The type of schedule used, is dictated by the nature and the needs of the business it serves:
- Full-time Schedules: used when staff work on a full time basis and the business is operational 7 days per week. Award rules which govern the limit to how many consecutive days that are allowed to be worked and the number of hours that may be worked a week, must be considered when scheduling staff to fully cover the business opening hours.
- Part-time and Casual Schedules: used to boost staff levels when trade levels dictate the need.
- Duty Schedules and Cyclic Schedules: duty schedules are used to alternate various jobs for staff (this avoids repetitious work and shares duties that are considered more or less pleasant to perform, amongst staff). Cyclic schedules alternate desirable and undesirable time slots within a 24hour day.
The hours that staff are required to work are usually designated in a SHIFT SCHEDULE. Shifts are often about 8 hours in length. A STAGGERD SCHEDULE is used where start times and/or shift length, and/or amount of staff on duty, vary more widely to accommodate the volume of business. SPLIT SCHEDULEs are used when staff work two separate periods in a shift with a long break in between (for example in a gym where the maximum amount of business is done before and after normal working hours). These shifts can be unpopular with staff.
Many businesses will incorporate the use of all of these schedule types, as different systems suit different parts of the operation.
Considerations which influence the choice of schedule type include:
- Opening and operational hours, and fluctuation in the volume of business;
- Operational procedures, policies and Industry Awards;
- Staff availability, skill levels and ratio of full-time to part-time and casual staff.
Here is an example of a busy hotel that will use different types of scheduling for different purposes within its workforce:
- Shift schedules for administration and reception staff.
- Duty schedules for security staff, grounds staff, housekeeping and trainees.
- Staggered schedules are used for staff working in the restaurant and bar.
- Split-shift schedules used when scheduling workers in the kitchen.
- Cyclic scheduling for kitchen and housekeeping staff.
By implementing the organisational benefits from all of these different types of scheduling, the manager has:
- Increased operational efficiency,
- Minimised wage costs,
- Maintained customer service,
- Complied with award conditions and
- Allowed staff to vary their work and have some weekends off.
Some businesses take into consideration their employee’s work time preferences, before planning and writing up the next schedule. These preferences can be nominated by the employee on their previous time-sheet. Using this procedure is an individual company decision and can help to maintain staff moral; but can also cause grievances as it is difficult to please everyone all of the time.