5 Staff Scheduling Basics And Best Practices

Editorial Team

5 Staff Scheduling Basics And Best Practices

As a business manager, you have to oversee the smooth running of your business. One critical component of management is assigning responsibilities to your employees. This is what’s known as staff scheduling, and it helps bring about a seamless workflow in your organization.

To be familiar with the basics and best practices of staff scheduling will put you in a strong position to get the most out of your team in a positive way. This article highlights five practical ways to help you create an effective program of work for your staff. These include:

1. Use scheduling software

A study from 2020 by Deloitte indicates that the implementation of digital technologies can help upscale your business’s operations by 22%. For this and more reasons, the business world has witnessed a 3% rise in companies setting digital transformation among their strategic business development goals this year. (1) (2)

On this account, you may want to incorporate software into your staff scheduling operations. Software is effective at eliminating the inconvenience brought about by manually creating a duty roster. The manual approach is usually time-consuming subject to errors and regularly needing adjusting as people inevitably need to have the flexibility to take leave.

For instance, if you manage a big landscaping company, you may find it challenging to efficiently assign tasks to your team, as you’ll have to factor in not just the number of staff, but also their individual expertise, the number of clients, locality and more. For this purpose, scheduling software like Jobber is a must.

Accurate scheduling means your clients will have their job done within the agreed times. In turn, this facilitates a better customer experience, may prompt them to provide you with a positive review and may even win their repeat custom.

2. Schedule ahead of the day

Before assigning your employees their tasks, ensure that you know if they’ll be free to work on the set date. Since it’s essential to plan early enough, you should inquire about their availability at least two weeks before assigning a date to them, or significantly longer depending on the business and industry. Additionally, after making the schedule, use proper communication channels to ensure that it gets to them so they’ll mark the dates on their calendars.

By preparing a schedule early enough, you’ll also manage your employees’ idle time and save your company a substantial amount of money. A 2018 study from the Harvard Business School indicated that 78.1% of workers find themselves with involuntary idle time, and this costs businesses approximately USD$ 100 billion per year. This is especially true for full-time employees who expect a paycheck at the end of the month, regardless of the time they spent doing nothing. (3)

Also, you want to avoid last-minute labor shortages that occur at 3% on any given day, according to a 2017 US Department of Labor (DOL) study. So, to save your company from such inconveniences, and adopt a robust process for scheduling your employees. By adopting best practices, your daily operations will be a lot more productive which will have a direct impact on your bottom line. (4)

3. Ensure labor law compliance

The government and trade unions mandate labor laws to ensure the enforcement of the rights of your staff in the workplace. In essence, you should create the schedules of work to conform with the labor laws. You should consider factors such as the employees’ shift lengths. In case they’re working overtime, the accompanying benefits, too.

Compliance with the labor laws will ensure that you fairly assign them tasks. You’ll also steer clear from any lawsuits that may crop up because of failure to adhere to the labor laws. Hiring the right people can be a big challenge for businesses, arguably even more so for startups. Research how best to do this and follow all the expert advice on how to do this successfully.

4. Understand your employees’ needs

It’s crucial to understand your employees’ preferences, including the time they’ll be comfortable working. While some may be most productive early in the mornings, others may prefer working late evenings. You can capitalize on such preferences and accordingly assign tasks. This helps boost your business productivity as the positive work environment for your employees will enhance positive emotions and boost their general well-being. (5)

5. Implement time off request regulations

Your employees should hand in their time-off requests at least two weeks before their due date of taking a leave from work. This heads-up gives you time to readjust your scheduling needs and assign tasks to the available staff.

Requests for time off can prove to be a bit of a headache for companies. Put together robust procedures and guidance for this that is communicated clearly to all employees to avoid any misunderstandings. You may want to research what leave benefits are best to offer, taking into consideration you want to make your organization an attractive place to work, but also not to the detriment of your bottom line.


To maintain order in your organization, you should strategically delegate tasks among your staff. You can do this by using scheduling software, planning the schedule weeks prior, implementing time off request regulations, understanding your employees’ needs, and ensuring your schedule conforms to the labor laws. By implementing these measures, you’ll prepare practical and attainable task schedules for your employees, enhancing their accountability on tasks. In turn, your jobs will be effectively carried out, thereby increasing business productivity and performance.


  1. “9 Digital Transformation Statistics You Don’t Want To Ignore,” https://medium.com/digital-transformation-talk/9-digital-transformation-statistics-you-dont-want-to-ignore-9e1449778296
  2.  “9 Digital Transformation Statistics You Don’t Want To Ignore,” https://medium.com/digital-transformation-talk/9-digital-transformation-statistics-you-dont-want-to-ignore-9e1449778296
  3. “Idle Time,” https://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/idle-time.asp
  4. “Managing Employee Attendance,” https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/managingemployeeattendance.aspx
  5. “Proof That Positive Work Cultures Are More Productive,” https://hbr.org/2015/12/proof-that-positive-work-cultures-are-more-productive