schedule.
Note: If you select the Infinite Workers option when setting the optimization, as with other assigned jobs, the optimization ignores the break jobs and they will not be scheduled as part of the optimization.