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3 ways to save time while scheduling your staff

May 8, 2017

The following article was contributed by Carol Wood, People Operations Director at Homebase. Read more employee management posts from Homebase and other Staffing & Human Resources articles here on the Clover blog.

Scheduling is one of the most time-consuming tasks for any manager, often taking upwards of four hours per week. But it doesn’t have to! With employee scheduling apps, you can publish a schedule in just fifteen minutes. After you ditch the paper schedules or spreadsheet templates, you’ll save hours. Best of all, your employees will love the new schedules too!

1. Switch to a scheduling app

Using an employee scheduling app like Homebase will save you hours almost immediately. When you’re building the schedule, you’ll have all the information you need in one place: employee availabilities, labor costs, sales estimates, weather forecasts, and more. No matter what your business goal is, you can be sure you’ve got the right level of staffing for every shift.

2. Allow your employees to swap shifts

Take some of the scheduling burden off your manager’s shoulders by setting up a policy for team members to find coverage as needed. With a scheduling app like Homebase, your team can swap shifts on the free mobile app, and your manager will get a notification to approve the swap, so there aren’t any surprises. But by liberally allowing your team to trade shifts and find coverage amongst themselves, you can worry a little less when building your schedule, since you know your team can find coverage as necessary.

Some businesses actually end up publishing multiple weeks of schedules at once, knowing that if something comes up for a member of their team, it’s easy to request time off.

3. Have clear guidelines on availabilities and time-off requests

We’ve spoken to lots of business owners still using paper schedules and they’ve all described a similar scene when building their schedule: a cluttered desk filled with sticky notes and slips of paper with requests for time off.

It doesn’t have to be this way! Using a scheduling app like Homebase, you can set some preferences for how your team requests time off or adjusts availability. You can, for example, require a minimum number of days advanced notice for time off. Or request that your team update their availabilities for a few weeks in the future. Both of which your employees can do right from their mobile phones, so no one has to deal with scraps of paper anymore.

Your employees will love the added flexibility, as well as having their schedule (and any updates) pushed right to their phones, along with upcoming shift reminders. No more taking a picture of a paper schedule to reference, or calling in on Sunday night to see when they’re working next week!


Carol is People Operations Director at Homebase. With free online tools and mobile apps for managers and employees, Homebase eliminates the paperwork and headaches of schedulingpayroll, and team communication for local business.

At Homebase, Carol focuses on providing thought leadership, tips and tricks, and scalable HR solutions for the 50,000 businesses that Homebase serves. Prior to Homebase, Carol focused on helping small and medium businesses navigate the tricky waters of human resources, working with companies across the retail, food service, oil and gas, and healthcare industries through her roles as HR Director at Fuddruckers and Achilles Group, a Houston Based HR consulting firm. In her free time, Carol enjoys spending time with her son Dayton, and watching Alabama football (RTR).

[image: Happy Staff by windy_ on flickr]