Schedule Templates: What are they? Why would I want to use them?

What are they?

In a nutshell, a schedule template is a way of re-using the current schedule at any time in the future.

Why would I want to use them?

Nobody likes doing the same repetitive tasks week in, week out if there’s a more efficient way of achieving the same goal. So, templates is a technique to remember what you did for week one and re-use it for week two, week three, etc. For this technique to work, the scheduling requirements from week-to-week need to be similar.

Ok, I’m interested. What do I need to do?

First of all, realize that you can create one or more templates depending on your needs. Most typically, templates are used in industries where the scheduling requirements are relatively static. Whatever happens in week one usually also happens in week two. As an example, imagine you are working for a security guard company which provides security guards to a variety of different customers with different sites. In this scenario, the security company is typically contracted to provide coverage for set hours on set days (which maybe 24/7). You would create the initial schedule, save the template in the Visual Scheduler. Fundamentally, you are telling eTime Xpress to remember the shift pattern that you have loaded into the Visual Scheduler at that time; so it’s important to realize you need to check the Visual Scheduler date before creating the template to make sure you only have the correct dates loaded. For instance, you do not want to have 8 days’ worth of shifts loaded into the Visual Scheduler if you want to create a one week template.

When scheduling for week two and subsequent weeks, a few clicks of the mouse can paste the template into the relevant week of the schedule. Of course, week two is very rarely exactly the same as week one. So don’t be afraid to change the schedule once the template has been pasted in. What happens if someone calls off? Add this information to the schedule and eTime Xpress will identify whether that employee is scheduled at the time and, if so, will automatically open the shift for another employee to fill. (Conversely, is someone has some time booked off in the future, and then you paste in a template for that period with that employee, you will be reminded the employee is not available when you paste in the template)

If your scheduling requirements change, for instance when you need to add a new customer or site, the original template can be changed without affecting previous weeks’ schedules. When one employee leaves and another employee is hired to take their place, you can also update the template.

But my employees change each week. How would this help me?

Well, a schedule template can be created with open shifts or even a mixture of open and assigned shifts if you prefer. If so, just make sure that none of the shifts loaded into the Visual Scheduler are assigned out to an employee when you create the schedule template.

Anything else I need to know?

Well, we said earlier that scheduling requirements need to be similar week-to-week. This isn’t actually true because schedule templates don’t have to be used all the time, and they don’t need comprise a complete week. If you schedule on a bi-weekly basis, you can create a bi-weekly template (just remember which week you need to paste the template into the schedule). You can even use a daily template, an event template or even a high, medium, or low demand template.

As an example of an event template, consider the staffing requirements for an event company which schedules ushers, ticket takers, bar and serving staff at concerts. Your coverage may vary depending on anticipated crowd sizes but it’s easy to create two templates, for instance, for a large gig versus a small gig; but each time the venue has a gig, the scheduler just need to paste in the relevant template for the relevant date.

In these types of scenarios, you will more likely make your schedule template with open shifts and then schedule employees using other tools within the Visual Scheduler, such as Autofill (based on your employees’ previously submitted availability) or Self-Scheduling, depending on your preferences.

I schedule football, baseball, hockey and basketball games. Could I use schedule templates?

Absolutely! One of Celayix’s first major clients was a stadium for a NBA basketball team! These types of events would be scheduled in a similar way to concerts or gigs.

But my concert/game times vary. Does that mean I can’t use templates?

No! You can still paste in the template with the original shift start and end times but you can then use the shift toolbox to update all the shift start and end times as needed. Again, this just takes a couple of clicks of the mouse. Of course, if the start and end times have changed permanently, you can update the template accordingly.

What about getting extra information out to my employees?

Whatever data is on the original shift when the template was created will also be copied forward when you paste in the template subsequently. So not only will the customer, site, employee, service and start & end times are copied forward, but so will other fields such as the shift tag, location and any notes. Of course you can quickly update these fields by using the Shift Toolbox.