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Creating the ideal work schedule for your team may seem like an impossible target to hit. But with a few tweaks to your existing process, you’ll reach that goal in no time.
Inch is here to help. In this article, we discuss tips to help you build a comprehensive and robust set of work schedule practices that make everything easier for you, your team, and your business.
One of the best things you can do to make the scheduling process easier is to create a work schedule template. Setting up a custom template cuts down on a lot of the work involved in everything that comes after.
With a template, you can set the document’s fonts, borders, colors, and format so you don’t have to recreate the wheel every time you schedule your team.
You can even mark the template with flags in certain shifts or time-slots to jog your memory the next time around.
For example, if you know you will likely schedule both full-time and part-time employees in a certain shift every time, you might save the template with an “FT” and a “PT” in the appropriate fields.
Then, when it’s time to organize the schedule for the next week, month, or quarter, you can jump right into assigning employees to their respective shifts rather than worrying about what combination of full- and part-time employees you’re going to use.
Identifying each employee’s strengths and weaknesses makes it easier to put the right person in the right job during the right shift on your work schedule.
For example, Elyse might handle stress better than Maggie. On the other side of the coin, Maggie might be more of a people person than Elyse.
Getting to know your team — and identifying their strengths and weaknesses — lays a foundation on which to build your schedule that works much better than just assigning shifts and tasks at random.
Once you’ve identified each employee’s strengths, weaknesses, skills, and even personality type, you can build your schedule around those skills.
Going back to the example of Elyse and Maggie, because of her ability to handle high stress, Elyse might do better performing certain tasks during the busier, more chaotic times of the workday.
Maggie, on the other hand, might be better suited for more customer-facing tasks during slower times of the workday.
So, if you know that a particular time of the day is busier than another, you might schedule Elyse as the lead and then fill in with other employees around her.
Or, if you know that a particular day of the week is slower than another and customers like to chat, you might schedule Maggie as the lead and fill in with other employees around her.
That doesn’t mean you always schedule Elyse for the high-stress tasks and Maggie for the customer-facing tasks, but it does give you a base from which to start.
A big part of creating the ideal work schedule is examining past activity. All businesses go through periods of high activity and periods of low activity.
Armed with that information, you can schedule the right number of employees for a certain day or week’s predicted activity. Similarly, you can assign employees to different tasks based on the expected activity level.
Building your work schedule with past activity in mind helps keep your labor budget under control and provides exactly what your business and your team need to be successful.
Automated scheduling is a process that uses data from your business (e.g., past activity), user-defined parameters, and artificial intelligence to select the best employee for a particular shift.
For example, imagine you need to schedule a maintenance technician for the afternoon shift on March 3. With automated scheduling, you can instruct your software to sort through relevant information, find a candidate, and insert them into the schedule.
But does this really save that much time?
Imagine that it takes you five minutes to find all of the data you need to make an informed decision about who should work as a field service technician on March 3. That’s not bad, but you need 10 techs to cover that shift.
If it takes you five minutes to schedule one technician, it’s going to take you 50 minutes total for all 10 techs. And that’s just one position for one shift on one day. Multiply that by the number of positions, shifts, and days that you need to fill, and it could take hours to get everything done.
Automated scheduling does all of the work for you — in a fraction of the time it would take you to do it manually.
When it comes to building the perfect work schedule, you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting by yourself.
Allowing your employees to self-schedule gets everyone involved and is a great way to:
Start by scheduling one or two employees with the right strengths and skills for each shift or task. Then, give everyone on your team access to this incomplete schedule and allow them to fill in when they want to work.
Allow this process to continue for a while (perhaps two or three days), close the schedule to outside modification, review what you’ve got, and, finally, make changes according to what your business needs.
When everything looks good, distribute the finalized schedule to your team.
If you’re used to scheduling everything yourself, try this new method for a few scheduling cycles to see if it’s effective for your business.
Our Inch software makes self-scheduling extremely easy. Simply create a common document online, and then give everyone access to that document for a few days so they can mark when they want to work.
When it’s time to finalize the schedule, close the document, make your changes, and then reopen it for viewing. It’s just that easy.
A great exercise to see if you’ve built a simple and effective work schedule is to read the final document from your team’s perspective.
You should be able to look at the schedule and figure out the day, hours, and tasks an employee will work in just a few seconds.
If you have to read closely and think about the information in order to decipher everything that’s there, you may need to make some changes, reduce the amount of data it contains, or simplify the document’s appearance.
Bottom line: Keep the schedule as straightforward and uncluttered as possible while still providing the information your team needs.
Want to incorporate these tips into your workflow to create the perfect work schedule every time? The Inch app can help.
Inch is a suite of voice-operated workforce management tools that simplify not only the scheduling process itself but also every aspect of the way your team operates.
With our app, you can create the best workflow possible and still have time to focus on the tasks that drive your business forward.
And upgrading won’t cost an arm and a leg over the programs that you’ve been using. Inch gives you free access to everything you need to schedule employees and handle internal communication for unlimited users and locations.
In addition, Inch incorporates task management and time tracking in one powerful solution. With these tools, it’s easier than ever for managers and employees to get aligned on their to-dos and ensure that all tasks get completed on time.
And that’s just the tip of the Inch iceberg.
With Inch, employees can perform a wide variety of tasks from their smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop, including:
For managers, our app makes it easy to distribute tasks manually across teams or populate tasks automatically based on preset conditions. This feature ensures that all work is covered and keeps employees accountable for their responsibilities, expected outcomes, and deadlines.
Managers can also assign work to the employees closest to the job site or generate tasks automatically as the need arises and follow work progress and task completion in real time.
So, whether you need help setting up the perfect work schedule, staying in touch with your employees, or assigning tasks for everyone to work on, Inch is the software for you.
Our app gives you unprecedented control over an inherently complicated process and makes it easier than ever to coordinate and optimize your team and your business.
For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit TryInch.com today.
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