Do you find it simple to manage your team’s schedule? Do you know your way around a Gantt chart? Do you never miss due dates?
The truth is even the best project managers need to monitor and reflect on their team schedule process to maximize efficiency.
A key element of project management involves simply ensuring the right employees are in the right place at the right time.
Why do project managers need to optimize team schedules? 📈
Project managers must be expert plate spinners to oversee rostering and schedules effectively to complete the projects at hand.
The problem with plate spinning is that even the best-laid project plans can go wrong and bring everything crashing down.
That’s why you need specialist employee scheduling software alongside your project management software to get a real-time overview of your employee’s commitments.
Effective time-tracking software lets you know who is scheduled to work where and when. This accuracy saves time as you can quickly determine the best-placed employees to complete project tasks.
Here’s a comprehensive list showcasing the benefits of effective scheduling for a project:
- Better work-life balance – Effective scheduling allows employees to plan their lives better and in advance. It enables them to manage their personal and professional spheres.
- Better workload management – Scheduling tasks allows us to break down projects into more manageable chunks.
- Meeting deadlines – Scheduled tasks can improve efficiency and avoid missing deadlines or losing leads.
- Progress towards broader goals – Schedule days, weeks, hours, and even months for short-term and long-term goals.
- Accountability – transparent work schedules ensure everyone understands who is working on what and when.
- Happier teams – Flexible and open work schedules should foster collaboration among team members.
It also saves time just avoiding the manual creation of your schedules!
Take a look at this stat from Shiftboard’s 2023 Hourly Workers Survey:
Organizations report employee scheduling software drives 30% faster schedule creation and reduces scheduling errors by 55%.
With talk of all these benefits, you’re probably keen to know about our tips for successful team schedule and project management!
So, without further ado, let’s dive in! 🏊
1. Identify which work schedules you need to use ⏲️
There are many types of work schedules used by organizations. These depend on the circumstances and needs of your business and the structure of your workforce. The most common examples are:
When creating a project schedule, you’ll need to determine which work schedules your employees are on and if you need to make changes to these.
The most common arrangement, where employees are required to work for at least 40 hours per week. The total number of hours is usually divided across multiple days. This arrangement is stable, but recording overtime can be difficult.
Part-time employees work fewer hours than full-time employees. However, the hours can vary from 1 hour to 39 hours per week. The hours may also be inconsistent, which offers flexibility to employers and employees. Scheduling in this arrangement is dependent on the importance of the employee’s position. Part-time work is common within the hospitality industry.
Many employees express a preference for a flexible work arrangement.
Flexible work policies enable employees to meet work expectations on a schedule that matches their personal commitments.
An employer might specify a minimum number of set hours but leave remaining hours as flexible. This empowers employees to fulfill hours as they wish. This setup can work for shift work, where employees can swap shifts with others as needed.
This arrangement is a regular, defined, and predictable number of hours per week following a set start and finish time. Since you clearly define the hours, it is a stable situation for both employer and employee.
This arrangement sets shifts on a schedule where employees may work a day or night shift on a rotating basis. The rotation can occur on a daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis.
Rotating shift work is common in retail or manufacturing companies that operate more than 10 hours daily and utilize part-time or flexible employees. Rotating shifts allow flexibility but can be physically and mentally tiring transitioning from day to night work and vice versa.
2. Planning is key 🔑
Once you’ve selected the most appropriate work schedule, you need to consider three other elements to help in your planning phase.
Customer demand for your products or services may determine the number of employees required for the required output. Demand may change on a daily, weekly, or seasonal basis, impacting your scheduling arrangement.
Skills and experience required
Consider the skills and experience required to meet the demand and output. Your employees each have particular skill sets, and you need to choose the right combination to fulfill the specific project requirements.
Consider the project activities and know your employees well to effectively allocate the best combination of team members for the task.
Legislative requirements for employer and employee relationships exist at local, state, and federal level. These may include break times, time clocks, and hour limits. Scheduling and planning employee hours must adhere to legislation.
When considering your planned schedule for your upcoming project, you’ll need to ensure your allocated time to each team member complies with the law.
3. Know your team
Each team member plays a crucial role in your business’ success. Knowing your team allows the most effective use of their skills and experience. Further, personality, strengths, weaknesses, and background may assist in planning for specific demands or new products and services.
Maintaining a spreadsheet of employee information may help your future planning. Information to include:
This information helps with flexible work arrangements, changing demand, launching new products or services, and industry changes. Further, the balance of skills, experience, and relationships on shifts may influence the output and quality of work.
Knowing as much information as possible about your team and their work together will significantly impact your decision-making.
4. Write a scheduling policy
Create a policy that details your planning, expectations, and requirements. Specify how you will manage schedule requests, shift swaps, overtime, and holidays.
Making the policy available and transparent to employees is essential to streamlining the scheduling component of your business.
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate 🔊🔊🔊
Communication is vital when implementing changes to scheduling for your business.
After writing a policy, inform your team, mention it during hiring and onboarding, and include it in the employee handbook. Then, ensure you review it with employees if changes are made.
Organization or team-wide scheduling software tools may assist with updates or questions about the policy.
As a side note, how your team communicates, in itself, is incredibly important in project management.
According to the 2021 Anatomy of Work Index, people switch between 10 apps 25 times per day to do their work, resulting in losing track of some important communication.
Source: Anatomy of Work Index
This shows you need to streamline the number of apps you use and share a communication plan so everybody is on the same page and wasting minimal time.
Revamp your workplace communication with our awesome smart messaging tool at Mytommy. It can bridge communication gaps, improve work-life balance, and generally act as your business’s go-to tool for workplace messaging.
6. Choose and set up a scheduling system 🗓️
There is a wide range of options for a scheduling system, including spreadsheets, calendars, email, text messaging, and software. Whichever option you choose, let your team know and provide training and information about how to use it.
7. Be people-centered 💑
Employees are a significant asset, and the system should make scheduling easy for your business and employees.
The people are at the heart of your business, each with individual needs and priorities. Keeping that top of mind as you implement your scheduling policies is vital.
Remember each employee’s work-life balance, and consider the relationships between those rostered together. Being people-centered means avoiding frustration and practicing active listening to hear their input, too.
Find the right balance between flexibility and efficiency to build a happier workforce.
Again, as found in the 2023 Shiftboard customer survey:
8. Aim to avoid mistakes
Although mistakes can happen, your business can avoid costly scheduling errors by considering these aspects:
Make sure to give employees sufficient shifts to match their financial circumstances and needs. Give shifts to full-time and part-time employees shifts before casual or temporary employees.
Overscheduling employees who cannot commit to extra hours can create issues and frustration. Where possible, plan ahead and check each employee’s capacity and well-being.
You want to protect the long-term health and happiness of employees, and overscheduling and overburdening them is a surefire path to burnout and resentment.
Matching skill sets with employees
Remember to check the skill sets required for a shift against your rostered employees. This can lead to issues in output if workers don’t have the necessary skills to complete tasks or if a worker is overqualified for a certain task.
Create a strong system with flexibility
If your business offers its employees flexibility to swap shifts or to work flexible hours, your system needs to allow for this by checking any business requirements before allowing the swap.
Further, you need a system with in-built agility so that you can quickly update the schedule for everybody’s benefit before a shift begins.
How Mytommy can help
Ready to wave goodbye to those employee scheduling headaches for a smooth, hassle-free experience? 👋
With Tommy’s scheduling software, you’re not just getting a tool. You’re getting happier employees, satisfied customers, and, yes, some much-deserved peace for yourself! 🧘
Get the 10,000-foot view of your operations, manage shifts with a few clicks and drags, and let our software handle the rest for you.
Managing schedules for teams and businesses is challenging and time-consuming, but failing to prepare is preparing to fail. ❌
Poor employee scheduling can lead to a plethora of problems for your business. 😡
However, through careful planning, good systems, meaningful communication, and the right tools, schedules can work well for both employer and employee.
See how Mytommy’s range of tools can ensure a smooth sailing experience for your business. ⛵😁