Deputy makes scheduling straightforward for Tron Theatre
At a glance
- Scheduling time reduced from 10 day to 2 days at peak times
- Saved 3 hours of admin each week with shift swapping/offer tool
- Learned how to create the perfect rota in seconds
Since it opened in 1981, Tron Theatre has been at the centre of Glasgow’s buzzing arts scene. Hosting everything from new writing to contemporary classics, Tron partners with local and international theatre makers to put on shows for everyone. But it’s not just a performance space. The theatre also provides a creative learning hub for theatre practitioners across the west of Scotland.
Khaliq Ahmed started working at Tron in 2007 as an usher — and never left. “I feel like I’ve been here since the very beginning,” he jokes. As passionate about people as he is about theatre, Khaliq has worked his way through the ranks to the role he has now: Front of House and Box Office Manager.
"New writing, contemporary classics, dance, touring shows, pantomime…"
Running a theatre of Tron’s size is more complicated than you might expect. “Panto is so complex,” explains Khaliq. “We’ve got five shows a day.” Tron employs a workforce of nearly 70 people, many of whom are up-and-coming actors or students who need the flexibility of a zero hours contract along with a core team of staff who are on various types of fixed contract.
So when there’s so much movement throughout the theatre, efficiency is critical to get his job done. Unfortunately, creating schedules that provided that flexibility and transparency wasn’t always easy.
“When the Front of House and Box Office teams were managed separately, we were using various Excel spreadsheets to do scheduling and payroll.” But when the teams were combined, spreadsheets just weren’t cutting it.
That’s when Khaliq started looking around for a workflow management software solution.
Initially, Khaliq started using a different solution. But as he tried to add more departments into the system, he discovered that for it to work effectively for them each department had to sign up to the system individually. It would have been time-consuming — and expensive.
"Panto is so complex. We’ve got 5 shows a day."
That’s when Khaliq implemented Deputy, and the difference was immediate. “Deputy is great value for the service you provide. You’re allowing smaller companies to access facilities only larger organisations could afford,” he explains.
Deputy has radically reduced the time it takes Khaliq to create a staff schedule. Before, it would take all weekend to create the rota for the next 2 weeks. Now, as soon as staff have entered their availability, the rota template is filled instantly using the Autofill feature. “It’s a godsend,” says Khaliq. “The system knows exactly when people are able to work, what their working hours arrangements are and what they’re trained in, so that no one can be scheduled incorrectly by accident.”
Deputy also provides that flexibility that’s so important to Khaliq and his staff. In the lead up to the chaotic Christmas period, Khaliq creates rotas 8 weeks in advance. “They need to be perfect,” he says.
And while Khaliq used to spend 3 hours a day for 2 weeks creating those rotas, he now only spends a few hours for 2 days finalising the schedule.
But it’s not just Khaliq who raves about Deputy. The staff at the Tron love Deputy too, particularly because it makes shift-swapping and communications so much easier. Using the Deputy app they have instant access to the systems shift swap/offer and news feed functionality, allowing everyone to keep up to date.
For Khaliq, that means more free time to spend on other parts of the business. “The shift swap/offer feature saves me about three hours a week compared to before. Staff would often contact us to swap/offer their shift out due to their ever changing diaries” says Khaliq.
With Deputy, Khaliq can be sure that the right number of staff will be at the theatre, and individual team members can have flexibility with their schedules.
All photos copyright John Johnston
"It’s a godsend."