Management 101: How To Avoid Employee Scheduling Nightmares

    By Arletha Lunning | Small Business

    As a manager, you must possess a certain set of skills, and scheduling is at the top of that list. There are a number of common scheduling problems that most businesses suffer from at some point or another.

    Steer clear of these mishaps by following these pointers for how to avoid employee scheduling nightmares:

    Management 101: How To Avoid Employee Scheduling Nightmares image customer service employee review meeting1Management 101: How To Avoid Employee Scheduling Nightmares

    Poor shift arrangement

    It is important that your staff members get ample rest and reprieve in between their shifts. While it is true that some employees might need to work double shifts or extended shifts because of obligations elsewhere, it is safe for you to assume that your employees will need their shifts spaced out properly to be their most productive. For this reason, avoid scheduling shifts back to back, or requiring an employee to work too many days in a row without a break; instead, try to arrange shifts so that they are as regular and predictable as possible.

    Managing and scheduling shift rotations.

    If you require that your employees sometimes switch between night and day shifts, then it is likely that the employees who are rotating shifts will have a major adjustment to make when it comes to the new schedule. This can equate to a real nightmare on the job unless you allow your employees ample time to make that adjustment. A good rule of thumb is to allow three days in between a shift rotation to give your employees the chance to redirect their sleep cycles.

    Managing scheduling conflicts

    This is the most common type of scheduling problems, and it is usually the result of manager oversight. Scheduling conflicts occur when employees are scheduled to work shifts that coincide with other obligations, either work-related or not. For example, a scheduling conflict might occur when an employee is slotted for a shift that takes place at the same time the employee has classes. As a manager, you must keep track of the days and times your employees are available to work. There are many ways to do this, from checking employee files when you create your shifts to using scheduling software to create your schedules.

    Managing and covering shifts

    There is no way to avoid the fact that you will run into occasions when your employees call in and you are left shorthanded. This can turn into a nightmare if you can’t quickly arrange for anyone to cover the shifts. While there is no guaranteed way of solving this problem every time it happens, there are ways for you to ensure your best chances at success when it comes to covering shifts. Ask your employees if they are open to taking extra shifts on an on-call basis, and keep a running list of the employees who are on hand. That way, you have all of the possibilities right at your fingertips when the worst does happen.

    As a manager, you are responsible for getting around the many scheduling nightmares that can happen. Follow these tips to do just that.

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