8 Ways to Simplify Employee Work Scheduling

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Creating a stress-free work schedule is easier than you think.

Are you a team manager or business leader looking to simplify your company’s employee work schedule? 

Effective employee scheduling is crucial in time management and efficiency. With many employees to plan around, adopting a simple work schedule will make team management easy.

Mapping out a schedule that works for the company and still keeps employees happy can be tricky. However, with the right practice, your company will create a work schedule that meets the company’s requirements and suits employees. 

In this article, we’ll share how companies can simplify their employees’ work schedules.

8 Ways to Manage Employee Scheduling at the Workplace

Business leaders who manage employee scheduling deal with individuals with unique work preferences, which will result in conflicts and complications. Here are the eight ways managers will efficiently plan their employees’ schedules, and help them deal with factors that influence workforce management.

1. Create a work schedule in Excel

Handwritten schedules are unreliable as they are prone to errors. Aim to create a work schedule in excel to optimize the scheduling process and ensure easy access. Excel is generally user-friendly and readily available to businesses of different sizes. 

Smart companies educate their staff on how to make a work schedule in Excel for an optimized scheduling process. 

The solution helps to reduce conflicts and misinformation on work shifts and time offs. 

2. Evaluate your employee levels and availability 

Whether you run a remote or hybrid business, you need to understand your staff’s work times. 

For an excellent work schedule, you’ll need the details of your team’s level of availability. While one employee is willing to work extra hours, another employee wouldn’t. To create a schedule that fits both, you need to confirm the hours they are willing to put into work.

Some companies use their past work data to estimate their employee’s availability, while others ask their staff. While both scenarios work in different circumstances, hearing from the horse’s mouth is advised. 

When employees choose their work times, you have a summary of the time more employees are open to work. Thus, ensuring you take the workload your team workforce will handle and don’t have much work with few employees. 

3. Publish your schedule early 

Publishing your schedule ensures your employees understand their shifts and plan around them. It keeps your team alert of new programs and work times. 

Since work times and shifts change, updating and publishing your schedule regularly is best, so your team stays current with their assignment.

4. Allow employees to access and change schedules 

Making schedules accessible for employees allows them to create and access changes. Your employees should be able to make some changes without involving you. This will ensure employee flexibility and save you stress. 

It would help if you allowed employees to exchange shifts with other staff members. It will let your team members have control over their time.

5. Consider labor costs while scheduling 

It’s vital to consider labor costs while creating your work schedule, as inaccurate plans significantly impact labor costs. You may end up recruiting so many people for a single job role, which will cost the company in the long run.

When organizations consider labor while scheduling, they’ll effectively plan budgets that suit the company and employees. 

Ensure your schedule includes labor costs, change options, time tracking, and login flexibility for your employees.

6. Collect feedback from employees

Any HR manager aiming to improve employees’ work ethic and increase productivity must take feedback seriously. 

Feedback allows your staff to voice their discontentment. It helps you understand their pain points and build a suitable work environment. 

If you need a means of collecting employee feedback, you must create one as soon as possible. You should give options for anonymous submissions in addition to one-on-ones. 

However, if you already have a feedback-collecting system that works, you should stick to it. You can also add the anonymous method of sending feedback. 

7. Match the right employees to the right shifts 

Every manager recognizes that their employers have different strengths and unique productivity levels. 

Hence, employees need matching shifts according to their skills, productivity, and availability. Imagine you have an employee who is much more productive on his night shifts; your aim is to give him more assignments at night. 

If you have an employee you trust to handle emergencies better than others, place them on shifts where they will work without supervision.

These simple changes will make your employees’ shifts more productive and keep them in their areas of strength.

However, ensure you keep the scheduling as fair as possible to ensure your staff feels comfortable and satisfied.

8. Hire specifically for on-call 

On-call workers are a valuable asset for employers who need an extra hand. These workers help reduce the workload and aid your in-house employees when necessary. 

Employing people to work as both on-call and in-house staff will mess up schedules. An excellent option is to hire separately and specifically for only on-call. When you do this, it is easier to add on-call staff to the schedule without confusion. 

Another advantage of hiring specifically for on-call is that you get people that only want to work from time to time and don’t expect your work to be their primary source of income. You also get to pay only when they are needed; it helps you cut down on costs.

Common Employee Scheduling Issues and How to Solve Them

Here are some scheduling issues that occur in companies.

Technological inadequacy

Technological advancements improve the quality of our lives. As a business, it increases employee productivity, reduces workload, and speeds up the process. In recent times SaaS tools such as time-tracking management software and applications are the technological instruments for increasing productivity, improving businesses, and helping brands to stand out. For example, in service field businesses, there are a variety of specialized tools, from software for HVAC scheduling to fleet management solutions, that can streamline these processes.

One of these SaaS tools is the employee management system.

Periodically, the problem with a startup or business is the need for the necessary technology to keep employees in check. To change the narrative, adopt an employee management system that helps your company manage its employees.

Labor laws conformity

Labor laws are in the interest of employees. It protects them from abusive employers that take advantage of them. The state enacts these laws to improve the work environment.

A company can get into trouble for breaking these laws even with good intentions. As an employer or an HR manager, you need to understand the labor laws applicable in your state or country.

You’ll understand these laws and comply with the rules as you set your employee schedule. If you’re unsure of some of your state’s labor laws, seek help from legal representatives to ease the process.

Shift swaps

Shift swapping is synonymous with self-scheduling. The freedom employees enjoy in some companies isn’t as healthy. They have the liberty to swap shifts with colleagues. This system has both an upside and a downside.

From a positive point of view, it helps them foster and build strong relationships with each other, which will improve staff reliability and productivity.

However, when shift swapping fails, it will reduce the company’s productivity. Plus, the company will lose revenue, depending on the responsibility of the absent employee.

If you have issues with your staff swapping schedules, ensure they officially verify every shift they switch–it shouldn’t just be by word of mouth.

Also, you have the option to rule out certain swaps. For instance, there should be no swaps if an employee works back-to-back hours or if their next work session is packed up or needs better spacing. 

Overtime overload

Many employees will like to work overtime once they receive good pay. Sometimes, it gets complex for the HR manager.

Employees taking so much work will affect their productivity, particularly during extra and regular work hours. 

If your employees frequently make mistakes during overtime schedules or after they come off one, you need to reduce their workload. One way to solve the problem is to stipulate a particular number of extra hours an employee takes a week. It would be best to do this while assessing their productivity and efficiency.

If you’re sure you have a properly balanced overtime schedule, you won’t need to change the existing system. However, ensure your overtime policies uphold government policies.

Vacation scheduling

Finding employees to fill work hours or shifts is generally tricky during the holidays. Most of your employees will take time off or leave the state.

A great way to solve understaffing is to add bonuses as incentives for people who work on holidays—plan for these periods to reduce the workload during such periods.

Another option is hiring part-time workers. Hiring a part-time worker will help you cover some work.

Improve Your Productivity by Optimizing Your Employee Scheduling Process

Employee scheduling is crucial in improving the productivity of a business. Whether you run a medium or large enterprise, you’ll need to optimize your scheduling process.

Every company deals with work schedules. Generally, the challenge is creating a program that improves productivity and satisfies employees. However, the practices in this article will help business owners and managers make the perfect work schedule for their companies.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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