Keeping track of staff movements is a challenge within most organisations, but if your company operates in shift patterns, scheduling work can be a nightmare.

Shift planning nightmares

As a people management software expert, WhosOffice has seen the frightening consequences of poor shift planning first-hand, and we’ve helped many companies to put their demons to rest with the right shift planning tools.

If you’re worried about the consequences of poor shift planning, here are some of the biggest scares we’ve seen – which can be easily overcome with the right management platform.

Nightmare #1: under or over-staffing

Profitable shift planning relies on rostering the right number of staff every day. Assign too many people, and staff costs drain your profit margins; put too few on, however, and your productivity suffers.

Shift planning software solves this issue by enabling your team leaders to set the minimum and maximum number of people that can be scheduled to work each shift. This ensures you are automatically alerted when numbers exceed or fall below these guidelines, preventing you from accidentally ending up under or over-staffed.

Nightmare #2: getting the wrong mix of people

Effective shift planning is more than a numbers game. To maximise output, your business needs to make sure the right people are rostered to work, so you have an adequate mix of abilities, and someone representing each level of management.

By investing in a shift planning platform, your senior staff can set specific requirements for each shift, to get a good distribution of skills and seniority. This can include mandatory requirements, such as a team member with health and safety qualifications, or a rule dictating that at least one senior manager needs to be on duty each shift, to deal with unforeseen problems that might arise.

Nightmare #3: scheduling staff who are on leave

Most businesses have encountered the heart-stopping moment when you realise that someone has been scheduled to work when they’ve booked time off. Some unlucky companies don’t even see the mistake until that person doesn’t turn up for their shift, and they’re left short-staffed for hours or days.

Fortunately, there are people management tools like WhosOffice on the market that integrate shift planning with annual leave, to flag when someone has booked a holiday. This prevents team leaders from accidentally scheduling someone to work when they are on leave, at the same time as providing complete visibility to make alternative staffing arrangements – especially if open shift opportunities can be advertised through your platform.

Nightmare #4: lack of forward planning

Shift-based businesses need to be dynamic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead. In fact, for many companies, the only barrier to a stable shift planning infrastructure is a lack of ability to plan ahead.

The right shift planning software gives your organisation the power to look as far forward as you want or need, creating pre-set shift pattern codes that can be laid out well in advance. Smart planning solutions also enable you to copy and paste these patterns, even inserting ad-hoc shift patterns for certain periods of time without breaking the overall flow.

Nightmare #5: forgetting to share schedules with staff

A huge amount of work occurs behind the scenes to keep shift-based businesses running, but this work is often not visible to the whole workforce. You’d be amazed how many companies set schedules in advance, yet only notify team members a few days before they are pencilled in.

The simplest way to solve this problem is to choose shift planning software with in-built communications, so that employees are notified when their schedule is updated. In addition to making sure they are available to work, clear forward planning gives staff the power to see who else is on rota that day, so they can make necessary preparations to ensure a smooth-run shift.

Nightmare #6: only spotting schedule gaps when it’s too late

We’ve talked about this already, but the chances of a scheduling mistake slipping through the net can be fairly high for companies not using shift planning software. This leads to the nightmare scenario in which staff have to be called up at short notice, or if there’s nobody available, the rest of the team have to pick up extra work.

By utilising the people management technology features we’ve discussed – from setting the number and type of staff needed for each shift, to planning ahead, sharing rosters as soon as they’re available, and integrating annual leave with shift planning software – your company has all the tools it needs to plan the perfect shift every time.

WhosOffice is the only shift planning software your business needs to make daily operations run like a dream. Scheduling gaps are clearly highlighted to you, thus avoiding situations where you’re caught short at the last moment.

Our cloud-based platform is available for Android and iOS.

Try WhosOffice shift planning software for free to see how our platform can help your business avoid nightmare scheduling issues.

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