Every single business, no matter its industry, is an intricate machinery of all kinds of cogs – each one responsible for various processes that fuel your success. On one hand, some companies depend on marketing analysts to fuel their creative teams and launch a campaign for their latest product collection. On the other, you’ll find brands that deal with complex logistics and scheduling that require planning on multiple levels, from short-term, day-to-day scheduling, all the way to long-term forecasting.
Whether you belong in the first or the second batch, or you find yourself navigating both, you already understand that the successful operation of your business greatly relies on proper workload distribution, business transparency, and overall employee accountability. However, mistakes often happen, and in such situations, it’s best to make the most of them and learn from them for the future. If you can avoid and prevent them, all the better for you. Here, we’ll list a few common scheduling mistakes you and your employees might be making, which could take a toll on your business.
Failing to save proper documentation
Employee contracts aren’t a mere formality. They are essential for managing employee expectations and ensuring that everyone works the amount of time their contract states, and that they are paid fairly, in time, and in full. Add to that, if your employees’ work includes more than just working at the office or at home, then assigning specific shifts should be clearly outlined in the contract.
Then again, if your schedule includes out-of-office engagements, then hotel bookings, flights, restaurant appointments and the like should all be included. Adding receipts will not just help with tax purposes, but it will also help account for the time you spend during your work hours actually being productive. Failing to compile valuable documents and paperwork can end up being harmful for your schedule and other team members’ productivity.
Not leveraging technology
For small-scale businesses, it might seem tempting to stick to the old-school notebook approach. People can sign in, it’s trust-based, and it gives you an overview of your company’s activities every day. What happens if you need to check for a specific work task? You can hardly go “Ctrl+f” and find what you need in a notebook. Then again, it’s too easy to double-book one person under your wing when you rely on such outdated methods.
Instead, creating a reliable employee roster which all of your employees can access is much easier with an integrated scheduling tool. Instead of a passive schedule, you need a system with built-in alerts and reminders, which will help increase transparency as well as accountability, and reduce the risk of human error in the process.
Neglecting employee needs and preferences
Flexibility in scheduling is just as relevant as consistency and transparency. For modern-day employees, it’s vital that the business they work for values their time and contribution, and allows for some level of flexibility in planning and organization.
That, of course, doesn’t mean leaving this for the last minute, which we’ll cover shortly. Flexibility refers to allowing people to work around their personal obligations, and it should reflect the employer’s mindset regarding employee needs. Perhaps someone with a chronic condition cannot work night shifts, or someone with a toddler could use the extra half an hour in the morning to get their child to daycare.
Simple, but costly forgetfulness
When your scheduling process isn’t what it should be, whether due to a lack of the right tools or poor organizational skills on your leaders’ part, then people forget. They’ll forget about meetings, deadlines, as well as their own assignments. If all you use in an Excel sheet, or worse yet, a notebook, people are much more likely to completely forget about something brand-new on the roster.
Alternatively, if you use cutting-edge software and systems to make sure that everyone has access to your company’s overall agenda, you boost everyone’s accountability and reduce the chances of forgetfulness that can cost you clients, projects, and affect your reputation.
Last-minute organization and planning
The modern culture of work has become deeply intertwined with our personal lives. Many employees feel the need and the obligation to take their work home, work beyond their designated hours, or go above and beyond to tackle more tasks than they actually need on their plate. This will lead to burnout and stress, but only if you as the employer, allow for such a culture to develop.
One particular scheduling fiasco that contributes to fostering such a culture is a lack of consideration on your part, as the employer or team leader, to keep your teams’ time in mind when creating schedules. They have lives and responsibilities outside of work, and you need to respect their personal time and their much-needed work-life balance. What that means is that you should create schedules well in advance to avoid conflicting shifts, absenteeism, and similar issues that can arise as a consequence of last-minute scheduling.
Scheduling is becoming more vital every day, especially for companies transitioning to remote work and combining in-office and remote work as a new business model. To ensure consistency, fair workload allocation, accountability, and managing expectations, you should take this single process very seriously. With the right tools and methodologies, your scheduling issues can be prevented and eliminated altogether, thus helping your teams stay productive, avoid frustrations and burnout, and above all, boost employee satisfaction and engagement.