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The Power of Digital Employee Scheduling

Used in 100+ countries
Supporting 355,000+ workplaces
Key benefits to using digital employee scheduling

4 key business benefits

The days of slaving over paper schedules, figuring out pay rates and trying to manage timesheets are over. A digital scheduling solution can save you time, reduce costs, improve productivity and simplify compliance with labour laws, making them an essential tool for effective team management.

This guide gives you four big reasons to consider a digital solution for your employee scheduling needs. Find out why Deputy is the workplace scheduling solution of choice for UK businesses.

1. Build an efficient business

Many UK businesses are still highly inefficient when it comes to managing their staff. If you’re still spending hours mapping out shifts on a piece of paper or spreadsheet, it’s time to stop punishing yourself and wasting valuable time. A digital scheduling solution can literally change your life. According to a survey conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in 2019, small businesses in the UK were spending an average of 33 hours per month on administrative tasks. This includes tasks such as payroll management, accounting, record-keeping, and other administrative duties.

Gabriel Unger, owner of Chai Guys, says prior to going digital, scheduling was a messy business. “A couple of years ago I set up an Excel spreadsheet for scheduling”, says Gabriel. “I knew it wasn’t great, and it became frustrating as we grew. Alongside the spreadsheet, we used screenshots of dates with people’s names next to them, showing where they need to be and when. It wasn’t a ‘living thing’, so when we needed to change things or add hours, it created a lot of manual work. Our manager who did the schedules was annoyed by it.”

Payroll, too, had become stressful, admits Gabriel: “Paying each person the correct amount based on manual timesheets was difficult – especially if we have to make retrospective changes to schedules manually.” Gabriel didn't have to go far to research different ways of doing things. Asking around at Spitalfields market soon brought recommendations. When fellow business Humble Crumble showed them Deputy, Gabriel immediately thought: “This is fantastic – it’s time for us to implement it.” Once Chai Guys had Deputy up and running for scheduling, it became obvious how much admin time it saves.

Deputy's key scheduling benefits
  1. Schedule all the right people and avoid overspending on labour. There’s no need to manually produce a schedule based on availability while also trying not to go over budget.

  2. Schedule the right people at the right times across your business and easily fill shifts based on employee availability, training, cost and your budget – all with a few clicks.

  3. Use artificial intelligence (AI) to power its auto-schedule function. This allows managers and owners to auto-build schedule templates to handle forecasted sales, delivery orders, foot traffic and other demand trends.

  4. Easily share schedules with your team to make sure they never miss an update. Deputy also allows you to publish schedules instantly from desktop or mobile with smart alerts and reminders.

2. Keep your staff costs under control

Staff are easily the biggest expense for most businesses and many are overspending every week on wages. Take the guesswork out of it and use scheduling software to manage your labour costs. The power of a digital schedule could save you thousands of pounds a week. Managing staff and sticking to a budget can be a finicky exercise, particularly for managers or business owners trying to schedule the correct number of staff to suit customer demand.

Winter Wonderland Hyde Park in bustling London is one business that is benefiting from the power of the digital schedule. Deputy has helped the popular holiday destination reduce its labour costs by 12% in the first year of use.

Annual wage increases in 2024

Honest Burgers finds solution in Deputy

For Tommy Giraux, Head of Project Management at Honest Burgers and Stuart Macnab-Grieve, Operations Partner at Honest Burgers, managing costs was a major factor in a digital scheduling solution.

“Before Deputy we were running the business blindfolded. We had no idea what our labour costs would be until we started paying people,” says Tommy.

“We needed a system that would allow us to plug in forecasting to see our staff availability and when demand for staff is likely to be high. This was important for me. Knowing the challenges we’ve got with recruitment and retention, having visibility and a data-led approach was key for me,” says Stuart.

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3. Boost productivity with better planning

Sometimes you don’t realise how unproductive you are until a new solution comes along. Pay disputes, missed shifts and low morale are often the result of an unproductive and poorly managed team. Leaning on automation and strong processes is a solid way to boost your business’s productivity.

Luxury hybrid hotel chain citizenM was plagued with an inefficient use of staff time on scheduling before it found the answer in digital scheduleing. Scheduling was spreadsheet-based and a whooping four hour job. The spreadsheet-based approach caused other snags. “We had issues around compliance and the equality of shifts, and around having a single source of truth,” says Matthew Bell, Hotel Operations Director Europe. “If someone changed the shift in Excel, did everyone see an updated version? And we also had trouble integrating the shift data with payroll.”

On top of that, Matthew wanted to create a better employee experience. “It would help us democratise the scheduling process so our Ambassadors could manage their own leave requests and shift swaps,” notes Matthew. “Ultimately, we could use algorithms to automate scheduling. Why should someone who’s really good at creating brilliant guest experiences spend time figuring out how to write the most efficient schedule?”

After partnering with Deputy, citizenM now have a single source of truth for all their schedules across all their European hotels. Scheduling time dropped from four hours to just 15 minutes. And that makes management a whole lot easier

4. Attract, engage and retain your employees

Building a solid team and a positive company culture has multiple benefits. Happy employees mean less staff turnover, better customer service and a more productive business. A digital scheduling solution could be just the thing you need to drive engagement and improve employee satisfaction. If businesses really want to succeed, they need to start listening to the needs of their employees. People are your greatest asset and retaining good staff is well worth the effort. Businesses with high staff turnover rate experience poor productivity, high recruitment costs and lost sales.

According to Deputy’s 2022 State of Shift Work report, 50 per cent of staff want more focus on employee wellbeing and one in three want a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion. Implementing a digital scheduling solution is a proven way of empowering your staff and ensuring they’re fully supported in their role. With a central platform to view schedules, request time off and cover any extra shifts, your employees will have more control over their work/life balance. Scheduling apps also make life easier for managers by taking the headache out of creating, printing and changing schedules. In this way, you’ll be saving time and giving your team a better experience.

Shift worker satisfaction in the UK
Atlas Hotels

Prior to Deputy the recurring complaints in our Employee Engagement Survey were around a lack of work-life balance. Since implementing Deputy, those complaints have reduced to 5 comments from 766 employees.

David Drummond, Cluster Operations Manager, Atlas Hotels

Atlas Hotels builds connected teams

Atlas Hotels had an uplift in employee wellbeing after they implemented Deputy. “Obviously, we can’t control the external labour market conditions we’re all facing but we can control doing everything we can to make our existing employees happy,” says Sub Iyer, Head of Operations-South at Atlas Hotels.

Many shift workers belong to a younger demographic and have grown up using apps to communicate. Almost three-quarters (73 percent) of shift workers are under the age of 40, according to Deputy’s State of Shift Work report.

Atlas Hotels

Prior to Deputy the recurring complaints in our Employee Engagement Survey were around a lack of work-life balance. Since implementing Deputy, those complaints have reduced to 5 comments from 766 employees.

Atlas Hotels

If you’re still running your business on paper-based timesheets and manual processes, it’s time to unlock the power of the digital schedule

Try out Deputy for free today and see just how much a new scheduling app can help drive your team’s success in 2024.

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