5 great employee scheduling ideas for your small business

Employee scheduling is more difficult than you think. Managing time-off requests, working out availability, anticipating staff demand — it’s enough to give you a serious headache. What if there was an easier way to schedule your employees?

Here are five employee scheduling ideas to help you build a better and more fair schedule for your employees:

    1. Use spreadsheets to create schedules
    2. Plan schedules on paper
    3. Use social media for scheduling
    4. Leverage Intranet scheduling
    5. Try employee scheduling software

5 Employee scheduling ideas

Staff scheduling can be difficult, no matter how big your business is. While businesses with many team members can struggle with the logistics of overseeing a large number of staff members, small businesses can run into issues when it comes to last-minute changes or no-shows. Having an efficient scheduling process can help alleviate some of these struggles, so here are 5 ideas to help with your employee scheduling:

1. Use spreadsheets to create schedules

This is one of the oldest employee scheduling methods, and it’s one that many business owners still use today. Using shift schedule templates on programs like Microsoft Excel will help you assign work shifts, manage absences and track employees.

Although there are more effective employee scheduling methods, spreadsheets will still do the job. You can enter the name of an employee on your document and schedule hours efficiently. You might need a calendar and calculator to help you, though!


2. Plan schedules on paper

Yes, some companies still use paper-based schedules to assign working hours. This employee scheduling method has been used for centuries — it’s cheap, convenient and doesn’t require any software.

There are a number of drawbacks to paper-based schedules, however. It can take a long time to schedule workers with the pen and paper method — half of all employers say they spend at least two hours every week compiling schedules — and you could easily lose your schedule or make mistakes.

Paper-based schedules also make it difficult to comply with federal and local legislation. The proposed Seattle “secured scheduling” law, for example, will require employers in the retail and food and beverages industries to keep schedules for three years and notify employees of schedule changes two weeks in advance.

3. Use social media for scheduling

Some employers are using social media to schedule work shifts. Employees can post their availability and preferred shifts in a private Facebook group, for example. While this method provides more flexibility for employees — especially those who work from home — it can be difficult for employers to track work schedules effectively.

Social media can be beneficial when it comes to sharing work schedule information, however. Employers can post work shift changes on Facebook or Twitter, and employees can access this information on their smartphone or tablet.

4. Leverage Intranet scheduling

Intranet pages provide your staff with a communication hub. Use this platform to keep employees updated with the latest news and developments in your company. You can also use your intranet pages for work schedules. Employees can manage time-off requests and post their availability, while your HR team can post work schedules in one place.

5. Try employee scheduling software

Employee scheduling software combines several planning tools that make it easier to assign shifts, manage time-off requests and post work schedule updates. Programs like Homebase eliminate many of the errors associated with conventional scheduling methods like spreadsheets and paper-based schedules.

Trusted by over 100,000 businesses, Homebase lets you compile a schedule in just minutes. You can share your schedule with your team, manage changes quickly and view information about your employees on one dashboard.

These five shift scheduling methods help you create schedules and shift patterns. While some employers still use traditional methods like pen and paper, new technologies like employee scheduling software have streamlined attendance tracking and workforce management.

Our work scheduling app makes it easy for you to build schedules and forecast labor costs. You can even manage shifts, time-off requests and schedule changes from your smartphone or tablet. Click here to learn more about Homebase’s free work scheduling software.

 

FAQs

What is the best way to set employee schedules?

Try to be predictive of your staffing needs and work with your employees to create reasonable weekly schedules ahead of time. You can use employee scheduling tools to manage timesheets and transparently communicate your scheduling needs to your team.

How do you solve scheduling problems?

Providing efficient communication tools to enable shift swapping as needed and discouraging absenteeism can help solve some scheduling issues. Having the right employee scheduling tools in place will help your employees trade shifts and help you manage your staff according to your business needs.

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