Employee Scheduling Explained
Employee scheduling is about assigning shifts to employees to ensure adequate coverage for a certain duration of work, while minimizing labor costs at the same time. Businesses usually create schedules one week in advance, but some do so two or three weeks ahead.
Getting an employee's work schedule right determines the success of a business. And it can be a daunting task, especially for establishments with open shifts and hourly rates. The process becomes more complicated if a business operates in multiple locations and manages many employees at different times.
In addition, a business must make sure it adheres to relevant labor laws. The United States federal and state bodies list several rules and regulations employers must follow. These include ensuring that employees have enough rest time between shifts; providing them with the required number of breaks during their shift; and limiting the number of hours they work in a day or week. If an employer doesn't adhere to these laws, they could end up facing serious penalties.
Haphazard employee schedules can be stressful for staff and employers, they can impact the bottom-line, and damage a business's reputation. It therefore makes sense to invest money and time in a foolproof scheduling system from the get-go.
Employee scheduling software can help businesses streamline this process. By automating staff scheduling, businesses can create schedules based on certain criteria -- the number of employees needed for each shift, labor forecasting, employee time tracking, payroll tracking, shift swapping, and customizable reports. It can take the guesswork and manual labor out of schedule-creation.
Scheduling software also gives managers and employees real-time access to the same schedule information. This helps everyone stay on the same page, with little room for confusion or misunderstanding. In addition, the best scheduling software enables employees to request time off or change their availability themselves, making it easier for managers to make changes to the schedule without having to coordinate with each employee individually.
How do Restaurants Typically Schedule Employees?
Restaurant work is demanding. It can be hectic, with long hours that often includes working evenings and weekends. And while the job may have its challenges, it can also be rewarding -- you get to interact with people from all walks of life, learn new things, and be part of a team that is always trying to innovate to retain customers.
When scheduling employees, restaurants must balance customer demands with giving employees the necessary work hours they need. This is probably what makes employee scheduling in the restaurant industry so tough.
Different restaurants approach employee scheduling in different ways. Some use online tools that allow employees to input their availability and preference for shifts. Others create more traditional schedules using paper or spreadsheets. But the method a restaurant uses is secondary. The key is whether the business follows a process or not.
- The process begins with mapping out peak times for the restaurant. This determines the number of staff members required for each shift. For example, most restaurants are busiest during the dinner rush, so it's important to have enough staff during that time. But a business also doesn't want to overstaff the restaurant and raise labor costs.
- The next step is to consider employee availability and create a schedule that works for everyone.
- Complying with labor laws in your area, including minimum wage requirements and rules for overtime pay, is also an important step to follow.
- Consider the needs of employees when creating shifts. For example, if a business has employees who are parents or students, it would want to take their schedules into account whenever possible.
- Try to create a schedule that will allow employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. It means avoiding excessive hours and providing adequate breaks between shifts.
- Be flexible and adapt to changing situations. This might mean switching shift times or types on short notice.
- Finally, it is important to communicate with your team regularly so everyone is on the same page; this will help avoid scheduling conflicts.
Accurately track employee data and labor costs
Save time with an employee scheduling software program.
The Drawbacks of Scheduling Templates
Businesses have relied on scheduling templates for far too long. And it is not surprising because scheduling templates can help create a work schedule easily. But there's been a proliferation of mobile devices and software applications today that have made it easy for employees to access their work schedules from anywhere. There is an increased demand for schedule flexibility and customization.
In the last few years, there has also been a rise in the gig economy, and the popularity of contingent workers has made it difficult to predict staffing needs in advance. This has led to the need for more flexible scheduling tools to accommodate last-minute changes.
Moreover, advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning have now made it possible for businesses to create more sophisticated staffing models that consider factors like weather patterns, customer demand, and employee preferences.
While there are benefits to using a scheduling template, there are also some potential downsides.
- The biggest downside to scheduling templates is that they can be inflexible. For example, if your business has many employees or customers with different needs, it can be hard to make a template that works for everyone.
- If a business doesn't use the template correctly, it can lead to more work and stress. For example, if a manager forgets to update the schedule or enters incorrect information, it can throw off the whole schedule for the week.
- Schedule templates also create inflexibility in the workforce, as employees have limited options to swap shifts or take on additional hours if it means having to conform to a rigid template.
- Scheduling templates can also lead to frustration among employees if they do not accurately reflect their availability or desired work hours.
- If staffing levels change or unexpected events occur, it can be difficult to quickly and efficiently revise a schedule that has been created with a template.
Upside of Scheduling Software
There are several reasons to choose employee scheduling software over shift schedule templates. To begin with, scheduling software solutions are much more efficient than templates. It allows businesses to automatically generate schedules based on various factors, including shifts, skills, and availability. It means a business can create a schedule in minutes that would otherwise take hours (or even days) to create using a template.
- Scheduling software can generate real-time reports, which can be used to make data-driven decisions about staffing levels and schedules.
- With employee scheduling software, businesses can enter each employee's preferences. The system will then automatically assign them to the shift they're most likely to succeed in, which means happier and more productive employees.
- These software solutions make it easy to track attendance and compliance with company policies.
- With shift schedule apps, managers also have a comprehensive view of who is scheduled for which shift and whether or not they have shown up for their previous shifts on time. Again, this information can be used to identify issues early on and take corrective action before they become serious problems.
- Employee scheduling software allows planning for contingencies. For example, users can easily add or remove employees from the schedule to account for sick days, vacation days, or other forms of absenteeism. Such flexibility ensures that the business will always have the staff it needs without overstaffing (which leads to wasted payroll expenses).
- Some employee scheduling software solutions offer additional features, such as time tracking, payroll integration, and communication tools, which can further improve efficiency and productivity in the workplace.
How Does Staff Scheduling Impact Profits?
Labor is one of the largest expenses for most businesses, and effective scheduling can significantly minimize this cost. If a business has too many employees on the clock during slow periods, they are likely hemorrhaging money. On the other hand, if a business is understaffed during busy periods, it may miss out on sales or opportunities to upsell to customers. The key is to find a happy middle path, where you are neither over- nor understaffed. This can be achieved through effective employee scheduling.
An effective employee scheduling system impacts a business's profit margin positively. It allows businesses to staff their operations during peak demand periods with the right mix of employees to meet customer needs, while minimizing labor costs. In addition, an efficient employee scheduling system can help businesses improve employee communication and coordination, leading to increased efficiency and decreased cost overruns.
Accurately track employee data and labor costs
Save time with an employee scheduling software program.
Top Employee Scheduling Platforms
Zipschedules allows businesses to streamline scheduling by taking employee preferences into account. The software can create custom shifts, which allows managers to create schedules that fit the specific needs of their business. It is great for restaurant businesses with irregular hours or ones that need to staff different areas at different times.
The software also enables managers to schedule employees by skillset. It is great for businesses that require specific skillsets for certain tasks (e.g., bartenders, servers, kitchen staff, etc.).
Moreover, Zipschedules Features include automatic shift reminders to alert employees about upcoming shifts via text message, mobile app, or email. It ensures that employees are always aware of their upcoming responsibilities and reduces their chance of forgetting a shift. When there's a need, the software matches employees with open shifts, helping managers fill empty slots by finding available employees to work those particular hours.
One of the best things about Homebase is its straightforward interface. Users can quickly create and edit employee schedules from a computer or mobile device without any prior experience needed. In addition, the mobile app makes it easy to manage employee schedules on the go. With the app, users can view schedules, request time off, clock in and out, and do much more, conveniently from their smartphone or tablet.
This software solution also has built-in communication tools that enable users to easily send messages and notifications to individual employees or groups about schedule changes, upcoming shifts, etc. It helps ensure that everyone is always on the same page.
Its labor cost tracking helps businesses stay within budget while still providing quality service to customers. It is an ideal solution for small businesses.
Creating employee schedules can be time-consuming and error-prone when done manually. It wastes valuable time that could be spent on more important tasks and can lead to scheduling mistakes that can negatively impact profitability.
Online shift schedule tools streamline the scheduling process and help ensure accuracy, so business owners can rest assured knowing their employees are always where they need to be when they need to be there. In addition to making the scheduling process quick and easy, online shift schedule tools also provide restaurants with valuable insights into their labor costs.
By inputting information like hourly pay rates and projected sales volumes, businesses can see exactly how much their labor will cost them for any given day or week. It empowers restaurants to make informed decisions about their staffing levels and helps them avoid overspending on labor and maximize profits.
Keep Employees Happy
Use mobile apps, checklists, and digital technology for employee scheduling.