Managers spend a few hours every week creating work schedules for employees. While some processes work fine with monthly or weekly work schedules, some might need frequent changes per the client’s demands. An employer can be forced to change work schedules due to productivity issues, client requirements, or to provide better work-life flexibility to their employees. Irrespective of the reason, managers must try to create flexible and efficient work schedules for employees.
What are the different types of work schedules?
The work schedule for a remote working team can be different from a hybrid work schedule, i.e., a work schedule designed for companies that work on a hybrid-work model.
A standard work schedule is for employees who work 9 am to 5 pm in a typical office setup. The regular work schedule is for the offices that run on a fixed schedule every day and don’t work in shifts. This work schedule is designed for offices that run five days a week. Employees prefer such a schedule because they can plan other activities like hanging out with family or friends accordingly.
Fixed schedules for work are similar to standard work schedules. However, instead of the usual 9 am to 5 pm schedule, the company may choose different days and times for working. For instance, some companies might work from Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm. Fixed schedules allow companies to calculate the work hours of their employees easily.
Full-time work schedule
In a full-time work schedule, the employees are expected to complete a certain number of hours every week (usually 40 hours). In this case, the number of working hours doesn’t matter, but the number of working hours do.
For instance, some employees might work 8 hours for five days a week to complete the 40 hours, whereas others might work 6.65 hours a week for six days to meet this requirement.
Part-time work schedule
If the employees aren’t following a fixed work schedule, they may be employed on a part-term basis. Part-time workers may work full-time for a few days every week or might work for less than 8 hours daily for five days a week.
Shift schedules are for employees who work different shifts.
Freelancer work schedule
Freelancers might not regularly work as other employees. They mostly stick to deadlines and may work fewer or more days per the allotted work.
Overtime schedules, hybrid work schedules and rotating schedules are other types of work schedules. Employees who follow a fixed schedule at work might work from the office or home. However, they might also be following a hybrid work schedule.
What is a hybrid work schedule?
The Hybrid work model allows employees to either work from the office or home or participate in both remote and working from the office as per convenience. During the pandemic, most employees got used to working from home. However, as the pandemic eventually subsided, employers wanted their employees to return to their regular work mode. To make this transition smoother, managers thought of the hybrid work model. A Hybrid work schedule also allows managers to address workspace limitations.
For instance, if the office has limited workstations, it can ask different teams to follow other programs at work. Some groups or individuals can be asked to work regular shifts, while some may be asked to join the early morning or night schedules as per the availability of workstations.
While designing hybrid work schedules, the managers should take the opinions and suggestions of the employees. It is because some employees might be comfortable working in the morning whereas others might be most productive at night. Due to its flexibility and ability to address several issues, a hybrid work schedule can be considered the ideal option, at least for now. Here is some hybrid schedule at work types that managers must understand while creating a hybrid scheduler:
This work schedule allows employees to choose the days they will be working from the office. On the remaining days, they can continue working from home as before. The employees can choose any day for office or remote work as per their will. However, creating this type of schedule at work is challenging if the office has space or system limitations.
In some companies, the employer decides the days and times the employees must work from the office. This type of schedule at work is known as a hybrid split-week and may require different teams to be present at the office on other days.
When the manager decides a hybrid team’s working days and hours, it is known as the manager’s hybrid work schedule. The manager can suggest alternating work schedules per workspace limitations or productivity requirements.
A mixed hybrid schedule at work mixes all of the above three hybrid work schedule types as per the requirements. It means that some teams may be allowed to schedule at work as per their will, whereas companies and managers may decide the schedule for other teams.
Managing work schedules of distributed and remote teams
Managing work schedules for distributed and remote teams can be complicated for managers. In distributed teams, most managers haven’t seen how the employees look or behave when put in a specific situation. Therefore, managers must create work schedules and arrange online discussions regularly to manage the slightest changes. Here are some tips that managers can use to create a proper work plan:
Communicating the requirements bluntly
If managers don’t communicate the requirements, the employees might take them for granted. Therefore, they need to set the expectations clearly from the onset of work. They can use communication platforms like Slack and online meeting platforms like Zoom to keep the distributed teams informed about every new update.
Also, they set clear deadlines and ensure that everyone sticks to them no matter what!
Centralise communication channels
Centralising the means of communication is necessary to avoid confusion among the managers and employees. If a team does not have a comprehensive, collaborative tool like Slack, they can fix the means of communication for every activity. For example, all the tasks need to be shared through emails, while communication about the employee schedules and other stuff can happen via Whatsapp groups.
The managers can also look for a robust attendance management system that can be used to inform employees about programs at work to employees. The attendance tracking software should also be able to track the working hours of each employee closely.
Maintaining professional communication with the employees is not enough these days. The managers must also interact with employees on a one-to-one basis to figure out whether they are facing any issues or not. Social media platforms can be the best medium for maintaining personal communications, whereas emails and HRM software may be used to manage professional discussions.
It is also essential to organise get-togethers like group lunches and picnics for remote working and hybrid teams. Team bonding activities can help team members to understand each other better and communicate freely whenever necessary.
Managers must also encourage employees to communicate with each other and maintain healthy relationships. It would not only increase the engagement levels of teams, but the team members would be able to inform each other about an updated schedule at work during last-minute changes in the work schedules.
Recognise hard-working employees
Managers must appreciate the efforts of remotely working employees because it encourages them to work harder. However, it is hard to determine whether the employees are putting in extra effort in a remote or distributed team. One of the parameters to judge their performance would be to check their productivity or quality of work.
Managers can appreciate the hard-working employees during team meetings to encourage them further. If some employees are not finding enough inspiration or motivation to work, they can be called back to the office.
The managers can also use work back schedules of different projects to evaluate the performance of teams. A work back schedule merely maps an entire project’s lifecycle from start to finish. This mapping is usually done just before the delivery to record the project’s milestones and significant phases.
Benefits of work scheduling
Employee scheduling, i.e. schedule at work for employees, can transform a process that lags due to issues like lack of punctuality and non-adherence to working hours.
Here are some key benefits of creating work schedules:
Ensures maximum work efficiency
To complete any project, every employee must put in equal effort. By creating employee schedules at work, managers can ensure that every member works punctually. It enhances productivity and ensures that the processes are run efficiently.
Optimum use of the available resources
Creating an employee schedule at work helps managers to make maximum use of the available resources like workspace, workforce, or work desks.
Elimination of bias
When employees work extra hours, the employees might feel that the management favours certain employees. Such a mindset is not suitable for the growth of any company. By creating work schedules, managers can distribute the work equally among different teams. A fixed work schedule with equal working hours for every individual will help the management eliminate all the biases from the system.
Employees who work for fixed hours are trying to finish work within a deadline. It is because failing to do so might only extend their working hours. The employees can manage the workload and deadlines better when they access a well-planned schedule. It is also easier for managers to monitor whether the tasks are completed quickly when detailed work schedules are planned.
Helps employees to manage work stress
As the employees are informed about the schedule at work in advance, they can plan their other activities. Even remotely working employees can create time blocks to manage their work efficiently. It allows them to find time for other activities and personal stuff. It ultimately will enable them to manage work stress by balancing work and life perfectly.
Employees who work on a schedule are less prone to stress-related issues. A satisfied employee is less likely to quit or resign. Creating efficient and flexible work schedules could help reduce the attrition rate. Therefore, the HR team must incorporate them into the employee retention strategies.
Improves client satisfaction
When the employees work in a scheduled way, even the clients know when to contact them. The availability of workers not only allows them to find solutions to their issues but also increases their satisfaction rate. Some managers also consider clients’ suggestions while creating schedules at work for the same reason.
How to Create Best schedule for a Modern Workplace?
Here are some tips that managers can use to create the best schedules for a modern workplace:
Create work schedules only after understanding the team
Consider suggestions and recommendations of every team member
Use time-tracking tools to ensure that every employee works for a fixed number of hours
Create a dedicated communication channel for ensuring smooth communication and collaboration among team members
Communicate any changes in the schedule at work in advance
Ensure that the employees get proper leaves and time off for rewinding and rejuvenating themselves
Ensure each shift has some top-performing employees
Using rotating schedules to manage shifts requires smartly
Don’t post updates about the schedules for work at the last minute
Utilise proper work schedule templates to avoid any common scheduling errors
The work schedule needs to be created according to the specific requirements of an organization. Therefore, the managers must always be ready to revise and revamp the schedules at work. Creating schedules at work is possible with the help of MS Excel. To know how schedules for work can be created at work, managers can check this YouTube video: How to create a work schedule in Excel
Apart from following these tips and ideas, the managers must evaluate the work requirements of their companies. However, they must also take the required efforts to ensure that everyone is informed about the changed schedules for work in advance.