“I spend so much energy dealing with the shift schedule, I don’t have enough left to do my job!”

Shift Work Pains

No one ever said shift working was easy. Over the last ten years we’ve seen first hand the pains, problems and issues that shift workers face every day. The shift workers who use our MyShiftPlanner mobile are not backwards in coming forwards about this. From health problems to issues with sleep, to rota problems and social isolation. Shift workers face a daily struggle

But shift managers are by no means immune. Managing a shift work team comes with its unique set of challenges and pains.

Sally’s Shift Scheduling Shockers

When we were planning our new scheduling system, MyShiftManager, we took the time to sit down and talk to a range of shift managers. To find out what pains and problems they were dealing with every day in their work.

It was fascinating and sobering. The same pains came up again and again. Out of all of the conversation we had, our time with Sally was most enlightening, as she encapsulated many of the other conversations in a clear way.

Sally is a shift manager. Looking after the schedules for a team of nearly 50 shift workers, who are part of a much larger, global organisation. She explained in detail the issues she faces managing a team.


Scheduling with the Wrong Tools – “An inherited system that doesn’t work.”

“I spend half a day a month just copying the schedule over to the new month. I wouldn’t do it this way, but that’s what I’ve inherited and that’s all I’ve got.”

Creating a fair and balanced schedule that includes employee preferences, availability, and the need to get the work done is no mean feat. Shift changes, swaps, long and short term absences add to the complexity.

Sally inherited a spreadsheet from her predecessor. Every month she had to copy to a new sheet and update the rota. Taking into account all the absences, changes in requirements and a myriad of other complexities.

The time spent simply, copying, editing and updating the spreadsheet every month was exhausting.

She needed a tool that did the rota basics for her. Without the need to copy/paste every single month.


Balancing Staff Shortages with Working Requirements – “A Monthly Jigsaw Puzzle”

“Every month is like sitting down with a jigsaw puzzle, piecing together who can work, who’s absent, holidays, requirements from my manager, and everything else. It’s literally doing my head in!”

Shift work is demanding. Workers are required to be active and engaged during irregular hours. It leads to fatigue and sleep disturbances which affect their performance, productivity, and increased absences.

Without being able to see a complete view of the state of the team, Sally knew that the teams ability to complete the required jobs was always at risk. When not trying to fulfil her own work requirements, she was busy trying to find the solution for next week’s headaches.

She needed a long-term view, and better immediate visibility of the state of the team. Availability, absences and upcoming annual leave.


Employee Absenteeism & Filling Shifts – “The Ring-Around, Again!”

“I’ve got long-term sick and any number of short absences to deal with. Every week I’m on the phone, trying to fill the empty shifts.”

On the day we spoke, Brenda was dealing with four long-term sick workers, who were not available on the rota. On top of that, she had a number of other absences coming up she had yet to fill.

Absences cause major upset to the rota. Sally ability to to cover the work requirements was sorely tested every month she sat down with the rota. If shifts weren’t filled in time, it was Brenda who was left to pick up the pieces.

The only solution was for her to manually contact team members – the dreaded “ring-around”.

It was time-consuming and demoralising.

She needed a way to be able to offer open shifts to her team quickly and simply. For her team members to be alerted to available shifts, and to pick them up. For her to be able to approve the changes with a singe click. All without the need to pick up the phone.


Communication Challenges – “Get the Right Info to the Right Person.”

“The spreadsheet isn’t a live document. It’s sat on my computer. So if I change anything, I’ve got to distribute again to the team. Making sure they’ve seen the change that affects them is a nightmare.”

Keeping everyone on the same page when the team are working different shifts is a challenge. Miscommunications lead to errors, misunderstandings, and the increased risk of shifts not being filled.

Sally spreadsheet was static. Not dynamic. Any change to the schedule required the whole thing to be updated and redistributed to every team member.

One of the biggest issues she faced was members of her team not taking note of the updated schedule, particularly when it affected them.

With so many updates each month, workers became blasé about the latest re-distribution. Not always noticing that that their own shifts had changed.

She wanted system that was live and dynamic. Designed to manage changes seamlessly, updating in real-time. And with change notifications pushed direct to affected team members. Without interrupting the others.


Manual Headaches – “I’m hand-balling everything.”

“Everything I do right now is manual. Every week I have to sit down add up all the shift hours, worked hours, missed shifts, sick days and holidays. On paper. Then manually enter it into our HR system. I’m hand-balling everything and it takes forever.”

Reporting tasks take up a considerable amount of time for managersm, but doing it all is both inefficient and ultimately ineffectual. Sally spent too much of her working week pulling figures from a spreadsheet, just to enter them into another system.

Why? Because she hadn’t had time to look for a better solution.

What she needed was a system that stored all this vital information for her, and presented in a way she could quickly see. And that allowed her to export any or all of her important data in a readable format for other systems.


There is a Better Way

Managing a shift work team comes with its unique set of challenges and pains, as we’ve seen through Sally’s experiences.

Creating a fair and balanced schedule, balancing staff shortages with working requirements, dealing with absenteeism, communication challenges, and manual reporting tasks are all critical issues that need to be addressed. It’s clear that in order to ensure the well-being of employees and the success of the business, a proactive and efficient approach to shift management is essential.

It’s time to find a better solution to these common pains and problems faced by shift managers and workers.

Sally needed a long-term view. The ability to make quick decisions based on immediate changes. The tools to communicate changes quickly and spot the issues before they became problems.

The result of her conversation? We built MyShiftManager to solve these exact needs.

MyShfitManager is designed to give managers full visibility. Not just a spreadsheet-view of next week or next month, but a live system that updates in real time. With self-service tools for workers, and multi-level approval for managers. All within one, easy-to-use platform.

Let us help you find a better way. Book a demo and see how we can solve your monthly jigsaw puzzle.