Top 10 Tips for Employee Scheduling

October 17, 2023

Employee scheduling is a critical component of managing a business and ensuring its smooth operation. It is a task that requires meticulous attention to detail, an understanding of each employee’s role and skills, and a keen sense of the overall business objectives. 

The complexity of employee scheduling arises from several factors. These include managing varying shift patterns, accommodating employee availability, ensuring adequate coverage during peak periods, accounting for staff absences due to sickness or vacation, and complying with labour regulations. Any missteps in these areas can lead to understaffing or overstaffing, both of which can adversely impact productivity and employee morale.

happy woman in office - employee scheduling

While it may initially appear to be a complex and daunting task, with the right techniques and tools, it can be transformed into a streamlined and efficient process. 

Top tips inspired by the ShopWorks’ AI auto-scheduling tool for employee scheduling:

  • 10. Understand Your Demand: Recognize how many staff you need by role in specific time slots, such as 15, 30, or 60 minutes. Use demand forecasting tools, if available, to predict with a high degree of accuracy. Remember, optimizing for customer service might mean scheduling more staff during peak times.
  • 9. Set Minimum Staffing Levels: Even if the demand doesn’t require it, always ensure there are enough employees present for essential tasks. For instance, you might need a minimum of two staff on-site whenever a store is open.
  • 8. Strategic Budgeting: It’s essential to compare the total cost of the rota against your budget. This ensures that you are not overspending and can help you make strategic staffing decisions.
  • 7. Consider Staff Skills and Authority: Make sure you’re assigning roles based on qualifications and authority. For example, only someone authorised should be given the task of shop opening.
employee scheduling - looking at statistics
Group of happy business people working as a team at the office on meeting. Finance architect designer concept
  • 6. Prioritize Tasks: Allocate tasks based on employee skills. The right person for the right job ensures efficiency and high-quality work. If using a scheduling tool, it should recommend suitable staff members for tasks.
  • 5. Account for Existing Schedules: Before making a new schedule, always take into account already scheduled shifts, approved leaves, and absences. This avoids scheduling conflicts and ensures continuity of operations.
  • 4. Factor in Employee Preferences: Try to accommodate employee preferences for shifts where possible. This can lead to better job satisfaction and reduced turnover. However, ensure that these preferences are managed fairly without any biases.
  • 3. Ensure You Are Compliant: Always be aware of compliance rules, whether they relate to work hours, role-based responsibilities, local union agreements, or other regulations. An efficient scheduling system should never breach these rules.
  • 2. Smart Overtime Management: Be clear about overtime rules, such as how much can be offered and the maximum length of a single shift. Also, ensure fairness in allocating overtime to avoid any grievances.
  • 1. Seek Consistency: Aim for consistent scheduling where employees have similar start times or shift patterns throughout the week. This can help in maintaining a work-life balance and overall employee well-being.

In summary, employee scheduling requires a balance between business needs, compliance, and employee preferences. By following these tips, managers can create a more efficient and harmonious working environment. Good workforce management and auto-scheduling tools should enable managers to take these tips into consideration when scheduling staff.

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