Depending on the size of the workforce and the complexity of shift patterns, small-business managers can spend up to eight hours per week putting schedules together, using the old-fashioned spreadsheet to replace the even more outdated whiteboard and marker.
With more firms becoming concerned with employee engagement and work/life balance, initiatives such as compressed working weeks and flexible schedules only make the juggling act more complex and time-consuming. Given these difficulties, it’s no surprise that employee self-scheduling, while often praised as the new flexi-time, has been adopted by only a few enterprises.
Fortunately, a few smart software providers have recognized that employers of today need help with scheduling. The tools are now available to reduce the burden of employee scheduling to little more than a triviality. The benefits of adoption are many and the drawbacks few. Here are a few of the ways in which an online employee schedule maker can ease your management workload.
Employee scheduling software makes it easy to set up new schedules in minutes instead of hours. User-friendly features allow you to create standard shifts, which can then simply be assigned to an employee using a familiar, drag and drop interface. If, like many businesses, your schedules don’t change greatly week-to-week, you only need to make copies of the first schedules you create on a weekly basis and tweak as necessary.
Most businesses have occasional weeks where schedules differ significantly from the norm, such as at times of public holidays. Most employee scheduling software allows you to create templates for unusual schedules, which can be saved and utilized easily when required.
State-of-the-art scheduling software is cloud-based and optimized for mobile devices. You and your employees can check and create new schedules even while on the go. Once you create a schedule and publish it, your employees are notified and can respond quickly to request changes, such as requests for time off. Communicating schedule information is a fast, direct and secure process, with no need for emails or spreadsheet attachments.
The mobile aspect of commercial scheduling software is especially important. By taking advantage of a product with integrated apps for iPhone, Android, and other mobile operating systems, your employees get to see and respond to their schedules faster. Without mobile technology support, you have to depend on your staff members to remember to log into the software at their workstations. In a busy environment, employees can easily forget to log in or postpone doing so. This can lead to frantic, last minute change requests. When employees can immediately check their new schedule on a smartphone upon receipt of a notification, delays are eliminated and work scheduling is trouble-free.
With Excel, employees usually have to call their managers and supervisors whenever they need to make a change or two to the work schedule. Also, without a web-based scheduling system, managers have to make manual changes in the Excel template, which is not only time-consuming; it also leaves a lot of room for errors and mistakes. An effective scheduling solution should be able to make it possible for managers to communicate sudden changes without necessarily relying on telephones, text messaging and emails.
With Excel, employees usually write down their time off requests on paper or send them via email. With employee scheduling software, employees are able to send their request online and in the same way, managers are able to approve or decline employee requests and also to keep an overview of unavailable employees to ensure they don’t schedule them.
Mangers who wish to register or record employee work hours with Excel usually have no choice but to do it manually. Unfortunately, with such a system, it would be impossible to tell whether the registered hours and the actual hours match up or correspond.
With Excel, payroll departments will also have no choice but to prepare payroll based on the manually recorded hours including overtime, sick days, lunch breaks and so on. This is one area where there lies a great risk of making mistakes that will cost the business in the end.
Schedule changes or adjustments can only be made from one platform with Excel. This means that the manager’s job will be to constantly register adjustments and to reprint and to resend updated schedules. On the other hand, managers will be able to update schedules through a schedule builder. Free access to the software via a mobile app will enable employees to view schedule adjustment and to also make their own changes from different internet enabled devices.
A web-based employee scheduling system can also act as a communication platform where both employers and employees can reach out to each other at all times via a schedule maker online. Free software might not offer this feature but you can find all these features and more in a premium scheduling software.
Once again, for free scheduling software, just type schedule maker online free into your search bar and you will find various vendors who offer completely free scheduling software.