The operator panel

The operator panel sits at the top of the bookings columns, one operator for each column. An “operator” is just the term I use for the therapist who is working out of this booking column. Typically, when take your bookings, you will align all treatments performed by a given therapist vertically in the same column.

The operator panel contains a lot of sneaky hidden functionality, so it’s well work looking at in detail. Let’s look at the following image of the operator panel:

What we are seeing here are the names of four therapists whose treatments will be listed in the columns directly below them. Notice the symbols to the left of Hamish, Clarence and Brienne. Let’s explain those.

This symbol lets you know that this column operator has been automatically defined by the staff roster. If you correctly fill in the roster with staff availability times,  then all staff able to work on a given day will appear in the staff area of the booking screen. A reminder of what this looks like:

To assign an available staff member to a free booking column (and thus operator panel header), you simply click on the staff member’s name in the roster area. So looking at the operator panel image above top, someone has clicked the names of both Hamish and Clarence in the roster area.

The beauty of this system is that all operators bearing the symbol will have their availability times overlain as a light shaded rectangle in their booking column. It looks like this:

From the above image, it is very easy to see that Clarence is available to work between 8am and 4pm. This makes taking bookings a lot easier for your receptionists, and so keeping the staff roster up-to-date is an important ongoing task for the front desk team.

Returning to the top image above, we see an interesting symbol beside Brienne:

I refer to this as the “operator pin”. It means that this operator has been pinned, or “locked” to this column. Normally, if you make a booking in an empty column, the operator will automatically switch to the therapist you chose in that booking. But if you pin an operator to a column, it means that the operator name will stay attached to this column until you unpin it – even if the column is filled entirely with treatments for another therapist.

You set the pin by clicking the left mouse button on the operator panel box. You will be presented with the operator dialog:

Choose the therapist to pin to the column by clicking their name and then click the OK button.

You can unpin an operator from a column by clicking the right mouse button over an operator.

The right mouse button

The right mouse button will perform different functions, depending on the state of the operator being clicked.

1. If you right click an empty operator (no name) over an empty column (no notes or bookings) you will delete this column entirely. But only if there are bookings to the right of this column. So this:

Right clicking the empty operator to the left of Hamish, results in:

2. If you right click an operator bearing a or symbol, then you will remove that symbol from the column. You will be left with the unadorned (unlocked) name of the therapist working this column.

3. If you right click a symbol-less operator name, you delete the name from the column.

Assigning all bookings in a column to a therapist

But wait there’s more!

If you look back at that image of the operator dialog above, you will see a button called “Assign to all bookings”. If you click that button, all bookings in the current column will be assigned to the current operator (therapist).  So if Brienne owned the column, then clicking that button assign all bookings in the column to Brienne. This is useful when you are shuffling appointments about, trying to find a best fit for the day.

The “Assign to all bookings” button seemed a good idea at the time, but I never personally use it. Why? Because you can do it without leaving the booking screen. How?

If you hover the mouse button over the top right corner of any filled (as in filled with a name) operator buttton, you will see a little down arrow:

If you click the left mouse button on top of that arrow, it will be as if you clicked the “Assign to all bookings” button. All treatments in the column will be given to Brienne.

In saying this, I realised I’ve skipped over how you’d notice that a booking in a given column didn’t belong to the column owner. Well, luckily, it’s pretty obvious. If a booking is assigned to a staff member who is not the column owner, then that booking features the therapist’s name in its bottom row.

In the following image, there is a booking in Brienne’s column that has been assigned to Mandy. I’m hovering the mouse over the operator button arrow, about to left click:

As soon as I click, I will see the following:

You will notice that “Mandy” has disappeared from the bottom row (turnaround time) of the booking. The booking is now Brienne’s.

Assigning room numbers


When I was designing the operator button, I really went to town. Sure it’s very useful to assign all bookings to an operator with a single click – but often that’s not the end of the story when it comes to arranging your day. Very often, when taking a booking, you will have paid no attention to which treatment room  the treatment should occur in. As a result, your room assignments are all over shop. Ideally, you want each therapist to do all their treatments in the same room – or if that isn’t possible, then swapping rooms as little as possible. It was with this idea in mind, that I added the following functionality.

When you hover the mouse over the operator arrow:

and left click, you assign all bookings in the column to the operator. But if you right click, Mandala attempts to assign all bookings in the column to the same room. Which room you ask? The room that the first booking in the column uses. Let me explain pictorially.

Let’s suppose you had the following booked for Brienne:

Well at a glance you can see this isn’t optimal, because Brienne is switching from room 1, to room 2 and then to room 3. Ideally you want her to stay in the same room. If you right clicked the operator button arrow, all the bookings would be forced to room 1 (provided the treatment can be done in the room). So right clicking the operator button arrow above produces:

The beauty of this functionality is that you can just set the first room of each column to your preferred room, and then right click the operator arrow in each column. This makes configuring a busy day much easier.

But even then, you can still run into problems…

Sometimes, no matter how you try to arrange it, you simply can’t maintain the perfect pattern of 1 treatment room per column. Let’s say you’ve tried the method above, but you are still left with room clashes. And worse, it is the end of a busy day, you need to close now and your brain hurts too much to focus on getting the rooms for tomorrow right.

Fear not! Help is at hand – you can force Mandala to think *really hard* about a given column’s room assignment, and to select a sequence of rooms that will fit the rest of the day as best it can, by holding down the left shift key as you right click the operator button arrow.

Now I know that might be a trial for all the keyboard-challenged, two finger typists out there, but trust me, you can do this. Just hold down the left shift key (and keep it down) whilst you click the right mouse button over the operator button arrow. Room-wise, Mandala will do the rest. Note that Mandala will try to chose the the topmost room in the column where possible, but if the room is taken, then it will choose the next best fit.

Finally…

You actually have one final automatic room assignment option that is more powerful than all the others I have mentioned above. The difference with this option is that it operates on all the columns, not just one.

Secret functionality alert! If you right click the room button on the toolbar, Mandala will auto-assign rooms for your entire day

Be careful with this one, however, at Mandala will attempt a best fit – but that best fit still might not be the perfect choice. The way I use this button, is when I am browsing through future bookings and come across a day that is a mess room-wise, I simply right click the room button to set it in some sort of order. Having done that, I often fine tune columns as explained above.

Oh, and just to remind you, the room button looks like this: