In business, lost time equals lost money, so when scheduling conflicts arise, business owners understandably become upset. Often, these conflicts have simple causes such as inadvertent double bookings, no shows, holidays and shifting employee schedules.
Employees also suffer from these scheduling issues. They may be forced to work long hours with little time between shifts or end up working too many consecutive days. Poor scheduling leads to poor employee morale and productivity.
Although scheduling conflicts are common, no company should accept them as normal. Employers can use a variety of tools and strategies to reduce these issues, thus improving workflow and financial returns.
What are scheduling conflicts?
Scheduling conflicts are cases in which staff members are assigned two shifts at the same time. They can lead to you having too many or too few employees on a shift, and can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for you and your employees.
Most problems occur at businesses that have multiple shifts, although 9-5 businesses can run into issues as well with vacation days, holidays and sick leave. Correcting these issues is essential for a business to be successful. Below are some common conflicts and solutions.
1. Unofficial rescheduling
Employee schedules need to be closely managed by one person or a small HR team. When too many people are handling scheduling changes, such as employees swapping shifts, confusion often ensues. In some instances, employees may make these changes with each other and not notify management at all.
The company can easily end up with too many employees on one shift and not enough on another. Customer service suffers as does general productivity, while management frustration goes through the roof.
2. Last minute scheduling
Some business owners or HR employees put off scheduling until the last minute. This practice isn’t always due to procrastination. Those in charge of scheduling know that people frequently ask for shift changes right before the new schedule takes effect. As a result, they delay the task to reduce the number of alterations they must make.
In reality, creating the schedule well ahead of time may lead to fewer conflicts. Employees have time to assess their needs and make timely requests for changes. The person in charge of scheduling can then give these alterations some thought instead of cramming through a last-minute change. Fewer mistakes are made and shifts run more smoothly.
3. Too much overtime
Scheduling conflicts often lead to excess overtime. The shift must be covered, so if there is a no show or too few people scheduled, someone else will have to fill in. As a result, that person may end up with significant overtime, a costly situation for an employer. Other employees may end up shortchanged on their hours, something few people can afford.
4. Employee fatigue
Scheduling problems can also wear down employees. Last minute changes or absences can lead to team members working without enough time between shifts to get a decent night’s rest. They may have to close one night and open the next morning, something dreaded by all retail employees.
Workers can also end up working too many days in a row and/or be forced to work double shifts. Overworked employees are not at their best, which impacts their morale and business profitability. Schedule makers need to take employee needs into consideration when making out their schedules for the good of the staff and the good of the company.
Technology can make scheduling much easier and accurate. The right software can prevent many of these troubling employee conflicts. Scheduling apps such as Homebase make the creation of initial work schedules simple and any later changes easy. Features such as drag and drop team scheduling and automatic scheduling eliminates many mistakes.
Advanced computer software saves the company employee hours. It simplifies the entire process so the employee in charge of scheduling spends fewer hours working on the schedule. They can then be more productive in other areas of their job or even take on new responsibilities.
These programs also allow easy communication with employees about their hours and give everyone easy access to the latest version of the schedule as well. This improved communication leads to improved schedules and fewer misunderstandings. In general, everyone is happier with their work situation.
In addition, these programs can help management control labor costs. They can instantly see what their weekly costs are, including overtime. This software can also forecast sales and give updates on budget targets so the company’s financial position is clear to everyone concerned.
Those in charge of scheduling have a difficult and continual task to complete. They cannot simply slide an employee into a slot and move on. Scheduling requires thinking holistically about the staff and the company. Shifts must be covered adequately while providing employees with hours that allow them a personal life.
Common mistakes can lead to overbooked and under-booked shifts, which makes doing business harder and less profitable. These problems can also negatively impact employee productivity and lower retention rates.