Workforce Scheduling Explained Features, Benefits, & Tips

In an industry like the food and restaurant spaces, workforce scheduling is essential to streamlining the business, especially when considering how often unpredictable factors arise, like a last-minute callout or unexpected medical leave.

Now, through workforce scheduling, it is easier than ever to optimize employee scheduling. Here is a brief guide into everything you need to know about an automated employee scheduling system.

Workforce Scheduling Explained

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Workforce scheduling consists of making a schedule for your hourly workers to manage and complete the predicted amount of work in your restaurant.

This workforce scheduling is affected by several factors like the following

  • Increased foot traffic
  • Increased tendency of accidents during seasonal holidays
  • Sudden emergencies
  • Employee Availability
  • Employee skills
  • Employee productivity
Workforce scheduling is essential in the management of your staff.

While making scheduling decisions, you need to predict the workloads and the resources required for the job.

In restaurants, workload changes regularly, and automated scheduling can make your life and job a lot easier by handling these changes.

Beneficial Features of Workforce Scheduling

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1. Forecasting
Any scheduling decision begins with forecasting. Forecasting is all about making predictions on demand on any given day of the week.

The strongest type of scheduling software can help in planning a month's schedule in advance because the software utilizes real-time data in addition to historical data and trends. These statistics play a major role in optimizing workforce schedules.

You also need to make sure that you choose software based on its availability on multiple platforms, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. That will help you to always stay connected wherever you are.

2. Time-Tracking
Another great feature of scheduling software is that it tracks the hours worked by any employee. This will help you in figuring out how many overtime hours are being logged which will assist you in making informed staffing and scheduling decisions.

This feature comes in handy, especially when you have to comply with labor laws and regulations regarding overtime. By being vigilant, you can avoid damaging lawsuits and hefty fines from the Department of Labor.

3. Shift-Swapping
With workforce software, your employees have access to view their upcoming schedules, which allows them to plan around their personal lives or other prior engagements.

For example, if an employee cannot make it in for a scheduled shift due to an emergency, then he/she can easily find a coworker to swap shifts with.

This will keep your employees from losing pay, and it will also help your restaurant by reducing absenteeism.

4. Reports
Perhaps, the best feature of scheduling software is that it generates useful reports pertaining to your employees and their hours worked.

The patterns and trends provided in these reports will let you make informed scheduling decisions rather than relying on availability solely.

Tips for Optimizing Employee Scheduling

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1. Forecast the Demand
You cannot make a productive and successful schedule unless you have thorough background data to refer to in the process.

During peak hours, restaurants will experience heavy foot traffic, and your need for your most skilled employees to be working those hours will be dire.

In order to properly prepare, you need to know who these employees are, along with their availability in order to schedule accordingly.

Not only will preparing in such a manner will maximize your revenue, but it will also have a positive effect on customer service.

2. Analyze Employee Availability
With the help of reports generated by the software, you can see the availability trends and patterns of your employees. In addition to that, your employees can make scheduling requests through the software, which you can take into consideration while making the scheduling decisions.

3. Start Scheduling
Once you have considered and analyzed the previous factors, you are now ready to go ahead and begin scheduling.

You can experiment with different solutions with the help of automated software to choose the best schedule for both your employees and your business.

4. Make the Schedule Available to Your Employees ASAP
Lastly, you need to make sure that the following week's schedule is readily available to everyone on your team well in advance, so any necessary arrangements can be made should an employee need to get a shift covered or switched.

This can easily be done by posting the schedule through an application, which typically notifies employees of when a new schedule goes live.

Benefits of Workforce Scheduling

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1. Schedule Testing
With scheduling software, you can experiment with different combinations to find the right lineup. You need to consider everyone's availability, along with your business' needs in order to find an optimized solution.

From week-to-week, you can set forth various schedules until you find a perfect schedule that suits everyone.

2. Cost Reduction
Advanced software takes the guesswork out of the equation. You don't need to assume that you'll require more help during certain times of the day or on specific days in general, like weekends.

Instead, you can make use of the reports, which will show you the amount of workforce you'll need on any particular day or shift. This will reduce costs because you won't overestimate or underestimate the workloads.

3. Better Quality of Service
Due to optimized scheduling, your employees will show up on time and there will be less scheduling conflicts. This will improve the quality of service in your restaurant and increase your customer satisfaction.

4. Maximize Productivity
With effective scheduling, you'll be able to reduce overstaffing and understaffing.

Also, by following your team's schedule preferences, you are showing that you respect your employees' time, which will increase morale and productivity.

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5. Reduce Overtime Hours Logged
Optimized scheduling will help you reduce overtime hours logged by the employees. With reports, you'll be able to forecast the demand and get the required staff to do the work.

This will result in lesser overtime hours and also help in abiding by the labor laws and regulations.

6. Reduce Employee Burnout
In an hourly workforce, burnout is usually high. This is often due to being overworked or working less than favorable hours.

Optimal scheduling allows flexibility, which improves employee satisfaction, reducing employee burnout greatly.

In addition, scheduling software can identify employee patterns like increased absences and late logins, which are typically signs of burnout.

7. Reduce Turnover
The restaurant industry has one of the highest employee turnover rates.

However, you can reduce turnover by managing your workforce efficiently. You can give your employees some latitude in swapping shifts and changing schedules in case of emergencies.

Permitting this kind of freedom increases employee satisfaction, therefore increasing employee loyalty. So, if you're employees are happy, they are more likely to stay with the company.