Last Updated On October 25, 2019 / Written By Michelle Jaco

Staff Scheduling Software Solutions for Small Businesses

In order to improve the performance of your employees and the productivity of your business, you should look into scheduling software, but first, there are some factors you should consider.

The Challenge

Effective coordination is one of the most challenging aspects for many businesses, including the startups and the established brands, to execute.

The fact is that coordinating a strong employee schedule can be a daunting task because there is a lack of certainty that all of your employees will adhere to your schedule.

All of your employees have lives of their own outside of work and their own personal schedule to follow. Therefore, creating a schedule or a work plan without factoring in all of your employees’ preferred availability, plans, or commitments could trigger many problems in the future, such as shifting their duties to another employee and overworking them or falling short of coverage with employees choosing not to show up for shifts because they already had prior engagements set.

This is why you need to look for the best staff scheduling solutions that would help improve the performance of your employees and the productivity of your business.

Here are some factors you should consider when looking for the best staff scheduling software

Multiple Scheduling Options

Depending on the type of business you run, there may be occasional days when sales are higher than others.

For instance, if you run a bar, then you would likely need more employees working on weekend nights than you would midday during the workweek.

Therefore, the staff scheduler you select should have multiple scheduling options to assign roles or tasks at different intervals.

The overall aim is to simplify the scheduling process. Tasks and duties can be assigned on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. You may also want to extend it to the positions that the employees tend to be more proficient in.

Mobile Application Features

The world is now connected through the web, which makes it possible for people anywhere, from around the globe to interact with each other over the Internet.

Mobility is also essential, and that has been achieved with the proliferation of mobile applications.

Therefore, the staff scheduling software you choose should also have a mobile.

That empowers your employees to access their schedules conveniently from their mobile phones, as well as request changes, should they need it.

Group Scheduling Capabilities

There may be times or tasks that demand the attention and work of more than one employee. That is where group scheduling comes into the picture.

If you have tasks or projects that demand the attention of multiple employees, then going for a staff scheduling software that has the group scheduling feature wouldn’t be a bad idea.

You can also categorize, streamline, and send the schedules to your team in groups. By doing so, you’re only involving the related parties and not causing confusion to others who are not involved in the project.

Attendance & Time Tracking

It’s one thing to decide on getting a scheduler to regulate the implementation of schedules and another thing to get one that keeps track of the progress of projects, as well.

Some employees may deviate from the tasks they have at hand and distract themselves by completing the project in a timely manner.

In that regard, it’s ideal to select a staff scheduling software that has both the time tracking and attendance tracking features. While the attendance tracker confirms if the employees assigned for a project or projects are available at the designated time, the time tracker ensures that they comply with the project goals by offering real-time updates about the progress of the projects.

Leave Management

Approved time off should also be implemented into the scheduling program, and prevent any employee from being scheduled for a shift that they have previously had been given permission to not work.

Excused time off for employees can consist of sick leave, single day time-off request, or paid time off (PTO).

PTO differs from the other options in that employees may still be compensated without being physically present at work. PTO versus the other excused days off varies from employees being “full-time” or “part-time” status.


Independent Shift Swapping

Even after employees have submitted their availability, it may happen on occasion when an employee cannot commit to a scheduled shift.

It could be for personal reasons, ranging from illness to a last-minute trip; no matter the reason for turning down a shift, it is beneficial that management allows employees to swap shifts with each other should the occasion arise.

That is why your preferred staff scheduling software should come with a shift swapping feature, which allows employees to request and confirm shift trades with each other.

Once that has been determined, then a manager can approve or deny the schedule changes.

Pricing

You also need to consider cost. It’s important to note that the cost doesn’t necessarily correlate with the capabilities and deliverables offered, but it is worth keeping in mind when selecting a staff scheduling software.

If you’re more old-school in your scheduling practices and perhaps skeptical about converting to automated systems, you may want to use the trial or free version of the software (if offered) to test out the functionalities before purchasing the premium or paid version.

Additional Tips to Improve Your Schedule

There are some things you also need to do as a business owner or manager if you are going to improve the work schedule for your employees

Know Your Team
How well do you know your employees? The factors to consider in this instance are their names, personalities, and skills in different areas. With these in mind, you can always pick the right candidate to complete a task in due time.

Establish a Good Communication Model
Thankfully, the staff scheduling software often comes with built-in communication systems for sending messages within the application.

You can also utilize other media for effective communication with your staff, like text messaging. However, internal tools better secure personal employee information and are recommended over anything else.

Release the Schedule on Time
Releasing the schedule on time would help both parties - management and the employees.

By releasing the schedule on time, employees are able to manage their lives outside of work to better prepare for their upcoming shifts at work.

Ideally, releasing a new schedule a week or two in advance is perfect for giving employees ample time to make the necessary changes to their shortlisted activities or request changes if necessary.


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