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Managing Staff in Shifts

Managing staff in shifts can be very demanding. Anyone who ever had to deal with the heavy task of shift scheduling must felt frustrated at least once a week. There is no need to do it all by yourself, there are many solutions out there which can assist in creating and managing your shifts, the trick is to know what to look for. First, you have to understand the process of shift scheduling, than you must shop for the best solution that will cater to all the stages in the process and finally, you have to make sure your schedule can be easily accessed by your employees from anywhere.

Shift scheduling, typically, is comprised of three main steps. First you have to collect the data – getting the availability from your employees. Traditionally employees would submit their availability on a form, send you a text message or an e-mail, or just call you up in the last second before you make the schedule, to tell you that they cannot work. Usually a manager would spend a day just chasing their staff for their availability.

Once you have collected all the information you are ready for the second step, creating the schedule. Here you have to take into consideration numerous factors and limitations and most likely you will find out at the last second that some of your rules have been broken. For example, you have to consider how many people you need for each shift, what positions they should fill and who exactly is qualified to work these positions, you would have to cross check it with the availability you spent so much time collecting and all that is before we even looked at the big picture: controlling overtime, not scheduling your staff to crazy shift combo with no rest and making sure everyone has more or less the same number of shifts.

Once you have your schedule ready, do not think that your work is done, it just starts. Most schedule managers will have to deal with the ongoing crises more than they worked on the schedule. Cases like a sudden need of additional staff or a last minute change in shifts are just the beginning, and to that the employee who just called in sick and the ones who are not happy with your schedule and would want to trade shifts, and you got full time job as a schedule manager.

Now, after we understand the problem, we can look for a solution. There are many online scheduling software, some offer just a fancy board to work on while others offer the full power of automatic scheduling and staff management. When looking for a software, make sure it can solve all your schedule difficulties. It should offer a web interface which is available on all platforms (computers, tablets and smartphones), where your employees can submit their availability, see their shifts and request trades between themselves, lifting a huge burden off the manager’s shoulders. The manager’s interface should be powerful enough to rely on all the rules and policies we mentioned before, so the outcome of your schedule is fair and follows the company’s policies like rest times, overtime, and double shifts. Finally, your software should be able to cope with the ongoing problems and last minute changes by recommending the best fit to fill the empty slot.

Bottom line, it is not easy to be a schedule manager, but there are ways to make it easier and save a lot of time and increase efficiency. 

Matan Levanon
Account Manager at EZShift

Can I generate reports and print information?
Yes, the basic report package comes with all the important operational reports. By upgrading to the professional or premium versions, you can get the extended reports package.

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