Working shifts is common in the service industry. The health effects of an improper shift schedule can add in to the misery.
Most employers divide their working hours into shifts and schedule employees accordingly. A proper shift schedule offers advantages to both employees and employers, especially if you rotate your shifts. You get your employees to have a better morale, leading to improved productivity.
Rotating shift schedule of your employees keeps them happy, helps them do more and makes room for a stellar customer service. In this post, we will go over the benefits of rotating shifts in your workplace and tell you how to do it like an expert.
First though, let’s share a few words to give you a clear picture of how rotating shifts work.
- How Does Rotating Shift Schedule Work?
- The Advantages of Rotating Shift Schedule of Employees
- How to Implement Rotational Shifts Effectively
- Final Thoughts: Take the Help of a Scheduling Solution
How Does Rotating Shift Schedule Work?
A rotating shift schedule is just the opposite of a fixed schedule. In rotating shifts, your employees switch between working on day shifts, evening shifts and night shifts.
Let’s say your business is open from 10 am to 12 am. Now you have made two shifts of seven hours- one starts from 10 am and ends at 5 pm, while the next begins at 5 pm and ends at 12 am.
Now, let’s assume you have two teams- team A working the first shift, and team B working the second shift. In a fixed schedule, team A keeps working the first shift for months unless you decide to make changes. In the same way, team B keeps attending the evening shift.
When you rotate your shifts, team A and team B switch their shifts after a few days or weeks. For instance, team A works the day shift this week while in the next week, it switches to the evening shift. Likewise, team B covers the evening shift in the first week and takes on the day shift in the second week.
As it turns out, rotating shift schedule can bring many benefits to you and your employees. Let’s explore them a bit!
The Advantages of Rotating Shift Schedule of Employees
1. Even Distribution of Talent and Expertise
You can evenly spread employee talent and experience across shifts by rotating your employee schedule. That means each shift will have the required talent and skills to serve the guests optimally.
For instance, you can make your top waiter work in the afternoon shift when most junior employees attend their shifts. That will give you someone with expertise who stays on the floor and provides quality customer service.
You can determine the skills and expertise you need for each shift and then create your shift schedule for the best results. For instance, if you know that most of your high-profile customers arrive at dinner time, you can schedule a waiter who is expert at small talk. They will be able to engage the guests better and push for additional orders.
2. Builds Employee Cohesiveness
You can foster teamwork and cohesion by rotating the shift schedule of your employees. For example, most employees don’t like to work the night shift and try to avoid it. So if you keep assigning the night shift to the same group of employees month after month, they are bound to become frustrated and even may quit the job.
Rotating the shifts allows everyone to take a turn at working the less-desirable night shift, while allowing them to work preferred shifts at other times. The process also shows that you are fair in your employee scheduling, and are not showing favoritism towards anyone.
Rotational shifts also leverage the work culture by allowing employees to interact with varied co-workers in different shifts. This helps your employees grow their peer group and informal network for support and a friendly work environment.
3. Facilitate Training and Development
Sometimes, rotating the shift schedules can help you accommodate the training needs of your employees. For example, you can change the shifts of junior employees to match those of experienced ones, so that they can learn a thing or two by watching them work.
You can also rotate the shifts so that your employees can work and interact with different managers who work during a typical day. By working different shifts, employees will also get exposure to different types of customers and learn to serve them better.
Ultimately, you can have a pool of employees who are capable of taking on any shift and increasing productivity.
4. Developing Skills and Experience
Let’s say you follow a fixed shift schedule where a particular group of employees always take the busy hours while another group handles the leisure hours. Now, if you suddenly shift the first group of employees to handle busy hours, they are more likely to mess up!
Rotating the shift allows your employees to get the hang of the ebb and flow of your business. They can learn the skills and develop experience by working busy shifts occasionally. In the end, all your employees will have the required skills and experience to handle even the most of your busy times.
You can create a shift schedule for your busy hours where one or two junior employees work with other experienced staff. This will maintain the standard of service and also give an opportunity for junior employees to learn.
5. Provide Time Off to Your Employees
Fixed shift schedules don’t give your employees the flexibility to plan their obligations or activities. They may have to take a day off just to meet their kid’s teacher at school or attend a family event. When you adopt rotating shifts, your employees have the chance to accommodate their off-time around their shifts. That means your employees can attend work and also their appointments- creating a ‘win-win’ situation for both you and your employee!
Rotational shifts are also a great way to get your employees used to working at different hours during the day. When someone takes off, you can easily find a replacement from a pool of employees who are ready and willing to earn a few extra bucks.
6. Enables Your Employees to Earn Equal Tips
Restaurant employees like servers and waiters make a big part of their earnings out of tips. Now, not all shifts will bring in the same amount of tips. For instance, you may get a higher footfall during lunch while dinner time may attract fewer customers- or vice versa. That means employees working in one shift will always pocket more tips than those covering off-peak hours.
By implementing a rotational shift schedule, you can give equal opportunity to all employees to earn the same amount of tips. You can, say, have team A cover the busy lunch hours in week 1, while team 2 takes over the next week. Such an arrangement will allow all employees to work both high-dollar and low-dollar shifts regularly in a cycle.
In the next section, we will go over the considerations of implementing an effective rotating shift work schedule.
How to Implement Rotational Shifts Effectively
1. Work Out Your Shift Hours
The first thing you need to do is to determine the length of your shifts. For example, the first shift can start at 10 am and get over at 5 pm. The next shift can begin at 5 and end at midnight. If you are open 24/7, then you will also need your employees to work the graveyard or night shift.
While fixing hours, make sure you don’t take it to the extreme. Keep the hours within a range that keeps your employees comfortable and adheres to labor laws.
2. Account for Time Off and Sleep Routine
Like we already said, don’t make the shifts too extreme. Shifting rapidly from morning shift to night shift and back to morning shift in a short time can wreak havoc to your employee’s sleep routines. The best way to make sure your employees always arrive fresh at work is to rotate the shifts after a considerable time.
For example, you can let your workers work the night shift for two weeks before switching them to the day shift for another two weeks. Also, make sure your employees get enough rest time if they have to work two shifts on the same day or back-to-back.
3. Divide Employees into Teams
Determine the number of employees you will need for each role in a shift. Let’s say you need two cooks, three waiters, one bartender, one host and two food runners for a shift. Now, out of your labor pool, create teams for each shift covering the requirement of workers.
Let’s say you end up with three teams. So, you can now assign a shift to each team. Let’s assume the teams are A, B and C and you need to work them morning, evening and the night shifts. So team A can take up the morning shift on the first week, while team B works the evening shift and team C covers the night shift. The next week, you can switch team A to evening shift, team B to night shift and team C to the morning shift.
There are various types of shift schedules you can select from to match the needs of your establishment, ensuring enough days-off in between.
4. Send a Lot of Reminders
It may take a while for your teams to get adjusted to rotational shifts. They may also forget that it’s their turn to come to work if they are used to fixed shift schedules. So you should always keep your employees updated and give them enough reminders about their upcoming shifts.
Final Thoughts: Take the Help of a Scheduling Solution
You need to keep a lot of things in mind to implement and manage rotational shifts. One of the best ways to run a rotational shift schedule without hassles is through an employee scheduling solution. You will get all necessary tools to create your schedule and streamline the whole process with a few clicks of the mouse or taps on the mobile screen. The solution will also remind you of any conflicts like double bookings and factor in employee preferences to create a shift schedule that needs minimal changes.
You can also send auto-reminders, upload the schedule on cloud, and allow permission-based access and editing. So whether you want to implement a fixed schedule or complex rotational shifts, consider using the centralized platform of a scheduling software.