Moving from manual to online rostering

February 8, 2013 Aulay Macaulay No Comments

Every online rostering system provider (including ours!) works hard to spell out every benefit under the sun of a web based system, but often we fail to mention what you will miss. We thought this blog post would be a good way to help prepare you for the things you will have to say goodbye to:

Pen, paper and whiteout…and maybe printer ink

Traditionalists might argue that you can’t physically touch an online roster: something you draft up or print out just feels more real and concrete. In actuality, it may not be. Rosters are almost always dynamic things, and unless staff are constantly checking the piece of paper on the break room wall, or unless you are constantly reminding them to in light of changes (both time wasters), there are always going to be those confusions where staff are turning up when not needed, or not turning up when needed. If you have a fast-paced and flexible workplace like many of our clients, constantly adjusting the same piece of paper (where you use pencil and can correct things) just looks messy.

When you can cleanly correct shifts with clicks and keystrokes, and message changes instantly to staff and managers, you may begin to wonder how you ever rostered beforehand. If you really want that piece of paper, you can export and print rosters from the sysem…but after a while you may even give up this habit. You’d be surprised.

Comparing pieces of paper or clicking between excel spreadsheets

When you change hours on your roster, you have to scribble or type in the changes on your budget. Because you want to distribute hours fairly amongst your casuals, you have to check last week’s roster to see if Tom worked more hours than Harry, and give Harry his due this time. Shelley works between your store and another location under your business, so you have to check she isn’t rostered on there for shifts you allocate her here. Sure, its hands on, but is this use of your time really efficient?

When all rostering information is virtual, all these problems are immediately visible and recognisable to you, on the one screen and in the one system. It just saves time, lowers costs, and makes confusion a whole lot less likely.

Calling your staff

Do you like calling around when you have a spare shift, or worse, when an employee pulls out of one? Do your employees like receiving these calls? Not only is this practice intrusive, it’s inefficient: usually you will have to call at least five of your staff before someone accepts. And what happens when a less effective staff member accepts when a more skilled one would have said yes?

You can avoid these pitfalls swiftly and discreetly with a group SMS or email message. And if more than one person is available to cover, you can choose who you know will be the best fit.

A rainbow of highlighters, post it notes and sticky tape; other roster art

Many new users think web based rostering can be austere, with not much option for customisation in the form of colouring different shifts. In the long run this eliminates distraction, and saves colour changes and alerts for when things truly need your attention. If you really can’t give up the highlighter, you can always print the roster out and go crazy in your own time.

Scribbling out memos and reminders for later

Initial setup may look a little daunting to first-time users, but investing a little time now can reap hours of time saved in the future. Once all the correct information is in the system, you will never have to copy it out again, and the system will be able to crunch the data in seconds as opposed to minutes you would spend cross- and double-checking.

When business processes change, online rostering forces you to log on and change your settings to reflect them. This makes you act now rather than leaving the task to pop up later and cause even greater inconvenience. Taking the initiative now is a healthy habit!

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