Your employees want to know that they’re being scheduled fairly. Weekend and early morning or late night shifts are acceptable from time to time, but switching it up is key to keeping your employees happy. A fixed schedule may work for some employees, but, especially in positions that earn tips, changing up the time of day they work can seriously increase earnings.

The type of business you run has a significant impact on whether or not a rotating schedule will work. For a business that is open around the clock or maybe a restaurant in the financial center of town with a busy lunch rush, but typically a slower dinner, a rotating schedule may come in handy.

Before you decide whether a rotating schedule is right for your business or not, get input from your staff. Ask employees for the pros and cons of each of your shifts. Gain an understanding of why employees prefer one over the other in order to switch shifts up in a way that helps employees do their jobs better and experience a bit more work-life balance.

Here are some of the top benefits of a rotating schedule.

Get Tips Right

In the example above, employees working at a restaurant that is packed at lunch, but not quite as busy for dinner won’t make the same amount of tips. If employees are available for both shifts, consider rotating who’s on duty for the afternoon and evening shifts to even out the amount of tips they’re able to make. Your employees rely on tips to make a living, so taking action to make your schedule as fair as possible is a great way to keep employees happy.

Provide Crucial Experience

If you have employees that only ever work the slower traffic shift, they may have a hard time the first time they have to work during peak hours. With occasional shift swaps, it’s likely that these employees will eventually need to cover a busy shift. Instead of them experiencing a shock to the system, implement a rotating schedule so that all employees understand the ebb and flow of your business. When employees both have training and have experience working all shifts, you’ll know you can count on them around the clock.

Give Employees Time Off

When an employee needs time off, you’ll need to find someone else to fill in. Having employees that are comfortable working each shift means that you will have a ready and willing group to take their spot. Having flexibility in your schedule means that employees can make room for other things they need to do in their lives. For example, if you have a set schedule, an employee might need to take the day off to make it to an appointment or family event. Instead, if you have a rotating schedule with more flexibility, they may be able to schedule around their shifts and not have to miss work after all. It’s a win for employees and a win for business owners as well.

How to Get a Rotating Schedule Right

Rotating schedules work best with shifts that aren’t too extreme. After all, asking employees to work three night shifts and two daytime shifts in the same week may not work out well. When sleep schedules are off, your business will suffer. You don’t want an exhausted staff because it will be harder for them to get their work done and they may even start looking for work elsewhere. Rotating schedules should exemplify flexibility while always taking worker needs into account.

After avoiding this major pitfall, it’s important to determine how to schedule your employees best. Once you decide to implement a rotating shift, employees will need an effective way to check when they are working and even get notifications of upcoming shifts. This will be especially important in the first few weeks of switching from a fixed schedule to a rotating schedule. If an employee has worked only dinner shifts for several years, giving them plenty of reminders that they’re working lunch shifts occasionally will make sure it doesn’t slip their mind.

Switching to a rotating schedule can be a great way to keep scheduling fair. In a mobile-first world, giving your employees the ability to check their upcoming shifts and get notifications on the smartphones will keep your business running smoothly. Streamline scheduling and keep employees in the loop with scheduling software.

If you want to give a rotating schedule a try, Homebase can help schedule your employees effortlessly. Get started for free.


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