Managing employee schedules is one of the most challenging aspects of running a business effectively. Scheduling the standard 8-hour work shifts can be tricky enough, let alone the complexity of managing 24-hour workdays.
However, this is not a choice for some industries such as healthcare and hospitality because they absolutely need people to work around the clock.
While working 24 by 7 is not easy for employees, managers to have to struggle with managing the shifts.
Besides employee fatigue, another major challenge of managing 24-hour workdays is when people need days off or cannot work at specific times for certain reasons. Considering these concerns, you really need to gear up for managing 24 by 7 shift schedules for your business effectively. Here are some tips that can help in this context.
Understand the business operations
To start with, you need to understand the business operations and processes that require to be run continuously.
Assess the reasons why this needs to be done and whether it is really feasible to run those operations around the clock.
After all, you should operate non-stop only if your business gets a compelling economic advantage from it. The cost and challenges of running your operations around the clock are significantly high and you should do it only if the benefits outweigh the costs.
Hospitals, for example, cannot manage without 24 by 7 shifts while manufacturing firms can.
Respect the human capacity
The most vital aspect of making people work around the clock is ensuring their comfort levels all the time. There is naturally a limit to human capacity.
If you stretch them beyond this limit, they will surely lose on their health and productivity.
Moreover, it can result in increased fatigue, accidents, errors, absenteeism and labor turnover, all of which translate into implicit costs for your business.
Remember that you should not treat workers like machines and respect their limitations while scheduling shifts. Give them enough rest between shifts and ensure that they are comfortable working as per the schedule.
Invest in a scheduling software solution
Rather than working through the complex 24 by 7 schedules manually, invest in a smart scheduling software solution. Look for the one that is capable of handling the entire aspects of scheduling, from automation to communication, rostering and more.
You can even customize pay rates with Deputy to streamline the payroll function.
The best part is that a software tool frees up managers from the hassles of scheduling and much more so that they can focus on business-critical tasks.
Let your employees handle it
Empowering your employees to handle 24 by 7 schedules is a good idea because it increases adherence and minimizes stress for the managers.
Let the employees convey information about their availability and when they will not be able to work during specific time slots. Supervisors can go through their preferences and consider them while allocating shifts in the future.
By letting your employees handle their schedules, you can get the advantage of higher productivity and lower absenteeism. Once again, this becomes easier when you have a software scheduling system in place.
Have a fatigue management strategy
Employee fatigue is a part and parcel of running 24-hour shifts. So it becomes essential to have a fatigue management strategy as a part of your overall scheduling plan.
There are considerable benefits that it serves, from improving the workforce productivity to enhancing their health and quality of life.
Additionally, it will have a positive impact on product or service quality as well.
At the same time, managing fatigue enables the business to reduce the safety risk and employee conflicts in the long run.
Prioritize good communication
Seamless communication is the key to managing employee scheduling. It becomes all the more important when you need to manage 24 by 7 schedules.
It keeps the workers well-informed about what is lined up for them and enables them to communicate the need for sudden shift changes.
The chances of conflicts and disputes are reduced to the minimum when everyone knows their shifts and timings well enough. Using a smart software solution that keeps the employees connected and sends across automated notifications is a great idea.
When it comes to managing 24 by 7 schedules, efficiency and simplicity matter the most. Things are often challenging when you do it manually because there are multiple shifts and a large number of workers you need to handle.
But a software tool can drive both efficiency and simplicity into the entire process. Implementing one as a part of your operations, therefore, does not remain a choice.