Top 6 Mistakes Managers Make When Scheduling Their Team

One of the most important duties of any manager, team leader, or small business owner, is to make sure that they’re making the best use of their team. For part-time workers or freelancers, this often means ensuring that the schedule is done right. However, it’s about more than just finding out when people can work and putting them in the first convenient slots available. There are ways to do it both more effectively and more efficiently so that it doesn’t become a chore every time you have to do it. Here, we’re going to look at some of the mistakes you want to avoid to both be better at scheduling and to make it a little easier on yourself.

1. Not Being Empathetic To Your Workers

Scheduling well is about making sure that you have the right people with the right skills in the right place, at the right time. However, you also have to consider the human element of it all. You don’t want to schedule someone for five days in a row if they’re not used to doing that or if they have responsibilities outside of the workplace they’re trying to manage. If someone raises a concern about how their being scheduled, don’t try to fob them off, try to show some real empathy.

2. Not Keeping Notes On Employee Availability

One of the benefits of part-time work is that it allows your employees to be a little more flexible, to let you know when they are available so that you don’t schedule them then. While there is some wiggle room, and you might be able to convince employees that you really need them on certain days, you shouldn’t make any decisions that go against their previous statements of availability without consulting them. Similarly, you shouldn’t forget if they have taken time off. Keeping a note-taking app on your phone can make it a lot easier to jot down any availability issues that you should schedule around.

3. Not Using Templates To Cut Down Your Work

One of the reasons that so many managers make mistakes when creating employee schedules is that they try to do them when their time is short and their energy is low. Having to do a schedule towards the end of the week is always going to be a chore, but that is often the best time to do it. Taking steps to cut down on the workload of scheduling, like taking the time to create a weekly schedule template could be just what you need. Automate some of the steps you normally have to take so that it’s much easier to get started.

4. Waiting Too Long To Start Working On It

Creating the schedule for the next week on the last day of the week affords you and your team the means to be flexible and make changes. Situations develop during the week and you want to be able to adjust the schedule to those. However, if you’re able to plan ahead, then you definitely should. In fact, in some places, you might legally have to plan up to two weeks ahead. It can give you time to make adjustments if they pop up, and also allows employees to plan a lot more easily.

5. Not Allowing For Shift Swaps

There is an extra layer of complication that comes up if you allow your team members to swap their shifts, that is true. However, if you don’t allow it, then you’re likely to see dissatisfaction brewing a lot more easily as employees chafe at the lack of flexibility in their work. That said, using systems that can automate shift swapping so that you don’t have to play the middleman, and catching up to deals made out of your awareness, can help a lot, as well.

6. Scheduling On Pen And Paper

Hopefully, this shouldn’t be a problem for the vast majority of managers and team leaders who have to schedule their teams. If you keep a schedule on pen and paper, then not only are you making it so much easier to make mistakes and to lose vital pieces of information regarding that schedule, but you also don’t have any accountability. Using digital systems makes it much easier to show your team your decision-making process if they have any issues with the schedule.

7. Conclusion

By avoiding the mistakes above, not only can you ensure that you’re making the best use of your team, but you can create schedules that adhere to their needs, as well, while giving yourself a lot less work to do.

Jay Bats

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