Having a business that is operating around the clock brings along multiple challenges. From strategic planning to the minutiae, like coming up with an effective 24/7 shift schedule template, numerous industries are struggling to keep up with ongoing business demands. Managers need to keep an eye on employee morale, wellbeing, and productivity under very demanding work circumstances. Moreover, they have to deal with complex calculations and pay issues. Supervisors in some organizations, such as health facilities, also need to keep in mind the specific job conditions and scheduling requirements.
Here at Humanity, we aim to accommodate all scheduling needs, including coordinating shift coverage around the clock. At the bottom of this article, you’ll find instructions on how to create a 24/7 shift schedule template in Humanity. But first, here is a rundown of the most common challenges of running a 24/7 operation—and how to tackle them.
Managing employee fatigue
No matter how talented or dedicated your employees are, they can’t be expected to perform like computers. This is especially important when running a 24/7 business where every hour needs to be planned out to perfection.
One of the challenges for managers is that they don’t have as much personal contact with their team members. Therefore, engaging workers is incredibly difficult. Without constant contact and personal touch, it’s sometimes easy to forget the human factor: the fact that you are managing people, not machines.
To ensure you show compassion and understanding even when you’re detached from your team, consider the psychological and physiological hardships of working in 24/7 shifts. Some of your staff members are working all hours of the night and have a schedule that doesn’t reflect the hours of most of their family or friends. Many of them are sleeping while the rest of the world is working and vice versa. These are atypical working conditions, which means that your approach to management needs to be atypical as well.
To help to combat some of these issues, get familiar with the so-called fatigue risk management systems. The goal of these systems is to ensure high performance without compromising employees’ wellbeing.
Implementing fatigue management processes into a 24/7 shift schedule template involves a very hands-on approach. It’s a very data-driven process that needs to entail constant monitoring and engagement. Managers and employees need to work together in order to get to the root of fatigue-related problems and try to find a solution to overcome them.
It has been shown that companies that implement these types of systems can greatly improve the productivity of their team. But most importantly, working on fatigue management plans can help your employees sleep better, work better, and feel better about their working environment.
Calculating overtime and holidays
No matter how much time you put into your 24/7 shift schedule template, you still need to manage employees who work through several established pay periods. To avoid excessive labor costs, companies need to fine-tune their overtime policies.
An advanced and versatile employee management software like Humanity can be a significant help in avoiding unnecessary overtime and streamlining costs. Humanity’s payroll exports make it simple to run pay periods for 24/7 operations. Managers are also able to define their policies and automating them so that they don’t have to struggle with weekly recalculations.
Holiday pay rules also need to be strictly enforced. How do you manage holidays when there are no days off at your company? It’s difficult to calculate holiday pay when there happens to be a shift that is not fully covered during a holiday but overlaps with holiday boundaries.
Most of the time, businesses are not paying for a full day of holiday work, but overlapping hours that enter holiday work territory. It’s truly a complex process, and the more help you have automating this process and keeping your payroll records clean, the better off you’ll be.
Keeping track of time and attendance
It’s critical for companies to have precise data on time and attendance, as lacking accurate reports can bring on compliance risks. For businesses that require full coverage all day every day, these details are particularly important. Investing in a workforce management platform with built-in time and attendance tracking can save you a lot of time and resources in the long-run. However, many platforms available on the market only cater to standardized business hours and scheduling needs. Tracking time and attendance with a separate solution will still have you spending countless hours adjusting timesheets manually.
From easy and accurate clock-ins to one-click payroll exports, the right employee scheduling software can take care of these details for you. With Humanity, not only can you build a 24/7 schedule template, but you can also accurately track employee attendance and eliminate buddy punching with manager approvals and GPS/location-based clock-in. Yes, we thought of everything.
Managing business and employee data
There is probably nothing more vital to the success of your 24/7 operation than being able to have real-time data at your fingertips. Having all the data available in one place makes it much easier to analyze costs, notice roadblocks, and optimize processes. With detailed reporting options, managers can create more accurate labor budgets and streamline their operations in line with business demands.
Some workforce management platforms allow you to import data related to sales and services. This enables you to examine your forecasts and notice trends that could help you to improve staffing. Are you noticing that productivity is going down at a certain time during the day, or that you are getting more customer complaints in the morning? Use that type of data to optimize your operation.
How to create a 24/7 shift schedule template in Humanity
Our cloud-based schedule maker and workforce management software make creating recurring schedules quick, easy and manageable. By setting up schedule templates that you can re-use with smaller adjustments, your scheduling process is significantly shortened, saving you time and money.
With Humanity, managers of 24/7 businesses can create a 24/7 shift schedule template and have it recur for up to 12 months, while retaining all shift information and employee specifications. Let’s see how it works in the following use case: a template with 8-hour shifts for a four-member team.
To set a schedule that rotates four employees over 8-hour shifts with one employee per shift, you first need to create these shifts. To do so, click on the desired date and type in the 8-hour time period for the shift, such as “8am-4pm.”
Set this shift to a recurring one so that it repeats daily. To make a recurring shift, click on a shift to open the “Shift Edit” window.
To repeat the shift, choose “Repeat Options,” which will open the “Repeat Shift” window, shown below.
Select “Daily” from the dropdown menu (to make the shift time repeat each day), the end date and whether you would like to repeat the shift with or without the associated employees. Press “Set to Repeat!” and your schedule will refresh, showing the repeated shifts.
If you repeat this process for the other two 8-hour shifts (4pm-12am and 12am-8am), you will have a total of 21 shifts per week that ensure 24/7 coverage. This is the fewest number of shifts required for full coverage based on 8-hour shifts.
In order to get the fairest schedule between four employees, the 21 shifts need to be divided in the following manner: six shifts for employee #1, five shifts for employee #2, five shifts for employee #3 and five shifts for employee #4. This works out to be 48 hours, 40 hours, 40 hours and 40 hours, respectively, for the week. Employee hours will even out over four weeks if a different employee takes six shifts each week as opposed to five shifts.
When the shifts are created, managers can either run the scheduling wizard to randomly assign an employee to each shift, or manually assign employees to each shift in the shift window.
Building a 24/7 shift schedule template in Humanity is simple, straightforward, and, most importantly, efficient. It saves precious time on tweaking schedules without compromising their quality.