Schedule for Success: Tips That Can Benefit Both You and Your Employees

Scheduling is a tricky business that has a huge impact on a business and employees. Scheduling is more difficult for businesses that require a range of shifts to cover many open hours. Luckily, there are some tips that can help to optimize scheduling and satisfy both business needs and employee needs.

Collect Preferred Availability

Some companies ask employees to specify all hours that they can work, not what they want to work. This is the wrong approach and a bad way to start out with scheduling, as employees are much more likely to feel unhappy with their shifts and come to work late or call out. Collecting detailed availability sheets that specify the times that employees want to work is often much better for all involved – and you may be surprised at how easily all the shifts get covered, as employees all have different needs and preferences.

Keep Schedules Regular

Irregular work schedules can create employee stress and spill over into employees’ lives to create conflicts with family and health. Employees may have a hard time sleeping when their schedules are varied and unpredictable, which can affect productivity and job satisfaction. Scheduling employees at set times each day allows employees to take care of outside needs and make healthy choices, which can assist with focus while at work.

Communicate Schedules ASAP

Schedules should be posted as far in advance as possible. Once schedules have been created, employees should be able to find them easily without having to seek out a manager or employer. If your company has HR software with scheduling and self service options, you may be able to post the schedule there so that the employees can immediately see their schedules no matter where they are.

Make It Easy to Request Time Off

Requesting time off can be stressful, so it is best to make time off requests as simple as possible. HR software often comes with time off request options, which will allow employees to make time off requests using a mobile device as soon as they know what they need and will allow managers to see and respond to those requests quickly and easily. Whether you use HR software or a manual system for requests, keeping it organized and handling the requests with positivity will help everything to flow smoother.

Get to Know Employees and Schedule Compassionately

Getting to know your employees can help you to figure out why they prefer the hours that they prefer, when they may need time off, and other details that will help you to optimize scheduling – without even having to ask. Once you know whether your employees go to school, have children in school, or have part time jobs or hobbies to attend to, use that information to map out a schedule that will allow them to attend to those things while still taking care of your business needs.

Recognize and Avoid Scheduling Abuse

Scheduling abuse can come from employees or employers and should be recognized and stopped as soon as possible. Employees that call out to avoid certain tasks or that perpetually ask for days off around the weekends may be considered schedule abusers and can be dealt with according to disciplinary policies. Employers that cancel employees’ shifts right before they are scheduled or that ask employees to stay later than scheduled regularly are committing scheduling abuse, which can lead to high turnover rates and low employee satisfaction.

By scheduling in a way that is considerate of employees and the business needs, you will keep your employees happy and your business running efficiently. Rely on the tools that you have at your disposal, such as HR software, to make scheduling and communication easy.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.

Author: Rebecca Whiteside

Rebecca Whiteside has experience in business and human resources management across a variety of industries. She loves working with the people, the numbers, and the technology in ways that benefit both employees and employers.

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