How do I create a staff schedule?

Staff scheduling is an essential management tool for the smooth running and productivity of a company. It enables employees’working hours to be organized and tasks to be allocated, taking into account the company’s needs. Designing a schedule can be a complex task, especially for companies with flexible working hours. While the use of scheduling software can helpoptimize staff working hours, there are a number of recommendations to bear in mind. Here are 5 essential steps for creating an effective schedule

5 steps to creating a staff schedule

work schedule is a document (paper or digital) that indicates an employee’s working hours and days off during a given period. This HR management tool enables staff working hours to be organized, taking into account individual tasks and the productivity needs of the company concerned. It can take a variety of forms (table, diary, schedule), but must comply with certain rules if it is to be considered legal in the eyes of the law.

1. define the company’s needs

Before drawing up work schedules, employers need to determine their company’s manpower requirements, based on its field of activity. For example, a restaurant or a 24-hour assistance company needs employees to work longer hours than a bank branch. This often means a more complex work organization.

Employers must also take into account seasonality and periods of reduced or increased activity when designing work schedules. The aim is to anticipate the manpower reinforcements needed to keep the company running smoothly and avoid a drop in productivity.

The company also relies on its financial resources to optimize its human resources and deal with unforeseen events. A period of increased activity, external assignments or prolonged absences can lead to understaffing. Employers need to anticipate these eventualities to be able to react and be certain of having staff available at all times.

2. Take into account staff expectations and availability

Asking employees about their availability helps reinforce the feeling of belonging to the company. This has a positive impact on employees’ state of mind and commitment, while helping to strengthen relations between colleagues. Taking everyone’s availability into account also helps to anticipate any unforeseen events. Vacations and rest days are defined in advance, so that the company has enough time to compensate for absences.

3. Comply with employment legislation

A work schedule must comply with a number of legal provisions, in line with the French Labor Code and the collective bargaining agreement for the sector concerned. The elements that must appear on a staff schedule include the following:

  • Break times
  • Days off
  • Start and end times of the working day
  • Distribution of hours over the week
  • Dates of the period concerned

Staff schedules must also comply with the legal working hours in France, i.e. :

  • 10h of work per day maximum
  • A maximum of 48 working hours per week
  • 35h weekly rest period

Employers also have other obligations. A company must send its employees their work schedules within a reasonable period of time. In the absence of regulations defined in the collective agreement, the deadline is set at 7 days. In the case ofschedules common to all employees, the company must post the schedules on its premises, in a place visible and accessible to all. In the case of individual schedules, the employer is not obliged to provide a paper schedule, but must ensure that employees can consult their schedules within the company.

4. Rely on flexible planning

Choose a format that can be easily modified

A variety of situations can disrupt a company’s organization: absence, leave, lateness, accident, resignation, surge in activity… To create an effective work schedule, you need to focus above all on flexibility. The document must be easy to adapt to unforeseen circumstances.

Various software programs and applications can be used to create schedules of varying complexity. Some companies use Excel spreadsheets and enter information manually. This is a particularly time-consuming and restrictive task, especially when changes need to be made. Using online management software is a much more efficient way of updating employee schedules, and reduces errors (duplication of schedules, import problems, inaccurate data, etc.).

Set up a rotation schedule

Some organizations opt for rotating schedules to ensure the smooth coordination of different shifts. This is often the case for hospitals, cleaning companies or continuous production management plants. Scheduling is essential to ensure the continuity and efficiency of these services.

rotation schedule is a timetable made up of time slots that vary from week to week. The principle is to allow employees to change time slots, so that they don’t always work at the same time, and to vary tasks. This is particularly useful in the case of specific structures such as call centers or nursing homes, which require manpower over long shifts. In the catering sector, for example, this allows the workload to be distributed more evenly between employees. Staff who work weekends in Week 1 will not be the same as those who work weekends in Week 2.

Getting employees more involved

Allowing employees to swap schedules also increases flexibility and reduces absenteeism. This approach is often viewed positively by employees, who benefit from greater autonomy in their day-to-day organization. To cope with last-minute replacements, consider putting out an internal call for volunteers. Some may choose to volunteer.

5. Use personnel management software to create schedules

HR personnel management software enables you to design schedules tailored to each company, taking into account available manpower and legal obligations under the French Labor Code. It’s an all-in-one tool, centralizing all a company’s HR data and facilitating personnel management. Its interface and functionalities are designed to optimize the design of work schedules.

To save time

Designing a work schedule involves taking into account various elements (breaks, vacations, labor costs, business needs), which is time-consuming. Using online scheduling software allows you to automate this task and quickly create efficient, consistent schedules.

To optimize communication of schedules to employees

Late communication of work schedules can cause difficulties for a company. An employee informed too late of a change in working hours may be unavailable or refuse to accept the change, if it is not provided for in his or her employment contract.

It’s also important that employees’ schedules are accessible, to avoid any possible errors (late arrivals or absences). The advantages of online management software are that it reduces the time needed to create schedules, and makes them accessible at all times. In addition to a personal online space, employees can receive their schedules by e-mail or SMS.

To reduce planning errors

Using HR management software solves the problems associated with designing complex schedules. Some companies have time constraints that make it difficult to create a schedule. Using specialized software has the advantage of limiting scheduling errors and ensuring the company’s ongoing productivity. The software automatically prepares schedules, taking into account human and budgetary constraints, as well as staff resources and fluctuations in activity.

Employers must take a number of constraints into account before designing schedules for their staff. First and foremost, you need to define your company’s needs in terms of productivity, and determine the periods of fluctuation in your activity. In this way, it is possible to anticipate staffing needs and avoid situations of understaffing and overstaffing. Other factors, such as employment legislation, also play a part in the creation of a schedule, making it a complex task. That’s why we recommend the use of HR management software. It’s an intuitive solution that saves time and helps you create efficient schedules, while limiting the risk of errors and communication delays.