5 min read
Mar 04, 2016
Workforce Management

What Is Smart Scheduling and Why Is It Important for Your Business?

Smart scheduling apps are redefining the way companies organize hourly shifts, cutting out the arduous process of using Excel for manual scheduling.

Samuel ScottContent Analyst

Trying to organize hourly workers when you have hundreds of employees, numerous locations and countless variables to control can leave you tearing your hair out. Many scheduling processes are created through lackluster and inefficient tools such as Excel, whiteboards or simple pen and paper, which only adds to this headache.

Cloud-based solutions are attempting to fix these problems by redefining the organization of hourly shifts through smart scheduling, thus cutting out the arduous process of manual scheduling, maximizing employee satisfaction, and responding to the demands of your industry.

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What is smart scheduling?

Smart scheduling software such as Workplace Systems is built specifically for the retail, hospitality and transport sectors, which rely on hourly workers to function efficiently and meet the demand of consumers.

One of the main advantages of this software is that it allows businesses to input events that might change consumer demand, and throw your scheduling into chaos, such as seasonal holidays, festivals, or football games. It also automatically implements processes that respond to changes in the weather, certain times of the day and specific seasons.

These processes give businesses the foresight to recognize customer demands and respond accordingly, making sure extra employees are scheduled when necessary and the workforce is not overflowing when customer traction is minimal. This helps to avoid unnecessary costs incurred to the employer from employees who have no work to do, and helps to boost employee satisfaction as they should always have a role to play.

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What are the benefits?

Smart scheduling software allows employers to record data on the ways their employees work, and their most optimal role within a team environment. This can help build stronger teams when necessary and enables employers to recognize what specific attributes are lacking in their workforce.

These cloud-based apps also enhance visibility for the employer by providing an on-the-go solution that is built in the cloud and can be updated in real-time with the option to receive notification alerts when changes happen. This added visibility is invaluable for employers who need to be aware of the status of all their employees.

Through having accessible and interactive schedules which can be created 16 weeks in advance, confusion and disorganization caused by the standard manual methods is avoided. These standard ways of scheduling can, therefore, be seen as redundant in comparison to smart scheduling due to the speed and responsiveness it gives to employers.

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What’s in it for employees?

Smart scheduling also gives employees an easy way to organize and view their working schedules by using mobile applications, which provide an interactive and accessible way to view changes to their schedule. Through these apps, employees can set their preferences on working availability, choosing their most optimal times of work, as well as view schedules, receive notifications of changes, send alerts, offer and accept additional shifts, and even request time off.

This gives employers greater insight into how their employees work and, by giving employees the freedom to manage their schedule through interactive applications, it boosts job satisfaction by engaging them in the process of allocation.

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What are the drawbacks?

While smart scheduling may software can bring huge benefits, the main concern for those in the retail, hospitality, and transport sectors is the effect of incorporating a new piece of technology into an already established working environment. How long will it take to implement, will staff need a lot of training, how much will it cost, when will I see return on my investment - these are all common questions when choosing a new piece of software.

This is where SaaS software comes it, as it is deployed over the internet and involves no big capital expenditure or roll out of servers. You pay a subscription based on the number of employees using the service, helping to make the cost of the service proportionate to the size of your business, as well as more predictable.

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How will this technology develop?

In the future, smart scheduling software will become easier to use and adopt based on the proficiency of app developers and their support teams. Because smart scheduling is still a relatively new concept, the knowledge and expertise of these individuals will only improve as they gather more information on working conditions and workforce dynamics.

This blog post was created in collaboration with smart scheduling provider Workplace Systems.

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