Scheduling problems and how to solve them

No matter the industry, staff scheduling problems are something every manager who relies on shift workers can relate to. Whether you work in retail, ..

No matter the industry, staff scheduling problems are something every manager who relies on shift workers can relate to.

Whether you work in retail, healthcare, facility management, or hospitality, there are few things that cause so many headaches for so many managers.

Maintaining a functional, flexible and fair schedule that keeps everyone happy is a full time job in itself. More often than not, a staff manager will find themselves buried under piles of spreadsheets, timetables, calendars and requests for time off.

It can take days, and sometimes weeks, to develop a good schedule. So when a scheduling error is made, or a last minute change comes into play, it can be incredibly frustrating as managers are forced to return to the drawing board or scramble at the last minute to find cover for a shift.

But employee scheduling doesn’t need to be so complicated. In fact, the solution to most scheduling problems can be found in modern, mobile-first workforce management software.

You can create perfect schedules and ensure optimal business performance with accurate data and with automated checks against forecasts, skills, educations, working time directives and employee contracts

And, with a dedicated WFM app, you and your employees have complete control and communication becomes a breeze. From seeing when they are working next through to switching shifts, your employees can control their work lives through the app which leads to better engagement and productivity. 

Here are some of the most common scheduling problems that a scheduling tool can help with.


The nature of shift work is volatile. Employees will come and go, each of them bringing a new shift schedule and a list of days when they can and cannot work. Some workers like day shifts, others nightshifts. Some prefer weekend shifts, whilst others prefer weekdays. Juggling staff and their shifts can easily become one of the most time consuming tasks a business has to deal with. Find out more about how to improve employee engagement and retention here.


Empower your employees by enabling them to manage their schedules – even when on the go. With a mobile-first solution, your managers can update & create schedules, and handle absences – anywhere, anytime. While your employees can easily claim open shifts, switch shifts, and update their availability.


The rules and regulations regarding labor laws are constantly changing. With modern workforce management solutions, you can skip the headaches and make sure you stay compliant. Add your specific rules and labor laws to your WFM system, and you will automatically stay compliant.


Demand forecasting is key to a good schedule. For example, in food delivery logistics, being able to accurately say what you expect in terms of orders received, where they come from, what size they are, and where they are going will enable you to create a much smarter and effective schedule. 

With the help of AI in your WFM tool, you can leverage recent actuals to see what’s going to happen next and then schedule for this demand accordingly.


Typically, the businesses we work with want to optimize in three key areas - happiness, performance and cost.  

You can choose where you want to optimize and choose what areas to focus on in direct relation to your KPIs. What you can’t do (yet) is optimize for all areas, all the time. Although we would argue that when optimizing your schedules for employee happiness, you’ll in effect also be optimising for performance and cost.

Too often, employee happiness is viewed as a ‘nice to have’ rather than a necessity. We’d argue this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you can optimize for costs but let’s say, in doing so, your schedules aren’t fair on employees, fail to consider a work life balance, are frequently changed at the last minute, and ignore working time directives.

Scheduling in this way is a sure-fire way to crush staff morale. As a result, not only does happiness and employee engagement plummet, performance suffers too. You might be saving on cost but your employee and customer satisfaction will suffer as a result.

If we flip this around, and you optimize for employee happiness, all of a sudden you’re in a position to reap the benefits happy employees bring.

Solving these most common scheduling problems - which ring true across all industry - will give a happier workforce and a more successful business.

Discover to unleash your workforce and solve your scheduling problems with AI-powered, data-driven workforce management.

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