Types of work schedules you need to know as a business owner

Proper scheduling is a big factor for all workplaces, and it involves balancing employee needs with business needs. This can be a time-consuming process for any business owner, no matter the industry or hours of operation. Even for experienced managers or employers, scheduling shifts that keep everyone happy can be a challenging task.

As per statistics, proper employee scheduling practices can bring down the amount of time spent on making schedules from 6.61% of the total work week to as low as 0.63% of the week. The time saved could be spent on working with the employees or assisting customers.

What is a shift schedule?

A shift schedule is the process of setting up employee schedules on rotation. This approach is commonly used in various industries, such as healthcare, hospitality, and retail. With a clear shift plan in place, companies can avoid conflicts, improve productivity, and enhance the quality of customer service.

For instance, say you run a small electronics store with 10 employees. Sales are up, and you're looking to expand your hours into the evening. Splitting the workday into a day shift and a night shift enables you to meet customer demands without burdening your employees with longer hours.

Above all, creating such schedules can ensure that staff members are happy and not overworked. Allocating shift work is the practical solution to strike a balance between customer and employee satisfaction for any company.

The importance of scheduling

Maintaining a consistent schedule can be one of the most critical factors for business success, and it comes with more than one perk.

Improved attrition rates: With certainty when it comes to work schedules, employees are clear about the expectations from the start. Employees with predictable schedules are less likely to leave their jobs, which can save businesses money on recruitment and training costs.

Better work-life balance: Ever-changing work schedules can have a negative impact on employees' personal lives. With a stable schedule, they don't have to constantly be ready to go into work and can enjoy their time off. Employees with a good work-life balance are more likely to be productive and engaged in their work.

Higher productivity: With clearly defined schedules, employees have enough time to plan and get their tasks done. Plus, having a schedule makes it easier for employers to monitor employee time and ensure punctuality.

Ensure employee availability: Businesses that function around the clock can use reliable schedules to make sure someone is always there to tend to customers. This reduces the chances of falling short when it comes to on-duty employees. As a result, businesses avoid customer dissatisfaction.

Brings a sense of calm: A sense of predictability can reduce the stress levels of managers and employees for improved overall well-being. This leads to better decision-making and improved employee morale.


Types of shift schedules

Each type of schedule comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks, so it's important to pick one that strikes the right balance. Here are some of the different shift schedules:

Full-time schedule

A full-time schedule is the most common and typically involves a 40-hours work week. This can be split up across the week in any combination of days. Full-time schedules offer employees a sense of stability and predictability.

While there are advantages, full-time schedules can also be demanding and come with downsides. This may not be a good option for employees who have other commitments, such as school or child care.

Part-time schedule

Part-time schedules are a handy option for employees who want to work fewer than 40 hours a week. Such employees tend to work for around 20 to 30 hours instead. Part-time schedules can be a good way for employees to earn extra money or have a flexible schedule.

This type of schedule works better for certain types of businesses, such as restaurants, coffee shops, and retail stores. However, part-time schedules may not offer the same benefits as full-time schedules, such as health insurance or paid vacation.

Freelance schedule

This type of work has become more of a trend in recent times. A freelance schedule involves a type of work arrangement for contractors. Freelance schedules offer individuals a great deal of flexibility, as they can work whenever and wherever they want. However, freelance schedules can also be demanding, as the contractor is responsible for finding and managing their own work.

Fixed schedule

Fixed schedules work just like full-time work schedules. The employee works the same hours on the same days each week. For example, instead of the usual 9 am to 5 pm from Monday to Friday, it can be something like 11 am to 8 pm from Wednesday to Sunday. The added predictability and familiarity is preferred by many people, especially when they have other commitments.

Split schedule

Split schedules divide shifts into two different periods on the same day. The employee may work the morning shift, take a break during the middle of the day, and work the evening shift.

While this often gives employees the window to attend to their personal work, it does have its downsides. Employees have to commute twice to the workplace and work longer hours. This has a monetary impact and can increase stress.

Flexible schedule

Flexible schedules give employees the freedom to shape their workday so that it works for them. They are not restricted to the conventional 9 am to 5 pm approach; rather, they can start and end at any time provided they fulfill the total number of hours for that day. Flex schedules generally vary from one business to another. There are companies that are very flexible, while other companies impose certain restrictions to flex scheduling.

Rotating schedule

Rotating schedules have employees work different shifts on different days or weeks. Rotating schedules can be a good option for businesses that need to have employees available 24/7. While this can be beneficial from the company's standpoint to fill gaps in their schedules, it can negatively impact the employee as their work hours keep changing.

Seasonal schedule

Seasonal schedules are in effect only for a few months in a year. This type of schedule is typically implemented for seasonal businesses. Companies generally mass hire employees when these seasonal requirements arise for the business. Seasonal schedules can be demanding, as the employees may have to work long hours during the busy season.

On-call schedule

Employees who are following on-call schedules must be available to work if they are needed. The timing of the schedule does not matter—on-call employees will have to work the shift based on the demand of the employer.

This type of shift is generally implemented for professions where employees need to be available at all times. Doctors and IT technicians are common professions where on-call schedules are used.

Compressed schedule

When it comes to compressed schedules, employees clock in the same amount of hours in fewer days. This means employees clock in longer hours every day and get their work done faster. For instance, an employee's schedule could be 8 am to 7 pm from Tuesday to Friday.

Compressed schedules are fixed work timings, which makes it easier for the employer to plan schedules and predict labor costs. This also gives employees an extra day or two off work for a better work-life balance.

There is not a one-size-fits-all method for shift schedules, and each option comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. It is about finding the right balance that can be beneficial both for your business and your employees.

The right technology can help you efficiently create shifts and assign schedules to employees. Try Zoho Shifts as your staff scheduling software solution to reduce time spent on scheduling and keep your employees satisfied and productive.


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