Workforce Woes Series

Scheduling part-time employees can be challenging, but these seven tips will make it easier.

By: Jamie Johnson, Contributor, U.S. Chamber
Scheduling your employees every week can quickly turn into a headache, especially if you have a mix of part-time and full-time employees. Here are seven tips for managing part-time employee schedules.

1. Know your scheduling needs ahead of time

Before you can schedule your employees, you need to understand your labor needs. Reviewing past data can help you understand seasonal trends and which days of the week or month your business tends to be busier. From there, you can outline which shifts you need to be covered and how many employees you need to meet your needs.

2. Publish your schedule early

Predictive scheduling laws require that you give your employees adequate notice of their work schedules. These laws vary depending on where you live, with many states requiring you to let your employees know their work schedules seven to 14 days in advance.

Even if this isn’t a requirement in your state, it’s still good practice. Giving your employees plenty of notice ensures that they’re aware of their schedules and minimizes the likelihood of a no-show.

3. Keep schedules as consistent as possible

Depending on the type of business you run, you may not be able to give your employees the same schedule every week. But it’s a good idea to keep their schedules as consistent as possible.

For instance, you may have an employee who always works on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, or someone who only works morning shifts. A consistent work schedule makes it easier for employees to plan for their week, and they’ll start to get good at working that particular shift.

Employee scheduling software will help you streamline your employee scheduling. You can ensure that every shift is covered and that there aren’t any scheduling conflicts. It will also help you monitor your staff availability and time-off requests.

4. Use scheduling software

No matter how many employees you have, it can be difficult to coordinate everyone’s schedules. And if you’re manually creating employee schedules, it’s going to be even more time-consuming.

Employee scheduling software will help you streamline your employee scheduling. You can ensure that every shift is covered and that there aren’t any scheduling conflicts. It will also help you monitor your staff availability and time-off requests.

5. Be flexible

No matter how good you get at scheduling your employees, there will always be things that come up. Someone will get sick, or an employee may realize they’re scheduled to work during their sister’s high school graduation.

That’s why it’s essential to be flexible and make it easy for employees to switch shifts if they need to. You may want to put some ground rules in place — for instance, requiring at least 24 hours’ notice for non-emergencies.

6. Keep a list of employees who want extra shifts

It’s also a good idea to keep a running list of employees who are looking for extra work. Having a list of employees who are looking to earn some extra money can help fill in the gaps if there are last-minute schedule changes.

Doing this ensures that you have the resources to cover last-minute changes to your schedule. And it also shows your employees that you’re keeping their preferences in mind.

7. Communicate with your employees regularly

Finally, it’s important to talk to your employees about their schedules regularly. Are they happy with the number of hours you’ve been scheduling them, or do they wish they had more work? On the other hand, they may want to scale back on their hours but aren’t sure how to bring it up to you.

And be sure to talk to them about any upcoming changes in your scheduling needs. For instance, if you’re approaching the busy season in your business, you may need to start scheduling extra staff during certain days of the week. Keep your employees informed and explain the rationale behind any new scheduling changes.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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