7 Tips for Creating Effective Work Schedules for Your business

If you have a staff intensive business, daily work rosters will be a well-known fact of commercial life – but are you using this simple yet powerful business tool to its full potential?

At its most basic, a staff roster is a simple way to schedule the hours your employees work, based on your operating hours and the required duties, to ensure the smooth operation of your business. Depending on the exact nature and needs of your business, schedules can be used in the form of duty rosters, shift rosters, flexible rosters or staggered rosters.

Work schedule

Whichever you choose, the overriding objective is for your staff shifts to meet the needs of the business, whether you’re a restaurant or hotel, hospital or care home, call centre or manufacturing business. By maximising the use of your human resources, not only 7 tips for creating effective work schedules for your businessdo you significantly improve the efficiency of your day-to-day operations, you’ll see a better business return at the end of the day.

Here are 7 ways to help you create effective work schedules to support your business and get the most out of your workers.

1. Put your business needs above all else

Rather than drawing up a shift plan by putting down the names of your employees, consider your business needs first. Plan your roster by allocating shifts and responsibilities according to the functions that need to be carried out and what the financial impact of each will be. There are a number of options out there for this, but not many as easy to use and effective in action as Planday’s workforce scheduling software. Once you have a workable structure in place that aligns with your budget, you can populate it with the names of staff that fulfil your predetermined criteria.

2. Make work schedules transparent

Resist the temptation to fill the roster with names without consulting your staff first. Not only could you lay yourself wide open to accusations of favouritism, but depriving your workers of a say in when they report for work could lead to dissatisfaction. Don’t forget that your employees have private lives too and may need to juggle work and family commitments. A flexible attitude and transparent work schedules are key in getting the best out of your staff.

3. Let staff view their schedules

In the same way, your workers should be able to have easy access to online staff rosters. This includes the ability to view, ahead of time, what their upcoming work commitments will be, including an option to make shift change requests where necessary. In this way, your employees are given the opportunity to arrange their private commitments accordingly, leaving their work schedule clear. Recent studies have also suggested that this open and transparent use of technology to manage hours is highly motivating for a workforce.

Workforce schedule planning

4. Plan work schedules in advance

In order for your staffing needs to be covered effectively and without sudden absences that could negatively impact on the business, it makes sense to prepare and publish shift plans as far in advance as possible. That way, you can feel confident that your employees are given enough time to plan their obligations outside of work, or swap schedules with co-workers as and when necessary.

5. Process leave requests online

For everyone’s convenience and expediency, use your workforce planning software to deal with availability and leave requests as quickly as you can. That way, human error is taken out of the equation. Nothing gets forgotten and requests are processed promptly. As a manager, try to be as flexible and accommodating as possible when dealing with requests for days off in order to preserve and maximise staff loyalty and goodwill.

6. Ensure 2 days off for each team member

Shift planning is not an easy task, especially when your pool of staff resources may be large. What’s more, sometimes double shifts or extra hours cannot be avoided to ensure quality customer service or meet a deadline. However, anyone who works for more than 5 days in a row will need sufficient time off to recharge. A regular 2 days off should ensure that your employees’ performance doesn’t suffer in the short term, or burnout sets in in the longer term.

7. Deploy your best resources when it’s busiest

No doubt you know when the busiest and therefore most demanding working times are? This is when proper staff coverage is at its most crucial. These are also the shifts that workers may not necessarily wish to volunteer for. At these times, you should be prepared to step in as a manager to provide leadership, skill and experience, and to prevent a gap in staff coverage if required.