As a business manager, you have a lot of responsibilities. These can include planning projects, creating and executing marketing, coordinating deliveries, and organizing employees. On top of this, you have to ensure the smooth operation of your company.
Without a doubt, one of the more difficult management tasks is scheduling employees. Trying to create the perfect work rota is often akin to juggling chainsaws that are on fire.
Fortunately, there are tools available that can help with the process in the form of schedule rotation generators. These applications can handle many of the tasks associated with scheduling with ease. Some can even act as your own personal HR department and simplify schedule creation, whilst automating tasks and providing data.
But what exactly is a schedule rotation generator? What are its benefits? And how do you use it? Read on to find out.
What Is a Schedule Generator?
A schedule generator is a piece of software that helps businesses create, manage, and administer schedules. It is often installed at the business level and provides a variety of tools to help with rotating staff.
Some schedule generators offer extra features, including data analysis, report generation, and cloud access. In its basic form, a schedule generator will generate staff schedules following the rules set out automatically.
Why Is Schedule Rotation Required?
There are two kinds of schedules in a workplace:
- Fixed schedule. This is where an employee works at the same time or for the same shifts every week. For example, from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday–Friday.
- A rotating schedule. This is where an employee works shifts on a rotating basis. For example, they may work 7 am to 3 pm for four days, then 2 pm to 10 pm the next four.
Fixed schedules are becoming increasingly uncommon in the modern workplace. With businesses operating longer hours, including weekends, the need for good staff coverage is greater than ever. Research shows 2.5% of employees (that’s over 3.5 million people in the UK) across all sectors work rotating shifts. In the retail industry, this number is even higher, with 12% of workers having rotating shifts, according to a report by the Economic Policy Institute.
The long and short of it is fixing staff to specific patterns, especially if they are unsociable, which can lead to unhappy staff and inflexible schedules. Therefore, many businesses have taken to rotating staff schedules to provide flexibility and keep staff happy.
How Is Schedule Rotation Decided?
- The decision for how a schedule rotates is often based on many factors and influences, including:
- The needs of the business. Most businesses will decide how they rotate staff based on their business hours. They may also need extra cover at different times of the year. For example, when they expect to be busy or when staff are on holiday.
- The needs of the employee. It’s common in the modern workplace for staff to request flexible working to accommodate things like childcare. This may mean that employers will have to amend schedules to accommodate their employees.
- Seasonal and business volume variations. Some businesses will adapt their schedules when they require more staffing. This is often the case in retail at busy times of the year or in manufacturing when a firm receives a big order.
What Are the Most Preferred Types of Rotation Schedules?
The answer to this question will be different for each person. At the end of the day, the schedule chosen will be the one that works best for the business while keeping employees happy.
There are several types of shift patterns that are popular in modern business, including:
- 2 shift pattern. The 2 shift pattern employs a typical Monday to Friday pattern of mornings (normally between 6 am and 2 pm) and afternoons (normally between 2 pm and 10 pm). Often, staff in this pattern will rotate between the two, usually once a week.
- Night shifts. Despite the unsociable hours, some staff prefers this option. If you run a business that operates 24 hours a day, night shifts may be necessary. Because of the unsociable nature, businesses often rotate staff between night and day shifts.
- 4 on, 4 off shift. This is another popular pattern for businesses that need 24-hour cover. The 4 on, 4 off shift pattern sees employees working four 12-hour days consecutively. They will then have four days off before returning for another series of 4 working days. The timing of shifts can vary, and many businesses will rotate staff between days and evenings. This is a popular shift rotation for the emergency services so they can provide comprehensive cover.
- Rotating shifts. Rotation shifts are common these days and cover a wide variety of patterns. Generally, a rotational model will include a range of schedules over different times of the day. This is a good option for businesses where work levels change from week to week.
What are the Benefits of a Schedule Rotation Generator?
There are many benefits to using a schedule rotation generator, including:
It can help improve business time management
Scheduling systems help you keep on top of scheduling tasks. Rather than wasting valuable time writing rotas out only to change them again when a problem occurs, in a few clicks of a mouse, a new schedule is set up and ready to go. This can help free up HR and management time to use on more important tasks.
It helps keep everyone on the same page
Switching to a centralized, online, or desktop software scheduling system allows team members to see more easily who is working and when. All members of a team can quickly log into one system and check, at a glance, what’s going on. What’s more, a software system will be able to notify employees of changes automatically should a schedule alter. This can reduce the chance of scheduling problems and allow issues to be resolved far quicker.
It helps you to analyze data and generate reports
Gathering scheduling data and generating reports can be incredibly time-consuming. A good schedule rotation software will collate data automatically and generate reports at the click of a button.
Scheduling staff is a juggling act and one that cannot be taken lightly if you want your business to succeed and your employees to be happy. A good schedule rotation generator can make the task significantly easier.
- Create any scheduling pattern
- Click employees into rota schedule
- Staff view by hours, day & week
- Fast & auto schedule planning
- Publish rota via app to employees
- Automatic timesheets from rota schedules