There are many types of work schedules used by organisations depending on the circumstances and needs of your business, and the structure of your workforce. The most common examples are:
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 is difficult.
Part time employees work fewer hours than a full-time employee. However, the hours can vary from 1 hour to 39 hours per week. The hours may also be inconsistent, which offers flexibility to employer and employee. Scheduling in this arrangement is dependent on the importance of the employee’s position and is often used in the hospitality industry
A flexible schedule is most preferred by employees, allowing for flexible work policies and enabling employees to meet the expectations of work 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 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. As the hours are clearly defined, it is a stable situation for 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 may occur on a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Common in retail or manufacturing companies which operate more than 10 hours per day, or use part-time or flexible employees. Rotating shifts allow more flexibility, but can be physically and mentally tiring transitioning from day to night work, and vice versa.
Once the most appropriate work schedule has been selected, three other key concerns should be considered:
Customer demand for your products or services may determine the number of employees requires to produce the required output. Demand may change on a daily, weekly or seasonal basis, impacting your scheduling arrangement.
Consider the skills and experience required to meet the demand and output. Certain employees will possess the correct skills and thus a specific combination of employee skill sets may be required.
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.
Maintaining a spreadsheet of information about your employees may assist for 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.
Create a policy that details your planning, expectations, and requirements. Specify how you will manage schedule requests, shift swaps, overtimes, and holidays. Making the policy available to employees is essential to streamlining the scheduling component of your business.
Employees are a significant asset, and the system should make scheduling easy for your business and employees. Keep in mind each employees work-life balance, and consider the relationships between those rostered on together. Being people centred means avoiding frustration in your employees. Find the right balance between flexibility and efficiency.
Make sure employees are given sufficient shifts to match their financial circumstances and needs. Full time and part time employees should be given shifts before casual or temporary employees.
Although mistakes can happen, your business can avoid most by considering these aspects:
Over scheduling employees who are not able to commit to extra hours can create issues. Consider the wellbeing of employees, balancing their shifts may be better for them long-term.
Remember to check the skill sets required for a shift against your rostered employees. This can lead to issues in output if the right mix is not working together.
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, the system needs to have the latest updates on shift changes before a shift begins.
Managing schedules for teams and businesses is challenging, time-consuming and can result in problems. However, through careful planning, good systems, communication and knowledge, schedules can work well for both employer and employee.