Calculating work shifts may be one of the hardest things a manager has to do because so many variables have to be taken into consideration. How many employees you need to work, which employees are best capable of handling a certain shift, and costs are all variables that need to be taken into consideration among other concerns. The only way to make calculating work shifts manageable is by being organized and planning ahead.
Determine what your main priority is before you construct your work schedule. For example, you may be in a situation where you need to rework the schedule to have your best employees work at the busiest operational hours due to complaints. Maybe the employee payroll is too high and you need to cut hours. Think about what you want before you start formulating a schedule.
Determine which employees, supervisors and managers will work best together according to the end results you are looking for. In nearly all situations, you'll want to place your best employees during the busiest shifts and your least productive employees during the slowest shifts. This will hopefully foster a culture of competition among the employees as well since they'll be competing for the best shifts through performance.
Build a preliminary spreadsheet on your computer with the variables you have taken into consideration. The design of this spreadsheet doesn't matter as long as you can accurately tell who is working and how long his shift is going to be. Create this spreadsheet for a two-week period.
Analyze the preliminary spreadsheet once you have completed it. Look at how many overlapping hours there are and try to move shifts around so you don't have too many employees, supervisors and managers working at the same time.
Make sure you always have a supervisor or manager present during all shifts. Once you are satisfied with your work shift spreadsheet, save it on your computer and use it for all your employees to follow.
David Montoya is an attorney who graduated from the UCLA School of Law. He also holds a Master of Arts in American Indian studies. Montoya's writings often cover legal topics such as contract law, estate law, family law and business.