employee scheduling advice

Efficient staff scheduling is incredibly easy in theory – all you have to do is create the right work schedules according to your staffing needs. However, the process is often quite the opposite in practice. With different shift types, evolving business requirements, employee availability, and labor laws to consider, scheduling can be a particularly stressful and demanding task. Fortunately, it can be simplified with a few good practices and some advanced preparation. To that end, here are some of the best employee scheduling tips every manager should follow:

Determine your goals

Before you begin creating a schedule, you must first determine your main goals. This means establishing what each employee with a specific role is expected to finish within a set number of hours. Depending on your industry and business, this amount of work can be measured in various ways. For example, cafe and restaurant managers across the US often look at the number of covers a server can complete during service, and then repeat the same process for each job role across the business. After the amount of work has been established, you will also have to specify the tasks of each role, such as delegating food prep and cooking to the kitchen staff.

Consider your needs

The next step would be to examine your business’s activity, including how busy you are currently, how that activity changes throughout the day, and which activity levels you can expect at different periods in the future. This will allow you to determine the appropriate number of employees to schedule for your operating hours and shifts. Then, you will have to optimize the schedule according to employee needs. Pair shifts with the right employees, assign a fair number of shifts per person, clearly define all roles, give your staff advance notice of scheduling, and enable your employees to switch shifts easily if needed.

Choose a scheduling method

When the time comes to create your schedule, there are several options you can choose from. Using a pen and paper or traditional spreadsheets are common methods, but they’re also quite time-consuming and leave plenty of room for mistakes. Instead, a better option would be to follow the example of Australian companies. Here, businesses often use efficient Australia scheduling software to streamline the scheduling process. The right software solution will allow you to track your resources, increase visibility, and improve communication in an effort to make scheduling a quicker and easier task, thus being a good solution for your business as well.

Include other factors

Once you’ve created a suitable schedule, set some time aside to consider all possible factors before finalizing your decision. Make sure the employees will actually be available during the specific time to avoid the need for any last-minute changes, and leverage predictive analytics to determine the appropriate amount of staff for your changing needs. Check your labor budget to ensure the scheduled hours won’t affect your profit margins, and always double-check that the schedule is fair, legally sound, and in compliance with local labor laws. Depending on your business, you might also want to think about any external factors. For instance, poor weather conditions might affect construction while large crowds due to nearby events could impact traffic and accessibility.

Distribute the schedule

After all the factors have been considered and the best possible schedule has been created, the final step would be to distribute the schedule to the employees. This will inform your staff of when they’re scheduled to work, which tasks are expected of them, and how they could stay accountable. The most popular and possibly efficient way of distributing schedules is through email or cloud software. If you’re still using notice boards, it would be best to inform the staff when new schedules are ready so they could check them on time. When utilizing scheduling software, employees will typically receive an automatic notification once a schedule has been posted on the platform.

Establish good communication

No matter how well you prepare in advance, there might still be a need for additional changes even after the finalized schedule. Your requirements might change suddenly, or employees’ personal lives may get in the way. The best way to ensure no larger problems are created in these instances is to establish a strong communication strategy with your staff. You can set up a dedicated channel for work-related communication, such as chat applications or team management software. Here, notifications, shift changes, and shift trades can be made easily, allowing you to maintain optimal operations throughout the entire scheduling process.

Scheduling can be a particularly stressful and time-consuming task for any manager. Regardless of your business, setting clear goals, establishing good communication, using the right tools, and keeping your needs in mind will help you streamline this process and create more successful schedules.

By Anurag Rathod

Anurag Rathod is an Editor of Appclonescript.com, who is passionate for app-based startup solutions and on-demand business ideas. He believes in spreading tech trends. He is an avid reader and loves thinking out of the box to promote new technologies.