4 Pointers for Scheduling Shift Work Efficiently

December 30, 2020 | 155 views

4 Pointers for Scheduling Shift Work Efficiently
4 Pointers for Scheduling Shift Work Efficiently

One of a manager’s important responsibilities is to maximize staff efficiency. Managing a workforce well will contribute to profitability while producing coordinated schedules that create the best result. Shift scheduling for long-hour or 24-hour sites can be tough—you must consider legal requirements, employee skill levels, shift needs, and results. With a few pointers, you will increase efficiency for your shift workers.

  1. Build Flexibility. Every industry has different needs and limitations. Typically, each shift will have prescribed times for breaks and meals. However, some industries might need more flexibility to stay efficient and safe. A construction site, for example, might need to rotate people more quickly in extreme weather, providing water breaks or a warm break room. Even though it feels counterintuitive, fewer minutes working could translate to better performance overall. When shifts include long stints or overnight responsibilities, you might find it more efficient to stagger days and times so that no one is exceptionally fatigued. Stay ready to zig or zag as your business’s needs demand.
  2. Listen to Your Employees. As managers and owners, we often are a bit too focused on what looks right to us without asking for input. Each person on your team has uniquely personal needs to operate at their best level. What seems right for you might not be what works for them. Creating a staff that maximizes productivity and produces high-quality work means understanding what they need to do their best. The answer will be different for each person, and that can be difficult to manage, but if you stay flexible (see #1 above), your employees’ input might be exactly what makes your shift efficiency soar.
  3. Think Outside the Box. Since shift work changes often based on demand, consider outside resources to fulfill personnel gaps. Perhaps some skills can be provided remotely—especially these days when face-to-face contact is limited. Rather than fully staffing your physical location, it might be more efficient to provide direct remote access to some services. Again, flexibility and a broader way of providing service to customers will reap benefits for you and your shift workers.
  4. Automate Shift Work Schedules. Being efficient includes ensuring that you, too, spend your time where it is most valuable. Scheduling is critical, but it can be more streamlined with scheduling software that eliminates paperwork and saves valuable time. With easy communication between personnel and real-time notifications when a change is needed, you can dedicate time to other workplace performance needs. 

You can improve the efficiency and productivity of shift workers if you work with them to simplify scheduling by meeting their needs and flexing staff and schedule. Doing so will promote a greater ability for each employee to contribute to your success, shift by shift. 

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. For many years, Atlas Business Solutions has been named one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies.

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