Shifting Methods: 4 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Shift Planning

A well-staffed shift does not happen by coincidence, it’s engineered through smart shifting methods and efficient planning. Shift planning should be something that adds value to the function of your business, rather than slowing it down. If shift planning is taking you or your management away from crucial work and opportunities for improvement, here are some tried and tested shifting methods that will ensure productive days and reduced administration requirements.

Two managers planning work schedule

1. Retire the paper pushing

The familiar paper timesheet and roster have faded away in recent years, and what a miracle that is. These paper solutions have made way for more reliable shift planning tools. Although that’s not to say that all businesses and industries are embracing the advancements to their full capacity. An online shift planning software will offer a clear dashboard that will visually represent the day, week and monthly shift spread. This makes shift replacing and optimising an easier process, one that employees can engage with as often as they like. Eliminate the phone calls and stress that comes with shift planning and replacing, and manage your team performance through a reliable interface. With a simple keystroke, you and your team can be better informed and have a clearer understanding of how your shifts look today and going forward.

2. Educate your team

Misinformation and unclear processes will typically lead to a breakdown of communication, which can have a detrimental effect on your shift plan and workflow. Educating your team on how they can accept, reject and change shifts will eliminate the stress of planning, and will also placate your team. By adopting a shift planning software solution, you are arming each team member with the same tool, which will stop any shortcuts and bad habits forming as the software will reflect the correct data. Schedule a time with your team to take them through the software, and populate the shift plan as you would so that all members are clear on the process and functionality.

3. Spread the responsibility

We each have a different stake in the business, with some tasked with operational responsibilities and others in commercial roles. Every position warrants different considerations, and all of them should be voiced in the shift planning process to avoid stress. By sharing shift planning responsibilities with shift managers, senior management and finance entities, you can spread the responsibility. This will inevitably highlight factors that may not be understood or acknowledged by all stakeholders, with the responsibility and betterment of the staffing function improving. In almost all scenarios, a problem shared is a problem halved.

4. Be guided by your own patterns

It’s all too easy as a business operator to look around at our industry competitors and replicate or be influenced by their activity. This can also be true for shift planning. Rather than being guided by the notion of a completely separate business, look within and see what shift planning logic can be applied based on your own trends and patterns. Perhaps winter is slower than summer, or some days have more active evenings. Use your own data and patterns to better your shift planning, and avoid being caught surprised and unprepared. The headcount, shift timings and durations are a decision made by your business, so work on defining that winning business model formula before stressing over what others are doing.


 Shift planning is a reality of just about any industry, and so the greatest tools should be deployed to get the best results. Automate a part of your day that demands more time, and keep your employees updated in one place with a streamlined, user-friendly shift planning interface.


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