How to Create an Employee Work Schedule (With Template)

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Creating an effective and clear employee schedule is an important skill. This article offers tips for better scheduling, a template for creating an organized schedule and some answers to frequently asked questions about scheduling..


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Why is scheduling important?

A consistent and thorough system for scheduling employees can help managers ensure smoother operations, better transitions at peak times and clearer oversight of payroll costs and resource management. Posting a schedule online or in a public part of the office can also help make employees accountable and clear on expectations.


Tips for scheduling employees

These tips can help you create a clear and effective employee schedule:

    • Be considerate: Get to know your team and which shifts they can work. Understand that even if your company requires extensive flexibility that employees will appreciate you doing your best to schedule employees with more than adequate time off between shifts.


    • Schedule to strengths: Build your shifts around your most reliable employees.


    • Communicate clearly: Ensure that schedules are posted in a physical or virtual location that’s convenient for employees.


  • Plan ahead: Scheduling well in advance helps your employees maintain work-life balance and it also helps you budget payroll.


How to create a template for scheduling employees

Managers can employ scheduling software programs, or create their own using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. These steps will help you create a spreadsheet for scheduling:

    1. Open your spreadsheet program and create a blank spreadsheet.


    1. Use column headings to define content for each column.
        1. Label column A: Employee name


        1. If you use an employee ID for payroll or other purposes, label column B: Employee ID


        1. Label the next columns according to the days of the week. Most schedules begin with Mondays, but if your payroll or workweek is structured differently, begin with the appropriate day.


    2. List employee names and IDs under respective column headings.


    1. Fill in the template. Ensure you use “a.m.” and “p.m” if your company operates multiple shifts.


  1. Use the appropriate method to distribute to employees: display visibly at your workplace, send to employees via email, or use your internal intranet. Make sure it is convenient and accessible.


Work schedule template

Use this template for your scheduling needs:
Work schedule template


Work schedule FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about work schedules:


What should I be careful of when scheduling?

These are some concerns to be aware of when scheduling. Avoid:

    • Double scheduling: Some employees perform different roles in different parts of an organization. It’s important that employees are not double-scheduled.


  • Scheduling too many or not enough employees: Too many employees will increase and waste payroll. If there is not enough coverage, productivity will slow. To avoid financial consequences, write and adjust schedules based on need.


What are some alternative work schedules?

Alternative work schedules (AWS) help companies improve employee engagement by offering flexibility. AWS can be designed around location and hours. Some examples of AWS include:

    • Remote work for all or part of the week


    • The ability to work hours chosen by the employee


  • Compressed work scheduling, for example, four 10-hour days per week


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