The number of professionals working part-time is on the rise, with more than 8.6 million people in the UK choosing this form of employment. Co-ordinating the availability of part-time employees is a challenge enough for companies with standard Monday-Friday, 9-5 hours, but what about firms that operate in shift patterns? Can your shift planner cope with part-time employees?

Offering staff part-time hours is a great way to help talented employees get the best work/life set-up, and to structure your workforce in a way that balances productivity and profitability. However, in order to schedule workload effectively, companies need to look closely at whether your people management software is up to scratch – as a small mistake could have major consequences.

The value of offering part-time contracts

There are many benefits to employing staff on part-time contracts. When a good employee’s circumstances change – when they become a parent, for example – they may not want the same level of commitment, or they cannot afford full-time childcare. Offering reduced hours is an effective way to retain their skills and expertise within your organisation.

This isn’t the only reason to embrace part-time contracts, either. Further advantages include creating opportunities to expand your team on a limited budget; adding extra resource to support overworked staff; and exploring new models and structures without fully committing to new full-time members of staff.

For shift-based companies, throwing more part-time staff into the mix can play havoc with your scheduling. There are even more contractual variations to consider, and therefore the potential to make a mistake in the rota is much greater – unless you invest in the right shift planning software.

Lightening the load of part-time shift planning

It’s not just employment models that continually evolve in a business; your technology requirements do too. Legacy shift planning tools may have worked for your firm initially, but many companies find they are quickly outgrown.

Investing in a scalable shift planning tool can make a massive difference to scheduling workload for part-time staff, creating shift patterns that work for every employee.

For example, some staff may be on fixed shift patterns because they are restricted in the number of days they can work. The right shift planning tool will make it easy to build multiple pattern codes, so managerial staff can select the appropriate option for each team member.

Look for a solution like WhosOffice, which allows you to build unlimited pattern codes, and enter them as far in advance as you wish. One advantage of our platform is that breaks and changes can be easily dropped in at any point, without erasing the shift pattern that follows it – if you want things to return to ‘normal’ at a later date.

In addition, a sophisticated people management tool will integrate annual leave data, and part-time working requirements can be logged in the same way. For instance, if a member of staff is not contractually obliged to work on Tuesdays, a system like WhosOffice enables you to enter this data as a form of leave. This will flag up an availability conflict if someone who isn’t aware of contractual arrangements tries to schedule them to work one Tuesday.

Schedule, on Laptop

Filling in the gaps

It’s not just employees that are affected by mistakes in shift planning; to operate successfully with part-time people in your workforce, it’s essential any changes to the rota don’t leave you short-staffed.

For example, on a manual or legacy system, a manager or team leader may spot that a part-time employee has accidentally been scheduled to work on a Tuesday, but the system fails to flag any gaps in the rota created by removing that person.

With a platform like WhosOffice, you can set regulations on the number of people who must be scheduled for each shift, along with rules on their level of seniority and qualifications. This will ensure that the optimum group of people are working at any point in time, while still factoring in the needs and availability of part-time staff.

Finding the right people mix, regardless of contract

Flexible working is nothing new for shift-based businesses, but the growing number of part-time staff is increasing the need for good shift planning tools.

Investing in a solution like WhosOffice will enable your company to make light work of differing contractual demands, assigning every employee the right hours without logistical headaches.

By using a shift planning platform that offers both sophistication and simplicity, managers can create shift patterns that work for every employee, confident that you’ll have the right mix of people at work to maximise business productivity.

Book your free WhosOffice trial to see how our shift planning tool improves the way you manage your workforce.

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