Optimising Hospitality Workforce Allocation with Effective Rota Scheduling

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  • Author: Siva
  • Last updated: May 25, 2023
  • 8 Minutes
optimising hospitality workforce allocation with effective rota scheduling

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Optimising Hospitality Workforce Allocation with Effective Rota Scheduling

The hospitality industry is one of the most dynamic and diverse sectors in the economy, offering a wide range of services and experiences to customers. However, it also faces many challenges and complexities in managing its human resources, especially when it comes to scheduling employees. Scheduling is the process of assigning employees to work shifts, tasks, and locations according to the needs and preferences of both the business and the workers. It is a crucial aspect of hospitality management, as it affects the quality of service, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, productivity, and profitability.

In this article, we will explore the importance of scheduling in the hospitality industry, the common problems and solutions associated with it, and the advantages of good scheduling practices. We will also provide some examples of how scheduling software can help hospitality managers create effective and flexible schedules for their staff.

The Importance of Scheduling in the Hospitality Industry

Scheduling is important for any business that operates on a 24/7 basis, but it is especially vital for the hospitality industry, which has to deal with fluctuating demand, seasonal variations, special events, customer expectations, and legal regulations. Some of the reasons why scheduling is important for the hospitality industry are:

  1. It ensures that there are enough staff available to meet customer demand and provide quality service at all times.
  2. It helps to optimize employee costs by avoiding overstaffing or understaffing, which can result in wasted resources or lost revenue.
  3. It enhances employee satisfaction and retention by allowing them to have some control over their work-life balance, preferences, and career development.
  4. It improves employee performance and productivity by reducing stress, fatigue, burnout, absenteeism, and turnover.
  5. It fosters teamwork and collaboration by creating a sense of fairness, transparency, and accountability among employees.
  6. It supports compliance with employment laws and regulations regarding working hours, breaks, rest periods, overtime pay, minimum wage, health and safety, etc.

What are the unique challenges to hospitality scheduling in the UK?

Some of the difficulties of creating a schedule or rota in for hospitality businesses are:

  • Staff shortages and retention: The hospitality industry faces a high demand for workers, but also a high turnover rate. This makes it hard to find and keep qualified staff, especially during peak seasons or busy hours.
  • Constant changes in demand/needs: Scheduling in the hospitality business can be challenging due to the constantly changing needs, availability and schedules of employees. Demand from customers will vary over time and availability of staff will change based on the time of year.
  • Cost of living crisis: The rising prices of goods and services affect both the customers and the businesses in the hospitality industry. Customers may have less money to spend on eating or drinking out, while businesses may have to deal with higher operating costs, such as energy bills, food supplies, or wages. This can lead to businesses having to reduce the number of staff they hire which can lead to poor cover and trickier scheduling.
  • Increase in hospitality tech: The use of technology in the hospitality industry has increased during the pandemic, as businesses had to adapt to changing needs and customer expectations. Technology can help improve efficiency, customer experience, and safety, but it also requires investment, training, and maintenance. This can lead to trickier scheduling as staff are often away from their normal roles.
  • Environmental considerations: The hospitality industry has a significant impact on the environment, such as through food waste, energy consumption, or carbon emissions. Customers are also more aware and concerned about the environmental issues and may prefer businesses that are more sustainable or eco-friendly. But striving to be eco-friendly can increase business costs which in turn could reduce budgets for staff and scheduling making rota creation more difficult.
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How can hospitality businesses overcome staffing challenges?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as different hospitality businesses may face different difficulties and have different solutions. However, some possible ways to overcome some of the common difficulties with scheduling are:

  • Staff shortages and retention: Hospitality businesses can try to attract and retain staff by offering fair wages, flexible working hours, clear career paths, training opportunities, and a positive work culture. 
  • Cost of living crisis: Hospitality businesses can try to reduce their operating costs by adopting energy-efficient practices, reducing food waste, negotiating with suppliers, and using technology to streamline processes. They can also try to increase their revenue by offering discounts, loyalty programs, delivery services, or special events to attract more customers. These measures may make it easier for them to keep staff budgets high leading to easier and better scheduling.
  • Increase in hospitality tech: Hospitality businesses can invest in technology that can help them improve their efficiency, customer experience, and safety. For example, they can use cloud-based software to manage their bookings, staff schedules, inventory, and finances. They can also use digital platforms to communicate with customers, offer online ordering, provide contactless payments, and collect feedback. These digital platforms can help keep costs low (thus giving businesses more money to spend on staff and scheduling) as well as streamlining the rota creation process by offering an easy view of busy times. One tech solution all hospitality businesses should invest in, is scheduling software (like our award-winning software) which can help avoid many of the problems mentioned above.
  • Environmental considerations: Hospitality businesses can adopt more sustainable and eco-friendly practices that can reduce their environmental impact and appeal to customers who care about the climate crisis. For example, they can source their food locally and organically, use renewable energy sources, recycle their waste, and offer green alternatives to customers such as reusable cups or vegan options. While these may be expensive options, they may attract more customers and bring in more revenue to allow for extra staffing and easier scheduling.

What are the advantages to good scheduling in the hospitality industry?

Good scheduling in the hospitality industry can have many advantages for both the business and the employees. And using a good software scheduling software (check out ours elsewhere on this site) can provide many benefits, such as:

  • Offers flexibility: Employees can choose their preferred shifts or apply for open ones, which can increase their satisfaction and productivity, which will then benefit the business in general.
  • Empowers employees: Employees can have more control over their work-life balance and feel more valued by the management. This can, in turn, lead to happier staff and a better workplace ethos.
  • Enables seamless communication: Utilising a good scheduling software (like our award-winning suite) can help communicate schedules to staff and notify them of any changes or updates in real time. This can reduce confusion and may lead to less scheduling errors.
  • Consolidates training: Scheduling software can also help assign tasks and monitor performance, which can facilitate training and feedback for new or existing employees.
  • Allows simplicity: Scheduling software can automate and streamline the scheduling process, reducing errors, conflicts and the need for manual work when creating rotas.
  • Solves conflicts: Scheduling software can help resolve any issues or disputes that may arise from scheduling, such as availability, preferences, overtime, etc. and lead to happier staff and a more efficient workplace.
  • Improves customer service: By having a well-planned and optimized schedule, the hospitality business can ensure that it has enough staff to meet the demand and provide high-quality service to the customers, which is, after all, the goal of any good business.

What laws cover hospitality scheduling in the UK?

According to the web results, there are several laws that cover scheduling in the UK, such as the Working Time Regulations 1998 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 19741. These laws regulate the maximum working hours, rest periods, breaks and facilities for employees who work shifts. Here is a brief overview of what these acts cover:

  1. UK working time regulations state that an employee cannot work more than 48 hours per week on average, including overtime hours. It is important to note that averaging is calculated over 17 weeks and can be extended up to 26 weeks with a collective agreement. Employees can opt out of this rule voluntarily.
  2. Employees should be given 11 consecutive hours off between shifts and one day off every seven days or they may be due compensation.
  3. Employers must provide suitable rest facilities for employees who are working through their breaks.
  4. Employees who work in 6 hour-shifts or longer are entitled to a 20-minute rest break.
  5. In the UK, employers are required by law to provide their employees with a work rota in advance. “Advance” is a woolly legal term meaning there is no minimum or maximum amount of time they have to be given their shift schedules. Best practices dictate that businesses should notify employees at least one week in advance to help them prepare for work properly.
  6. Employers must keep full records of hours worked by their staff and make sure they are accurate.
  7. Employers can change employees’ working hours, including shift patterns, as long as the contract allows it.

In conclusion

Hospitality Scheduling
Scheduling is a vital aspect of hospitality management that affects the quality of service, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, productivity, and profitability. However, it is also a challenging and complex task that requires careful planning and communication. 
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Hospitality managers can overcome the common problems and solutions associated with scheduling by investing in scheduling software like our award-winning software suite that can automate and optimize the process. By doing so, they can reap the benefits of good scheduling practices and avoid its many pitfalls. 

Written by Siva

I write & describe the value & benefits delivered by Paperhift's rota planning, staff time tracking, and employee payroll management software. Especially useful for Shift Planners, Rota Managers, Team Admins, and HR Teams :-)