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Online Employee Scheduling: The Ins and Outs

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Employee scheduling is a headache for anyone that has sat down with a pencil and piece of paper trying to determine which employees work when and how many employees are needed per shift. Let’s not even get into scheduling people to be on call at a certain time. Just your basic Joe Schmoo works Monday from 8am-2pm and Thursday from 12pm-6pm. Even with an Excel spreadsheet the task can still be daunting. Forgot that Joe Schmoo has a family wedding to attend over the weekend and will be unable to work that Monday shift? Now an available employee must be found to cover that shift, phone calls made, potential overtime taken into account. Valuable money and time is spent on scheduling, and shift complications only raise the cost and level of frustration.

Enter online labor schedules. The solution to your scheduling headaches. The cost-efficient way to determine when employees work. The time saving solution that will allow you to free up time to train new employees, or maybe even go play that round of golf you promised your buddy a month ago. Ok…that seems to be a lot of talk about how awesome online employee scheduling software is. But seriously, it’s good. While there may be a slight learning curve when switching from pen and paper to scheduling through the internet, the advantages greatly outweigh the drawbacks.

One of the biggest and most apparent benefits of online scheduling is that it is… online! Managers can access and change scheduling information from any computer connected to the internet. Similarly, employees can view their schedule, make availability requests, or swap shifts from any device with internet accessibility. Now, no employee can claim they didn’t have the time to stop by the store to see what the schedule was for the week. Schedules are available any place with access to the world wide web. However, the internet itself can be one of the drawbacks of online scheduling. A slow internet connection can cause frustration because the site may take a long time to load or process a command. Similarly, employees who do not have access to internet may have no way of viewing their schedule. If internet access isn’t within easy access at your business, then online employee scheduling may not be for you.

However, if you do have good internet and still want to go play that round of golf, online employee scheduling software increases productivity in many ways. Managers can more easily manage employee availability, breaks, and vacation time. By taking the time to enter an employee’s availability and requests, managers no longer have to worry about scheduling Joe Schmoo when he is unable to work: the software simply won’t allow it. Company ‘guidelines’ can also be added. Compliance rules will be taken into consideration if entered into the scheduler, along with working hours, labor costs, and labor rules. Additionally, overtime can be tracked more easily, thereby reducing overtime costs.

But online scheduling not only benefits you, the manager. It can benefit employees as well. Hours are distributed more evenly among employees and Sally Sue isn’t the only one receiving ideal shifts—those are spread out as well. Suddenly employees are happier and more excited to come to work every day. Maybe even excited enough to pick up that extra, not quite as ideal shift. Additionally, Sally Sue will never again be able to forget she  was scheduled to work. The scheduler can send her an automated reminder about when she is expected to be at work that day.

In fact, all communications between managers and employees are simplified. Instead of calling each employee on a list to see if they can pick up a shift, managers can simply look online to see who is available during that time and send out an email asking if any of those people would like to work.

Emails or text messages can be sent out with every schedule change, eliminating the need to print new schedules and/or alert everyone to the changes through word of mouth. After all, what if Sally Sue dropped her phone in the kitchen sink that day and can’t answer the call telling her she is now scheduled to come into work one hour early tomorrow? Instead, she can check her email on any computer to be notified about the changes, and then view the updated schedule online.

And what if Sally Sue is always giving away shifts to Joe Schmoo? Well, you can track that. Patterns may start to emerge enabling managers to evaluate their employees on tardiness, employee attendance, and worked shifts. But no matter who shows up for the shift, Sally Sue or Joe Schmoo, there are still certain tasks that must be completed. When employees sign in, managers can choose to have a list of tasks ready for them to start once the work day has begun. And no more worrying about whether or not an employee can tweak schedules or view confidential information—a secure log-in is created for the manager to ensure security.

Still unsure about online employee scheduling software? Well, admittedly there are some programs that have software limitations, but don’t let that stop you. The trick is simply to compare products to determine which most fits your needs, much like buying a new car. A car may seem like a larger investment, but isn’t the cost of the time you will save just as valuable?

Learn more about Jackie.

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