✨  Don't miss out! Register for our Employee Appreciation Webinar scheduled for 29th February.🎖️
✨  Don't miss out! Register for our Employee Appreciation Webinar scheduled for 29th February.🎖️

Register now

Live Webinar: Secrets to Building a Successful B2B2C Growth Flywheel
Save your spot now

The Empuls Glossary

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

Visit Hr Glossaries

Employee Schedules

Employee schedules refer to the predetermined plans outlining when employees are expected to work. These schedules detail the specific days, times, and durations of shifts for individual employees within an organization. Effective employee scheduling is crucial for optimizing workforce productivity, meeting operational demands, and ensuring employee satisfaction.

What is the meaning of employee schedule?

An employee schedule is a plan that outlines the working hours, shifts, and tasks assigned to employees over a specific period, such as a week or a month. It helps employers efficiently manage workforce resources, ensure adequate coverage, and meet operational needs while considering employee availability and preferences.

What is the best schedule for workers?

The best schedule for workers depends on various factors such as industry, job role, employee preferences, and labor laws. Generally, schedules that offer flexibility, adequate rest periods, fair distribution of shifts, and consideration of work-life balance tend to be preferred by workers. Some popular scheduling models include fixed schedules, rotating shifts, part-time schedules, and flexible schedules.

What is the 7-day work schedule?

A 7-day work schedule typically refers to a schedule where employees work seven consecutive days, followed by a set number of days off. This schedule pattern is common in industries requiring continuous operations, such as healthcare, emergency services, and manufacturing. It can involve various shift patterns, including 7-day rotations, split shifts, or compressed workweeks.

Listen, recognize, award, and retain your employees with our Employee engagement software  

What is a normal work schedule?

A normal work schedule varies by industry, company policies, and local regulations. In many countries, a typical work schedule consists of eight-hour shifts, five days a week, totaling 40 hours per week. However, there are variations, such as part-time schedules, compressed workweeks (where employees work longer hours on fewer days), or rotating shifts (where employees work different shifts on a set rotation).

What is the importance of effective employee scheduling?

Efficient employee scheduling holds significant importance for several reasons:

  • Optimized productivity: Properly scheduled employees ensure that the right number of workers with the necessary skills are available at any given time, maximizing productivity and minimizing downtime.
  • Cost management: Effective scheduling helps organizations control labor costs by aligning staffing levels with demand, reducing unnecessary overtime expenses, and minimizing overstaffing during slow periods.
  • Employee satisfaction: Well-organized schedules that accommodate employee preferences and personal commitments foster higher morale, job satisfaction, and retention rates.
  • Compliance: Adhering to legal regulations and company policies regarding work hours, breaks, and overtime is crucial for avoiding penalties, lawsuits, and negative publicity.
  • Flexibility: A well-designed scheduling system enables adaptability to changing business needs, seasonal fluctuations, and unforeseen circumstances, ensuring operational continuity.

What are the different types of employee schedules?

The different types of employee schedules are:

1. Fixed schedules

  • Definition: Fixed schedules assign employees to consistent shifts over a set period, typically weeks or months.
  • Pros: Provides stability for employees, simplifies planning for both workers and management, and fosters routine and predictability.
  • Cons: May limit flexibility for accommodating individual preferences or unexpected changes, potentially leading to dissatisfaction or staffing gaps.

2. Flexible schedules

  • Definition: Flexible schedules allow employees to vary their start and end times or work hours within certain parameters, often to accommodate personal obligations or preferences.
  • Pros: Enhances work-life balance, boosts morale and job satisfaction, and can improve retention rates.
  • Cons: Requires effective coordination to ensure adequate coverage, may complicate scheduling logistics, and could lead to inconsistency in staffing levels.

3. Rotating schedules

  • Definition: Rotating schedules involve rotating employees through different shifts or work hours, such as day, evening, and night shifts, often on a predetermined pattern.
  • Pros: Distributes favorable and unfavorable shifts equitably among employees, ensures coverage across all hours of operation, and can accommodate varying business demands.
  • Cons: May disrupt sleep patterns and personal routines, potentially leading to fatigue, reduced performance, and dissatisfaction.

What are the factors influencing employee scheduling?

Several factors influence the creation of employee schedules:

  • Workload and demand: The volume of work and fluctuating customer demand dictate staffing requirements, influencing the number of employees needed and their scheduling patterns.
  • Employee availability: Employee availability, including preferences, time-off requests, and contractual obligations, must be considered to ensure adequate coverage while accommodating individual needs.
  • Legal regulations: Compliance with labor laws and regulations regarding maximum work hours, rest periods, overtime pay, and scheduling practices is essential to avoid legal liabilities and penalties.
  • Company policies and culture: Organizational policies, values, and culture shape scheduling practices and priorities, reflecting the company's commitment to employee well-being, fairness, and operational efficiency.
  • Employee preferences: Considering employee preferences regarding shift timings, days off, and work-life balance fosters engagement, satisfaction, and retention, contributing to a positive workplace culture.

What are the common employee scheduling methods?

The common employee scheduling methods are:

1. Manual scheduling

  • Advantages: Offers flexibility and customization, allows for immediate adjustments, and may be suitable for small businesses with simple scheduling needs.
  • Disadvantages: Time-consuming, prone to errors and inconsistencies, and may lack features for optimizing scheduling efficiency and compliance.

2. Automated scheduling software

  • Advantages: Streamlines scheduling processes, reduces errors, ensures compliance with regulations, and provides tools for analyzing data and optimizing workforce management.
  • Disadvantages: Initial cost and learning curve associated with implementation and may require periodic updates and maintenance.

What are the best practices for effective employee scheduling?

To optimize employee scheduling practices, organizations should adhere to the following best practices:

  • Clear communication: Transparent communication of schedules, expectations, and any changes fosters trust, accountability, and alignment among employees and management.
  • Fairness and transparency: Fair and equitable distribution of shifts, consideration of employee preferences, and transparent decision-making processes promote morale and minimize conflicts.
  • Balancing employee preferences with business needs: Striking a balance between accommodating employee preferences and meeting operational requirements ensures optimal staffing levels and employee satisfaction.
  • Utilizing employee scheduling software effectively: Leveraging scheduling software to automate processes, optimize staffing, and generate insights enhances efficiency, accuracy, and compliance.
  • Regular review and adjustment: Continuously monitoring and evaluating scheduling practices, soliciting feedback from employees, and making necessary adjustments ensure ongoing improvement and adaptability to changing needs.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

Is it illegal to schedule an employee outside their availability?

It can be considered unfair labor practice, but whether it's illegal depends on local employment laws and regulations. In some jurisdictions, scheduling an employee outside of their availability without consent may violate labor laws or contractual agreements. It's important for employers to respect employee availability to maintain morale and compliance with labor regulations.

How to use Outlook calendar for employee scheduling?

Outlook calendar can be used for employee scheduling by creating events or appointments corresponding to shifts or work hours. You can invite employees to these events, which will appear on their calendars. It's advisable to color-code different types of shifts for clarity. Additionally, Outlook allows for recurring events, making it easier to schedule repetitive shifts.

How to create an employee schedule?

To create an employee schedule, you typically start by identifying the shifts that need coverage and the availability of your employees. Then, using scheduling software or templates, you assign shifts to employees based on their availability, skills, and preferences. It's important to consider factors like labor laws, workload distribution, and employee preferences while creating the schedule.

How to make an employee schedule in Excel?

You can create an employee schedule in Excel by setting up a spreadsheet with columns for dates, days of the week, and time slots. Rows can represent employees, and you can fill in cells with shift assignments. You can use conditional formatting to highlight shifts or color-code them for clarity. Excel also allows for formulas to calculate total hours worked or to manage shift rotations.

Quick Links

Employee Engagement solutions

Recognised by market experts