5 Steps to Create the Perfect Team Work Schedule
Even under normal circumstances, a perfect work schedule is something managers strive for. It’s even more relevant currently with the ongoing pandemic – when everybody is juggling not only with multiple responsibilities but also switching between home responsibilities and work and struggling to achieve a good work-life balance. Unfortunately, like every good idea, a perfect work schedule is utopian. This is even though technology makes it easier than ever to streamline the process and get it right the first time.
Whether you use online scheduling apps, or use tools like excel sheets, or go old school making scheduling notes in your diary, there are some important points to keep in mind to ensure the best possible system for you.
It’s a given that no office will work with 100% capacity for some time at least. So, first and foremost, your work schedule needs to ensure that each shift is staffed appropriately, covering all responsibilities. And work makes good progress even in the hybrid work environment. For instance, you may not need two data entry employees to come in at the same time except for times your workload demands it. And yet map out work for both data entry people in a manner that will enable them to absorb the workload. This will require you to also make note of events — have a common, thorough calendar listing your company business cycles and accounting for holidays both public and personal.
The second requirement of your work schedule is that it must be completely free of errors. It probably seems like we’re stating the obvious, but making a work schedule is not a simple process. It’s much easier to make a mistake than it is to make a perfect work schedule. So how do we do this? Tips range from building shifts around your best employees, allocating time for execution, follow-up, review, planning for emergencies, using the best technologies for the job and so on. The following steps will help create an effective workflow suited to your organisation and your teams.
1. Re-assess your needs.
An overall organisational assessment of needs will determine what knowledge, skills, and abilities your company needs. With so many changes, you may now need people with different skills or reskill existing teams. This will set the foundation for what kind of employees you need, and how to allocate work to them. Organisational assessment takes into consideration various additional factors, including changing demographics, political trends, technology, and the economy.
#Tips: Some questions to help you assess this are:
* What is your peak time?
* How many people do you need at a time?
* Identify projects which need the most and the least number of people
2. Know your team and their relevant skills.
Analyse how well an employee is doing a job and determine their capacity & interest to do new or different work. Knowing your team members gives you the freedom and the flexibility to mix and match skills, strengths, weaknesses, and personality types to create the perfect shift for any situation. Most organisations will primarily be concerned with just covering the job – making sure there are enough people not only to cover every shift but also keep in case of unexpected situations such as sickness will help you stay focused. It will also ensure you repurpose employees prudently.
#Tips – Make a roster with this unique employee information including:
* Employee name
* Relevant skills
* Full-time or temporary status
* Other traits that you may find useful (eg; diligent, quick turnaround time, responsive, good multitasker, can handle a large crowd, good at networking and so on)
3. Establish a foolproof method to communicate with the team.
We have stressed on so many occasions that communication is the biggest differentiator between smoothly running businesses and fumbling businesses. Establishing a team-wide communication method makes it easy for you and your employees to know exactly where to look for your work schedule. Using the same tool will ensure there’s no more searching through email, instant message, and texting apps to find the newest work schedule or that time-off request you need. Everyone uses the same tool so everyone’s on the same page.
* Be approachable at all times. Be clear about the tasks on hand and make sure everybody understands their responsibility.
* Truly engage with the team outside of work.
* Don’t micromanage, check-in at regular intervals and offer & receive feedback.
4. Involve employees in scheduling work.
Delegating roles to others distributes the work more evenly among the leaders and reduces stress on individual team members. With most projects, there is the main leader and several mid-level leaders that take charge of smaller groups. Making it clear from the start who those leaders are making it easier for team members to know who to go to in the event of a problem or question. Time off and leave requests must be sacrosanct. Making note of these requests builds goodwill, increases employee satisfaction, and helps you retain good workers. It’s a pretty important part of the scheduling process, to say the least. It can also be an incredibly time-consuming part of the scheduling process.
* Keep a record of your employees’ work preferences and time-off requests in one place.
* Create an availability chart.
* Make sure there is a contingency plan and backups for every job.
5. Use technology most effectively.
Though there are hundreds of apps that claim to get your schedule in check, not every single one will fit your needs. The wrong software can do more harm than good, so it’s important to choose what works for you. An app that allows your team common access to the calendar to make changes is useful. Generally, a scheduler app should be easy to use, should distribute schedules effectively, and should be accessible to all parties involved. When an edit or change is made, the entire staff must be able to view it instantly.
* Once you are sure about your scheduling needs, list them down on paper.
* After you have identified a few programmes you believe would be right for your business, the next thing you should do is to look at the pricing.
* Take advantage of free trials of your top three app picks, and have employees review it too.
* Check if it can integrate with your existing systems like payroll etc.
Today it is no wonder that modern managers want to access all types of reports instantly, and they want to be able to access them on their mobile devices or tablets. It is therefore not a big wonder why most modern managers have already implemented a scheduler app. Modern employees, too, are accustomed to touchscreens where they can swipe right and left. So the key differentiator between efficient use of work scheduling technology is to ensure there is no overlapping of tasks assigned to employees, ensuring the appropriate person is appointed and distributing tasks evenly across the team.
Once you spend time on getting the right kind of system in place to schedule and manage work, your productivity will also soar. A simple but golden thumb rule is to add the human element in the process by ensuring that work allocation is not cut to cut, allowing team members to work at speeds they are comfortable within, set standards that are reasonable and keep some room for unexpected new tasks or additional reviews.
At Yellow Spark, we can help you develop your managers so that they can create efficient work schedules keep the humane element intact, track productivity and work in successful teams. To know more write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Profile: Aparna Joshi Khandwala is a passionate HR professional. She co-founded Yellow Spark to work with like-minded people who believe in the power of leadership, which is the only business differentiator in today’s time.