Shift work calendars

We all have preferred ways of working but you need to work out what suits the business too

First published on Thursday, Jun 04, 2020

Last updated on Friday, Mar 15, 2024

The right rota calendar brings calm to the chaos of organising your daily operations.

Matching business needs with your employees’ preferred ways of working is a balancing act. But you can bridge this gap by planning in advance.

And we’re here to talk you through how that’ll work for your business.

Getting started with a shift planner calendar

Once you’re setup with this technology, you’re able to:

  • Match workloads to staff.
  • Help manage staff costs.
  • Visible/accurate to help with flexibility and employee retention.
  • Keep employees happy and informed.
  • Help you comply with legal requirements.

Here’s how to cover the areas above when using your shift work calendar maker:

  • Measure your work volume by hours, days or seasons to collect information about busy periods.
  • Use the information you’ve gathered to decide shift lengths and allocate staff cover.
  • Develop a work pattern that’s within The Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR).

The different types of shift rota calendars

You can choose from a variety of tools when using a work rota calendar to manage employee schedules:

  • Pen and paper: This traditional approach is about simplicity. All that’s needed is a physical diary and a pen or a pencil.
  • Whiteboard: Another old school way of producing employee shift templates is to use a whiteboard, markers, and erasers. Manual updates are time-consuming and can cause confusion, especially when managing erratic employee shifts. They can also cause headaches when carrying out everyday tasks such as allocating overtime and managing split shifts.
  • Spreadsheets: Excel templates are still a step up over manual calendars, but there are drawbacks. You’ll need to allocate plenty of admin time to manage your employee schedule using it. To make it even more complex, there are often dramatic formulas you need to know to get everything right. Not everyone is an expert when it comes to vlookups, conditional formatting, or any of the other fancy functions Excel has. It’s easy to make mistakes and these can disrupt your shifts.

The last is shift rota planner software. It forms part of shift scheduling software reduces the time spent on making updates.

Every part of managing staff rotas, including absence management is simpler because:

  • Flags up scheduling issues automatically.
  • Employees receive notification about changes in real-time.
  • Your business has the right amount of cover, at the right time.

There can be a short learning curve when using employee calendar software.

But, if you choose a software provider like BrightHR, you’ll often have assistance from the software provider to get up and running.

How your shift rota calendar helps you meet legal requirements

Whether it’s faulty formulae or manual data input that causes blunders in shift planning, your business could receive improvement, prohibition notices, or a fine of up to £5,000. All for breaking the WTR.

Calendar shift planner software often has automatic notifications, to help you remain on the right side of the law.

The alerts may arrive, for example, when your employees are nearing the WTR work limit of an average of:

  • 48 hours per week (unless they’ve opted-out).
  • Eight hours during 24 hours, for night workers.

Employees 24 and under can claim the National Minimum Wage. Those over 25 get the National Living Wage.

Shift planning calendar software often triggers a birthday notification when an employee can claim a change in pay rates.

HMRC issues fines and can highlight businesses who fail to pay staff correctly.

Joined-up calendar shift planners

Managing shifts with rota planning software helps you make informed decisions without the inconvenience of shuffling paper or ‘jumping’ between different systems.

Using a suitable work shift calendar won’t only help your business stay afloat, but will also keep it out of legal hot water.

Learn more about using a shift calendar maker with shift planning software.

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