3 Top Tips for Creating a Flawless Employee Work Schedule


Every manager knows that creating an employee work schedule can be a challenging task.

As the number of employees increases, so does the number of shift preferences and time-off requests. Reordering employees' shifts every week can quickly cause fatigue and even burnout. It certainly gets to a point where it feels impossible.

The only way to create a flawless employee work schedule that perfectly synthesizes the needs of your business with the needs of your employees is through a strong system of implementation.

With that said, there are multiple things you can do to turn employee scheduling into a seamless task

  1. Determine who your lead employees are and build shifts around them
  2. Take note of employee shift preferences
  3. Improve your process of reviewing time-off requests

These three tips can lay the foundation for an evolved scheduling process. If you can properly execute these tasks, your schedule creation process will be much easier.

Determine Your Lead Employees

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Your employee scheduling should take into account an employee's lifestyle, but also their skillset. Some employees are not fit for some tasks. Likewise, there are positions that require certain expectations and to a schedule an employee who does not meet that criteria would not benefit the business or the employee.

While at times it might be important to have all hands on deck to make sure every customer is served in time, you won't accomplish anything if you don't also schedule a host to accommodate all of your incoming guests. You'll have enough staff to serve the guests, but no host to accommodate them, and this will result in bad service.

In order to make sure your employee work scheduling is perfect, you need to determine who your lead employees are. These are employees that you need on a certain shift like you need a host. They can also be employees who motivate other employees to work better and faster.

You can use many different approaches to determine who your lead employees are based on experience, performance, position, etc.

Consider Employee Preferences

You probably have employees who have different life obligations, such as school to attend or family to tend to. These employees can't work all the shifts that you would prefer they work, so you will need to adapt to your employees' availability and provide a work schedule that they can commit to.

These out-of-work obligations heavily impact the process of creating an employee work schedule. It can grow to be very complicated, but it doesn't have to be.

In order to avoid a scheduling mess, which would definitely impact customer experience, you need to keep an accurate note of employees' availability. To make the process easier and mistake-proof, it's best to delegate this responsibility to the employees.

Get your team to start submitting availability reports that will contain information such as

  • Shifts they want to work
  • Shifts they would work if required
  • Shifts they simply can't make it to
This will make sure employee accountability is at its highest and it will improve employee satisfaction. Requesting constant availability from your employes will also reduce stress on yourself. Instead of calling and confirming availability, now you've automated that process and ensured that it is the most up-to-date.

Improve Your Processes

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It's not unreasonable for an employee to request time off, so it is important that you are prepared for the event that multiple employees would like certain days off, by staffing your business accordingly and staying up-to-date on all of your currently employed staff members' availability.

If you don't have a set process for reviewing time-off requests, you'll quickly learn that you need to implement some clear guidelines. These guidelines should consist of

  • Submitting time off requests at least 2 weeks in advance
  • Submitting time off requests through the employee work schedule app, so there is a digital note of the request
  • If possible, the name or names of any employees who are open to taking the shifts that will be available
You should set specific guidelines for requesting time-off. Setting guidelines ensures that everyone is abiding by the same rules and regulations, which creates uniformity. This method also leaves both parties happy because your employees are getting their desired time off and your restaurant will not suffer because you will be prepared for the occasion.


If you can manage to do these three things, you'll never have a hard time creating the employee work schedule.

With all of this being said, taking the time to implement an improved scheduling system without continuing to optimize your practices will result in a stagnant succession.

Here are some additional tips you can follow up with

  • Improve the shift switching process. You need a consistent system for shift switches. If employees need to confirm their shift switches with you, they need to know that.
  • Create a backup solution for last-minute needs. Your employees are people, and people are prone to accidents. That's why you need to have a backup plan for these situations. Dedicated on-call employees might be the right solution for this.
  • Establish a great communication flow with your team. You always need to relay the schedule to your employees on time. If they don't know when they should come to work, they won't come. Instant chat apps, emails, wall-mounted schedules, and more things can make sure you have great communication.