The average U.S. workweek is 41.5 hours; however, a lot of that time is wasted on poor scheduling and time management. With that many hours to spare per employee, it’s essential for your business to have a solid schedule in place.
A workforce schedule is a document that outlines the shifts and hours for employees. It should be designed to optimize productivity and minimize downtime. When done correctly, it can help your business save money and run more efficiently; if neglected, however, it can lead to lost productivity and unhappy employees.
Creating an effective workforce schedule can be a daunting task, but with the right tips, you can create a schedule that will help your employees be more productive and efficient. Let’s take a look at five tips for creating an effective workforce schedule.
Tip 1: Keep Track of Employee Availability
The first step in effective workforce scheduling is to keep track of employee availability. This means tracking the hours employees are available to work, as well as their desired hours. You can use a spreadsheet or scheduling software to help you keep track of this information.
In order to collect an accurate report of how many hours each employee is available each week, you may need to survey your employees. You can do this by sending out a simple questionnaire or using an online survey tool. Workforce organizers like Slack have integrated tools that allow for employee surveys.
Once you have this information, you can begin to create a schedule that works for everyone. Use the data to your advantage and try to schedule employees for their desired hours whenever possible.
Tip 2: Utilize Technology
Technology has come a long way, especially in the business world. There are apps and software solutions for pretty much everything these days, and workforce scheduling is no exception. Utilizing specialized software can help you create an efficient and effective schedule for your employees.
There are a variety of different programs out there that can assist with everything from creating the initial schedule to tracking employee hours and absences. Some of the features these programs offer include the ability to:
- Easily create and modify schedules
- Specify employee availability and preferences
- Track employee hours and absences
- Generate reports on schedule efficiency and effectiveness
Choosing the right software solution for your business can be a huge help in creating an efficient and effective workforce schedule.
Tip 3: Rotate Employees with Diverse Skillsets
When creating a workforce schedule, it is important to rotate employees through different tasks and positions. Rotating employees will help them gain experience in different areas and allow them to use their diverse skillsets. Additionally, rotating employees can prevent burnout and keep employees engaged.
Of course, rotating employees is going to add a layer of complication to your workforce scheduling, but it is well worth the effort. You can organize this rotation in a simple manner by:
- Making a list of all the positions and tasks in your organization
- Assigning each employee a position and task on a rotating basis
- Creating a schedule that reflects the rotation
Rotation will help your employees stay engaged and motivated, while also allowing them to use their diverse skillsets.
Tip 4: Stagger start and end times
One way to make the most of your workforce schedule is by staggering the start and end times of employees.
A staggered schedule means that not everyone arrives or leaves at the same time, which can help to reduce traffic congestion and make it easier for people to get to and from work. You can also stagger break times so that there is always someone available to cover the front desk or answer phones.
To create a staggered schedule, you first need to figure out how many employees you have and what their hours of operation are. Then, you can start grouping employees together so that they have similar start and end times.
For example, you might have one group of employees who work from 8:00am to 4:00pm, another group who work from 10:00am to 6:00pm, and a third group who work from 12:00pm to 8:00pm.
This may feel like an added complication, but it can be worth it in the long run. A staggered schedule can help to improve morale, since employees will no longer feel like they are running into each other all the time. It also makes it easier for people to work overtime if needed.
Tip 5: Schedule Breaks
The human body is not meant to sit at a desk for hours on end. In order to be productive and effective, it is important to schedule breaks into your workforce schedule. This will help ensure that your employees are taking care of their health and are able to focus when they are working.
There are a few different ways to schedule breaks into your workforce schedule. You can ask employees what their preference is and try to accommodate them, or you can have a set break schedule that all employees must follow. If you choose the latter option, make sure that the breaks are long enough for employees to get up and move around.
A good way to measure whether or not your break schedule is effective is to ask employees how they feel after their break. If they are feeling more refreshed and productive, then you are on the right track!
Success indicators of an efficient workforce schedule
Once you have integrated the tips above into your organization, it’s important to track the results and ensure that the goals of your schedule change are being met.
There are three main success indicators to look for when determining if your new workforce schedule is effective:
1. Increased productivity — Do employees seem to be more productive since the changes were made? Are they taking less breaks and spending less time on personal tasks?
A successful workforce schedule will result in employees being more productive and efficient with their time, as they will have more clarity and stability in their work hours.
2. Improved morale — Has the change in schedule led to an uptick in employee satisfaction and engagement? Are team members communicating better and working together more harmoniously?
When employees are happier, they are generally more productive and less likely to leave the company. So, if you’re seeing improvement in both productivity and morale, your schedule change is likely effective.
3. Reduced overtime costs — Finally, another key indicator of a successful workforce schedule is whether or not overtime costs have decreased since the changes were made. If employees are now able to complete their work within their regular hours, there should be less need for overtime pay.
If you’re seeing a decrease in overtime costs, it’s likely that your new schedule is having the desired effect.
Remember that every team is different and what works for one organization might not work for another. So, it’s important to track the success of your new schedule over time and make changes as needed.
Things to consider when creating your workforce schedule
To wrap up the article, there are a few more things to keep in mind when creating your workforce schedule.
- Make sure you allow for time off and sick days. No amount of organization in the world can prevent illnesses and unexpected life events, so it’s best to build in some buffer time.
- Make the schedule available to employees as soon as possible. This is especially the case if your schedule changes from one week to the next. The more notice employees have, the less stress they’ll feel and the easier it will be for them to adjust.
- Be sure to communicate with your employees. If there are changes to the schedule, let them know as soon as possible in order to minimize confusion.
- Keep an open mind. If something isn’t working, be willing to adapt. The schedule is a living document that should be tweaked as needed.
- Take employee preferences into account whenever possible. Employees are more likely to be productive and happy if their schedule fits their needs and preferences.
An effective workforce schedule is one that is well-organized and takes into account the needs of both the employees and the business. By following these tips, you can create a schedule that is efficient and works for everyone.
Without a clear and coherent workforce schedule that takes into account the various constraints and needs of your employees, your business will suffer. It’s almost impossible to run a tight ship if the details aren’t ironed out — not to mention, your employees can’t plan their personal lives around work if they have no idea what’s happening next.
By using the tips above, however, you can create a schedule that is both effective and efficient, ensuring that your employees are able to work to the best of their abilities and that your business runs smoothly. You’re just a schedule away from a more efficient and effective workforce!