How and Why to Use a Work Availability Sheet

Work Availability Sheet How and Why to Use It

How do most restaurant managers know when employees are available to work? Before supervisors begin employee scheduling, they review each team member's availability form. An employee availability form is a sheet with the employee name, work availability, and other critical information.
Human Resources typically includes an employee availability form within new hire paperwork or an employee application. This helps speed up the scheduling process and makes it easier to finish and optimize schedule templates.
For simplicity's sake, most restaurants only ask employees which hours they cannot work rather than which hours they can. Other restaurants ask for both sets of data, depending on their particular needs. Restaurants can choose whichever method best optimizes and improves employee scheduling.

Why Are Employee Availability Forms So Important?

Employee availability impacts the way a restaurant operates, how internal teams collaborate, and employee productivity levels. As a result, it's critical to ensure all employee availability forms are up-to-date and accurate. It is the manager's job to reiterate the importance of employment forms and work availability to team members. Otherwise, there may be scheduling errors, last-minute call-ins, and an increase in turnover.

Supervisors that stress the importance of availability forms will see an increase in employee engagement, a better company culture, and greater productivity. This leads to better sales and a more streamlined operation.

Read ahead for a greater overview of how employee availability forms work in conjunction with the work schedule.

What to Include on an Employee Availability Form

While all employee availability forms differ, there are certain elements that each restaurant should include. These are -

  • Employee Contact Information - Employee name, email, phone number, address, and other relevant data.
  • Signatures and Dates - Both the manager and employee need to sign and date the form. This ensures both the manager and employee are accountable for any assigned work hours.
  • Instructions - The form should be as clear and concise as possible to prevent any errors.
  • Employee Availability - There should be plenty of space for the team member to write in his/her availability. If there is a potential upcoming change in the work schedule, the team member should note that on the form.
Every 6 months, employers should ask the team member if there are any adjustments in his/her availability. Schedules frequently change and it's the manager's responsibility to keep all data up-to-date. This will create fewer scheduling problems in the future.

How to Use a Work Availability Sheet

Managers need to use a set of best practices fo.r their employee schedule forms. A lack of organization will lead to a series of problems that will impact morale and the quality of customer service. Good internal communications and regular follow-ups make it easier to create each shift schedule. Employees also feel appreciated when they know their managers listen to them and respect their personal obligations. Here are the top tips to use a work availability sheet -

  • Prepare - Managers should send a message to all team members for regular availability reviews. These are sessions where managers and employees discuss any updates in availability and work preferences. Restaurant staff should review their current schedules to see if they need to change any hours.
  • Meet with Restaurant Staff - Supervisors should sit down with restaurant staff and ask them to fill out a new form template. If there are no changes, supervisors should write that down and instruct employees to sign and date the new form. New hires should receive an employee availability form during the onboarding process. Other managers include the form within the employee handbook.
  • Review Form - Managers should always review what restaurant staffers write down before signing the work availability form. It's very easy to make mistakes. For example, an employee may forget to mark a.m. or p.m. next to available work hours. If managers review the form, there will be fewer problems when it's time to fill in the work schedule template.

Key Takeaways of Work Availability Sheet

In conclusion, here is what to know about work availability sheets and the employee schedule -

  • Employees write down their available work times on a work availability sheet. This ensures greater accuracy when it's time to fill in the employee schedule template. It also prevents problems that impact morale and the quality of customer service.
  • On the work availability form, there should be a place for employee contact information, signatures and dates, instructions, and employee availability for the work schedules.
  • Every 6 months, managers should ask employees whether their availability has changed. It is the manager's responsibility to keep all labor-related data up-to-date.
  • To optimize the process, managers should always prepare and set up availability reviews. They should also meet with restaurant staff and ask them to fill in new availability forms. For new hires, managers should include availability forms within the employee handbook or in any paperwork. Managers should also review forms before they sign anything. It's easy to make very simple mistakes that can lead to serious bottlenecks down the road.