Employee Schedule | 9 mins read

Understanding Employee Schedules

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Hanh Truong

By Hanh Truong

Introduction to Employee Schedule

An employee schedule is a document that delineates what day and hours an employee needs to come into work. An effective scheduling system will boost employee accountability since it communicates expectations. It also ensures the business has a good balance of team members throughout the day. Customers will then receive the quality service they deserve and the establishment's profitability will increase.

The Importance of Employee Scheduling

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Proper employee scheduling is a critical component to a company's longevity. Making sure that there are enough staff members at a business will foster a seamless workflow and order. It also ensures that daily tasks and responsibilities are completed in time, all the time.

Managers that have poor scheduling procedures risk their employees' morale and motivation. For example, consistently understaffing shifts will result in heavier workloads and the need to multi-task. This will subsequently increase stress and productivity levels. Not to mention, understaffing businesses will lead to potential profit loss. On the other hand, overstaffing shifts will cause staff members to feel unneeded and unvalued. Additionally, it directly accrues labor costs, which will significantly impact the business's bottom line.

To prevent these challenges, business owners need to adopt a system that guarantees effective scheduling. This entails accommodating employee availability preferences and balancing workflow. It also involves controlling costs and tracking spending closely.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
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Different Types of Work Schedules

There are different types of work schedule structures that managers can develop for their teams. The best employee schedules will depend on business needs and hours of operations. The most common examples of work schedules companies can use include the following.

Full-Time Schedule

Full-time work schedules typically encompass 40 hours a week with 8 hours each day. Full-time employees will oftentimes work the same days or times every week. Compensation will vary for each company, in which some will pay hourly wages, while others will pay salaries. Almost all organizations will offer employee benefits for those that work full time. This includes vacation days, health insurance, and retirement funds.

Part-Time Schedules

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Anyone working less than 40 hours per week will have a part-time schedule. Part-time employees have a lot of flexibility, compared to full-time staffers. Since they do not work for the most part of their day, they have more availability and personal time. However, part-time staff does not earn similar benefits as full-time teams. They also tend to have inconsistent schedules that change weekly.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

Fixed Schedules

Fixed schedules refer to schedules that have a consistent set of workdays and hours. They generally stay the same throughout a person's employment. Full-time and part-time employees can have fixed schedules; they just need to agree with employers about their hours prior to working.

Rotating Shift Schedules

Rotating shift schedules are schedules that cycle employees throughout different shifts. This is most common among the health care and hospitality industries since they need employees working 24/7. With a rotating schedule, a certain team will not be stuck in a less desired shift like, night shifts.

How to Create an Employee Schedule

Generally, creating the perfect employee schedule will take a lot of time. Especially if business owners are using traditional paper-and-pen methods, the scheduling process can be complex. However, companies can optimize this process by following these steps.

1. Establish Business Requirements

In order to develop an effective work schedule, managers need to determine what their business's needs are. This entails identifying the specific skills and resources that each shift needs to perform well. They also need to establish hours of operation and how to split the day into shifts. Management should also consider the different tasks that need to be performed each shift.

2. Prepare and Plan

Do not wait until the week before to create schedules. This will only cause more stress for management and employees. Instead, create the schedules in advance and send them out promptly to employees. This will allow staff members to plan their time accordingly and make any necessary schedule changes ahead of time.

3. Define Policies

Every business needs scheduling policies that outline shift swaps, shift trades, time-off requests, and vacation days. When employees know how to send requests and find coverage for shifts, there will be less tardiness and absenteeism. Additionally, managers will not need to scramble to find replacements last minute.

4. Collect Employee Availability

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Before developing a new schedule, managers need to compile employee availabilities. This entails the specific days in a week and hours in a day that an employee is able to come to work. It is important that companies try their best to accommodate their staff's shift preferences. This will demonstrate that they value their time and work. In turn, employees will feel appreciated and satisfied.

5. Approve Requests Promptly

Managers should approve time-off requests and shift swaps on a first-come, first-served basis. Doing so will ensure the schedule calendar is up to date and that requests are efficiently dealt with. It will also incentivize employees to make adjustments to their schedules quickly.

Consequences of Improper Employee Scheduling

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Improper scheduling practices can cause many drawbacks for businesses. The following are the consequences of ineffective scheduling.

  • Lackluster Operations - When employees are over or understaffed, workflows will be delayed. Customers will not be served effectively and tasks will either run out or not be completed in time.
  • Managers Lose Credibility - Employees need a consistent structure with their schedules. If managers continually make mistakes or send out schedules too late, they will lose their credibility. Staff members will feel unvalued and will find their managers unreliable.
  • Inefficiency - Poor schedules will make it harder for employees to work efficiently. Mistakes, such as understaffing, will make it harder for teams to do their job and will decrease productivity.
  • Increased Conflict - There is an increased chance of stress and conflict among employees when schedules are made inaccurately.
  • Low Morale and Poor Retention - Scheduling staff on days they are not available, for example, will decrease morale. Eventually, they will want to find a new job where their time and preferences are valued.
  • More Costs - Poor scheduling can result in uncontrolled overtime. This can significantly impact a business's financial standing. Additionally, in terms of boosted turnover, employers will need to spend more money to recruit and hire new staff.
  • Negative Reputation - Team members that leave a company due to a negative experience may share poor reviews with their friends and colleagues. This will affect a business's overall reputation and brand name.

How to Solve Employee Scheduling Issues

It is evident that poor and improper scheduling can make a great impact on a business's workforce and operation. This can be mitigated if managers identify their scheduling mistakes and remedy them as soon as possible. The following are some of the most common scheduling issues and how businesses can solve them.

1. Understaffing

It is impossible to tell the future and know exactly how many customers will come into a store or restaurant. Oftentimes, managers may accidentally have less staff on schedule than what is needed on the day of.

To prevent this, businesses need to effectively forecast their sales and labor needs. This entails assessing historical sales data for given periods. Managers should also ask for employee feedback. Since they are working directly with customers, they will have valuable insights into what the shift needs.

2. Overscheduling Employees

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Scheduling a team member too many hours will result in burnout and fatigue. In turn, they will be more likely to quit and find another job. To avoid overscheduling, managers need to review their schedules and make sure it aligns with employee preferences. They can also hire more employees to maximize the schedule.

3. Informal Schedule

Schedules should be accessible and easy to read. They can be in a calendar format or be organized in a spreadsheet. Whichever way, employees should be able to glance at it and identify their next shifts.

4. Not Having Breaks

Employees need rest and meal breaks throughout their shift. Those that work night shifts should not also be scheduled for a morning shift the next day. Working without any downtime will lead to burnout, stress, and decreased morale. Managers need to incorporate breaks into the schedule and allow staff to have physical and mental breaks.

Benefits of Employee Scheduling Software

Luckily, in today's digital age, there are technology tools that will streamline the employee scheduling process. Systems, such as employee scheduling software will automate and simplify shift planning. The following are some of the top benefits of adopting employee scheduling solutions.

1. Automated Scheduling

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The best scheduling tools have automation features that will make scheduling much easier. The system will compile employee availabilities, time-off requests, and labor budgets and schedule staff accordingly. This capability allows managers to create schedules in minutes.

2. Work On The Go

Most scheduling platforms also have cloud-based technology. This means users can access the interface using any device or laptop remotely, as long as there is an Internet connection. Additionally, the platforms have mobile apps; therefore, employees can look at their schedules any time and anywhere.

3. Custom Templates

Scheduling is made extra easy with the custom templates provided by the software. With these templates, managers only need to drag and drop employee names into shifts. They do not need to worry about formatting the calendar, inputting employee information, or manually organizing shifts.

4. Optimize With Added Features

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The latest software providers offer advanced features with their scheduling system. The most common modules include teaThe latest software providers offer advanced features with their scheduling system. The most common modules include team communication via chat messaging, time tracking, time clocks, and task management. This allows businesses to further optimize their workforce management.

5. Boost Retention

With the many capabilities of scheduling software, employees will be happier and more satisfied. For example, the software allows managers to send schedules via mobile app or text. Employees can then have their latest schedule quickly and accessibly.

Conclusion to Employee Schedule

  • Employee scheduling is a huge component for functioning businesses, as it ensures workflows are completed in time.
  • There are many different types of employee schedules companies can develop for their staff, such as fixed and rotating schedules.
  • Improper scheduling practices can be detrimental to businesses; therefore, management must use key techniques when building schedules.
  • One way to avoid drawbacks and streamline scheduling is by using online employee scheduling software.

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