We’ve been hard at work on making some improvements to Homebase employee scheduling just in time for the holiday season. These will be useful year-round, but should prove extra helpful during these last few months of the year.

1. Fewer scheduling surprises: improved availability tracking and manager approvals

Your team can now add their availabilities week by week and indicate changes to their availability in advance. For example, if you have a student whose schedule will change at the beginning of the school year, they can update their availability now. You’ll have the most accurate availability information when you go to create the schedule, even if you’re planning a few weeks in advance. It’s also really useful for holiday scheduling, as you try to juggle everyone’s time off requests.

If you’re on our Plus plan, you can also now require manager approval for any availability changes. You’ll still receive an email and alert when a change is made, but now it won’t go into the schedule maker until it’s approved. This is especially useful if you hired someone for a specific day or time, and want to make sure they keep that time open.

To learn more about how to set up manager approvals, check out our support article.

2. Rest easy: receive confirmation your team has viewed the schedule

Dealing with a lot of schedule changes this holiday season? We’ll now let you know when your employees have received your newly published schedule.

If they receive schedule updates via text, we’ll let you know when the text has been received. If your employee receives the update via email, we’ll let you know when the email was opened. A little extra peace of mind, especially when you have to make a last-minute schedule change.

Schedule confirmations are available on our Plus and Enterprise plans.

To learn more, view our support article.

3. Advanced notice for time-off requests and black-out dates

Worried about coverage during the holidays? You can now require advanced notice for time-off requests. Pick the number of days’ advanced notice you need and automatically prevent time-off requests after that window is over. If you pick three days, for example, we’ll automatically prevent weekend requests by Wednesday. Pick seven days, and you can lock in your Thanksgiving coverage by November 17th.

Have an especially busy day coming up? You can also designate “black-out dates,” where time-off requests aren’t accepted at all. Both of these updates to time-off are available on Homebase Plus, and can be found under “settings.” For a little more information on getting these set up, visit our help center.

We hope these updates save you a little more time this holiday season. Happy scheduling.