How to Make a Perfect Shift Schedule for Employees

Certain businesses like retail stores, call center and manufacturing organizations operate 24*7. The requirement of staffing remains variable during different parts of the day and year. Managers have to walk the tight rope and ensure that the organization remains adequately staffed, which means they cannot afford to either under-staff or over-staff. Under staffing and over staffing can adversely impact organization returns as it leads to both employee and customer dissatisfaction.

Schedule for Employees


The solution to the problem is to follow the best practice when scheduling employee shifts. While scheduling employee shifts following factors should be given due consideration –

1. Gauge the Staffing Requirement at Various Points in Time

Staffing requirement varies at different hours in a day. Managers should know the peak hours and ensure that scheduling coincides with the needs. There are also seasonal changes in pattern and these as well should be taken note of while creating a schedule and peak employee strength.

2. Know your Employee Preferences

While most employees prefer to work during the day, you will also find a handful that prefer otherwise and wish to work in the night shift. Employee preferences should be given due attention and scheduling should be done accordingly. If there is a mismatch between requirement in a particular shift and employee preferences, it should be ensured that all employees are made to fill this gap such that there is the same burden on all.

3. Plan the Holidays in Advance

Be sure that your employees get time to spare for their vacations and personal needs. All you have to do is ask the employees to give a month’s notice for any personal leaves that they may be planning for. This ensures that you are prepared well in advance to fill the gap.

Check Related Topic: How to Schedule Employees to Get Maximum Output

4. Have the Right Information

You can divide your employee pool in terms of their skill sets and seniority levels. It may not be a good practice to replace an employee usually handling the stores department with somebody who usually takes care of the customer. It also does not make sense to replace a very senior and experienced employee with a new comer. So if you have this list of employees broken down by their skill set and experience, it will help you take more efficient decisions with regard to scheduling replacements for employees who are likely to remain absent for some time.

5. Share the Schedule with the Employees

By doing so, the employees develop a sense of responsibility and feel accountable for their roles. Employees can also make sure that the schedule has taken into account their preferences and if required they can request a change.

6. Be Prepared for Unscheduled Demands

Despite all the planning you would do to make sure nothing unanticipated happens, you may still not be able to predict sudden sick leaves and employees not turning without any notice. So make sure you have a pool of standby employees who can fix this potential gap in adequate staffing.

When managers need to handle a much larger pool of employees, it may be quite cumbersome to manage scheduling task manually. Hence scheduling software may be required.

Image taken from : Depositphotos

Posted In: Employment Agencies, HR Tips, Tips for Employer

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  • Shenoi

    I have seen that employees find time tracking a waste of time and they are considering that the data is not honest and that it is not used for any valuable purpose. I think it is necessary that showing metrics to employees and have to explain the value of this data.

    According to me, Roster Software ( ) would be great to enter and manage employee’s shift time. Because we bill hourly all timesheets have to be cross-checked against specific task.