Every manager strives to implement the perfect work schedule that benefits both the business, as well as favors employee availability. However, only some are actually able to succeed in creating such an ideal schedule.
The fact of the matter is that scheduling employees is an important but a very challenging task. If it is not done properly, the business can suffer greatly. Then, the question arises, “What should the perfect work schedule look like?”
If done properly, your improved schedule should result in
- Minimized scheduling conflicts
- Increased time-management and productivity
- Happier and more efficient staff
The first step is to make sure that you know your team and take note of the important elements (responsibilities, prior obligations, second job, etc.) that could affect your employees' availability. This will help you when putting together the schedule.
Additional facts to take into consideration may include the employee’s name, skills, certifications, personality type, and so on.
Whenever you want to fill a hole in any shift, you can just refer to these notes to make an informed decision. Knowing this stuff will assist you in seeing the bigger picture and will also make the next step easier for you.
If you don’t know who your best employees are yet, it's time to determine who they are.
You will be able to identify your best employees with the help of a list made in the previous step. After you establish who this is or who they are, build the work schedule calendar around them. This will ensure that your best employees are working at the most-suited shift, which will increase productivity in the workplace.
For example, scheduling your stronger employees during peak rush hours will ultimately help in increasing profits and efficiency. Furthermore, it will ensure that the less trained or newer employees will have someone to look up to and follow their lead to get the job done.
In any business, communication is key.
As a manager, it is your job to ensure that the employees are getting the information they need to do their job well. This can only happen through an effective communication method in which the information can flow both ways. You can use a scheduling app, some of which include internal instant messaging systems.
This will also help you when setting your work schedule calendar, becuase it will identify who is available for shifts and who is not which in turn, will reduce scheduling conflicts.
Finalize and distribute the new work schedule calendar at least two weeks before the end of the current one. This will give your employees plenty of time to work out their personal calendar and commitments, communicate with you on what time they are not available, trade shifts or find a substitute, etc.
This can be done with the help of a cloud-based app that will distribute the most up-to-date schedule virtually and in real-time to all your employees.
As a manager, it is also your duty to honor the work preferences and time-off requests of your employees as much as possible. It will keep the morale up and increase employee satisfaction with their job and work environment.
This is a great way to take some burden off your shoulders.
Start with making schedules for your best employees and then give everyone access to this incomplete work schedule calendar to allow them to fill in open shifts according to their availability for work. Then, after a certain amount of days, restrict access and personally work out the remaining open shifts according to the business requirements and your staff’s preferences. Everyone will have fair opportunities, which will lead to a happier and more efficient team in the workplace.
In addition, let the employees find their own substitutes when they want some time off but make sure that things don’t go out of hand. Let everybody know that you are still the boss and everything needs to get approved by you first. Also, make sure that the substitute is the right fit for that position skills-wise.
When an employee can’t find a substitute to cover for them, that’s where the availability chart comes in handy.
It acts as a “plan B” should any unforeseen circumstances occur. An availability chart is just a list where each employee’s availability for work is documented like days and times. In case of some last-minute emergency, you can just call in the appropriate person available at that time to pick up an extra shift.
Being a manager, you need to look at the bigger picture and prepare for any emergencies beforehand.
That is why it is a good practice to always have a “plan C” in case “plan B” can not work out. It usually includes having a reliable list of former employees (who left on good terms) and prospective employees (who have not been hired by your company yet).
If a certain employee is not available for the shift and you can’t find a substitute on the availability chart, then you can give a call to someone from the list to see if they want to take advantage of this opportunity. You never know, right?
Last but not least, you should always be on the lookout for the latest technology to improve your work practices.
Zip Schedules is a reliable scheduling app that will help you do all the tasks on this list and more. With this app, you no longer need to worry about the availability of your employees and communication barriers. It can also send notifications to your employees about their schedules so they can address the conflicts of work schedule calendar with their personal one if there are any.