How to Do Shift Planning -1

Thu, Mar 16 2023 | People Management How to Do Shift Planning (+ Best Shift Planning Software)

Need help with shift planning? Learn how to plan work schedules that make your employees happy and keep your operations running smoothly.

Shift work planning is an essential part of any business or organization that operates outside the traditional 9-5 workday.

It’s for the shift workers, the deskless employees, who work in hospitals, hospitality, retail, and restaurants.

It's crucial to have a well-thought-out scheduling system to make sure your employees’ work schedule jives with their life.

If they love their schedules, everybody wins.

You can use shift work planning to minimize absenteeism, boost productivity, and keep employees happy and healthy.

Plus, a solid shift work plan can help cut costs associated with overtime, training, and staff turnover.

And it’s not rocket science.

It just takes a little planning and implementation to create a shift plan that’ll keep your operation running smoothly. Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Shift Planning?

Shift planning is used in industries that rely on shift work — think healthcare, construction, or security.

It simply means you’re scheduling out your employees to cover the work that needs to be done in a way that optimizes your workforce.

Business owners or managers are usually the ones who handle shift planning and schedule creation.

Planning work schedules is an important part of your job. Especially today, when flexibility has become a top priority for employees.

40% of deskless workers (mostly shift workers) say they’d rather have a flexible schedule than a pay raise, and 30% say they’ve left a job due to a lack of notice in scheduling changes.

Scheduling statistics

6 Traits of Poor Shift Schedule Planning

Poor shift planning impacts your business and your employees. Without proper planning, scheduling can be chaotic and leave you with last-minute unfilled shifts.

Have you noticed any of these problems at work? You’re not alone, the stats speak for themselves.

  1. Low Employee Satisfaction — Only 17.1% of in-office employees are satisfied with their work-life balance,
  2. Mental & Physical Health Issues — According to the Mental Health Foundation, 14.7% of employees struggle with mental health problems related to work. Women in full-time positions are twice as likely to be plagued with mental health issues.
  3. Absenteeism — More call-outs. An international survey by SHRM indicates that productivity loss in the U.S. is 36.6% for unplanned absences.
  4. Excessive Overtime50% of all nurses will work more weekly hours than they sign up for.
  5. Unhappy Customers/Patients91% of customers are willing to switch companies after one bad customer service experience.
  6. High Staff Turnover174% more turnover occurs due to errors from manual schedule creation

The key to avoiding (or banishing) the problems above is to create a stellar shift plan. If you use scheduling software, you can create a shift plan and not break a sweat.

How To Create A Shift Plan

Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000 percent return on energy!” ― Brian Tracy, author and motivational speaker

Creating a shift plan may feel like 1 more thing on the mound of overwhelming responsibilities with your name on them.

We feel your pain.

Try to think of shift planning as a way to save time in the long run by creating an accurate work schedule that won’t need a ton of revisions.

These steps will help you create a staff schedule that covers your shifts, and your employees will love (because you involved them).

Step #1. Review Your Labor Data

When it comes to creating a shift work plan, it's essential to look at labor data to make the best decisions.

This data will help you decide on the number of employees needed per shift, the length of shifts, and when breaks should happen.

Plus, make note of any laws or regulations that you need to follow.

Taking time to review labor data can make sure that your shift plan covers the needs of your staff and your operation.

Step # 2. Communicate With Your Employees

During your planning process, it's important to keep your team in the loop.

This is the opportunity to ask about employee availability and any shift preferences they have.

Be sure to let them know why you're making any changes and how it’ll affect their hours and pay.

If possible, get their input on your shift plan, make sure they understand the details, and have a chance to ask questions. Answer their questions and keep an open dialogue.

Good communication can go a long way to making sure everyone is on the same page.

Step # 3. Create Your Shift Plan

Now’s the time to create your shift plan. You’ve gathered data and talked to your employees.

Here’s how to kick off your planning:

  1. Calculate how many shifts you have per week.
  2. Determine the number of staff needed to fill each shift.
  3. Check the availability of staff, their skill set, and their shift preferences.
  4. Assign employees to each shift or work rotation.
  5. Create a plan for covering any unexpected absences.
  6. Double-check that your shift plan adheres to laws & regulations.
  7. Share the shift plan with all employees.
  8. Track and adjust the plan to meet the needs of your staff and your business.

Step # 4. Use Shift Planning Software

Enlist cutting-edge technology to make shift planning quick and easy. You’ll free up time for managing your team and give your staff more flexibility in accessing their schedules.

Utilize cloud-based scheduling software to organize and manage staff scheduling and make shift planning easy.

Wonder if your employees are down with more tech?

70% of the deskless workforce wants more technology and believes it would help them do their jobs better

Research from Emergence shows 70% of the desk-less (healthcare, hospitality, retail, construction…etc.) workforce wants more technology and believes it would help them do their jobs better.

Simplify Shift Scheduling with Shift Planning Software

MakeShift’s very own story begins with our founder’s wife, a nurse, and her frustration with the scheduling process.

She couldn’t access her schedule on her phone and was regularly scheduled for shifts that didn’t work in her life.

Poor scheduling and shift planning were taking a toll on her.

MakeShift was developed to fix the brokenness of shift work scheduling. Our features were designed from a people-first approach to make scheduling and shift planning smarter and more intuitive.

MakeShift features that support schedule planning:

  • Cloud-based and available anywhere — A schedule in your pocket

Cloud-based and available anywhere

  • Schedule based on employee availability — Employees can set their availability & submit time-off requests

Set and manage their availability

  • Broadcast available shifts to your team — fill schedule gaps with the click of a button.

Broadcast available shifts to your team

  • Manage on the go with MakeShift Live — Always know who’s working, who’s late, who’s available, and make quick approvals.

Manage on the go with MakeShift Live

  • Team Communication — Send out announcements and broadcast available shifts to your team.

Team Communication

Benefits of Using MakeShift Scheduling For Shift Planning

MakeShift's automated scheduling features make it easy to create and manage shift plans.

Ditch manual scheduling and shift planning in favor of our cutting-edge solution that offers these benefits:

  • Increased employee engagement — More say in scheduling boosts employee engagement.
  • Increased productivity — Focus on managing your team, not the schedule
  • Less time creating schedules — Shift planning takes 50% less time
  • Quickly fill last-minute schedule gaps — Cover a shift 80% faster
  • On-the-go management — Manage the schedule from anywhere

Shift Planning Doesn’t Have To Be A Drag

In the good old days, shift planning and scheduling was a chore. Not to mention a drain on your time and your energy.

Those days are gone.

Planning work schedules doesn’t have to be a drag. Let MakeShift automate your scheduling — giving you and your employees back valuable time.

Check out our free demo today.

Ready to Make the Shift?



Asher Fredricks

Written By: Asher Fredricks

Asher has been helping businesses improve their staff scheduling and human capital management systems for over 4 years. Before setting out to improve HR departments with people-first initiatives and technologies, he earned his MBA in Business Management.