The most common errors managers make in creating and allocating shifts
Juggling the budget, monitoring stock, and managing a team of people with different personalities, as well as creating the weekly rota… it’s no wonder managers are often overwhelmed with stress.
Indeed, managers are frequently spread so thinly in workplaces that they are almost certain to make occasional mistakes, particularly when it comes to completing the employee schedule.
So, what are these mistakes and are there ways to avoid them entirely?
Paper-based employee rotas are a thing of the past—and for good reason! Research shows a staggering 140 hours are wasted each year by creating a schedule manually, and up to 174% more turnover occurs due to the inevitable human mistakes introduced.
Whether using pen and paper or an Excel spreadsheet, you are bound to encounter headaches and hiccups with this approach. Not only can paper can get lost (which in itself is a GDPR nightmare), but employees may not even see the schedule in time before their shift.
Meanwhile, Excel spreadsheets remain confusing and difficult to keep up to date, as businesses will often end up with multiple versions of the same rota being saved on various computers.
Last minute scheduling
The last-minute schedules benefit no one: managers are stressed creating them, employees are disgruntled by the delay, and the business will most likely be in chaos. In fact, this haphazard method only paves the way for burnout and mass dissatisfaction amongst your staff.
Publishing the employee schedule with only a few days’ notice is bound to see staff grow weary since their work-life balance is eroded by the constant unpredictability.
That’s why it is best practice to plan the schedule 10-14 days in advance. Two weeks' notice is plenty of time for staff to plan their days off. It also gives managers some breathing space for any tweaks further down the line such as sicknesses and shift swaps.
Failing to recognise frequent split shifts
Although traditional working hours in the UK are between the hours of 9 to 5, businesses that operate on a rota-basis usually involve late nights or early starts—and sometimes both at the same time.
But the split shift and the ‘graveyard shift’ causes friction with our natural rhythm: operating at night and sleeping in the day before work means staff are more likely to suffer from insomnia.
The issue is so prevalent that the term ‘Shift Work Sleep Disorder’ (SWSD) has been coined in recognition of this epidemic, which alone is estimated to cost the UK £37 billion every year. But that’s not all: shift workers are more likely to suffer from social and relationship problems as a result of these long and unsociable hours, too.
As a manager, you will forget who and how often certain staff members have been working the dreaded split shift without rigorous note keeping. You need to carefully monitor this shift pattern to reduce the burden on your hard-working employees.
It may be tempting to schedule the best mixologist for the bar every Friday, and indeed it would be logical to do so.
After all, favouring certain employees based on their performance is not inherently biased as this is the best for business, but distributing the best shifts amongst staff members you like personally should really be kept out of scheduling.
Not only could this cause friction in your team, but you also run the risk of having an under-skilled workforce where only a few are granted the opportunity to shine.
Not knowing staff on a semi-personal level can also impinge on the success of the schedule. Take for instance staff who are studying, who celebrate religious holidays, or who have child-care duties.
Managers aren’t superhuman with impeccable memories: without collating this data and catering the schedule with your staff in mind, you are bound to cause issues with the employee schedule.
How to avoid these mistakes
Fortunately, most of these errors are avoidable.
Digital employee scheduling software is all it takes to simplify the process. Take for instance that Findmyshift automates shifts fairly, notifies staff the minute the schedule is published and allows you to plan each shift with the right combination of skills. It can also prevent staff from being overburdened by the split shift and, most importantly, save time and money in the process.
However, managers still need to maintain high levels of organisation and strong communication with their staff in order for the software to work in harmony with your workplace. Nevertheless, a digital employee schedule can certainly take the headache out of most of these dilemmas and complete one of the hardest parts of the job for you.