Problems with scheduling work shifts have become a common issue for small and medium-sized businesses. Fewer things cause more headaches for managers and business owners.
But if you want your business to run smoothly, you should make proactive management of scheduling issues a top priority.
Doing so not only boosts employee morale, but it also boosts customer loyalty when employees are available to deliver excellent service.
Take a moment to imagine what it would feel like to build a work schedule. Your managers notify staff of their scheduled times one or two weeks in advance. If there are remaining shifts not picked up and confirmed, you can make those shifts available to qualified employees.
Now, take that scenario and apply it to an employee scheduling system with open shift notifications. Is your scheduling problem solved? The short answer is yes, when everyone knows what is openshift and its purpose in keeping approved labor hours filled with qualified workers.
The opposite is true when shifts remain open and employees are unaware that they could work additional hours.
What is OpenShift?
Essentially, an open shift is an approved shift that has not been assigned to an employee. Through an employee scheduling system, managers send notification of available shifts to qualified workers. When employees accept the additional shift, managers receive an automatic notification that the open shift was claimed.
How Scheduling Issues are Made Worse
Even with a software program that can automate some scheduling functions, there are times when some shifts remain open.
- Not having coverage when needed. There are days when work flows smoothly and everyone is happy. Then there are those days when employees feel overwhelmed because there is more work than employees.The easy solution is to call employees who are off and pay overtime. However, you might be experiencing a symptom of a larger problem. You either do not have enough employees or there was an error in forecasting needs.If you have several employees off on a day when you need at least one, your operation is a prime target for open shift scheduling.
- Not having an open shift scheduling solution. Pen and paper will not send an automated message to employees when a shift becomes available. This antiquated way of tracking employees will not let you know who is the most qualified.A full-featured scheduling solution that is flexible enough to adapt to your industry and business needs will ensure you have employees staffed as needed.
Introduce Open Shifts to Your Workforce as the Problem Solver
Open shifts allow managers to create schedules for employees to grab without chasing people to fill different shifts. Once the schedule is created, any employee who meets the qualifications to work during that designated time can claim the shift.
Soon, you will notice the difference in how some problems solve themselves when employees can take ownership for department coverage.
Cover Call Outs
As much scheduling and planning is necessary for any organization, real life has a tendency to step in and disrupt those plans and schedules. Any unforeseen obstacle can keep an employee from coming to work at a moment’s notice.
In cases like these, you can send an email notification to the other employees about the shift availability. Even if it is after hours or some employees are working at a remote location, your scheduling software allows mobile alerts to keep everyone in the loop.
Be prepared for Vacations and Other PTO
Typically, companies have an attendance policy that requires employees to request vacation and other preplanned times off well in advance. This not only helps managers anticipate staffing needs, but it also gives them a chance to make arrangements to cover those shifts.
Instead of adding to payroll by hiring a temporary worker or paying overtime, you can distribute those available shifts to employees. This also gives them time to decide if they can – or even want to – be available to cover a coworker’s time off.
Accommodate Employee Availability
Employees have preferences of which type of shift they want to work. Some prefer to work night shifts; others want to work during the day. While some employees love to work weekends, others will reject that notion entirely.
When you know these preferences, you can make attempts to accommodate the times employees are or want to be available. A happy employee is a productive employee, so it is best to offer open schedules that match these desires.
There are times when accommodating everybody is challenging. Yet, using an open shift system to your advantage can minimize those challenges. Rank employees based on their qualifications and preferences.
This way, you do not waste time finding a suitable replacement by sending open schedules to employees who will most likely refuse an available shift.
Shift schedules are a powerful tool for managers, yet scheduling issues can cause problems. Workflow interruptions and poor customer relations being chief among those issues can be resolved with a process to cover open shifts.