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How to Manage Employee Availability and Health Guidelines with TimeForge

a grocery store employee wearing a face mask to maintain health

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The COVID-19 pandemic presented new and unique challenges to retailers across the world. Retail operators started new cleaning and safety procedures to ensure a safe environment. As a result of these new guidelines and procedures, managers had new tasks to keep up with and document. TimeForge’s scheduling software offers retail  managers tools designed to help them with day to day operations and customer service. In this article, we’ll go through some of TimeForge’s features built to help managers adjust to changing employee availability and enforce health guidelines.  

Adjust Quickly and Easily to Changes in Employee Availability

Managers need to respond to sudden changes in the schedule, especially when an employee is exposed to COVID-19. Despite how much one plans ahead, surprises can happen. Luckily, TimeForge has tools to help managers quickly adjust their schedules. Through TimeForge, and the TimeForge mobile appemployees can quickly notify mangers of a change in their availability.

Employee Availability Requests

When an employee submits a request, TimeForge sends an alert to a manager. This allows managers to quickly tackle the potential change in their scheduled labor. When a manager approves a request, TimeForge presents them with four options:

  1. find a replacement to work the shift
  2. keep the shift open
  3. work short staffed
  4. mark the shift as a bid shift

The first three options allow managers to address the staffing change right away. On the other hand, marking the shift as a bid shift gives managers a list of employees they can choose from who want to cover the shift.

Bid Shifts and Open Shifts

Along with submitting an availability request, employees can take some of the stress away from scheduling changes by using the shift swap feature. Employees can request to give up a shift they are unable to work, and an available employee with the same assigned position can pick up the shift. Depending on a manager’s preference, TimeForge can automatically approve shift swaps or require manager approval. Mangers can ensure more experienced employees swap shifts with other experienced employees by distinguishing between skill levels. By using skill levels, managers can make sure employees cover dropped or open shifts fitting to their experience.

Most importantly, bid shifts and shift swaps take away some of the hassle of finding a replacement. Additionally, they make it easy for managers to see who’s available on a certain date. By making this information clear, it prevents managers from having to ask around the store to see if someone is available to work. Instead, a manager can run one of TimeForge’s scheduling availability reports. By pairing scheduling alerts with overtime reports, managers can also make sure they stay within their labor budget.

Maintain Health by Scheduling in Hand Washing Breaks

Another way TimeForge can help managers is by scheduling in short 5-minute hand washing breaks. Managers can make sure employees practice frequent hand washing through the break rules function. In this way, managers can assign breaks to an employee’s schedule throughout the day so they meet local health guidelines.

If using both of the attendance and scheduling features, managers can track whether employees are using their hand washing breaks. The Schedule Breaks vs Attendance Breaks by Position Report and the Break Report can give managers a quick snapshot of which employees are staying compliant. This allows for managers to encourage accountability. It also allows managers to address any issues they may run into.

Stay on Top of Sanitizing Guidelines with the Manager Log and Task Management Tool

Along with frequent hand washing, regular cleaning of surfaces helps reduce the spread of COVID-19. TimeForge’s Daily Log feature offers managers a way to keep track of the cleaning duties assigned to their staff. When a manager turns on the Task Management feature, they can go a step further and set up daily checklists and assign them to their employees. For example, a checklist can point out areas of the store which need regular cleaning. While employees mark off the tasks they complete, managers can view the completed tasks from their tablet or smart phone.

TimeForge’s Task Management feature also allows managers to schedule follow ups should they need another team member to check in on a task. Depending on how a manager sets up their checklist, other team members can leave comments and upload images to a task. This can help employees or managers document issues or provide proof a task’s completion, such as sanitizing a work station.

We hope you found this article useful for managing employee availability! We know how important it is to maintain a healthy staff and a healthy business. If you have any questions at all about how to use the TimeForge features mentioned here, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Customer Success Team at 866-684-7191. We’re here to help!n

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