Businesses use a variety of methods to schedule their shifts, including traditional schedule templates. However, many older methods of assigning shifts are inefficient, especially when you need to reschedule employees. That’s why you should consider switching to an online scheduling system that can free up your time for other tasks.
Weekly and Monthly Work Schedule Templates
Traditional templates for scheduling have been in use for decades. While they have worked for businesses in the past, they take time to configure, use, and reuse. Even though there are free templates available online (TimeForge offers two, for example, at the end of this post), they do come with numerous limitations.
Many traditional schedule templates run in Excel or similar programs. This means that you use spreadsheets to schedule time. Usually, an Excel-based schedule requires you to manipulate the data and schedule the time yourself. You manually enter the information and spend time customizing the template to fit your particular needs. Then, when you’re done, you print and/or post the finished schedule at your place of work.
You would typically be in front of your work computer when using an Excel-based template. If you need to update your schedule, you must go back into the program to reformat and change your spreadsheet. Even a reschedule schedule template would usually require some manual effort to change shifts around. The template could not make the changes or assign shifts for you.
Traditional Schedule Templates Require More Time To Make
The key to remember is that using an Excel-based template requires some effort to get it the exact way that you want. While you can ultimately end up with a usable product for scheduling your shifts (especially if you start with a decent template), it may still require hours of work to get it to a place where it’s useful. Then, if anything changes, it could take nearly as much time to adjust it to a new schedule. A monthly work schedule template in Excel requires manual entry that must be redone every time there is a change. The same is true for a weekly work schedule template in Excel.
An Online Schedule Management Tool Can Help You
Now that you have a sense for how traditional schedule templates work, you can see how an online solution could be more efficient. When you’re managing your employees, the last thing that you want to do is to waste time with a manual process when there are better options available. And the less time you need to spend in a back office working on employee scheduling, the better.
One major benefit of using an online tool is that you can make changes from anywhere. This includes the ability to quickly and easily build a schedule online from your home or office. You can still print it if you want, but ideally employees would have access to check their schedules from their mobile phones or computers at any time, so printing it out isn’t as necessary.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of an online scheduling tool, though, is the ability to generate entire schedules automatically. All you need to do is make a small change in your inputs, and your shift management tool will create and assign your shifts for you in a matter of seconds. Thus, an online tool could literally save you hours of time. You could reuse your online schedules again and again, too, just like your traditional template but without the extra work.
Time Management Made Easy For Employees, Too
A good online scheduling software benefits the whole team. It can be configured to allow employees to swap shifts and bid on available time slots as needed. This means employees could trade or pick up shifts online without need for manual entry or a reschedule schedule template. You wouldn’t need to print out a new schedule. You could either set the software to approve bids on a first-come first-served basis, or you could choose among bids for the best fit for that time slot.
In sum, the features that you get from an online scheduling system will transform your shifts from a static data set on a spreadsheet to dynamic information that can warn you in advance if you’re approaching an understaffing or overstaffing situation. A good scheduling and timekeeping system can even let you know ahead of time if your schedule will result in employee overtime. With a standard schedule template in a spreadsheet, you get none of these features.
Fortunately, TimeForge offers your business an easy-to-use online scheduling solution that cuts the time that you need to spend on shift management – so that you can spend more time actually managing employees. If you’re not ready to make the switch just yet, that’s okay, too. TimeForge offers a monthly schedule template for free: