Scheduling is one of those things that’s never-ending and all-consuming. Luckily there are solutions to make life a little easier. Automating scheduling can be done using employee scheduling software. Make sure employees know when they are scheduled while simultaneously easing the complicated process of scheduling.
Table of contents
- Benefits of Automated Scheduling
- Last-Minute Scheduling
- Lack Of Proper Technology
- Employee Confusion
- Overtime Spiraling Out Of Control
- On-Call Scheduling
- Unequal Shift Distribution
- Messy Shift Swapping
- Employee Shortage
- Last Minute Employee Absences
- No Control Or Oversight
- Inability To Manage The Work Schedule On-The-Go
- The Final Word On Employee Scheduling Problems
Employee scheduling is easily one of the most challenging tasks managers and business owners have to deal with. Between having to juggle staff with various scheduling needs, time-off requests, and different skill sets, scheduling can be extremely time-consuming.
It’s no wonder that many managers struggle to create a fair and balanced work schedule. Shift scheduling is a pretty tall order to maintain.
Especially if you’re still manually creating the employee schedule, you open yourself up to scheduling problems, errors, and employee dissatisfaction.
Manual scheduling, according to the research, causes:
- 20% of a manager’s time is wasted creating the work schedule
- 174% more turnover occurs due to errors from manual schedule creation
- 140 hours are wasted annually by creating a manual work schedule
The moral of the story? Use a digital solution such as employee scheduling software.
Benefits of Automated Scheduling
- Full visibility into every employee’s availability
- Avoid overtime and limitations
- Streamline communication
- More efficient scheduling
- Save time and money
- Stress-free task delegation
- Fewer turnover rates
- Streamlined daily operations
By now, you’ve probably learned that creating a proper, fair schedule that keeps you and your employees happy is a full-time job.
Understandably, many owners and managers are at a loss, but for every problem, there is a solution.
Leaving things to the last minute is never a good idea. According to Forbes, the manager should make the employee roster available as soon as possible because “this can put employees in a bind, having to choose between personal responsibilities and work. Other businesses will change schedules at a moment’s notice, which can cause employees a lot of problems as well”. Managers must take into account the work-life balance of their employees.
Make sure you plan your shift schedules well in advance to give everyone a chance (managers included) to digest the roster and make sure they are available to work. At least 2 weeks in advance is recommended and make sure you’re consistent. To avoid further scheduling issues, check if your state has laws for creating schedules in advance to ensure you’re staying compliant.
Scheduling far in advance can create headaches, but not as many headaches as having to completely overhaul an already published schedule.
To make it as simple as possible, use a schedule template that only needs to be tweaked according to the company’s needs and employee availability.
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Managers that are still using pen and paper to create and distribute the employee roster are not only making their lives a million times harder, but they’re prone to scheduling issues and miscommunication. Even worse, tons of back and forth calling and messages is time-consuming, inefficient, and can lead to other issues such as inappropriate messaging and a lack of work/life separation.
It’s the 21st century, and technology has made managers’ lives much easier. With a powerful and easy-to-use employee scheduling software like Connecteam, you can ease scheduling issues and streamline communication.
- Create fully customizable employee schedules in minutes with advanced capabilities such as drag and drop, recurring shifts, scheduling conflict alerts, overtime, limitation alerts, etc.
- Managers have complete scheduling oversight and can ensure employees receive and have viewed the schedule with automated alerts and notifications.
- Employees can share their availability, saving managers tons of time.
- Confirm that employees know exactly what to do when arriving for their shift with in-shift notes, locations, and attached files.
- Set shift swapping limitations and only allow certain employees to pick up specific shifts based on their qualifications.
- Allow employees to pick up open shifts and receive automated alerts to ensure all shifts are covered.
- In-app communication reduces miscommunication, back and forth calling, and confusion.
- Managers have real-time oversight on who has read or not read in-app messages; gone are the days of missed messages or calls.
- Send targeted 1:1 messages or create groups to easily get in touch with a team or department.
These features and capabilities increase workplace organization and stop scheduling issues before they even happen. It’s important to set your business up for success by investing in employee scheduling software. It will ensure streamlined workforce management.
Confusion among employees when it comes to shifts can occur for many reasons, including the unpredictability of shifts and last-minute changes.
If there’s no consistency or people are swapping shifts on a whim, with no system to track it all, it can wreak havoc in the workplace.
Avoiding these scheduling issues is the best solution, so let’s take a look at how to do that.
- Consistency: Use a schedule template as a recurring schedule and only make adjustments when employees require time off, or the company needs to make staffing changes. This way, employees will have significant notice of upcoming shifts, and if changes need to be made, it is their responsibility to ensure the shift is covered.
- Shift swapping: Shift swapping is not necessarily a problem, but tracking the swaps can get complicated, so employees don’t know who is actually scheduled in the end. Use employee scheduling software to eliminate this scheduling problem. Ensure that employees can only swap shifts with other qualified employees and require manager approval, and the schedule will automatically update when the swap is approved.
Both creating a consistent schedule and using scheduling software ensure that employees are no longer confused, so they show up at the right place and the right time.
‘Clopen’ is a term coined from the words ‘close’ and ‘open.’ It effectively means that your employee has the last shift of the day and the first shift the following day. This may mean that your employee could work two shifts in a row without the ability to go home to get some shut-eye. This commonly occurs in hospitals, restaurants, and other 24-hour establishments.
So how can you ensure that your employees avoid the dreaded clopen? It boils down to schedule management.
Having scheduling management software to detect scheduling issues such as conflicting shifts or ones that are too close together. Otherwise, it means the manager involved has to have a keen eye out for clopen when doing the final screenings of the schedule.
Clopens could also occur if different managers are responsible for different parts of the schedule (perhaps there’s a night shift manager and another for the day). To avoid this scheduling problem and to ensure your staff are kept happy, it’s vital that managers liaise with one another to ensure that employees get the break they deserve. Again, installing the right software could help the business detect these issues.
Overtime Spiraling Out Of Control
Are your employees still being productive while working overtime? If the answer is ‘yes,’ then there’s no need to change the status quo.
However, overtime can often be an issue and negatively affect productivity. It’s also an extra cost to the business, so it should be avoided when possible.
If the company requires overtime, be sure to limit the number of hours approved for overtime so employees aren’t taking advantage of the overtime benefits. This can be done using a scheduling app. Approve a set amount of overtime; this also ensures government compliance as counties require different amounts of pay based on the amount of overtime.
Customer demand can be unpredictable, so some companies prefer to have employees on stand-by or on-call. This practice involves getting employees to call in before their shifts start to determine whether they are needed.
If the shift is set to be quiet, employees could then be told not to come in for their shift.
This practice is frustrating for employees as they can’t make plans, and regulators are also increasingly anti-this concept.
Coffee chain Starbucks and retailers Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) are just some companies that have pledged to scrap the practice.
Solutions to on-call scheduling issues are available – managers need data to be able to understand past trends and to be able to make scheduling predictions. Job scheduling software is available to help with exactly this, eliminating the need for on-call scheduling and increasing employee satisfaction.
Unequal Shift Distribution
It’s common to rely on a select few employees to do particular tasks, like closing or opening up shop. There will always be favorite employees, even when you try to be objective.
But if you’re not careful, you could send out the wrong message, i.e., that you favor Susan Smith over other employees or that you don’t think John McDonald is up to the task of being there when it’s time to cash up.
If you have the right rota software system, you can avoid these scenarios altogether. Selecting the right management software will ease your scheduling issues and ensure compliance with labor laws.
As a small business owner, you’ll notice massive changes to employee satisfaction when you optimize scheduling so that your employees get their preferred shifts while also taking into account experience, which ultimately increases profits.
Messy Shift Swapping
There are pros and cons to allowing workers to swap shifts.
Allowing employees to manage their own time can mean less responsibility for you, but if the changes aren’t communicated properly, it can cause scheduling problems, including chaos and confusion among employees.
Swaps could result in workers forgetting about their new shifts, or you could end up in a situation where a qualified employee switches with a junior employee, and there’s a lack of experienced workers on duty.
There are a few easy solutions to avoid messy shift swapping.
- You can put a procedure in place which requires employees who want to swap shifts to get in touch with management for approval of the shift swap.
- Use a robust employee scheduling software where you can oversee shift swapping.
Scheduling software, such as Connecteam, allows employees to swap shifts but only with other qualified employees and requires manager approval. Once the shift swap is approved, the schedule is updated so everyone is aware of the changes, and should someone forget about their shift, you will know who to contact.
Scheduling issues are inevitable if you don’t have enough employees to cover shifts.
You don’t only need to have enough employees to cover shifts but also to cover for employees when someone gets sick or goes on vacation.
If you’re understaffed, customers will receive worse service, and employees will feel overworked and unsatisfied.
The solution to this problem on paper is rather simple, hire more full-time or part-time employees. But life is not always that simple. For many reasons, this may not be a viable option. So working with what you have, you need to find a way to keep customers satisfied and employees happy.
You can use software to optimize the workforce you currently have to make lemonade out of lemons. Workforce management optimization helps to automate processes, maintain compliance, and solve basic business problems.
Last Minute Employee Absences
We’re all human, and sometimes things come up that make it impossible to get to work.
Forbes notes that “on average, 3% of full-time salary workers are absent from work days regularly. While 2.1% are absent because of sickness or injury, 0.9% are absent for other reasons”.
We’re not saying frequent employee absences should be tolerated, but if an employee cannot for whatever reason make it to work, it causes scheduling problems.
So how can you easily solve last-minute employee absences? There are a few solutions to this scheduling issue.
- You can also make sure that your employee handbook has clear policies, procedures, and consequences for employee absences so you can avoid as many last-minute no-shows as possible. However, these policies won’t help your business when an employee is sick and unable to work. The policies will just make employees scared to call in, which might create a no-call/no-show situation.
- You could ensure that each shift has at least one backup employee who is available to work if an employee is unavailable at the last minute. If a backup employee is needed, you can use software to automatically notify them to come to work.
With employee scheduling software, covering these last-minute employee absences will be less of a struggle. Team members will be thankful to have support from managers and coworkers rather than dealing with being one man down.
No Control Or Oversight
Lack of control or scheduling oversight can cause major headaches for the HR manager or whoever is in charge of creating the employee roster. Many managers rely on their personal phones to relay messages and updates to employees. These calls and messages can go unanswered or unviewed, leaving managers little-to-no control and oversight.
What’s a quick solution to these scheduling problems?
- You can set clear company policies and procedures that employees must follow if they have a problem with their schedule. For example, instead of messaging, you can require that employees call if they need someone to cover their shift or if they’ll be arriving late. If the manager does not answer, they are required to show up for work.
- You can require the employee to find a replacement for the shift themselves and if they cannot find a replacement, they will need to show up for the shift.
- Invest in employee scheduling software to deal with this. Software like Connecteam gives managers complete oversight and schedule control. Managers can publish schedules, allow employees to claim open shifts, and approve shift swaps. Real-time notifications are relayed to the manager to approve or deny the change, and once a decision is made, the employee is notified and the schedule is updated. Limitations can be set to only permit qualified employees to claim or swap shifts with other employees.
Eliminate no-shows, employee confusion, and complicated shift-swapping by using the best employee scheduling software available!
Inability To Manage The Work Schedule On-The-Go
It’s not uncommon for managers to be on-the-go. Even on-the-go managers need to deal with scheduling issues, conflicts, and updates.
To manage this situation as smoothly and efficiently as possible, it’s important that managers have access to schedules and employee information from anywhere.
The solution to these common scheduling issues is easy: use employee scheduling software. With Connecteam, you can easily and quickly edit or create new shifts while on the go. Managers can also see shift information and communicate with relevant employees through the in-app chat, all directly through their mobile devices, from the palm of their hands.
The Final Word On Employee Scheduling Problems
While scheduling problems are not 100% avoidable, they can be managed. In the end, it all boils down to communication and organization.
We highly recommend scheduling software that allows you to create, change, and publish schedules at the click of a button. The days of endless excel spreadsheets are over. Using an employee scheduling app will save you so much time, so you can focus on the things that truly matter in your business.
Experience The Power Of Complete Employee Scheduling Oversight With Connecteam Today!
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