When you start up a business for the first time or you become the manager of a team in the workplace, one of the things you will need to learn how to do is manage the time of your employees. Every team needs to have a working schedule and projects to work towards each week, and you will be the person who needs to provide this service to your employees. If you are new to this and you aren’t sure what to do, here are some easy steps to get you started.

1. Identify people who take advantage

If you are going to create a great schedule which works for everyone in the office, you will first need to spend some time without a schedule to assess how people behave on their own and how you can possibly improve the way that everyone works. For example, you might have employees who are great at organising their working day and they might write a to do list each morning as well as have their breaks at the same time each day to make their lives easier.

However there will always be workers who take advantage of no clear schedule and instead waste time each day on deciding what to work on and taking breaks at random times. When you start to see this behaviour, there are two possible options. First, you may need to add more structure to their days for them. Some people just aren’t great at managing their time.

Second, you may need to teach them to manage their time. Not every employee will have a great foundation for their own productivity. Maybe their last boss was controlling so they’ve never had a chance to manage their schedule. A bit of teaching in this area can go a long way.

2. Hire for on-call positions

If your job role requires people to be on call for the phone or for something specific, you don’t want to be asking your employees to do this for you. When you pull your regular employees out and have them on-call, you have to pay them extra, and they also lost their free time which can impact their morale in the workplace. The best thing you can do is hire someone who will be your on-call employee and their job specifically will be to be there when you need them.

3. Know your business

If you are looking to create a successful working schedule for your employees, you first need to think about your business as a whole and think about what you can do to make it run more effectively. Write down the different departments of the business and make sure you understand how everything flows.

This is when you will be able to start setting deadlines and tasks to people in the workplace as you will be able to see how work will flow from person to person. You can have a buyer finalise a deal on Monday, logistics to order delivery on Tuesday, the marketing team start to create their materials for it on Wednesday, sales to start advertising on Thursday, and the warehouse to send them out on Friday. As you work with your business flow, things become much easier.

4. Know your employees

The most important thing to remember when you are trying to make your workplace a happy place to work is the fact that every person who works for you is different. Some people smoke, some people don’t. Some have chronic illnesses and some don’t. Some have anxiety, others don’t.

Get to know the people behind the numbers and start to talk to them each month about how scheduling can be tailored to them and their style of working. Everyone has different qualities and works at a different pace so you need to ensure that you don’t generalise everyone together in one pot.

5. Communicate your schedule

When you do start to create a great schedule which you think you can stick to,you need to find the best way to share it with your employees and make sure that everyone is able to access what they need to access. You can use an app such as Sling to make this easier and it I’ll ensure that everyone is able to see their schedule and mark jobs off when they are completed.

6. Allow changes to be made

Sometimes you might come up with a schedule which you think is great, but then something will happen during the working week and your employees are no longer able to attend that meeting or meet that deadline. Work can get in the way of your schedule and it is important that your employees are able to access their information and change it to suit their needs. Being able to shuffle things around will allow people to work in a way which suits them and this can increase productivity.

7. Extra shifts

If you are looking to grow and expand your business, you will need to be in a position where you get more things done each working week and you are more productive as a business. To be able to do this you might want to think about asking some of your employees if they want to work extra shifts for you. You can work this into a schedule and this will allow your employees to earn extra money, and for you to get more work done during the week.

It’s important to remember that extra shifts have diminishing utility though. In Great at Work, Morten Hansen says that you can work up to 60 hours.

If you work between 30 and 50 hours per week, adding more hours on the job lifts your performance. But once you’re working between 50 and 65 hours per week, the benefit of adding additional hours drops off. And if you’re working 65 hours or more, overall performance declines as you pile on the hours. – Great at Work

But some studies even say that is high. In a recent Guardian article, Peter Fleming, cites a study that says anything over 39 hours is where you start loosing productivity.

However much you allow extra shifts, remember that at a certain point you’re only spending the productivity of your employees in the future. You’re not getting ahead.

8. Make access easy

One of the things you will want to be aware of when you create a schedule is the accessibility. If your employees are only able to access the schedule on their computer, they will not be able to see what they need to do when they are commuting to work or when they are out of the office for a meeting. To make things easier, make sure that there is access to the schedule on all devices and this will allow your employees to stay on track and know what they need to be doing each and every day.

9. Make it flexible

Remember to be flexible for your employees and their needs. Some workers might have children they need to pick up from school, some might be restricted on working hours and some might need to visit the hospital each month for medical reasons. Make sure you make a schedule pretty flexible to suit everyone’s needs and this will increase your productivity as well as your ability to have a happy team.

Photo by: nickdm

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