Employee scheduling issues at work can be a major source of stress and frustration.
From conflicting schedules to last-minute changes, they make it difficult to keep your team on track and your business running smoothly.
In this post, we’ll explore some of the most common scheduling issues and offer some practical solutions to help you navigate them with ease.
13 employee scheduling issues and solutions
1. Lack of an official schedule
A hand-written schedule or a simple spreadsheet may be enough for a small business with a few employees.
But as you hire more people and schedule more shifts, scheduling conflicts may arise more often and manual scheduling methods aren’t effective anymore.
Solution: Use scheduling software
With numerous scheduling software available, you can easily select one that’s both affordable and convenient for creating official schedules for employees.
These digital solutions provide tools for you to drag and drop shifts, share schedules with employees online, and notify employees of the latest schedule changes.
Plus, scheduling software often comes with additional features such as time clocks or messaging, which is convenient for the scheduling process.
2. Messy shift swaps
Giving your team members the freedom to manage their own schedules can lift some stress off your shoulders, but it can also result in misunderstanding and disorganization. Employees may swap with unqualified workers or not notify you about the swaps.
Solution: Create a shift swap policy
A shift swap policy outlines what employees must do if they want to swap shifts and how you process the swaps. It provides guidelines for employees and keeps shift swap procedures consistent in your business.
Solution: Set up approval step
Set up an approval step in which all swap requests go through your review. This is to make sure all swaps are qualified.
Tip: The shift swapping feature on Camelo allows your employees to swap shifts on their phones. It suggests a list of all qualified swaps for employees. You can turn on the approval step so all swap requests are sent to you for review.
3. Understaffing and overstaffing
Understaffing happens when you don’t schedule enough people for a shift. Customer wait times are longer and the staff on shift is more stressed out.
Overstaffing happens when you schedule more people for a shift than necessary. Employees don’t have much to do, and you pay more for labor costs.
Some industries have varying staffing requirements, depending on the hours, seasons, nearby events, and so on. That requires management to adjust staffing often and in time, which is not always easy.
Solution: Hire more people
It’s crucial to have enough employees on hand to cover business needs without overburdening your current staff. It’s also equally important to not have too many employees. You can hire part-time employees instead of full-time employees if the staffing demand fluctuates too much.
Solution: Forecast demand
Forecast staffing demand by analyzing past shifts, future events, holidays, and seasonal patterns. Anticipate and plan for unexpected events and schedule changes.
Solution: Find more effective ways to schedule employees
Finding new employees is a costly process, and not every business has enough resources to do so. But you can still partly resolve staffing problems by scheduling your staff more effectively.
Tip: The Camelo’s Scheduler provides tools so you can plan staffing based on various requirements: date, hours, positions, skills, coverage, and more.
Overscheduling happens when an employee is scheduled to work too many shifts or hours. For example, they have to work a clopening shift (the closing shift and then opening shift).
Having not enough time to rest in between shifts may negatively impact employee well-being and performance.
Solution: Avoid scheduling back-to-back shifts
Working back-to-back shifts can take a toll on employees’ physical and mental health. Plan at least 8 hours of rest in between shifts when scheduling employees.
Solution: Keep track of overtime
Overtime helps ensure your business coverage, but also comes with lots of consequences. Try to avoid it when possible.
Tips: The Camelo’s Scheduler alerts you if you overschedule someone.
5. Unfair scheduling
Sometimes, the scheduler may unconsciously assign more desirable shifts or grant more time off to certain employees. This type of scheduling bias can create conflicts within the team and hurt everyone’s morale.
Solution: Create policies for scheduling and time off
Have clear policies regarding scheduling and time off. Make sure they’re compliant with the current labor laws applicable to your industry and state. Consult a legal expert or an HR professional if necessary.
Make sure to stay consistent when enforcing the policies. All employees should be held to the same rules and procedures, regardless of their position or tenure.
Solution: Be upfront about work hours
Be upfront about what shifts or how many hours employees are expected to work before hiring them.
6. Last-minute notice for shifts or schedule changes
Not providing enough notice for scheduled shifts or shift changes can frustrate both employees and employers.
There’s not enough time to plan personal lives, so employees are more likely to be late or forget their shifts. You’ll then have to scramble around to find replacements.
In some industries and locations, there may be legal requirements for how long in advance you should send schedules to employees. Or you have to compensate employees extra for last-minute schedule changes.
Solution: Provide schedules in advance
Create schedules and distribute them weeks in advance so employees can arrange their time. Make changes within certain timeframes if possible.
Even if not legally required, sending schedules out in advance helps minimize employee dissatisfaction and attendance issues.
Solution: Ask who wants extra shifts
In case of an emergency or unexpected situation, try asking for volunteers to take on extra shifts. This way, those who want more hours can get them, and you can ensure coverage without hurting morale or breaking the law.
Tip: The Camelo’s Scheduler helps you find replacements to shifts quickly in unexpected situations.
7. Staying organized
Staying organized can be challenging when you have a lot on your plate. It’s hard to keep track of all schedules, changes, or shift requests.
Solution: Use employee management software
Employee management software can keep your work organized and avoid chaos. You can track all kinds of stuff, from shifts and tasks to leave requests and messages.
8. No call, no shows
It’s a real bummer when an employee doesn’t show up for their shift without notifying you. The workflow is disrupted. You have to find a substitute quick, or else the shift is understaffed.
Solution: Keep contact information on hand
Have an employee directory and keep all contact information on hand. This will be handy if a no-call, no-show situation ever happens.
Tip: The employee directory on Camelo lists all employees and their contact information so you can keep in touch with the team quickly.
9. Employee turnover
Even if you work hard to engage your employees and make them happy, you can’t stop people from leaving.
Irregular work schedules are among the top reasons for employees leaving. So paying more attention to employee needs while scheduling can help prevent employee turnover.
Solution: Give employees more control over their schedules
Allow employees to add their available time slots and pick shifts they want to work. When they get to choose when to work, there are fewer attendance issues. When you consider employee needs and preferences, they’re more likely to stick around.
Tip: Camelo’s Availability lets employees add their availability preferences. Open Shifts feature allows you to publish unassigned shifts and employees can claim shifts they want to work.
10. Time off conflicts
Taking time off is important for maintaining work-life balance and wellness. But managing time off of many employees at once can be hectic.
Solution: Manage time off efficiently
To ensure accurate tracking of time off, maintain precise records of how much paid or unpaid time off an employee has.
Document all time-off requests and approvals to track employees’ time off and ensure consistency.
Consider implementing time off management software that allows employees to submit requests digitally, and managers to approve or deny them with just a few clicks. This can help you ensure that your team has adequate coverage, and avoid scheduling conflicts or misunderstandings.
Tip: A scheduling app can be extremely helpful in quickly determining how many hours an employee has accrued and how many they have left. You can manage time off and leave balance easily. You can also avoid scheduling someone during their time off.
Solution: Establish clear priority policies
When multiple employees request time off simultaneously, it can be challenging to decide who gets approved first.
While seniority is a common approach, you can create your own guidelines and criteria for prioritizing time-off requests. Ensure that the policies are consistent and fair to all employees.
11. Availability conflicts
If employees aren’t available for work, there might not be enough staffing to maintain operations and meet customers’ demand. You can hire more staff. Or track your employee availability more closely to schedule with the staff you have.
Solution: Use availability forms
Provide availability forms so employees can fill in. Or allow them to enter their availability on an app to let you know who’s available and schedule them right.
Tip: Camelo’s Availability allows employees to add their availability and unavailability. Their preferences are shown on the schedule.
12. Unexpected absences
Even after setting the schedule and giving employees ample notice, unexpected situations can arise. Employees may need to leave work suddenly due to illness, family emergencies, or other unforeseen circumstances.
Solution: Create absence policies
Establish clear rules and guidelines for absences, including:
- how employees should report absences,
- the acceptable reasons for absences,
- the consequences for failing to report an absence or having excessive absences.
Ensure that employees are aware of the policies and that they are consistently enforced across the organization.
Solution: Offer flexible work arrangements
Consider offering paid sick leave, flexible work arrangements, or job sharing as ways to reduce the impact of unexpected absences on your business.
Solution: Have a backup plan
Have a backup plan in place so you can respond quickly in emergencies. Create a list of employees who are willing to work on short notice and keep it handy.
13. Unnecessary overtime
Overtime is inevitable in some workplaces, but excessive overtime can lower employee morale and affect employee well-being.
Solution: Monitor workload and demand
Monitor the workload and anticipate busy seasons. If employees have to work overtime a lot, it’s a sign you need to adjust their workload or hire more people.
Solution: Monitor maximum work hours
Set limits on maximum hours and input them into an app. You’ll get an alert if you schedule overtime.
Tip: You can set maximum hours on Camelo and get alerts if you schedule someone over their maximum hours limit.
Solve scheduling issues with Camelo
Maintaining a reliable scheduling process is difficult. Scheduling issues such as last-minute sick calls or no-call no-shows arise often and unexpectedly. There are many moving parts to consider and adjust.
But it’s not impossible.
By establishing clear policies and utilizing technology, you can create reliable work schedules and address most scheduling issues efficiently.
And don’t forget to take advantage of the scheduling tools available with Camelo. You can access our Scheduler, Availability Management, Time Off Management, and much more with a free account.