Steps to Smart Scheduling

We recently came across an enlightening Huffington Post article titled, “Four Steps to Workplace Flexibility and Smart Scheduling.” Joan Williams, founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law, provides insightful and creative examples and solutions to common scheduling problems through four steps. It’s easy to focus on the burden that schedule creation and management puts on managers, but Williams’ article focuses more on employee satisfaction through organized scheduling. As what you might call “scheduling gurus” (okay, maybe we call ourselves that), we know a thing or two about the importance of looking at scheduling from both a manager and employee perspective. While Williams does not mention scheduling software in the article, her steps align well with our When I Work features. How so? Check it out:

    1. Create a dependable schedule

While creating an unchanging schedule may not be possible for all businesses, When I Work allows employees to input the hours they are unavailable, as well as the hours they prefer to work, and these can vary every day of every week of every year. With this ability, employees can let their managers know way ahead of time when they need to be away from work.

    1. Implement a formal system for handling schedule changes

Not only does When I Work allow employees to request and accept shift swaps online, but they can also take care of their needs while on the go via text. Managers can also monitor these shift swaps through their mobile phones, and choose to require manager approval before a swap is final. Once the swap is final, the change appears in the schedule, so there are no surprises.

    1. Address the overtime issue

Every employee has a specific number of hours they are available, and every employer has a certain number of hours they can afford to have people work. These numbers are not only hard for managers to keep track of, but during hectic weeks they may be hard to keep a handle on. With When I Work, every employee’s hour limit is displayed on the scheduler throughout the schedule creation process, and if they are scheduled beyond that limit the number glows red. Simply avoid the red, and overtime can be a thing of the past.

    1. Offer hourly workers short periods of time off work

Although shift workers have schedules that may vary from week-to-week, that doesn’t mean their lives are free of responsibilities outside work that could hinder their flexibility. Regarding flexible time off, Williams says, “This is vital for low-wage workers who cannot afford to attend a school conference or doctor’s appointment if they need to take an entire vacation day in order to do so.” If this sounds like a scheduling nightmare, know that it doesn’t have to be. This point is largely about being open to moving outside the normal shift hours to accommodate an employee. With availability preferences and easy-to-use time-off-request features, employees can make sure their manager knows when they need off, and get notified immediately if their request has been accepted.

What’s the take away? Smart changes (read Williams full article here) coupled with smart scheduling, can make a huge difference in employee satisfaction, and by extension, company productivity, cost-savings, and some priceless piece of mind.