How much time does employee scheduling take your business? For managers and team leaders, it’s probably several hours a week.

While shift planning is necessary for many companies, it’s not very exciting. London Business School research found that skilled workers spend up to 41% of their time on activities that offer little satisfaction. Time that could be spent on higher-value tasks!

So, what’s the solution? How can you spend less time on shift management and still optimise your schedule?

Using an online scheduling tool to create shift patterns can save you hours of tedious admin. In fact, following these four steps could save your team up to 10 hours in the next ten days:

Step 1: Create an account with an online shift planner

The biggest time-saving move your business can make is switching from spreadsheets to digital scheduling software. And the best news is that it’s often free to explore!

For example, WhosOffice is one of the best online shift planners on the market. We offer new customers up to eight weeks’ free trial, so you can really get to grips with our platform.

Set up a WhosOffice account and upload your employees’ details to get started. You can import information in bulk using our smart sheet.

Step 2: Build your basic schedule from a shift pattern template

Even if you’re manually creating staff rosters, you’ll have a good grasp of your basic shift pattern. So the next step is to recreate this pattern in your online shift planner.

Going digital can save time here, too, as employee scheduling software includes shift pattern templates.

In WhosOffice, for example, you can create a shift pattern and apply it to team members who follow the same plan, for a set period of time, or until otherwise specified.

Step 3: Create rules and limits for each person’s schedule

Shift managing software comes into its own once you have a basic shift plan. From here, you can easily tailor schedules to employee movements.

When manually planning shifts, you can waste a lot of time cross-checking the roster against staff availability. For example:

  • You may have part-time employees who can only work certain hours/days.
  • Some team members may have booked annual leave or time off in lieu.
  • You may have legal or health & safety restrictions around how many shifts people can work back to back.

With a spreadsheet, all these things must be checked by hand (and mistakes can still happen). But an online shift planner can immediately flag where your plan falls beyond employee limits. All you need to do is set up rules and restrictions that apply to either individual employees/teams or your entire workforce.

WhosOffice helps manage staff availability, as our shift management tool includes a built-in holiday calendar. The data from this module integrates with your roster, highlighting annual leave booking clashes. It’s much quicker than manually cross-referencing multiple calendars.

Step 4: Experiment with schedules using a shift pattern generator

Once you’ve got a tried-and-tested schedule in place, digital shift planning software unlocks time in a different way: it allows you to explore new scheduling options.

Some companies stick to the same rostering patterns because there’s no bandwidth to try something different. Even though their gut says there’s a better way to manage the team.

If you’re using WhosOffice to try digital scheduling, you can make use of our free shift pattern generator. Use this tool to play around with multiple rosters to see how different working schedules can be used in your workplace.

In addition to ready-built shift plans, you can create custom shift patterns in WhosOffice, to explore bespoke options. Then, once you’ve found the ideal balance, you can recreate your new pattern(s) in your live shift planner.

Online shift planning: a quicker way to make intelligent decisions

Moving from spreadsheets to an online shift planner will significantly speed up your rostering process. WhosOffice customers find our software easy to get to grips with, shaving hours off their workload within a matter of days.

But it’s not just a matter of spending less time planning shifts. Going digital unlocks new value from your work roster – so you can make smart decisions about who works and when.

Investing in a shift planning tool like WhosOffice will enable your business to optimise staffing. The changes you make can end over-scheduling, so you can reduce staff costs without compromising productivity.

Sound exciting? Why not start your free WhosOffice trial today?

You can follow in the footsteps of companies like Dunelm, ITV and Ticketmaster, which have used WhosOffice to improve their shift management.


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