No matter how large or small your business is, employee scheduling can be a major challenge. Even more so when you are dealing with shift work. If your business operates around the clock, chances are that you will deal with some type of shift rotation system.
Avoiding over- or under-scheduling when dealing with rotating shift schedules is a balancing act. Having the right employee scheduling software can take some of the guesswork out of managing rotating shifts.
Planning Shift Rotations
Safety and productivity are two major concerns when dealing with rotating shifts. Ensuring that employees have enough time to rest between shifts is key to safety. An employee that is over-scheduled and not well-rested may pose a safety risk to the rest of their team. Also, having shorter shifts can increase productivity by reducing the chances of employee burnout.
Types of Rotating Shift Schedules
There are a number of different shift rotation systems. Understanding each type can help you choose the one that best suits the needs of your business. Here are some shift types to keep in mind:
An all-shift rotation system requires all staff members to do a rotation on each different shift. This system is especially useful in cases where one particular shift is unpopular. By utilizing the all shift rotation system, each employee takes their turn working each shift. This can create a greater sense of teamwork among employees.
A two-shift shift rotation system involves hiring a designated night staff while rotating the other two shifts. This scheduling system creates continuity and reduces the chances of pushback from employees who dislike working nights. The downside of this scheduling mechanism is that it may create a sense of isolation for the night workers. They may have restricted access to the management team and less interaction with other team members.
Limited management presence during the night shift may eventually become problematic. Without a strong management presence, productivity may suffer. Also, training opportunities may be limited for the night shift crew.
The 12-hour shift is a very popular choice among employees and management staff. This rotation system divides the 24-hour workday into two even shifts of 12-hours each. Employees like this schedule because it allows them to have more days off of work. The drawback of this system is that the long hours can be very tiring and may negatively impact productivity.
Another common schedule rotation is three 8-hour shifts. This system divides the 24-hour workday into three equal parts. Management can opt to have employees work alternate days on two different shifts. This staffing system poses the smallest risk of employee burnout and encourages a higher rate of productivity.
Choosing the best type of shift rotation system for your business is hard. When possible, try getting feedback from your staff on the best way to approach it. Involving your staff in the decision-making process will make employees feel empowered rather than having a specific shift thrown at them. While it is impossible to please everyone, soliciting employee feedback can help you reach some sort of general consensus.
Depending on the skillset required to perform different tasks, your business may not be able to offer as much scheduling flexibility. In this case, it may be necessary to assign shifts based on a combination of skill set and availability. Another potential solution to this problem is to create teams of staff that rotate to different shifts together.
How Employee Management Software Can Help
Employee scheduling software takes the guesswork out of planning rotating shift schedules. The system can use employee pay rates, skill codes and availability to create a schedule that is both balanced and cost effective. It can also help you monitor absences and ensure that attendance policies are being followed. With electronic scheduling software, complex shift systems can be generated in a fraction of the time it would take to do it manually.
Mitrefinch Employee scheduling software can help your business increase profitability and get huge time savings. This specialized software can quickly generate balanced schedules based on skill set, availability and budget. With its advanced analytical tools, management can easily detect staffing gaps or scheduling issues before they become problematic.