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Using Employee Availability to Improve Scheduling Processes

Do you ever wish you just knew when your employees were available and when they weren't? It might make your life easier, and allow you to improve your employee scheduling process! See how below.

Managing your employees can be time-consuming. No matter how experienced you are or how good your method of scheduling is, you don’t have control over everything. Particularly employee availability. You try to build the most efficient schedule to support the needs of your business. And then you receive the dreaded message. A member of your team can no longer work because they need to deal with something in their personal lives.  

What now? For the inexperienced manager, it will likely onset panic. What do I do? How do I replace them? But for those who’ve been around long enough, they’ll have a strategy in place. A strategy to either stop this happening or to manage it when it does. One of the most commonly used methods is tracking employee availability. If a manager isn’t aware of this, read on. Employee availability is a tool used by many managers to help improve their scheduling processes.  

Lack of organization in employee scheduling can come at an expensive cost. But we know first-hand the positive impact that tracking employee availability can have.

What is employee availability? 

Employee availability is a tool that operates within your schedule. Its prime purpose is for the employee to input and show the manager their availability. Based on this knowledge, the manager can pull together a best-fit schedule. Shift-based workforces are subject to regular change and this can help to ensure that the scheduling process runs more smoothly.  

Employee availability can be recorded in different ways. First, we will look at the manual method. This more traditional method means that the manager requires the employee to fill out an availability form. Alternatively, they can choose to embrace the technology of today and use a form of employee scheduling software. The quicker, more simplified process. But whichever way you choose to do it, make sure you’re supplied with the all-important information. We’ve provided an example below: 

  • Name of Employee 
  • Employee ID (if assigned) 
  • Employee position 
  • Contact details 
  • Available hours 
  • Space for additional notes 

Recording this will ensure that your data is accurate. And if you fail to do so, it will bring complexities that we promise you want to avoid. But with this crucial information, you’ll be good to go! 

How Employee Availability Improves the Scheduling Process

Employee autonomy 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Employees are the beating heart of an organization. If you give them what they need you’ll get a lot in return. And giving them autonomy over when they work can be significant in how they operate. And giving them autonomy over their schedule with just the click of a button? Even better!  

Man happy, colour

Many employees have scheduling apps that allow them to input their availability. This easy-to-use method is beneficial for both the employee and their managers. Offering a real-time, automated solution to improve the efficiency of the employee scheduling process. 

But just how does it improve the schedule process? 

If an organization is in a position to offer employees flexibility in their schedule, they absolutely must do. And if they aren’t, they should find a way to make it happen.  

Research found that 87% of hourly workers consider having control over their work schedules to be extremely important. Using employee availability gives them the opportunity to choose the shifts that suits their personal lives. With the ability to switch and pick up shifts as they please, your workforce will feel more engaged in their role. And arguably the manager will too. With the knowledge they’ll receive from real-time data, they have the ability to address problems quickly. And this creates the platform a competent schedule.  

More benefits… 

Employee autonomy not only improves productivity but employee retention too. By giving them more freedom you’ll be less worried that their heads will turn. Manual jobs can often be physically demanding and emotionally draining. But employees will take great comfort in being able to control the hours they work. Organizations making choices to support the health and wellbeing of the workforce will be well received. And this is because it arguably protects them from the most critical danger they may face. Burnout.  

Deloitte’s survey found that 77% of professionals have experienced burnout at their current job. During the recent pandemic understaffing and overworking has become prevalent in many industries. Which can lead to increased cases of absenteeism. And giving employees autonomy over their schedule can certainly help to prevent this. By minimizing absenteeism and employee turnover, you’ll be avoiding any major adjustments to your schedule. We’ll cheers to a smoother scheduling process!  

So, now that we’ve discussed the employees. How can employee availability help managers to improve the scheduling process? 

Giving managers greater control over their schedule 

The obvious one. So we’ll keep it short and sweet. As advocates of best-of-breed scheduling software, we understand the value of employee availability as an essential part of the process. It empowers managers to choose the most efficient schedule available to them. Real-time processing allows for rapid decision-making for necessary changes. Best of all, it streamlines your entire scheduling process. So when you’re let down last minute, you’ll have all the tools to make a quick change.  

A workforce who understands their work hours and responsibilities will create maximum productivity. But in order to continuously perform at the highest level, a manager needs to reduce all conflict within their schedule.

Reduces scheduling conflicts 

Conflict isn’t welcome anywhere. Particularly not for an organization trying to improve their scheduling processes. It could be a double-booking. Unbalanced shift distribution. Or simply booking employees to work when they’re actually unavailable. These types of errors can be costly. This is why employee availability has a vital part to play. By knowing your employees’ availability, you’re one step ahead in creating a schedule that maximizes productivity and eradicates conflict. You’ll be glad to know that most scheduling software has the adequate tools to support this.  

Celayix’s Schedule Xpress platform provides autofill, self-scheduling, shift bidding and find replacement options. All perfect for quickly resolving any last-minute schedule change. You can enter rules to heighten your approach for the next most suitable candidate. If someone drops a shift, you can use autofill to pick a suitable replacement with a single click. Self-scheduling can allow that newly open shift to be designated to another employee. Or, shift bidding to find the next best employee to cover the shift. But if you don’t have access to a scheduling software, a last-minute email blast should do the trick. Do it your way! 

Celayix Employee Scheduling and Workforce Management software

Looking to save time? 

They say to save the best until last.  

Everybody wants the best scheduling processes to provide the best outcomes. We’re all aware that the more accurate and informative your employee availability, the more comprehensive your schedule will be. This is why organizations often opt for scheduling software as opposed to manual processes.   

Organizations invest in scheduling software because they operate in real-time. There’s no waiting around for your availability to be processed. It arrives instantly. This saves organizations a considerable amount of time. And by saving time, they’re saving money too. Luckily for them, the good news doesn’t end there. Deloitte reported that employee turnover is 174% more likely without real-time scheduling capabilities. Real-time scheduling processes give employees the power to instantly communicate their availability. Which gives them a better chance of securing their desired shifts. This also gives managers the opportunity to make quicker and more calculated decisions that benefit the organization’s needs.  

Why you should use employee availability 

We’re driven to make employee scheduling processes easier. And we love how employee availability contributes to that. But one thing is clear. Not all organizations carry the same objectives. Nor do they have the same budgets. But every organization should share the same goal. To optimize their scheduling processes.  

Effective scheduling is something that takes minimal effort in comparison to the rewards. It’s essentially ensuring that you allocate your workforce with the shifts that best help you to achieve your goals. But this is difficult to achieve without using scheduling tools as support. And if you aren’t using employee availability as one of those tools, we can guarantee you’re dealing with conflict by the day. And in more ways than one.  

Ever heard that famous quote? 

“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.’ 

It couldn’t be more fitting. If you don’t have a tool that tells you which employee is available and when, you’re not optimizing the process. You’re setting yourself up to fail. So whether it’s an employee availability form or the click of a button in a scheduling app. Give your workforce the control over their schedule that they deserve. But equally, empower yourself with the foreknowledge of when they’re available so you can plan effectively.  

Improving your scheduling processes is a proposition that benefits everybody in an organization. So if you haven’t already, take this step to a happier and more productive organization.    

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