Becoming a Manager: How To Develop a Work Schedule

For managers, creating an employee schedule that makes everyone happy is sometimes an impossible puzzle. Especially in retail and organizations with variable shifts, creating the weekly schedule is a major headache for managers. Balancing the needs of the business, the needs of employees, and developing a streamlined process for successfully scheduling business is no small feat. As daunting and stressful as it can be, this essential and often dreaded task is a critical component to creating a workplace that’s positive and productive.

If you manage a team of employees that work on an hourly basis, you probably already know that there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into planning a successful schedule. Perhaps you have already mastered this process, and if so, kudos! If not, and you’re desperate for scheduling tools to make things run more smoothly, this guide will provide you with some best practices that you can adopt and fine-tune for your own business.

Do yourself a favor and do some front-end scheduling preparation. It will save you time in the long run, reduce turnover, and provide credibility and build trust with your team. Even when they might think they don’t, people like structure. Don’t leave your employees guessing about what the policy is for sick leave or whether or not they’ll get written up for showing up late. By setting and communicating clear, well-defined expectations, you’ll be a more effective manager and your team will be more confident in your leadership.

How to create an employee work schedule
  1. Think about your scheduling needs ahead of time. …
  2. Evaluate your staffing levels and availability. …
  3. Create a list of employees who want extra shifts. …
  4. Follow local rules and regulations. …
  5. Publish your schedule early. …
  6. Communicate your employee scheduling rationale effectively.

How to Create a Work Schedule – Project Management Training

Opting for a flextime schedule

If it is available to you and your team, flexible schedules might be a good option. This is not an option for many companies and roles that require you to be in-office during regular working hours, such as customer support.

Also known as flextime, a flexible work schedule is when employees work a set number of hours within an agreed-upon window of starting and finishing times. For example, you might establish that full-time employees work eight-hour days between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Whether they choose to come in at 8 and get off at 4 or come in at 10 and get off at 6 is up to them.

You might even allow an employee to take a shorter workday as long as their weekly hours add up to a certain amount (40 is common). In other words, if an employee wants to take Friday off but doesnt want to take vacation time, they might work 10-hour days Monday through Thursday and still work 40 hours.

A flextime schedule is beneficial for many reasons, including but not limited to:

Managers who offer flextime schedules tend to have fewer issues with staffing and attendance, which reduces many of the stresses that come with the position.

Here are a few tips for implementing a flextime schedule if it works for your team:

1. Determine the companys core hours and bandwidth

Core hours are prime times when all staff are needed during the workday. The bandwidth is the range of hours during which time you can allow a flexible schedule. In other words, bandwidth is the earliest and latest possible times an employee may arrive and leave work on any given day. Bandwidth may vary depending on holidays, the day of the week, or weekends or it may be the same every day.

For example, your companys core hours may be 9 to 5 because those are the hours that youre interacting with clients. Your daily bandwidth might range from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. because there is still urgent work outside core hours. As long as you have enough employees to work during core hours, some can come in early while others stay late depending on their personal preference. This example is whats called a regular flexible schedule because the scheduler simply adjusts employee start and stop times.

2. Consider a daily flexible schedule

A daily flexible schedule is similar to a regular flexible schedule in that employees can choose their hours as long as the core hours are covered. The difference is that an employee can change their start and stop times daily while still putting in the same number of hours each week.

As a manager wanting to utilize the daily flex schedule, you would assign each employee a regular flex schedule and then make adjustments after the employee has finished each workday. The employee may choose to work through lunch under this arrangement in order to leave early or come in late the next day.

3. Try a compressed workweek

The compressed workweek is a type of flex schedule that allows an employee to work 40 hours in fewer days. The standard compressed work has employees working four 10-hour days with regular lunch breaks.

A similar option is the 4×5 flextime schedule, which has an employee alternating between working four days one week and five the next. The 4×5 schedule is a good option for some employees because it gives them three-day weekends a couple of times a month. It also allows them to schedule doctor and dentist appointments without needing to take time off work.

The importance of work schedules

While management is a difficult role and is not the right path for everyone, it can also be rewarding and help you succeed in your long-term career goals. For example, your management, over time, can support and grow a talented, well-functioning team that can have a major impact on your organization. Being an effective manager also means being in the position to mentor employees to succeed in their own career goals.

Developing a good work schedule is a skill you learn over time and with practice. Even then, you may have to address unhappy employees or understaffed hours until you can adjust schedules properly. This often means using flexible working hours that allow you to stagger employee shifts and give your reports a better work-life balance.

Tips to help managers schedule employees

Whichever type of schedule you choose for your employees, the goal is to achieve maximum efficiency. Remember, scheduling employees isnt as straightforward as it may seem, so be sure to set aside plenty of time to create schedules.

Identify scheduling abuse

Scheduling abuse can come from either a manager or an employee. Examples of scheduling abuse from employees might include:

Using scheduling software can help you identify schedule abuse when its coming from your employees. When you spot scheduling abuse, schedule a one-on-one meeting and discuss the issue tactfully. Work with them to identify solutions that can make their schedule more attainable if they are having issues.

Managers involved in scheduling abuse look very different. If you are engaged in any of these practices that warrant scheduling abuse, take a step back to find a better solution. Scheduling abuse from managers can take the form of:

Know your workplace

As a manager, you have access to all sorts of information about your store or office, including peak hours. Reviewing this information can help you understand when to have several team members scheduled to cover your busiest times, and when there is downtime when you might not need as many contributors.

You should also recognize which employees work better during quiet hours and which handle peak times with ease. Scheduling employees to work during times when theyre most productive and effective in their jobs is better for everyone.

Be considerate

As a manager, its your job to do everything within reason to accommodate good employees. If someone calls in and you need an employee to work late, ask them ahead of time instead of an hour before their shift ends. Be willing to allow shift swaps as needed.

Treating your employees with respect and consideration goes a long way toward keeping morale high and fostering loyalty. Plus, a loyal employee is likely more willing to work extra hours once in a while or even accept a canceled shift.

Hire dedicated on-call staff

On-call scheduling is an acceptable practice if you hire someone specifically for that purpose. On days when you find yourself short-staffed, a dedicated on-call employee can be a practical solution.

Create a process for staff availability

Good managers give their employees a chance to communicate their preferred hours. Sit down with each employee and discuss their preferences to create a schedule thats convenient for everyone on the payroll. You can keep availability preferences as a form, in a calendar or in your scheduling software platform.

Learning to develop a functioning work schedule that works for both you and your employees is an integral part of being a good manager. Giving employees a flexible schedule frees them from worrying about their personal obligations so they can better focus on work.


What are the 4 types of work scheduling?

4 Work Schedules for Remote and Flexible Jobs
  1. Full-Time. Although full-time work is traditionally considered to be 40 or more hours per week, the definition can vary by employer and even by governmental organization. …
  2. Part-Time. …
  3. Flexible Schedule. …
  4. Alternative Schedule.

What are the key elements to building a work schedule?

What elements should be included in a work schedule?
  • A breakdown of start times, end times, breaks, and planned hours of work.
  • Highlight days off – especially where rotating shifts are concerned.
  • Overtime needs and requirements.

How do you make a 7 day work schedule?

7-day schedule.
  1. Make slow, incremental changes. Start by using overtime on the weekends. …
  2. Only change part of the organization to a 7-day schedule. Leave the remainder on a 5-day schedule with occasional weekend overtime as needed.
  3. Adopt a 7-day schedule. …
  4. Adopt a 7-day schedule. …
  5. Adopt a 7-day schedule.

What are the 8 different types of work schedules?

Here are some of the most popular types of work schedules for employees.
  1. Full-Time. Full-time work schedules often require a commitment of 37 to 40 hours per week. …
  2. Part-Time. …
  3. Fixed. …
  4. Flextime. …
  5. Rotating Shifts. …
  6. Split Shift. …
  7. Compressed Workweek. …
  8. Shift.

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