Team schedules can be challenging to manage, especially if you need to coordinate team members’ activities or put meetings in calendars and it’s not clear who is available and who isn’t. It gets even more complicated when you don’t know where someone is and if they are travelling or in situ.
There may be unexpected issues that arise that are unpredictable such as interruptions and varying schedules to consider when optimising schedules for teams.
Planning schedules efficiently is beneficial for businesses as it can reduce payroll costs as the right staff numbers can be allocated to specific days and time of days - and less time can be spent on organising schedules if it is done in advance. Calendar schedules can be communicated with staff and scheduling challenges may be able to be overcome in advance.
Here are our five quick wins for optimising schedules for teams.
1. Consider Business Process Management to plan schedules
Business Process Management is “a way of looking at and then controlling the processes that are present in an organization. It is an effective methodology to use in times of crisis to make certain that the processes are efficient and effective, as this will result in a better and more cost efficient organization.
The term business process management covers how we study, identify, change, and monitor business processes to ensure they run smoothly and can be improved over time.” (Aiim)
If you’re using shift patterns, “shift schedules define who is doing the work and when that work is happening. BPM supplements this, by managing how that work is done and how it can be optimized.” (Process.st)
2. Automate scheduling where possible
Remove repetitive human interaction from your scheduling activities to free up time and reduce the costs associated with every booking.
Emma.ai can help teams coordinate their activities. In particular, going out to visit customers and blocking out the specific travel time of when someone is not available and adding buffer time in to ensure that colleagues are always on time to customer visits. Emma can help automate some aspects of scheduling such as Meeting Pages where colleagues can set their meeting time and location preferences and customer visits can be scheduled through this and go directly into their calendar.
Emma for Teams enables team leads to have an overview of team calendars to help coordinate who is doing what, and when. Emma can highlight where there are diary clashes to help with scheduling optimisation.
3. Get to know your team members
Getting to know your team members is a tip that Sling has for managing teams, in particular having the right mix of skills and personality types working together at one time. Ask them more about what they want from their role and how they prefer to work to see if you can work with them on creating an optimised schedule that they are happy with. Fairer distribution of certain shifts may come from these discussions if that is a potential issue.
4. Help your team be on time
Nearly 25% of field representatives don’t make their appointments on time, which can cause revenue loss and reduce customer satisfaction.
Emma can show accurate travel time to ensure that field representatives are less likely to be late due to travel interruptions and delays. These travel times are put around events automatically and can help block out time as to when someone is unavailable.
5. Use data and predictive analytics
Having some element of predictability is useful for scheduling as you’re trying to forecast resources required and when to meet demand. Connecteam highlights the different ways that predictive analytics can be used here.
There you have it, our five quick wins for optimising schedules. The key takeaways are having more information, perhaps through predictive analytics or speaking to colleagues as well as having more visibility on who is doing what, when and where at one time. Emma.ai can help with most of these to improving optimising team scheduling by assisting team leads in understanding when people may be travelling, when and where team members prefer to make client visits and also have an overview of team whereabouts.