Here’s How Employee Scheduling Can Be Made Easy

Let’s face it – a manager’s task is never an easy one. And if you add to that the complexities of employee scheduling, you’ll find yourself faced with a myriad of issues that can cause undue stress and not too few headaches. This is because there are many things to take into consideration when organizing your workforce.

First and foremost are the needs of the business. How many people do you need and what are the capabilities expected of these workers? If you are running an operation that requires more people on certain hours or days, and less on others, staff scheduling must be properly worked out so that no shift is over- or under-manned. The same goes for businesses that cover multiple locations where scheduling is centralized in the main office. Can employees of one branch cover for employees in another? And what about shift or location supervisors? These details are crucial in being able to come up with a staffing schedule that works.

That said though, keep in mind that payroll expenses have to be factored in as well. After all, the cost of labor has a huge impact on the business’ bottom line. Pay rate per employee, the necessity of adding more people, and overtime expenses if any, should be carefully considered. You want to have costs remain within the budget, keeping the number of employees to a minimum would be the prudent thing to do. But then again, you also don’t want to compromise service to customers by having too few workers at any given time. Such a situation can be a tough balancing act for any manager. What makes it even more difficult is if you would have to do the job costing analysis manually or even with the use of spreadsheets.

Then of course, there’s also the employees’ satisfaction and morale to take into account. The last thing you would want on your hands is a bunch of disgruntled workers who are either overburdened with too many hours, or are not earning much because there aren’t enough work hours to allocate. In addition, requests for emergency, sick, or vacation time are work scheduling issues that have to be addressed, sometimes, right there and then. If a worker were to fall ill suddenly, you may have to find a replacement immediately depending on the type of business you are running or on the job of that employee.

Conflicts in vacation requests are another matter altogether. For a restaurant business for instance, Friday and Saturday nights are among the busiest, yet it’s not unheard of for two or more employees asking for these days off due to family affairs or other personal concerns. Hotel chains experience the same thing during holidays. So if at all you can afford to grant requests for vacation during these times, to whom do you give that privilege? In some companies, the first-come-first-served policy is applied, while in others, seniority matters.

But in whatever way you deal with emergency or conflicting time-off, the bottom line is, being in these situations is no fun at all. While you would want to grant all requests, in reality, there is no way you can please everyone. Some may be accommodated now, and others at a later time.

What’s also clear is that juggling all these aspects of employee scheduling can sap a business owner or manager’s time and energy. You would need to have not only the skill to properly match the business needs with the right employees and at the right time, you also have to have patience to handle employees’ individual concerns. The stress and pressure of producing an accurate and well-prepared employee schedule could lead you to become overworked, and other equally vital chores could be left undone.

Good thing this seemingly insurmountable task is not without a simple solution – employee scheduling software. With this tool, staff scheduling is easy and automated. As soon as all pertinent details such as employee information and availability, shifts, locations, and others are entered into the program, everything can be matched and scheduled accordingly with just a few clicks and within a matter of minutes. Some programs can even furnish you with reports on payroll expenses, employee performance, and trends in customer traffic. Sure, you will have to shell out a few dollars every month for a good shift scheduler, but for the time savings and efficiency it brings in return, it’s well worth the cost.

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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