Depending on the number of workers you employ, employee scheduling can either be a minor inconvenience or an operational nightmare.
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Poorly managed schedules mean disrupted business processes and inefficient workflows so there's no room for error – you have to get it right every single time.
There are plenty of resources to help improve your scheduling routines. But at the end of the day, your weekly work schedule boils down to your ability to deploy multiple labor assets when and where your business needs them the most. To make the issue even more complicated, you'll need to consider each worker's individual scheduling needs and preferences. The challenge is striking the right balance between the operational demands of the business and the personal availability of your workforce.
It's a lot to juggle, but the creation of a weekly work schedule should reflect the same standards of commitment and dedication you strive to incorporate into every other aspect of your business. Leaving nothing to chance means paying close attention to the issues and potential pitfalls that threaten effective scheduling in a small business work environment.
- Labor laws. Before you invest time in creating a weekly work schedule, have a conversation with your attorney about labor laws. Overtime hours are usually paid at time and a half, and you may be restricted in your ability to schedule workers under the age of 18. However, there are exemptions – and you need to know them before you set anything in stone.
- Work planning. Work schedules are built around workflows. Take time to evaluate your company's workflows and create a schedule that coordinates your employee assets with the labor requirements that are necessary for smooth work processes.
- Scheduling tools. Some employers, especially those with multiple shifts or complex scheduling needs, use scheduling software to generate weekly work schedules. Smaller employers find that pen and paper solutions work just as well. Either way, make sure the scheduling tool you use is capable of delivering the results you need.
- Creating the schedule. The way you create a weekly work schedule is largely a matter of personal preference. But some employers find it useful to schedule employees one at a time because it makes it easier to track each individual's total hours for the week.
- Time off. Vacation and personal days throw a monkey wrench in the scheduling process. Although you can't schedule the employee, they still need to be calculated into the week's total payroll expense. Develop a system that coordinates time off requests with the business's monthly work requirements.