When business owners don’t manage employee hours efficiently, they see the impact. People forget to show up to work. Employees get frustrated they can’t request time off. Employee morale drops, and workers quit.
Effectively managing your employee’s hours is essential to the long-term success of your business. It ensures that the framework for human resources is solid, with people effectively stepping in to do their jobs every day.
To make it easy for you, I've identified three free ways to better manage employee hours. These ideas will strengthen your management approach while giving your team greater flexibility and transparency:
No. 1 – An Email Address for Shift Requests
When employees aren’t clear about whom to email with shift requests, it can cause miscommunications.
Likewise, choosing one manager’s email address is equally difficult. Scheduling is a time-consuming, difficult job to allocate to one person. Plus, if that manager takes time off or needs to pass along the duty, requests can get lost in the shuffle.
You can work around these issues by creating a specific email address that solely serves as the inbox for scheduling. For example, if you run a coffee shop called, “Dave’s,” you could make the email address: email@example.com.
Using a Gmail account is free, and it also comes with a scheduling capability. To really boost your efficiency, create a calendar linked to the email address and give your employees access.
The scheduling manager can implement the requests of employees through the Gmail calendar. Meanwhile, workers can track any changes and availability on the calendar. Keeping every request in the same inbox means that it’s easy to search, creating accountability on both sides.
When a business owner needs to hand over the responsibility to another manager, the transition is seamless, too. Any manager can pick right up, and employees won’t even know that a change occurred.
No. 2 – Group Messaging
Group messaging is an effective way to manage employee hours for a small staff. A shared text message chain enables managers to respond to requests and keeps all the information in one place.
These text chains are also ideal when a staff member needs to trade a shift. By messaging everyone rather reaching out to people individually, workers increase the likelihood they’ll find someone who can pick up those hours.
So, this approach makes it easy when someone gets sick or can’t come to work – they can find coverage quickly.
If everyone on your team has a smartphone, you can take group messaging to the next level by communicating through WhatsApp. It doesn’t charge employees for sending or receiving text messages, instead using WI-FI and data to communicate.
Through the WhatsApp, managers can filter through and respond to requests, writing them into an online calendar or an excel sheet.
One additional advantage of using WhatsApp is that the shared messaging chain gives managers insight into shift swaps. Team leaders apart of that communication chain, and they won’t be surprised when a different person shows up for a shift.
No. 3 – Employee Scheduling Software
Free employee scheduling software includes the advantages of both a separate email for shift requests and group messaging. It provides one direct avenue for employees to make scheduling choices while enabling employees to communicate to each other about shift changes. By efficiently managing workers’ hours through a scheduling tool, you streamline your business’ processes and strengthen collaboration with employees.
These three free methods for managing employee hours enable you to empower their workers. By giving them a say and creating a clear dialogue, you set everyone up to do their job well.
Do you have any more creative ideas to add to this list?
Roger Demers is the Director of Channel Strategy for When I Work. He helps build out the partner channel with accountants, CPA’s and Consultants who recommend and implement software to their clients. Roger also focuses on building all franchise relationships – as well as larger enterprise sales opportunities.