If you manage hourly employees, you know how many issues can come up when you’re trying to schedule shifts. Hourly employees are often students, parents, or caregivers with very specific need scheduling needs.

A dependable schedule helps employees balance their work lives and their home lives. It also gives them a chance to better themselves through education and training. Knowing their work schedule in advance means employees can seek additional employment to help pay the bills and support their family.

Dependable schedules also benefit you, the manager of hourly employees. When you’re working with a solid schedule template, you’re not spending hours trying to get shifts to fit together like puzzle pieces. When shifts and schedules are predetermined, you can easily fill spots if someone has to miss work. In addition, employees can be part of that process because they’ll know who is working and who can fill a shift.

What Really Happens When You’re an Hourly Employees

There are lots of benefits to having a dependable schedule for hourly employees. Let’s look at some interesting facts about scheduling.

  1. Workers paid under $22,500 a year are most likely to have schedules that are not dependable.
  2. Seventeen percent of the workforce work in unstable shift schedules, including on-call work and split shifts.
  3. Being a part-time employee more than doubles the likelihood of an irregular schedule.
  4. One-third of the hourly employees surveyed received their schedules with less than three days’ notice according to a survey in Washington D.C.
  5. Half of hourly employees in the food service industry report being sent home before completing their assigning shifts.
  6. A full 86% of employees say that the ability to have a work-life balance is a necessary part of the job while only 12% of employers believe it to be crucial to employee retention.
  7. Employees with flexible schedules that allowed them to pursue interests outside of work reported fewer mental health problems in a 2002 study. Even when educational levels and salary are factors, flexible work arrangements correlated to better health.
  8. Work hours and stress are related to depression and stress-related health problems according to the Journal of Applied Psychology.

How Dependable Scheduling Benefits Employees

Since the 1990s, employers have been implementing what they call “just-in-time” scheduling practices. This has led to hourly employees working more split shifts, shorter shifts, and being “on-call” resulting in their receiving last minute notification about schedule changes.

This practice of irregular scheduling means hourly employees can’t attend school or take professional enhancement classes. They can’t find reliable childcare. They can’t take care of their families.

They can’t make dinner plans with friends. Hourly employees are living with the expectation that any minute their phone could ring and they’ll be required to show to work within the hour. This constant stress takes its toll on employee’s physical and mental health.

A dependable schedule means employees can lead more predictable lives. They can attend classes, take part-time jobs, schedule childcare, be caregivers to aging parents, and see friends. This stability leads to better health and fewer sick days.

How Employers Benefit from Dependable Schedules

The amount of time it takes to plan shift schedules and get every employee signed up for the right amount and type of work is no small feat. This process takes time away from managing employees, offering support, interacting with customers, building relationships within the community, participating in team building, and just about everything else.

The time savings alone should be enough to convince employers of hourly employees to consider a dependable, regular schedule template. But if it’s not, here’s another reason regular shift scheduling benefits the business—less employee turnover, less hiring, less training new employees.

Business with flexible schedules or dependable shift work have higher levels of employee engagement, less turnover, and have to spend less on recruiting, hiring, and training.

What Does A Dependable Schedule Look Like for Shift Workers?

And let’s be clear—a dependable schedule doesn’t mean that the same shifts have to happen at the same times every day. Instead, regular shifts can still be flexible. As the manager, you know when you need more people, when your busiest and slowest times are, and when you want certain levels of experienced staff.

For an hourly employee, a dependable schedule can mean coming in at different times each day, so long as those hours are mostly guaranteed, known in advance, and the same from week to week. That means if an employee works the morning shift on Mondays, they do so every Monday. That also means, as the manager, you do your best to keep people on for their full shifts and you get the shift schedule done weeks, not days, in advance.

This process doesn’t have to be totally on you. Get your employees to give input. A student worker, for example, may have afternoon classes on Mondays and Wednesday, so she’ll request to work in the mornings on those days.

A waitress who works the busy closing shift on Friday night may not be at her best on Saturday morning for the breakfast rush. A mom who drops her kids off at school may want to start thirty minutes earlier so she doesn’t have to sit in her car and wait for her shift to start.

Take Aways

A dependable schedule is a huge benefit to both employees and businesses alike. Employees can live their lives with a sense of stability and predictability that will spill over into their engagement and performance at work.

Businesses can save time and money by keeping a dependable schedule template that leads increased employee retention and more managerial interaction with customers and staff. Happy, productive employees are the backbone of any business.

Dependable shift scheduling is one way to give the people who are crucial to your business a chance at better work-life balance.

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