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Make shift planning easier with these tips

If you’re still planning your shifts the “old fashioned” way, meaning with pen and paper, you’ve probably come across scheduling problems before. Unavailable employees, over- or understaffing, and scheduling conflicts make planning more difficult than it should be. Luckily, there are several ways to make rostering much easier, saving you and your HR-staff lots of time and work. Keep reading to find out how you can make shift planning easier.

Use online employee scheduling software

Online employee scheduling can make planning much easier. Take for example the staff scheduling software on Papershift.com. With software such as Papershift, you can automate your planning process and involve your employees more in the process. Online scheduling software can contain information, such as staff availability, available shifts and peak hours. There are lots of benefits to this way of scheduling shifts.

Decrease sick leave

Firstly, involving your staff in the scheduling process can save you sick leave. How, you ask? Studies show that happy employees are much less likely to call in sick. Involving your employees in the scheduling process can increase happiness wildly. Not only will your employees feel valued, you’ll be able to prevent scheduling conflicts and therefore lots of frustration. Staff can easily apply for absence in the system, which will then block this employee’s availability, making sure they don’t get scheduled while they’re away.

Have an overview of available shifts

Another big advantage is that online scheduling gives a good overview of the number of employees that are needed and how many shifts are still available. Employees can even offer to work or take other’s shifts through the system by applying to a certain shift. The final say of who gets the shift is up to you. Since the system can also collect data such as overtime and worked hours, it’s easy to keep control over the labor costs. Besides, the system gives a notification if a shift is overstaffed or understaffed.

Hire staff with different availability

Another important thing to consider is to hire staff with different availability. A parent who is often too late because of school drop-off can cause conflicts in the schedule. Try to not schedule employee’s with small kids around drop-off and pick up time. This is not only better for scheduling, but will also relieve your employee from the stress of missing a shift. Another way to make scheduling easy is to hire part-time workers. Part-time workers are often flexible and don’t mind taking over a shift from an absentee as they get paid on an hourly basis. Should an employee not be able to work, a part-time employee can often fill the gap.

Stimulate staff to apply for holiday absence in advance

There is nothing more difficult when it comes to scheduling than making a fair division of holiday absence. Many employees will want to take the same days off and having a good plan to avoid conflicts can make scheduling much easier. Firstly, make sure that there is a clear company policy regarding holiday absence. Choose a first come first served policy or another policy that fits with your company.


Do make sure that your employees know to apply for their requested absence well in advance. You can do this by sending email reminders, or by reminding employees about the company policy. Using an online scheduling program can be very useful for planning holiday absences as well. You can enter the amount of employees that are needed on certain days. If more people apply for certain holidays even though other employees are already unavailable, the system will notify the HR-department or automatically reject the application.

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