Employee work schedule changes can be a significant hassle. Call-outs, no-shows, and late vacation requests can all throw even the best-planned work schedule into a tailspin. Our tips will help calm the shift schedule chaos and get everyone back to work.
The Work Schedule Nightmare
Handling the employee shift schedule ranks high in the topmost dreaded responsibilities for restaurant managers. Even with a small restaurant, the employee schedule can get complicated. Work schedule managing is not just about what’s best for the restaurant; when dealing with the shift schedule for everyone in the store, you also have to consider employee schedule needs. Who can’t work weekends? Who has to be off by five to pick up their kids from daycare? And what about the ones who call in at the last minute and request time off for a family emergency? A good restaurant general manager will do their best to make sure the employees feel heard, their private lives considered, and still create a fair employee schedule for everyone. But getting the right work schedule sure can be tough!
If you’ve been making your employee schedule for a while already, you probably understand the pressure all too well and are seeking a better way to handle the shift schedule nightmare. If you’re new to work scheduling, perhaps we can help you avoid some of that stress altogether.
Employee Schedule Basics
It’s always best to start at the beginning, so let’s quickly cover some employee schedule basics before we get into the main tips for scheduling success.
Your top priority, of course, is making sure the restaurant is profitable and running at peak efficiency within all safety protocols. To do that, you must ensure the appropriate staff members are on site during business hours. One call-out can send the whole store into a tizzy, so have a backup plan in place. This takes a little pre-planning, and it involves talking to your employees ahead of time, but it’s worth the extra effort now to avoid a catastrophe down the line. Get a list of employees that are willing to work extra hours or to fill in when someone calls out. These will be your go-to helpers when the inevitable call-out happens, and they’ll be happy for the extra hours. It’s much better to have that list of willing fill-ins than to ask a less-than-willing employee to give up their day off. That call is awkward for everyone, and it can leave an employee feeling used or even guilt-tripped into coming in. Best to avoid that headache all together!
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Another work schedule basic is to be sure everyone knows where to find the employee schedule and who to ask if there are any changes. We’ll go into some more details on making this step easier later, but at the very least, your employees need to know where they can check the schedule each day.
Top Tips for Simple Work Scheduling
1. Communicate Effectively - Communicating with your staff is one of the best ways to ensure your work schedule is fair and equitable for everyone. Provide a way for employees to leave feedback, request a specific shift schedule, and ask for days off. Traditionally, this communication system is a simple sheet left on the manager’s desk or in the staff room, but there are some problems with this method. There’s no privacy since everyone uses the same sheet. It might be days before anyone checks the sheet, missing time-sensitive requests. And the sheet itself is prone to be damaged or lost. That’s a hassle for everyone, and it is one area that technology can help. Switching to a digital work schedule and communication system solves all of these problems by keeping information private, instant, and saved in the cloud. In addition to employees being able to communicate with managers in a secure way, managers can also broadcast notes, tips, and messages to employees through the same system, keeping everyone in the loop. Not only is this a time-saver, but it also helps foster a sense of community within the workplace. Communication is key!
2. Have a Template - Old style work schedule methods involved a log book with countless pages of old schedules. Everything was written by hand each week, and the work scheduling could take hours. Even if you’d been doing the same work schedule for months, there was a lot of room for error in the paper method of employee schedule managing, especially when considering request sheets and last-minute call-outs. Once again, technology gets rid of the slowdowns and mistakes. Create an employee schedule template in a modern shift schedule app, and you can instantly copy a previous week’s, work schedule, and make quick changes. Embracing a work schedule app can save tons of time and money, especially if you use a template to cut time off of writing the same schedules over and over. The right app will combine your work schedule template and your communication system mentioned in the first tip, making changes even faster and more efficient.
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3. Streamline your Backup List and Offer Open Shifts on the Shift Schedule - We mentioned above that having a backup plan in place will help in the case of call-outs and last-minute staffing issues. Once again, technology can be the star here! A work scheduling app that offers staff communication options can also show gaps in the shift schedule and offer those spots to willing employees. This is the most efficient way to provide extra hours to your backup staff without messing up the current employee schedule or causing you more stress. No more awkward phone calls to fill an open shift schedule, no more worry that the employee schedule will be screwed up. Simply send a note to qualified staff letting them know a slot is open and will be filled by the first one who grabs it. This method empowers employees, allowing them to take responsibility and feel like they’re in control of certain aspects of their work life. That helps build confidence and that sense of community we mentioned before.
4. Choose a Work Schedule Solution That’s Low-Cost and Simple to Use - Anything that can save time and reduce stress when handling an employee schedule is good, right? Wrong! If your work scheduling solution costs the company too much money, what you’ve saved in stress and streamlined processes have just gone down the drain. Your work scheduling solution should be cost-effective to help increase your savings as well as smooth the shift schedule creation. In addition to the saved money and stress, you need an employee schedule solution that provides simple to use controls and a familiar platform so employees can start using it in minutes.
Find an All-In-One Solution for Shift Schedule Issues
We’re sure by now you can see that embracing technology is your best bet for saving time and money and reducing stress when it comes to shift schedule solutions. Employee schedule issues can be eliminated or reduced, and labor costs can be lowered. Zip Schedules is an all-in-one employee schedule solution to every problem listed here, and it has even more features than we’ve covered, all with a free trial period and very low monthly costs with no restrictive or binding contracts.