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8 Common Employee Scheduling Issues And Mistakes You Might Be Making And Ways To Avoid Them

It wouldn't be wrong to say that making employee schedules is as challenging as rocket science. As a manager, you have to organize the work in your company by assigning employees to their shifts, considering their qualifications and, of course, their preferences.

However, the work doesn't stop once you finish the schedule. Throughout the month, you have to keep track of changes and make adjustments accordingly, all while ensuring that employees neither exceed nor fall short of their assigned hours. Not to mention, there's always someone who isn't happy with their working arrangement or the people they are assigned to work with.

Scheduling is complicated, so the possibility of mistakes is also quite high. In this article, we'll discuss the most common employee scheduling errors and how to avoid them.

1. A Lot Of Wasted Time

As a manager, you are responsible for countless tasks: work planning, solving conflicts, scheduling, etc. One of the most time-consuming tasks is employee scheduling and managing your team. The more employees there are, the more difficult it is to do this work, and naturally, mistakes happen. So you might be asking yourself: how much time do I waste doing all this?

You might forget to schedule a shift for an employee or plan for more people to work than you actually need. These mistakes pile up and cause complaints from your team and other managers, wasting even more time. If you're still making schedules manually, using Excel or similar methods, consider switching to a modern employee scheduling tool (such as OPTAS). It can automatically schedule for you, spot errors, and store data in one convenient place.

2. Labor Law Violations

While managers are generally well-informed about local labor laws, it's common for them to make compliance mistakes, particularly when it comes to meeting the requirements for correct amount of work hours, rest periods, and breaks. Understanding and implementing labor law into your work can be challenging, as it's written in a complex, legal language, and certain terms can be confusing.

According to the Lithuanian Labor Inspectorate (VDI) data, out of all recorded labor law violations, as many as 29% of violations occurred due to working time and 10% due to rest time miscalculations. This is as much as 40% of violations related to work schedules.

However, with modern employee scheduling software, you don't need to worry about remembering all labor law requirements and related scheduling issues. Such staff scheduling systems in real-time detect if the created schedule meets the requirements.

It can also automatically create schedules for your entire team that fully comply with the rules of your local laws. Systems such as OPTAS can detect and correct violations, saving time and potential financial costs from legal disputes.

3. Unfair Shift Scheduling

As a manager, you must ensure your schedules are fair to everyone. Did everyone get a weekend off this month, or is someone always working the busiest shifts? Of course, assigning more difficult shifts to more experienced employees seems logical, but it's important to remember that you should always distribute work and shifts fairly to everyone.

Working in different shifts is a great way to build employee confidence and skills. Less experienced team members should be given the opportunity to work in more demanding times as this encourages them to develop and learn. It's also a good practice to allocate experienced employees over several shifts. It helps train your team faster, create a fair work culture, and build stronger employee bonds.

4. Inefficient Hour Distribution

If you use bank of hours method in your company, you probably know how problematic it is to track employees' working hours over several months. Scattered schedules in several Excel files, changes from the plan, and calculation errors can lead to some employees failing to meet or exceed their monthly working quota.

To prevent these problems, it's important to have tools that give you a clear view of the employees' scheduled working hours, actual working hours, and bank of hours balances.

Modern scheduling systems can help you track employee time, calculate overtime on the go, and account time balances by automatically generating schedules. Such a program is helpful for effectively managing and distributing working hours among employees.

5. Poor Communication About Schedules

Employee punctuality is essential in companies with shift-based work schedules to ensure smooth operations and minimize downtime. When there are fewer employees during a shift, your customers suffer by not receiving quality services or goods. On top of that, your team has to take on an extra load, which, in the long term, can lead to burnout and high employee turnover.

Communication and availability of information are critical when creating schedules, as your team needs to know who they are working with and when. When you think about your current scheduling system, how efficiently can your team get all this information? Text messages aren't always reliable, emails are ignored, and printed paper schedules and changes can be easily missed.

Instead, choose a centralized scheduling system where employees can see their shifts and make modifications as needed. This way, your team can receive real-time information about the updated schedule and access it in one convenient system.

6. Late Schedules

Timely schedules give employees enough time to plan their personal lives. It's not fun to miss a friend's birthday party because you have to come to work at the last minute. Lousy planning causes stress for you and your employees, so you must find ways to avoid these scheduling issues.

Delayed schedules can result in more than just inconvenience. Labor laws require employers to provide advance schedule notice, typically at least 7 days before the schedule takes effect. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in fines, and employees are not required to report to work without a timely notice. With a modern scheduling system, you can create and publish employee schedules in advance with just a few clicks so that everyone can plan their time.

7. Employee Preferences Are Ignored

Satisfied and productive employees are the key to your company's success. Don't forget to consider their requests for certain shifts, days off, vacations, etc. Some team members may have family commitments in the middle of the week. Others may attend studies and be unable to work during the exam period. It's good to know which employees are more willing to work evening shifts and which prefer to work in the mornings.

Implementing a system where employees can make requests can simplify scheduling management. With a staff scheduling system, you can see all the preferences in one place, and the system ensures the employees' preferences are fulfilled.

8. Competencies Of Employees Are Ignored

Each employee has specific competencies necessary for the company's operations, and building a solid team is a significant part of it. For example, production can't proceed without all line workers, and customer satisfaction may suffer if no specialist is available in a specialized area to answer questions. Therefore, it's important to form a team with employees with the necessary skills who can fully ensure the operation of your company at any given time.

Specifying each employee's competencies is easy once a smart scheduling system is installed. After entrusting scheduling to artificial intelligence, the system independently assigns shifts to workers with the appropriate competencies. It allows you to achieve more efficient company management and maximize your team's potential.

Forget staff scheduling issues with OPTAS

You don't need to spend hours each month creating employee schedules. Choose a modern staff scheduling tool to simplify your work and reduce the most common scheduling problems.

Make it easier to create and manage employee work schedules in your company. Contact us about the OPTAS system to help you ditch manual work and save your precious time.

Kristina Laukaitytė
August 24th, 2023