Employee scheduling shouldn’t be this difficult. In a perfect world, employees would tell you when they’re free, stick to their word, and happily work the shifts you assign them.

Reality more often resembles something that sometimes works but can also sometimes look like modern warfare, with subterfuge, missing troops, and last-minute changes required just to keep the ship afloat. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Simple scheduling can become the new reality for you and your company with Findmyshift’s top tips.

Get online

There is no excuse these days for pen and paper rotas full of meandering arrows, crossed-out names, and notes scribbled in margins. The 21st century has brought technology to every other aspect of our lives, so why is our scheduling still stuck in the dark ages?

Modern solutions - and yes, we wholly-but-humbly recommend ourselves here - make it easy for anyone to schedule shifts quickly and painlessly, with no technical wizardry required. Simply log in to the site, drag and drop shifts to the appropriate staff member, and voila! It couldn’t be easier to embrace technology and save yourself time and a headache. You can also use additional built-in features like shift reminders and a time-clock so you know the exact hours your staff work.

Schedule your scheduling

Having a set time each week that you dedicate to allocating shifts will make the process much smoother. Staff will know when they need to have told you their availability by, colleagues will know not to interrupt you, and you’ll get into a routine that gets it done consistently. Not having to find a spare minute to scribble another name down will make you less stressed and less likely to make mistakes too.

Schedule far in advance

The further into the future you can look, the better. Yes, things may change as you get closer to the time, but with simple online scheduling tools, making changes to your shift patterns and allocations is quick and easy anyway, so there’s no reason not to. Employees will appreciate knowing when they’re working ahead of time, and when changes do crop up, you’ll have more notice to deal with them and find solutions.

Use shift patterns to save time

Having a ready-made set of shifts can make your weekly scheduling even easier. This way, you can evaluate your staffing needs for the upcoming weeks, choose a pattern that works—maybe you have different plans for busy days, quiet days, and manic wedding parties—and fill in the blanks with the cover you want.

Findmyshift allows you to do this quickly with its Templates feature, where you can select a saved shift pattern to automatically populate the shifts you require. This can seriously reduce the cognitive load on managers who would otherwise have to remember or work out each time how just how many waiters it takes to cover a packed wedding venue, or how many drivers a jumbo shipment will need!

Communicate with your team

Trust and communication are cornerstones of any effective team. By talking through employees’ availability ahead of time, and empowering them to request changes if circumstances dictate, you show them that you care about their needs as well as those of the business. You will find that they are more likely to buy into ways of working they’ve been consulted on or had input into. Using Findmyshift, for instance, staff can view schedules and submit swap or cancellation requests for managerial approval all through the site.

Hopefully we’ve helped show that scheduling has in fact made the leap into the modern age, and that with these tips, employee shift scheduling can be a quick and easy process!

About the author

Jake Waller is a wordsmith who plies his trade here at Findmyshift. He uses his background in engineering to simplify complex topics for a variety of tech firms. When not writing for Findmyshift he blogs under a pseudonym at My Name is Skylance and has a passion for creative writing and editing, about which he's always talking on Twitter.