By Smith Willas
The global transition towards digital systems has fundamentally altered the way we work, including managing your staff. With that said, many businesses still rely in part on paper-based systems, physically distributing invoices, work orders, certificates, reports, and shift schedules. The maintenance of such systems is inefficient and environmentally wasteful. It’s also out of place in a world that is rapidly transitioning to digital, contactless systems for monetary and hygienic purposes.
Although the digital revolution will eventually render paper-based systems obsolete, there are serious advantages to embracing holistic digital solutions before your competitors. This can mean building out your digital environment internally in terms of work processes, but also moving your products and services online if you haven’t already done so. One area that can be digitized quickly and cheaply is staff rostering. Whatever your industry, making rostering more of a flexible and collaborative process is a no-brainer. Implementing Deputy rostering software for your team should be high on your agenda – and here are a few reasons why.
Managing staff rostering electronically entails significant cost savings in terms of paper, folders, office space, printer maintenance, ink and the time that would otherwise be spent on rostering by a salaried line manager. What’s more, implementing an e-rostering solution will give you a better understanding of how wage costs compare with sales figures, enabling you to streamline your workforce.
With e-rosters, organizations can plan and build rosters quickly and efficiently, and even take advantage of auto-scheduling to simplify the process further. There is no risk of a document going missing or a line manager forgetting that a key employee is off on annual leave: the system highlights shortages and employers act accordingly to plug the gaps.
With a digital system in place, employers can see, at a glance, who is scheduled to work on what day; their rate of pay; their department; their tasks; even the time of day allocated to meals, rest breaks and meetings. Digital rostering systems can also calculate employee overtime and set limits on how many hours an employee can work within a certain time-frame, ensuring companies meet their compliance obligations.
Accessibility, Convenience, and Flexibility
Because most e-rostering systems can be accessed by managers and staff, both employers and employees enjoy a great deal of flexibility. While employers can roster staffers according to their skills, location, and availability, employees can view rotas at their convenience and pick up shifts as needed, clocking on and off directly from their smartphone. The productivity levels of employees empowered by this collaborative process are likely to increase into the bargain.
With e-rostering systems, data is updated in real-time, meaning staff shortages can be addressed quickly without having to reach for the phonebook and call potential cover. E-rostering systems also let employees swap shifts with eligible team members at their leisure, or request time off without having to go directly to their line manager. The manager, in turn, can assess leave requests on a case-by-case basis, determining whether shortages can be covered by other eligible team members.
Incidentally, most staff scheduling applications can be connected with other integrations such as those for payroll, point of sale and HR, meaning staff can be rostered to match sales forecasts and wage budgets. Common integrations include payroll program Sage and PoS platform Kounta.
Few employers will waste much time worrying about a staff roster falling into the wrong hands. But such an occurrence could pose a systemic security risk. For example, if you operate a cash-only business and there are less staff members working on a particular day of the week, circulating a paper rota could trigger a serious liability. With e-rostering systems, only approved users can access and amend a work schedule.
Ease of Shift Swaps
Having a facility for employees to swap shifts can be advantageous, enabling team members to easily and quickly plug gaps without the need for centralized input. Rather than team members coming to such an arrangement privately, and then seeking approval in person from a line manager, the implementation of staff scheduling software makes this process far easier. Shifts can be swapped using the e-rostering platform, with the manager then able to see who has opted out and who has opted in. If the swap is not like-for-like, it can be denied on the system with employees notified in real-time. The key thing to remember is that no parties are left in the dark as to who is working and when.
Incidentally, a shift-swap agreement between employees does not have to be confirmed in advance: if a team member cannot work for whatever reason, they can in essence “drop” the shift, with the hours then highlighted on the staff roster: at this stage, other employees looking for overtime can pick up the shift or the manager can cover the shortfall by assigning it to an appropriate colleague. Such flexibility is not possible with legacy rostering systems, with a dropped shift triggering a round of frantic phone calls and entailing a considerable administrative burden.
As the global transition towards paperless, contactless processes continues, the time is ripe to board the digital bandwagon and streamline your staff scheduling.
Smith Willas is a freelance writer, blogger, and digital media journalist. He has a management degree in Supply Chain & Operations Management and Marketing and boasts a wide-ranging background in digital media.