by Rotageek on 31 May 2022
Nobody ever said planning employee shifts was easy. It can be a long, complicated, and thankless task. And when you make a mistake, you’re probably going to hear about it – either from disgruntled employees or from your fellow managers who want to know why there aren’t enough (or are too many) staff on the shift.
Rotageek, as always, is ready to help. Whether you choose our AI-powered, supercharged staff scheduling solutions, or you read this post, we’re here with the tools you need to master employee shift planning.
So, let’s just dive straight into the tips and best practices, shall we?
An effective shift schedule places the right number of the right staff on every shift. The way to do that is to accurately forecast labour demand for the coming weeks.
It’s not a moment for guesswork, and intuition will only take you so far. What you need is data on:
Archive your past shift schedules and track your busy and quiet times. You can analyse this data to forecast future labour demand. Taking a data-driven approach like this will help you plan better schedules. It could even help you save on labour costs, by reducing over-staffing.
Did you know? Rotageek software records labour demand and employee information for you, and creates ideal schedules based on analysis of all of your data. Learn more.
We know – nobody wants to spend their time reading dry legal documents. But the alternative could be a fine for your business.
So, get to know the Working Time Regulations and make sure your rotas follow them. The basics include requirements such as:
There’s more to learn, and you can find it on the UK Government and Health and Safety Executive websites.
We all want to plan for perfect shift schedule, and sometimes we really believe we’ve done it. And after all the hard work of planning a schedule, nobody really wants to hear about problems and change requests.
But like it or not, change is part of the job. Planning shifts is a balancing act, and you always need to consider your workers’ rights and needs.
So, be flexible. Be gracious. Be smart enough to know that even the “perfect” shift schedule might need to change, and be ready to roll with it.
Did you know? Rotageek’s Autoscheduling software creates ideal shift schedules for you with a few clicks – and when a schedule needs to change, you can simply adjust a few things and create a new one just as quick.
The sooner you publish your employee shift schedule – that is, the sooner you give it to your staff – the sooner they can tell you about any problems they have with it.
If an employee has a dentist appointment, or they want to request a shift swap or take annual leave, or they spotted a mistake in the schedule that you didn’t, you want to know about it early.
The sooner you know about shift schedule problems, the more time you have to fix them. Publish early – and keep time on your side!
It’s not enough to have a perfect shift schedule, or even to publish it early. You need to be 100% certain that staff have seen it, or things are going to go badly wrong.
Use the best communication tools you have. Even better, use a combination of the best tools you have. It could be a noticeboard, although not every staff member is guaranteed to see that. It could be a web page or email. Some companies even use a WhatsApp group.
Whatever you choose, make sure you:
Good communication is likely to mean a happier workplace, because staff will feel valued. Make it a top scheduling priority!
Did you know? Rotageek solutions provide a built-in communication platform, including a mobile app staff can use to receive and respond to schedules.
There’s a lot to think about when planning staff shifts. If you want to simplify legal scheduling, compliance, and communication – and optimise labour costs – we believe digital or auto-scheduling software is the best way to value.
If you’d like to know more, read our ultimate guide to shift planning software: The definitive guide to employee scheduling.