Long-Term Business Benefits of an Online Shift Scheduler

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 08/08/2022
shift scheduler benefits

An online shift scheduler is more than a tool of convenience. In this article, we want to tell business owners and operations managers about the long-term benefits this software may bring to your business. From easier spotted opportunities to employee management, there is plenty to gain. 




When you hear of a digital shift schedule builder you most likely visualise a solution that does just that - puts together a shift schedule. However, just like any automation of any process, it has a whole lot more to offer. Sure, companies that don’t operate on the shift model won’t gain much from the tool, but those relying on the roster are to gain more than a simply quicker procedure. In a modern world, where data and its utilisation is everything, the scheduling software can become a valuable contributor to your business success and digital transformation.

It can also help you with reducing the staff turnover rates most shift-based workplaces experience. While it may not seem so at the first glance, the simple yet vital task of employee time allocation plays a huge role in your business, and you should therefore not miss out on the opportunity to optimise it.

Data-Driven Staff Scheduling Decisions

The word ‘data-driven’ is widely spread in business circles. However, its buzzword status is often the reason why the true meaning is unknown to many. Simply put, being data-driven means basing your decision-making on both recent and historical data as opposed to intuitive guesses. This helps you to reach near-perfect optimisation and reduces the risk of investing money in an unfortunate hunch. The best thing is that every process can become data-driven. 

It includes something at first glance data-deprived as the process of shift scheduling. Just like any element of the business, your roster could be optimised to maximum efficiency, and you, therefore, need to lean on data to achieve it. Naturally, you’d consider things such as an agreed number of hours the worker needs to cover, what about factors such as busy/quiet days, the influence of the season, etc? In other words, there’s likely a lot of data you don’t take into consideration when scheduling your staff to work - possibly you’re not even aware it’s there. An online shift scheduler would be a perfect tool to make your rota-building process data-driven. Not only will it take different factors into account, but also collect the data you were previously unaware of.

Automated Task Delegation

It’s very tempting to approach shift management with little to no concern - just toss names on the list and distribute it to the team. Such practice, however, would be damaging to your business. Given how many moving parts and bits of data go into building a truly functional rota, it is very clear that the process is time-consuming and not immune to errors. It’s not efficient to go through it once a week or bi-weekly, juggling new variables every time. A much better decision is relying on an automated solution to take over the footwork. 

Insights into Availability and Absences

You most likely have the experience of accidentally putting on rota someone who is off. Or maybe had it happen to you. While the manager who was building the schedule had no ill intention, this is the primary sample of a human error. A centralised online shift planning software will help you avoid that, especially if it’s either integrated or inclusive of a holiday management tool. When such an approach is utilised, the online shift scheduler simply won’t let you put the unavailable employee on the roster, therefore preventing the mistake from happening.

In addition to that, having everything shift-related at once location can help you spot potential absenteeism patterns. Having a holistic overview of everyone’s shift information will highlight trends of no-shows, sick days or short-notice absences if there are any. The problem with absenteeism is that when you notice it occurring without analysis - it has already dealt tremendous financial damage to your business. A centralised view of different periods that are available on demand can help you notice and address it early on before you end up losing money. 

Quick Shift Coverage and Shift Swapping

Short-notice absences are inevitable and almost never malicious. Emergencies happen, although that becomes an emergency to the employer who now needs to quickly fill the position. If you’ve ever done frantic calling or messaging, you know how stressful it can be. A designated shift scheduling platform, however, could do this job for you. Whenever there’s a shift that’s freed up, it will notify other staff members to let them choose who wants to take over. Alternatively, it can be set to allocate the vacated shift to any available employee automatically. 

Sometimes, the staff member with an emergency wouldn’t want to lose their shift entirely and would offer to work another day instead. Again, to you, this would mean additional hassle in adjusting the schedule you’ve already spent time on building. This is yet another occasion on which the shift management platform could come in particularly handy - the employees could submit then shift swap requests for your approval, and the system would update the schedule in accordance with your judgement. 

Talent Attraction and Retention

Turnover rates tend to be high in shift-based workplaces, regardless of the industry. However, it’s a well-known truth that it’s cheaper to keep a team of loyal employees than to train a new one. It is therefore in every employer’s best interest to give their long-term staff a reason to stay. There are several ways of achieving that and that doesn’t necessarily include raising their pay. In fact, shift scheduling software can play an active role in making the workplace better.

More Power to Employees

By employing an automated shift scheduling solution, you’ll be giving your employees more decision-making power and therefore flexibility in terms of their working times. The traditional method of building a roster doesn’t take into consideration emergencies and personal preferences. Things like time off or special requirements (e.g. specific hours only) often fall through the cracks, demanding you to either go back and fix the error or settle down for a worse performance. 

A platform on which your entire team has visibility of the shift scheduling process not only allows you to avoid errors but also empowers the workers to bring in the changes they would prefer. We’ve already spoken about shift swapping and coverage, but some platforms can also entrust an entire shift building to employees - they could only choose a designated number of hours and spread it through the week the way they please and with consideration of how filled the other slots already are. All you have to do is to come up with a set of rules and let them be known to the software. 

Manageable and Consistent Workloads

Being understaffed or overstaffed puts a financial strain on the business; however, it’s the workers that truly get the short end of the stick. Inconsistency in workload makes it difficult for them to plan their finances, especially if your staff is paid hourly. It can therefore be highly upsetting and contribute to a high employee turnover rate. Not to mention, lack of consistency is often a sign of a poorly managed business.

Additionally, a Rotageek report has found that being unable to forecast the number of employees needed has a negative effect on the overall staff morale. Another factor why consistency is so important is that it allows employees to allocate their workload better. When burdened with too much work and too little help/resources to complete it, workers are quick to burn out, which is another issue you’d rather not deal with. In summary, an online shift scheduler can help you with a consistent and realistic workload distribution that makes employees want to continue working for your company. 

Unlock New Business Insights

In our blogs, we often emphasise how automating processes brings data you’d otherwise have no access to. It may not seem like it at the first glance, but automatic shift scheduling also delivers a lot of new information about how your company’s performing. Simply put, the data you reap from handing the creation of a roster to a tool isn’t estimated nor tracked by numbers. Yet its importance to your further business development is immense. 

Heaps of Qualitative Data

The data collected by an online shift scheduler is what gives you a clear view of your team’s performance as well as flags down potential troubling behaviour of individual employees. For example, it can highlight frequent absences or last-second shift cancellations, alarming you of an absenteeism pattern early on. Alternatively, it can make it easy to spot a workaholism tendency that leads to burnout by providing insights on overtime trends. 

When the tool is also used as a communication platform, it may give you a clear overview of the on-site atmosphere and let you rate individual contributions and opportunities to better team alignment. All in all, while not every metric provided by shift scheduling software is numeric, they all provide very actionable insights your business will benefit from. 


Every business should thrive to become data-driven as the era when business decisions could be made on a hunch is long over. To fully embrace this transformation, it’s important to understand that data comes in a variety of formats, not just numeric metrics. Due to the data overload, we go through every day, we are sometimes not capable of capturing and processing truly important fragments. That’s when process automation comes to our aid.

While an online shift scheduler may not appear to be a data-capturing and utilising solution - it is. What’s more, it works with information that isn’t numeric and therefore more difficult for humans to spot trends in and therefore difficult to apply. It is also a great solution for improving employee satisfaction by granting them more power and flexibility when it comes to workload and time management. Not only will happy employees perform better - they are more likely to stay loyal to an employer who cares about their wellbeing. 

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