Employee schedules are invaluable to the essential worker industry. They tell people when to show up for work and ensure that a business is properly staffed. Creating an employee schedule might seem obvious too. After all, you have your staff and designated hours of operation. You assign people to work shifts and have them take turns.
Should be easy, right?
Keep in mind that specific business factors, like seasonality, will determine how effective your schedules really are. If a team member suddenly calls out sick or your business experiences an unexpected surge in volume, can your schedule keep operations smoothly afloat? Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or newer to the trade, discover eight lazy scheduling makes that are holding managers back from greatness.
1. Not knowing the team
Your team is diverse. Although their roles might overlap, they have specific working styles and needs. Did you know that Carly has kids in school and can’t work after 3 p.m.? Dean attends college part-time and has exams every Friday. Paula can’t walk around too long and would prefer to host at the front right now.
If you aren’t familiar with your team — their needs, preferences, and skills — your schedule can fall apart. Use automated tools that let you schedule employees according to their skills and qualifications.
2. Where did everybody go?
It’s the lunch rush and your cafe has turned to chaos. Why? There aren’t enough staff to take orders. An overworked server is more likely to forget orders and run out of steam. Did someone call out sick without securing an alternate? Did you forget that Valentine’s Day usually draws a crowd?
Make sure that your team has enough support. This might require some proactive planning, but will be worth it when everyone feels like they have someone else to count on.
3. Too many cooks (or servers) in the kitchen
On the flipside, you don’t want a night where no one has anything to do. If too many servers are working, you could be wasting money. Auto-build schedule templates to handle forecasted sales, delivery orders, foot traffic, and other demand trends so save you money — and save your team wasted hours.
4. Picking favorites
Some employees are more experienced and better suited for certain shifts. A bartender who’s been with your bar for two years knows how to handle the crowds on Friday and Saturday nights.
But what about your new staff? Train your team to ensure they have the right skills or certifications to work other shifts. When you schedule, it’s up to you to make sure everyone is scheduled fairly.
5. Share the schedule
People lead dynamic lives outside of work and would appreciate consistency where it counts. In fact, some cities have laws in place to create a more fair workplace for employees.
One way you can help is by sharing your team’s schedule well in advance — even better if you do it at a consistent time of the week. That way your employees have enough time to request changes and you can easily fill open shifts.
6. It's the season
Black Friday, even during the pandemic, will draw a crowd. Are you paying attention to seasonal trends and staffing accordingly to meet the rush of customers? On the same token, your employees will likely request vacation days during the winter and summer.
Don’t forget to plan around holidays and seasons that impact demand for your business, and your team will be thankful that you paid attention.
7. Take 30
Get acquainted with local labor laws so that you are properly including breaks in your schedules.
When employees are on break, make sure that others are still covering the workload and stagger the schedule so no one gets overwhelmed. These laws can be tricky, so reach out to your local legal team if needed.
8. Protect the bottom line
Balance is everything. You need to schedule enough people to meet demand while giving them an equal share of work. This means you’ll need to spend time crunching numbers every month to figure out how much each shift costs.
Employees might request overtime to cover extra bills. Have you taken extra funds to make these happen? At the end of the day, scheduling is a dance of intuition, preparation, and common sense. Invest in thoughtful scheduling practices and you’ll never look stupid again.
Become an even better manager
As a manager, you should be spending your time making sure your staff are happy and you’re hitting the bottom line. But if you’re bogged down with scheduling, everything else could fall apart.
The right scheduling tool can actually mean less day-to-day work for you — and make you look like a rockstar in the meantime. Sign up for a free trial of Deputy to learn more.