Perhaps the greatest irony in scheduling is that to manage your team’s time more effectively, you have to spend a lot of time doing it. But scheduling doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time. When you follow these quick tips from the time tracking specialists at TIMECO, you can spend more time focusing on what matters most to your business and less time tracking hours.
Recognize When Your Employees Can Work
The fact is, your employees have their own schedules outside of work. This can impact when they can and cannot work. For instance, a college student might have more flexible hours during school breaks, but might need to ask for different schedules during finals week. Similarly, your employees who have school-aged children might have set hours they can work, but have to leave to pick up or drop off their kids.
If you haven’t done this already, create a quick questionnaire for your employees to fill out asking about their availability. You might ask questions like:
- Do you want a full-time or part-time schedule?
- Do you want morning, afternoon, evening, or night shifts?
- What’s your or your child’s class schedule look like?
- Are you willing to work overtime or extra shifts? When?
- Which holidays do you absolutely need off?
These simple questions can give you insights into more than just scheduling too. For instance, you might have an employee who is struggling to keep up with their work during the morning shift, but they say they want to work nights. It could lead to dramatic improvements in employee performance when you schedule them according to when they feel they do their best work.
Keep an Eye Out for Schedule Abuse
No employee can ever work the same schedule week after week without change. Life gets in the way, be it car problems or major events. The occasional shift swap or sick day isn’t cause for concern, but it’s important to look for patterns in these behaviors. For instance, if you have an employee that is regularly asking for Fridays and Mondays off, or is trading those shifts, this can be a problem. Similarly, employees who routinely make last minute changes to their schedules, or don’t show up when a new schedule is released are cause for concern. In cases like these, it’s best to talk with the employee about their performance.
But you can be guilty of schedule abuse as well. For instance, asking the same employees to stay late every week can build resentment. Releasing schedules a week at a time can also cause frustration in your staff. Be respectful of your team’s time, and they’ll do the same.
Schedule to Your Team’s Strengths
You already have a sense of when you’re employees can work, but to make scheduling easier, you should also have a sense of what each individual does well. For instance, if you have an employee who is trained and certified for a specific task, make sure they’re working when that task needs to be completed. Similarly, if you know that two employees work well together, make sure to pair their schedules when possible. You’ll see better results when you keep the strengths of your team in mind while scheduling.
Set Your Schedules in Advance
This might seem like a common sense tip, but you’d be surprised how many business owners or schedulers release their employee schedules only a week in advance, or even the day of! This can confuse your team and lead to scheduling conflicts. It also makes it hard for your employees to make their own schedules outside of work.
At minimum, you should release schedules two weeks in advance. This gives your employees time to change shifts, place leave requests, and plan their time accordingly. Not only that, make sure the schedule is easily accessible. Put it by the entrances and exits to the building, in the break room, and even make it available digitally through an email.
Take Advantage of TIMECO’s Software
Likely, you’re already using an employee management software, so why not make it even better? TIMECO integrates into your existing programs and makes them even better. We’ve streamlined the scheduling process, making it easy for you to track employee time, leave requests, and shift swaps. Your employees can check their schedules through the mobile app, leave comments on their time cards, and even let you know if they’re taking a sick day all in real-time.