How to Make Employee Schedules? Staff Scheduling 101

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Efficiency, together with time and resource utilization, plays important roles in how well your business is doing. It’s not enough to just provide high-quality services, but also optimize business processes and automate everything you can. Staff scheduling is one of the most critical aspects of optimizing business operations while making sure clients still get the high-quality services they deserve. 

Efficient employee scheduling is equally important for businesses of any size, and mastering it will make sure your business runs smoothly, maintains productivity, and keeps employees and customers happy. We’ll cover 19 powerful employee scheduling techniques and teach you how to make employee schedules step-by-step.

Let’s dive in!

Importance of Efficiently Scheduling Employees

Learning the art of efficiently scheduling employees will benefit your whole business – you’ll have more free time, employees will be highly productive, and customers will enjoy an awesome customer experience. 

Well-planned employee schedules will help you avoid burnout, minimize labor costs and improve company morale. When your employees are organized, it translates into better customer service, better employee retention rates, and increased productivity. When you do staff scheduling like a pro, it ensures that there are always enough employees with the necessary skills to meet the high demands of your business. 

19 Powerful Employee Scheduling Techniques

To create efficient employee schedules, it’s important to take a strategic and well-structured approach. We’ve provided you with 19 employee scheduling techniques that are going to make the whole process a breeze. 

Asses your scheduling needs

Start with analyzing the current state of your business. What are some common problems when it comes to staff scheduling? Do you run into the same issues over and over again? Every business has unique employee scheduling requirements. It’s crucial to consider factors such as peak hours, industry trends, and specific tasks that need more staff support. By analyzing historical data, you’ll gain valuable insights into optimal staffing levels during different periods in your business, whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly. 

Evaluate staff availability

The next step is to figure out what resources you have at your disposal. Ask employees about their availability. When making employee schedules, you’ll take into consideration their preferences when it comes to shifts and working hours. It will boost employee satisfaction and reduce the likelihood of scheduling conflicts as well as last-minute changes. Keep in mind that striking a balance between business needs and employee preferences is crucial to boost morale and keep everything running smoothly. 

Ask employees if they want to work overtime & create a list

Maybe some of your employees want to earn extra money and are willing to put in more hours to achieve that. You won’t know until you ask them! Create a list of employees who’re willing to work overtime, and when some urgent scheduling issues arise, you’ll know who to call. 

Communicate the logic behind employee schedules effectively

Make sure that your staff knows why the scheduling works the way it does. When they know why they’re assigned specific shifts, you’ll promote transparency and they’ll accept schedules willingly. 

Make sure you’re adhering to laws

Labor laws are no joke. When making employee schedules, make sure you obey the laws in your area and that schedules are compliant with laws regarding working hours, rest periods, and overtime. 

Get ready to review and change

Flexibility is extremely important in staff scheduling. Unforeseen events happen and you can’t do anything about it. Neither can your employees. Changes in demand and employee absence may require fast adjustments and flexibility. Make sure you’re ready to handle these situations effectively and quickly. 

Make employees’ schedules easily accessible

If you want everything to stay on track, everyone should be able to see and easily access employee schedules. Staff scheduling software, whether free or paid, will help you update things as necessary and everyone concerned can easily access it. 

Publish new employee schedules in a timely fashion

Business women moving clock hands ahead. Colleagues standing at clock, showing thumb up.

Image by pch.vector on Freepik

No matter how big or small changes you make to staff scheduling, it’s crucial to give your employees enough time to plan their personal activities. Sharing employee schedules well in advance as well as transparent scheduling are crucial to promote a positive and harmonious work environment. You’ll enjoy increased productivity, while your staff will effectively balance professional and personal lives. 

Review & update regularly

Once your employee schedules are up and running, it’s a good idea to periodically review their effectiveness. Ask employees for feedback, analyze any issues that may have happened, and analyze the data to find areas for improvement. The proactive approach will help you a great deal to refine your employee scheduling process and keep everyone happy. 

Assign shifts based on task priorities

Make sure that every shift has enough employees to handle crucial tasks in your business. You’ll achieve this by assigning shifts based on the priority of tasks which makes sure the right employees are available during critical periods. 

Make sure shifts are fairly allocated

Your employee scheduling process should be fully transparent and fair for every employee. Consider preferences of each employee, and business needs and create employee schedules according to that. Making sure everyone has an equal chance to get preferred shifts will promote a healthy and trustworthy work environment. 

Provide employees with real-time schedule updates

The best employee scheduling software will provide employees with real-time updates, shift availability, and any changes that were made. Implementing automated SMS and Email notifications about important changes will help keep every employee in the loop about their schedules. 

Schedule more employees during peak hours

Because you’ve analyzed your business needs, you know peak and non-peak hours, as well as seasonal changes. Assigning more employees to work during high demand and fewer employees to work during idle periods is a crucial employee scheduling technique. It will help employees with productivity, and make sure you have high standards when it comes to customer satisfaction. 

Establish buffer time between appointments

Appointment buffer time allows your employees to catch their breath and get a well-deserved break. They can use this time to unwind, relax, and keep their productivity high. 

Train employees to cover multiple services if possible

If employees can cover multiple services, this can offer you better employee scheduling flexibility. You won’t get many scheduling conflicts, and resolving any issues that arise will be much easier. 

Make sure your employee scheduling is predictive

Make sure you don’t completely change the way you do staff scheduling and confuse your employees. They should all be aware of how things work, peak hours, and when they need to step up to make everything run smoothly. Make sure to offer them the right incentives when there is especially high demand. 

Schedule employees based on skills

If you run a hair salon, and you know that mornings are usually haircuts heavy, it’s a great idea to give morning shifts to employees who provide this service efficiently. The same goes for every other business. Assigning shifts based on employees’ skills makes sure everyone provides services that match their abilities. 

Allow employees to swap shifts

Implementing the right approach when it comes to requesting time off or swapping shifts is another important employee scheduling technique. Making it easy for employees to communicate and swap shifts digitally will make this process easy for everyone. 

Automate employee scheduling to streamline the whole process

Using employee scheduling software will provide numerous benefits that will help you streamline the whole process and make it easy for everyone involved. Assigning specific services for employees, scheduling their availability, and making staff schedules accessible to everyone will make your life easier. 

How to Make Employee Schedules? Step-by-step Guide

Now that you’ve mastered employee techniques, it’s time to learn how to make employee schedules step-by-step. 

  1. Analyze your business’s staffing needs on a weekly and daily basis. Account for seasonal fluctuations and consider any special circumstances or promotions that can impact staffing needs. Maybe you need more employees to cover high demand on weekends, and you need that information to make employee schedules. 
  2. Set up company days off on a recurring, yearly basis. Sometimes, you can oversee these when making employee schedules, and you want to predict conflicts beforehand.
  3. Gather all employee information, including their roles, services they provide, skills, and availability preferences. Don’t forget to include special days for each employee, e.g. if they get a day off for their birthday. Having this information in one place will streamline the process of making employee schedules.
  4. If you plan to have an employee or even multiple people manage employee schedules, make sure they have the access and roles that allow them to do it effectively.
  5. Analyze your services and cross-analyze them with employees’ skills to make sure you provide all services during working hours. 
  6. Assign specific services to employees who perform them and make employee schedules based on that. Don’t forget to implement staff preferences when doing this!
  7. Analyze the workload and balance it further to avoid burnout and ensure fair staff scheduling.
  8. Assign shifts based on skills, availability, and services staff provides. 
  9. Share the employee schedules you’ve made with your staff and ask them for feedback. 

Utilize Free Staff Scheduling Software

Utilizing free staff scheduling software will provide you with the necessary support and automation to make employee schedules with ease. Besides, it will also improve efficiency, save you precious time, and reduce errors we all make! 

Trafft is a FREE staff scheduling software for up to 5 team members, and if you need more – it’s only $29 per month. But let’s see everything you’ll get when you sign up for Trafft. 

How can Trafft help you?

  • Trafft keeps your team and business organized.
  • You can set up your employees’ schedules and working hours.
  • Seamlessly add days off and special days to employees’ schedules.
  • With a single dashboard, you can manage the whole staff scheduling process.
  • You’ll have a clear overview of your team’s schedules.
  • All employees’ schedules are in one calendar and you can keep track of the bookings with a single glance. 
  • If you run your business in multiple locations, you can assign your employees with services and locations, adjust prices per employee and service, and do it all with one tool.
  • Double bookings? Not anymore! Sync your team’s calendars with Trafft, including Google, Outlook, and iCal. 
  • If you provide online appointments, employees can connect their Zoom or Google Meet accounts with Trafft for a seamless experience.
  • To prevent missed appointments, you can set up automatic reminders and custom notifications for your employees.
  • Assign different roles to each employee and allow them to self-manage their schedules. You can take full control of staff scheduling or create custom roles with different permissions. 
  • You’ll also see employee stats and identify high-performers which is crucial to properly reward them for their dedication.

What are you waiting for? Find the plan that suits your needs or simply use Trafft’s free employee scheduling software to make staff scheduling easy for everyone. 

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Tamara Jovanovic
Tamara Jovanovic

Tamara Jovanovic is an SEO Content Specialist who enjoys learning about different industries, people, and how to solve problems through content. She is curious by nature and eager to experiment with new ideas that could provide value to readers. Often she spends hours analyzing why things worked or didn’t so she could be equipped with data and improve with every new task. Likes reading, learning, playing games, growing plants, and enjoying a good cup of coffee.