Building Shift Schedules: 5 Tips to Get Started  

Modern companies, business owners, and individuals are in the middle of a huge change when it comes to work management. More and more workers on a global scale are working remotely and those who are working onsite are asking for more flexibility. As a result, many companies are changing their work customs to adapt their operations to new working trends, including how they approach shift schedules. Both business managers and employees need to tweak their habits to make things work seamlessly under new circumstances. The following tips will help make the shift schedules process easier for both sides.

1. Order your business projects by priorities

No matter if you’re a business owner or manager, you should optimize both your staff and projects.

Changing shift schedules usually includes more people. For instance, if the number of people per shift increases, you need to increase the number of additional staff, such as cleaners, safety officers, etc.

This is why you should order your business projects by priorities. You can start with the most complex and urgent ones. If such projects and tasks demand three shifts, so be it. Inform your employees about any new demands and start organizing shifts appropriately. As the number of closed tasks decreases and the workload drops, you might be able to reduce the number of shifts from three to two, or from two to one, depending on the initial deal.

Moreover, when you’re introducing new shift schedules, hiring a certain number of part-time employees will bring financial benefits for business owners.

2. Calculate your expenses and budget

We’ve already mentioned that altered shift schedules require additional manpower. However, these are not the only demands. Let’s take the example of the three-shift organization from the previous paragraph. If your business premises are occupied by workers 24/7 for a certain period, your overhead expenses will be significantly higher for that time. From electricity and heating to cleaning expenses and disinfection (especially during the COVID-19 crisis) – everything will cost more.

Make sure your newly incurred expenses are justified in terms of the planned income. You’ll know whether your revenues will surpass your expenses only if you take every calculation into account. Remember to calculate the costs that will be incurred by newly employed workers, both full-time and part-time. Then, take the overhead expenses from the previous month, when your people worked in fewer shifts, to make a financial estimate for your new shift schedule. Finally, don’t neglect to take into account the travel expenses for every employee.

All the elements above will help you build an action plan and shift schedule that is flexible and adaptable.

3. Discuss shift schedules with employees

Business owners should avoid putting unnecessary pressure onto their workers’ back. It’s recommended that you discuss your new shift schedules with employees before its implementation. Find an impactful way to tell your staff that organizational changes are coming.

SMB-owners will probably be able to communicate these things with their staff in person. Owners of larger ventures will need to brief their team leaders on the changes in more formal ways, such as via email, company-wide meetings, and internal communications. It’s important to inform everybody within your organization about new shift schedules with care and attention.

Your team leaders should be instructed to write down any particular issues that would prevent workers from changing shift schedules (i.e., chronic illnesses, family issues, etc.). Also, make sure to announce these changes at least several weeks in advance so that everybody has enough time to adapt to new arrangements.

Building Shift Schedules: 5 Tips to Get Started  

4. Offer flexibility and understanding

It’s key for both business owners and workers to show mutual flexibility and understanding. For instance, business owners and team leaders can offer flexibility and encourage workers to swap shifts if needed. Some employees might prefer night shifts to day shifts. Others might be willing to frequently change shift schedules. As long as colleagues are able to make those deals among themselves without assistance, business owners, managers, and team leaders shouldn’t interfere. There is value in building trust with your employees.

Still, it should never happen that a shift is left unattended. If your workers leave a shift uncovered, it will result in financial losses. You’re going to lose some assets and they will lose a part of their wages. That’s why every change in personnel or working hours needs to be added to the work schedule on time.

Also, business owners should take care of time clock rules for their employees. When everybody’s working hours are accurately recorded, they will be paid for all their regular and overtime work. It’s especially important to track the hours and outputs of your non-exempt workers (i.e, the ones who perform part-time and occasional duties).

5. Sanction employees’ abuses of flexibility

We’ve mentioned already that business owners and managers should be patient and flexible when it comes to shift schedules. It’s equally important to make them aware of the consequences if they abuse flexibility regarding shift schedules.

The range of penalties and fines is to be decided by every individual business owner or manager. For starters, everybody working for you, whether on a part-time, hourly, or permanent basis, should be familiar with all the potential rewards and penalties of their behavior.

For example, if two employees make a deal to switch their shifts, but one of them doesn’t cover the other shift, you might need to throw down a penalty. Likewise, if someone refuses to change their shift without any justified reason, you need to prepare an adequate response. Lighter penalties may be fines or reduced salaries. Heavier penalties and breaches of work schedules might even end in contract terminations. In other words, employees need to know that they aren’t allowed to abuse your arranged schedules and agreements.

Improve the way you approach shift schedules

Strive to build shift schedules that accommodate both our employees and business demands. When your employees feel heard and are given shift schedules that work for their work-life balance, they will have higher satisfaction and long-term loyalty. As much as it’s important to make work processes more efficient, it’s equally important to ensure employees are happy with their shift schedule structure at your company. Stay flexible while keeping your shift schedules properly attended to.

Are you curious about the current state of employee engagement and retention? Access Achievers’ latest report to access key stats and findings.

Do you have any thoughts on this article? Share your comments below.

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