We are revamping the way we work. The need of the hour has shifted from working fixed hours to maximizing productivity. But how to do it in a way that it does not cause employee burnout? Shift planning software is the answer.
Shift planning helps in the efficient management of time and resources. A shift management software helps with streamlining this shift planning process. In this blog, we will talk about shift planning and how it can be implemented in any organization.
What is Shift Planning?
Shift planning is where a set of employees are scheduled to work for a set period during the week.
For instance, many salons are now open all seven days. Does that mean no employee ever gets a day off? No. It simply means that the shifts are planned in a manner that every employee gets one day off a week, albeit not on the same day. Hence, when one person is on a leave, there is another set of people making up for their absence. This kind of shift planning ensures that the employees get their required breaks without having to reduce working hours for the business.
Proper shift planning leads to better utilization of time and resources while considerably bringing down costs. Shift planning software can be used in larger businesses, where shift alignments are a complex process.
What are the Benefits of Shift Planning Software?
Better Time Management
The most significant benefit that shift planning offers is better and effective time management. Shift planning helps the management understand what are the best productive hours for their employees.
This knowledge further helps them manage their employees better. The managers can then equip their employees with better time management techniques.
Better Procedural Consistency
Shift planning helps maintain procedural consistency across tasks and resources. For instance, it can help avoid situations where a manager forgets that an employee is on leave and schedules them for a workday.
The presence of shift planning software can do away with these human errors. It records all holiday requests, early punches, and any other outliers that may influence shift planning. This record-keeping ensures fewer disruptions for the business.
Have you created the most kickass rosters? Great. But your work is not done yet. You need to get these to the employees as well.
A shift planning software comes with the added benefit of alerts across departments. This notifies employees about their shifts and any changes made instantly. They can access their shift data at any point of time, know the days and times when they are supposed to work, and also who is working with them.
There are also fields where employees can show their availability for picking up extra shifts and working overtime. This additional workload can be paid for at a premium or used as time off in lieu later. By enabling two-way communication between the employees and the management encourages an open shift culture.
Improved Access to Data
Having easy access to workforce data is critical. The presence of shift planning software helps have a modern cloud-based storage structure for managing workforce data.
The data can be accessed from any device and location with a stable internet connection. Creating employee schedules and connecting with them is easier with shift planning software.
Minimization of Errors
Manual punches may have room for error. This is more likely if you use Microsoft Excel or Word for shift planning. A shift planning software ensures that such errors are done away with. It can give error notifications and alerts when data is incorrect.
Better Integration Across the Departments
Workforce management requires seamless integration with other departments, mainly payroll and invoicing. Shift planning may include different schedules for different teams on different days. This would also lead to more complex shift combinations. If there have been requests for shift changes and swaps, the whole process becomes even more complicated.
A shift planning software ensures that all this complex data is stored and synced across relevant departments so that there is no room for error when it comes to payroll.
Controls Labor Costs
Shift planning encourages foresight, which in turn prevents poor forecasting of labour requirements and inaccurate schedules. This helps prevent missed shifts and schedule conflicts which could have otherwise caused massive unnecessary labor costs.
The best way to go about it is by having a shift planning software that can plan such schedules in advance. It takes into consideration employee availability, workload, and business demands. With the help of the right software, managers can easily optimize workforce allocation and match the right employees with the right time slots, saving significant costs.
Better Plan for Emergencies
No matter how much you plan your leaves and the work around it, there are times when unexpected leaves crop up. Whatever the reason may be businesses have to make sure that work does not suffer.
The manager can use the scheduling software to create a list of employees who are available to take on extra shifts at short notice.
Builds the Best Schedule Around Best Employees
Usually, a workweek has five or six workdays. In a fixed work schedule, this remains constant for all employees. A shift planning software helps the managers record the most productive hours of their employees and create a schedule accordingly.
Apart from certain exceptional circumstances when the best time may not match the employee’s request, this will help the manager utilize their resources in the best manner. Shift planning can also help manage a multigenerational workforce and integrate different age groups efficiently.
Shift planning software that manages the workforce data is also helpful in improving punctuality. If an employee misses a shift, it is immediately recorded. The software raises red flags if any employee is missing or readjusting their shifts too often This proactive approach can help the manager take necessary action or schedule a remedial one-on-one meeting.
Shift planning enables managers to utilize their subordinates in the best way possible. This leads to better team performance and helps achieve organizational goals.
How to Choose a Shift Planning Software?
Shift planning software comes with certain basic and premium features. But, the question is which aspects of your business should you take into consideration while choosing your perfect software?
Knowing the scale and size of your business is perhaps the most important thing to consider while choosing your shift planning software. This will help you understand whether or not it is worth investing in shift planning software. For instance, an organization with 10 employees can do well with rudimentary software. But one with 100 employees would definitely benefit from a premium product with more advanced features.
Shift planning is a good option for a global business with offices spread across the world. In this case, a shift management software can help offices set up different shifts for different offices to facilitate communication and work towards common goals. An example of a common goal here would be any company offering 24-hour customer service. In order to ensure maximum support coverage, HR can set up shifts in the daylight hours of different global offices.
Time Tracking Requirements
Time tracking is an essential part of scheduling. These softwares help you track employee productivity on the basis of shifts and projects within them.
They can help zero in on the most productive time for your employees so that you can create your rosters accordingly. Especially if yours is a business that is dependent on zero hour contract employees or even freelancers, having time tracking software synced with shift scheduling helps you create the most productive shifts.
Make sure time tracking is an essential feature while choosing shift planning software.
The shift planning software should be able to save labor costs while being able to justify its own pricing. It should offer rich insights for better workforce management.
What Features to Look for in a Good Shift Planning Software?
If you have shift planning in place, the only thing you need to worry about is fixing your work hours and knowing which employee should be utilized in which shift. The rest should be managed by your shift planning software. Here are some of the features to look for in a good shift planning software.
A good shift planning software should not require much manual intervention. Features such as timesaving and tailormade templates curated to meet the specific needs of the business ensure that the software makes use of the already stored information and creates the best schedules.
While implementing effective shift planning, the management would want to be alerted when a certain employee is missing too many shifts or rescheduling. All shift planning software should be able to alert the manager in the case of any shift-related red flags.
Employee Self Service
A good shift planning software should have an in-built self-service mechanism that takes the load off the managers and enables the employees to make minor changes to their own shift schedules. They should be empowered to request swaps within the team and work a few extra hours without much involvement of the management. Management should only be involved during the approval process and even there some quotas can be set.
Punch-in and Punch-out Function
Punches are the most basic function of any shift planning software and the most important one as well. Any shift planning software should be able to clock the punches of employees and generate timecards accordingly.
The shift planning software should have in-built automatic reminders for employees. A feature like this would ensure that the employees get regular reminders and notifications for upcoming shifts.
Integration with Payroll Software
A good shift scheduling software should integrate with the organization’s existing payroll software to avoid ambiguity when it comes to paystub creation. For instance, AttendanceBot has an integration with Gusto which can be used to run payroll in Gusto using timesheet data from Attendanceboot.
Should your Organization have a Shift Planning Software?
Depending on the scale of your business and the industry you work in, having a shift planning software is definitely useful.
Attendance Bot’s Shift Management could be a solution that could help with your shift planning needs. It also comes with the additional advantage of syncing with team collaboration platforms such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Chat, so that shift alerts can be instantly shared with employees and managers. Employees can even put in queries with respect to their upcoming schedules and get regular shift reminders.
Do you use a shift planning software in your organization? What are the features that you look for in one? Do share with us @HarmonizeHQ