For most of us, work schedules used to be very straightforward.
However, recent sweeping changes brought about by world events have unearthed a pandora’s box of new possibilities: HR managers will now be seeing more schedule arrangements in the year to come.
This article will be a primer on employee work schedules; we’ll talk about everything you need to learn about it.
What are Work Schedules?
Employee work schedules are blocks of time within the day where your employees are required to do the tasks you’ve set for them. These are the hours they need to work, whatever their roles are.
It seems straightforward – you lay down the hours employees work, and they will accomplish it whether part or full time, depending on their contract. And usually, it is as simple as that, but in recent years there has been a challenge about the conventions that employers have regarding scheduling.
For one, the traditional nine-to-five model is increasingly becoming more unpopular.
While it may suit many employees just fine, individuals with other responsibilities (such as parents and those with family members to take care of) are eschewing the traditional nine-to-five for more flexible hours in the workplace.
Indeed, many individuals leave the traditional workforce in favor of remote online work, even if that means leaving their current employers.
Thus, employees now need to understand the shifting trends of work employee schedules in 2022.
Why Employee Work Schedules are Important
Work employee schedules are crucial to organizing your workplace to be more effective and efficient. But how exactly do they help? Here are a few key benefits.
- Consistency. When you can determine how much work is being done within a consistent amount of time per week, you can better create metrics that determine how effectively you meet your goals. With a consistent schedule, you can delegate tasks better or delegate scheduling to another manager.
- Efficiency. An efficient employee work schedule ensures that no time is wasted on determining which of your employees work at what hours of the day. Instead of getting bogged down by everyday logistics, leaders can focus on higher tasks.
- Calculation. Wages are more balanced when you have an effective scheduling system. If you know how to make an employee schedule fit for your needs, you can avoid over or under-scheduling — both of which can result in significant loss of time and resources.
- Customer satisfaction. Efficient scheduling helps you ensure that the right employees will be working right when their specific skills are needed. This allows them to serve the customers better and increases customer satisfaction.
- Legal compliance. Your state requires that you comply with specific laws about how many hours your full-time and part-time employees can render in your service. Scheduling allows you to frame your work hours according to these mandated schedules for compliance.
- Morale. When employees know when they’re supposed to work, they know what to expect from their week and can more effectively plan their time around it. Last-minute changes and bad schedules will likely decrease workplace morale.
- Retention. Employees who feel valued and respected about their time can work their posts better and stay with your company for longer. On the other hand, employees who feel negatively about their work hours will likely quit significantly sooner.
Creating a better employee work schedule allows you to muster a healthier and more organized workplace, creating a positive working environment and helping you boost employee morale.
Types of Work Schedules
Now that you know the advantages of having a good employee work schedule, the next thing you have to know are the types of work schedules you can employ and how it might help your business.
Full-Time/Regular Employee Schedule
Employees who work full-time must work for 37 to 40 hours every week. The actual work times might vary slightly from company to company (for example, starting at 8 AM instead of 9 AM, etc.). Still, employees generally work the same hours every workday for the workweek.
The most common hours for full-time employees is from 9 AM to 5 PM, hence why this work schedule is also popularly known as a nine-to-five. This totals to 40 hours of work every week.
Because of these extended hours, full-time non-exempt employees generally have a range of employee benefits, such as retirement plans, health insurance, sick days, vacation days, etc.
Non-exempt, full-time workers also get overtime for exceeding the maximum 40 hours of work every week.
The overtime rate is different from the regular rate. Sort of like a reward for working beyond their regular work hours, the overtime pay rate equals the base rate plus half again of that base pay, more popularly known as a “time and a half” rate.
Exempt workers, though, aren’t typically qualified for overtime pay.
Part-timers are not required to work the same hours as full-time employees, which means they have more time to spend on responsibilities outside of work.
However, they are also paid less and are generally not eligible for full-time employees’ employee benefits.
Unlike full-time workers with set salary schedules, part-timers are paid erratically in comparison; their salary schedule might be at the end of every workday, after every workweek, or after the work assigned to them.
However, part-time workers generally still have contracts formed with their employees stipulating how long and on what hours they are required to work.
Fixed Work Hours
This type of employee work schedule also follows an agreed-upon quota by both employer and employee, which stays fixed for the week or the month.
This arrangement can be somewhat on the same level as a full-time employee — however, the critical difference is in its agreement aspect. While both parties can undoubtedly negotiate for a full-time work schedule, they can also just as easily arrange for lesser hours every day or alternating days of work.
For example, both parties might negotiate a fixed work schedule from Saturday to Wednesday, from 6 PM to 3 AM.
Flexible Work Hours
Because of its more convenient method, this type of employee work schedule is currently gaining popularity.
Opposite to the fixed work schedule, flexible work hours allow employees to still lead a busy life outside of work.
While fixed work hours require that the employees work on certain days at certain hours, flexible work hours may only provide a guideline that can be changed depending on the demands of the situation.
For example, both parties might agree on a certain number of hours or days of the week to work. However, it strictly depends on the employee as long as the quota for work is completed.
Another popular type of flexible work is simply giving your employees tasks without a set schedule for when they will work. Of course, just as long as they can submit their output within a set deadline and with a certain level of expected quality.
The exact arrangement will depend on the agreement between employer and employee.
Businesses open for more than the typical store hours often utilize rotating shift scheduling.
Rotating shifts schedule employees through different workday shifts, typically morning (7 AM to 3 PM), swing (1 PM to 9 PM), and so on. There might also even be unique rotations for holidays, weekends, etc. The shift schedules are often cycled between different employees periodically.
This type of scheduling is often utilized by round-the-clock industries, such as factory workers, construction workers, 24/7 fast-food workers, health care workers, and even the military.
These types of scheduling are not the most employee-friendly: they require some employees to shift their body clock to work less desirable hours and do little else but work.
However, businesses typically pay more for the most undesirable shifts from evening to morning.
Split Shift Schedules
This schedule is like a rotating shift, except that each employee’s schedule is divided into two. For example, a nurse can clock in for their first shift in the morning, clock out in the afternoon, and then clock in again at night to work their graveyard shifts.
Split shifts allow employees more time between their shifts and are more desirable than working one whole straight change throughout the night.
Temporary / Seasonal Employee Schedules
Temporary employees can be tapped to fulfill a temporary or seasonal business demand that your existing regular or part-time crew can’t otherwise handle.
There might be hectic days when a crucial employee is on sick leave during a business, and you can’t afford to be short-staffed.
Since the need will likely disappear when the missing person comes back, you don’t need to hire a permanent employee or a long-term part-timer; instead, you can hire a temporary employee. Employers also can employ the temp work as a full employee.
Because of these factors, temporary employee schedules are often erratic. It will depend on the extent of the demand that needs to be fulfilled and your policies.
These schedules are most often observed in scarce, highly-specialized professions such as operating doctors. The employees may work their regular shift throughout the day, but when they clock out, they might still be called on when their workplace is short-handed.
On-call periods will also be alternated between different employees to lessen the strain.
Telecommuting / WFH / Remote Work Schedules
Working from home is perhaps one of the most valued perks in today’s labor market because of the pandemic.
Working from home is perhaps the most preferred work setup in recent times.
It has been shown to have different advantages like better time management, more productivity, and decreased stress. Thus, it’s one of the most employee-friendly arrangements around.
Today, many organizations employ a mixture of schedules where select individuals can work from home on certain days of the week.
An employee can also arrange for a fully WFH work plan if their employer allows them to.
There are also truly remote employment types. A business that outsources specific business operations like admin and accounting may hire someone from a different state or country.
Freelance Work Schedules
Lastly, freelance work is much like flexible work hours, but the workers are not directly employed.
Instead, they are freelancers. Freelance employees are like temporary employees, but they are often hired for project-specific tasks, not daily operations. They are also usually more specialized and skilled than temp workers.
Since you’re not employing freelancers, you have no say in deciding when they work and for how long.
As long as they deliver the output you require in the quality you expect; they are generally free to do as they want schedule-wise. Also, unlike flexible or on-call employees, freelancers might take on multiple clients simultaneously, depending on their preference.
How to Create Employee Work Schedules
Now that you know the benefits of an employee’s work schedule and the different types, the next thing to do is create the best schedule for your workplace.
This section will discuss all the steps that a shift manager needs to do to create schedules that work.
1. Conduct a resource inventory
Before you begin counting hours, you need to have an intimate understanding of what you have at your disposal.
Make a list of resources you currently have. Create an outline for your wage budget, determining how much you can pay your employees for how long. In this early stage of your planning, estimation is your best bet: rely on estimated figures and just factor in a margin of error.
Be sure to include the nuances of the specific employees that you want to have since you might want to hire additional seasonal workers or third-party contractors in the near future.
2. Identify shift schedule needs and workplace demands
Now that you know what you have in your wallet, you can now determine your needs.
You can do this by noting how much work you have compared to the number of employees you have or plan to have. Here, you need to have a thorough understanding of the kind of work required in your establishment and how long it takes to do it.
If you’re not intimately aware of these things, you need someone for a reference, be it your most senior employee or a peer with a similar business.
More than that, you need to include other factors in your calculations, such as the following.
- Regular work hours. Jot down all your workplace demands for your daily operations.
- Peak times. Understand how much additional work your peak hours or seasons create and note that down.
- Replacements. Make allowances for reserves in case someone can’t fulfill their schedules. You can do this by including an on-call policy in your scheduling or having a roster of seasonal employees you can tap into.
- Applicable labor laws. Research the labor laws in your area and how they might affect the number of hours you give to full-timers, part-timers, seasonal employees, etc. You can also consult your business attorney after you’ve made your draft to make sure you won’t land in any legal hot water in the future.
3. Determine preferences
Your employee’s preferences are essential in determining the ideal schedule for your workplace.
Remember, a big part of why you’re creating a robust workplace schedule is to make your employees more effective and raise morale. You can’t do these things if you’re putting employees in schedules that their personal lives can’t tolerate.
However, also remember that you can’t please everyone.
This balancing act is where your skill as a manager shows; you need to balance employees’ personal preferences and the needs of your business and come up with a solution that is acceptable for both.
4. Use a scheduling tool
With all of those crucial factors all lined up, you can now actually block out the times of the day when your employees are supposed to work.
However, you don’t have to mark your calendar for this manually. Some tools can help you accomplish these specific tasks faster, such as schedule templates or a schedule maker app.
- Schedule template. You’re not the only one who’s needed a schedule before: there are many customizable workplace schedules on the internet that you can tweak to fit the specific type of schedule that you have in mind.
- Schedule maker software. Employee scheduling apps such as Google Workplace and Sling are great resources that can help you create work schedules easily. There are free and paid schedule makers, so shop around to find the exact service you need.
5. Post the schedule
Letting your employees know their schedules promptly is just as important as making it.
This is because your employees will generally plan their week around their work schedules, and they must have a schedule that they can trust. This means three things:
- The schedule you make should be final and free of errors.
- You need to post their work hour schedules early to plan their week with their work hours in mind.
- You need to make provisions that ensure their set schedules are will not have to be modified in case of an emergency.
Print the schedule or convert it into a PDF and disseminate the information to your employee as soon as you can manage.
Managing Employee Work Schedules This 2022
Effective employee work schedules are critical for a productive workday – it helps your HR manager organize for efficiency and raise employee morale.
There are many types of employee work schedules that might apply to your business, and we’ve made sure to list all of those in this article. You also now know everything you’ll ever need to create the best work schedules for your employees this 2022.
Effective employee scheduling goes hand in hand with choosing the best staff.
Whether you’re recruiting full-timers, freelancers, or temporary workers, Hirenest will help you make the best decisions for your company. Contact us now for more details!
1. What are employee work schedules?
Employee work schedule refers to the specific period that an employee is supposed to work.
2. Why are work schedules important?
Having a designated work schedule is essential for both the company and the employee. For employees, it gives them a solid idea of how long they’re supposed to work and when. For companies, it helps set the payable hours for an employee.
3. Whats the best work schedule?
There’s no such thing as a “best work schedule.” Although 9-5 is the standard work schedule in the US, this type of schedule doesn’t work for everyone.