How Many Hours Should Employees Actually Work?

Small businesses often depend on their teams to fill multiple roles, making task and time management critical components of success. The old saying rings true: time is money. While no small business wants to wind up shorthanded, overstaffing can prove a costly mistake.

So how can a small business determine how many hours its employees should actually work? This article outlines steps you can take to manage time, maximize efficiency, and budget effectively for current and future operations.

Track Current Completion Times and Hours Worked

The number of hours a small business employee works in a week can vary greatly and depends on several factors such as:

  • Industry
  • Type of task
  • Number of total employees
  • Season
  • Nature of employment
Part-time, contractual, and seasonal employees especially may have schedules that fluctuate from week to week. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there are over 30,000,000 part-time employees in the U.S. as of July 2018. That’s a whole lot of schedules to manage!
Small business owners know that even with careful planning, changes may arise that force schedules to be extended, shuffled, and otherwise rearranged. Using an employee scheduling software keeps everyone on the team informed, in sync, and eliminates guesswork by tracking hours worked. With this data in hand, you can see exactly how your business divides its time and use this information to set achievable time management goals.

Set New Time Management Goals

You can use a time clock app to see exactly how long each task takes your employees to complete including paid and unpaid breaks. You can even use the tool to determine your labor costs in real time. Having this information allows you to see where your team excels and where improvements can be made. It can also help you create shifts and schedules tailored to the related workload. This helps your team work efficiently and cuts down on unexpected overtime.
As you continue to time tasks, you can track trends and improvements. Use this information to create incremental goals for you and your team, then monitor your progress toward those achievements.
Pro Tip: Use a team communication platform to communicate expectations, goals, and progress. More on this in the section below!

Improve Efficiency Through Effective Team Communication

Ever find it hard to keep everyone on your team in the loop? Texts can fail to send or get lost in cyberspace, the average office worker sends and receives an estimated 125 business emails each day, and no one enjoys playing phone tag. With all the modes of communication available to us and the sheer volume of messages received, it’s easy to see how an important update can get lost in the shuffle. Streamlining information saves valuable time, improves teamwork, and optimizes your business operations.

Centralizing your team’s communication provides a single destination where everyone can go to keep updated. An effective team communication platform allows you to send and receive messages on the go. Mobile access lets you manage your team remotely and keep everyone informed wherever they are.

Pro Tip: Read receipts ensure everyone has the information needed to keep your business running smoothly.

Plan for the Future

Forecasting is a key part of planning for the future. We already use apps to check if we should bring the umbrella or pack an extra sweater. When you connect your POS, Homebase will automatically forecast labor costs as you schedule shifts, making it easy to plan and stick to your budgets.

With the right tools, you can maximize efficiency and minimize labor costs to make your business both healthier and wealthier. Learn more about how employee scheduling software can improve your business.

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