Optimizing the Shift: 4 Considerations to Make in Your Schedule Design

set a schedule

When you’re dealing with multiple employees, it’s a given that you’re not going to please everyone all of the time. But to create an optimal work schedule that enhances productivity while still accounting for personal preferences, you have to put thought into your initial design or you will be juggling schedules more frequently than you should be.

There’s no such thing as the perfect work schedule, but you can optimize your shifts by taking these 4 considerations into mind when you create your schedule design.

4 Things to Think About When Creating the Work Schedule

1. Consider your employees’ preferences, needs, and skills. Sometimes the job schedule is standard and it’s easy for your employees to plan their shifts. An office job with an 8 to 5 daily routine makes it simple to schedule doctors’ appointments, vacations, and other time off with enough notice.

But if your shifts are inconsistent, ask your employees if they have any special needs to consider. How flexible are they? Do they have any skills or certifications that would let them cover other positions in a pinch? Are they working full- or part-time? Are they good under stress and natural multitaskers, extroverted or introverted, ready to grab extra shifts or preferring to only work their schedule? 

By getting to know these important details about your employees, you’ll know who you can depend on when you’re short-staffed and who you can use in positions that aren’t their designated job if necessary.

2. Who are your priority employees? Every business is hopefully going to have overachievers who go out of their way to be the best they can be for the entire company. But it’s also a given that, as you’re weeding through to find the top workers, you’re going to end up with employees who are there because they don’t have any better options at the time.

Consider the preferences of your priority employees when you are designing your schedule. Fill those slots first and then complete the openings with the rest of your workers.

3. Set up workflow methods so that you are not the go-to for every scheduling problem. Micromanaging your employees isn’t necessary once you have systems in place to cover basic issues, like covering for shift changes. If you have protocols in your employee handbook and have trained your workers on what to do, little issues like calling in sick or swapping shifts can be handled without you having to stress them. You should be notified, but you shouldn’t have to do the work.

By using software programs and apps like Deputy, a scheduling app trusted by more than 100,000 workplaces worldwide, you can optimize your schedule without the hassle.

4. Remember that others are waiting for the schedule. Waiting until the last minute to hand out schedules is not a smart move by managers. Yes, things change at the last second, but instead of holding everyone’s schedule hostage because of the needs of filling a couple of positions, respect your employees as a group. 

Release the schedule a week in advance if there are frequent changes, and talk to a couple of employees to let them know their shifts might need to be adjusted. This lets your employees know they are valued as workers and people and helps them to make plans for babysitters, transportation, appointments, and personal lives. It also limits how many last-minute call-ins you will receive.

Optimize Your Schedule Shifts with Planning

Unless you have constantly changing services that you provide, there’s no need to change everyone’s schedule every week. With some pre-planning and these 4 considerations in mind, your job and your employees’ jobs will be much easier and less stressful.