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Finding a balance between employee scheduling and overall labor costs has historically been a complex process. This process involves finding a meeting-point between the needs of your employees and those of your business. In the sense that you have to provide flexibility to employees in order to keep them motivated; all the while making sure that the business remains healthy. While putting the needs of your employees is of paramount importance, this does not necessarily mean that employees will not abuse their working hours. Whether in cases of taking long, non-permissible breaks or having a personal matter to attend to, keeping track of employee working hours is a difficult task.
However, employee scheduling should not be treated as a complex nor negative process. On the contrary, a concise and detailed employee scheduling plan can tremendously empower workplace efficiency. By having employees that adhere to their daily schedule, business owners will establish a more sustainable system with high levels of productivity.
Technological developments, such as employee scheduling apps have made it easy for business owners to keep track of work hours, efficiency, leaves and more. Employee scheduling apps present a unique opportunity for small and medium businesses that are looking for ways to drive productivity up. Thus, here are 5 tips on how to make employee scheduling easier for your business.
Understand how time is being spent
Keeping track of employee scheduling requires continuous planning and management. However, across most businesses, managers do not have the time to manually plan and manage the schedules of their employees. Yet, documenting work hours, breaks, leaves, paid-time-off, and overtime provides the managers with valuable insight into how efficient the business is.
So, how do you implement and maintain a scheduling system when you don't have the time for it? The answer is automation.
Digital transformation is the process where organizations gradually move towards automation. One example is the ATM. Banks started the digital transformation epoch, and businesses quickly followed. After all, automation reduced operating costs, while increasing the efficiency of the process they target.
Scheduling is no different. Employee scheduling apps are the key to maximizing performance and efficiency. These applications are designed to help you understand, and optimize time spent across departments, projects, units and more.
Having the ability to launch an app, and retrieve insightful timesheets without having to check in with employees can revolutionize any business.
Finding a common ground
Scheduling is a team effort that takes into consideration the wants of the business, and the needs of the employees. If the schedule is biased towards the business then conflict may arise and the process will become more difficult. As a leader, a smart move would be to go through the scheduling process with your employees. Having everyone at one table will make the scheduling process fast, inclusive and transparent. This way, finding common ground will be easier.
“But, what if most of the employees have to work from remote areas? How can I make sure that I can create a schedule that fits their needs as well?”
Various industries are heavily dependent on fieldwork. For example, employee scheduling would be different for construction businesses, relative to the technology industry. Scheduling for remote workers adds another level of complexity to the process. However, with the rise of various employee scheduling apps businesses can without a doubt find a common ground for all parties.
These employee scheduling apps have integrated feedback functionalities, such as notes that allow employees to give feedback on the current schedule, and how they think it could be improved. Ultimately, management decided whether they consider the recommendations of their employees. This is how most modern businesses operate, for example, every time Google releases a new product it undergoes a beta test. During the Beta phase, the users interact with the product and send feedback back to Google for review. These recommendations help Google create a product that addresses the concerns of most users.
Similarly, when creating an employee schedule, it is important to hear what your employees are saying about your process. This way, you create a work schedule that promotes progress and continuity.
Make sure employees are at the right place, at the right time
This tip benefits those businesses that are reliant on remote workers. As a manager, it is difficult to understand if your remote employees are sticking to their schedule. It would require you to go and monitor the site, from where your employees are operating. For example, in construction businesses, work is almost entirely based on remote areas. As such, in the absence of a monitoring system, the manager would have to manually check if his or her employees are adhering to their schedule.
In today’s digital world, where competition is rapidly growing, management can't waste time commuting to remote locations for monitoring purposes. There are dedicated software that do the time and location tracking for you. With their assistance, management can determine how much time is being wasted, the accurate time employees spent on breaks during a particular break, their location during official work hours and more.
Make it easy for employees to access the schedule
A common problem among small and medium businesses is the accessibility of the schedule. In most cases, the schedule is printed on a paper - or even handwritten - and tacked on a corridor wall. Now imagine the employee walking all the way to the corridor where the schedule is placed, potentially waiting for other colleagues to look at their schedule, and then spent a few more minutes find their name on the paper and writing it down. This process wastes valuable time that employees could have spent on morning tasks.
The best practice is to make your schedule available online so that all your employees can access it from any location, at any time. Additionally, this makes communicating the changes easier too. If you plan on adopting an employee scheduling app than you can send out notifications notifying employees of any change that might affect them.
Don't be scared of change
Every organizational change can be scary at first. There is a feeling of discomfort that is usually associated with change. Both employees and management have to start using more advanced technology that will ultimately shift their firm routines. However, the long-term benefits of, for example, monitoring your employee's schedule digitally will outweigh its costs.
We can't forget that we are operating in a fast-paced business environment that is subject to change on a daily basis. Those which adjust to the change the fastest will reap all the benefits. Therefore, don't be scared to digitize your business because every effort counts. Employee scheduling apps could be the start of your digital transformation journey.
Overall, manually scheduling the work of employees can become a nightmare - especially for those businesses that are reliant on remote workers. However, if you follow our 5 simple tips then you will observe noticeable changes in the efficiency of your employees, and hence the performance of your business. Don't forget, making informed decisions is a lot easier with employee scheduling apps.