What Is Shift Schedule? How to Schedule Shifts for Field Employees

How to Schedule Shifts easy and quick steps

Discover how types of shift schedules vary (fixed, rotating, etc.). Know how in just 3 simple steps you can simplify the shift scheduling process with a platform like TrackoField.

Imagine Samuel (your dedicated service technician) failed to arrive at the client site in time. Why? Because either shifts were assigned late or, due to manual overload, some shifts were assigned incorrectly.

Assigning shifts to employees can be a complex activity. Especially for businesses that drive for a full 24 hours a day, almost 7 days a week. Therein, you cannot heavily rely on just Excel or timesheets to assign shifts; it may lead to major clerical errors and delays. Which you can simply avoid by using shift scheduling software.

Let’s review in this piece what is shift schedule, the benefits of schedule shifts, and 3 simple and quick steps to scheduling shifts.

What is a Shift Schedule?

Shift work scheduling is the process of assigning shifts to the right employee, based on business requirements, and an individual’s bandwidth, capacity, and skills. It involves employees working in specific time frames, on specific dates or days of the week.

There are early shifts (from 5 am to 2 pm) and late shifts (2 pm to 5 am). Based on business requirements, some sites even have 24-hour shift patterns which involve working in the night time too like construction, mining, etc.

Optimal shift scheduling is important as it ensures:

  • You always have field service staff working without compromising business requirements.
  • You can optimally use your resources, without draining productivity and efficiency.
  • You provide fast and efficient customer service.

Benefits of Shift Scheduling

Types of Shift Work Schedules

Here are multiple types of shifts that companies flexibly choose from — based on the nature of work or fluctuating work requirements.

1. Fixed Shift Employees work around the same schedule, the fixed hours every day or week.
2. Rotating Shift Employees cycle through different shifts, such as morning, afternoon, and night, on a predetermined schedule.
3. Split Shift The workday is divided into two or more segments with a break in between, allowing flexibility but extending the work hours.
4. On-call Shift Employees remain available but are only called in as needed. Often used in industries where demand can fluctuate.
5. Flexitime Shift Employees have a set number of hours they need to work but can choose when to start and finish within certain limits.
6. Seasonal Shift  Hours and schedules change based on seasonal demand or business cycles, common in industries like tourism or agriculture.
7. Part-time Shift  Employees work fewer hours than full-time positions, often with more flexibility in scheduling.
8. Overtime Shift Extending work beyond regular working hours due to increased workload or specific needs of a project or company.
9. Remote Shift  Work is done from a location other than the traditional workplace, allowing flexibility in terms of hours and location.

Note – The above types of shift schedules vary according to organization structure and work demand. 

3 Quick Steps for Successful Shift Work Scheduling

Now we know the benefits of shift work schedules, let’s discuss quick 3 steps that help fulfill the purpose of shift work scheduling.

1. Analyze Your Needs & Team Strength

Before starting the scheduling process, ensure you sit and pen down your requirements. Like, identify:

  1. Which shift schedule types (as explained above) do you want to prefer?
  2.  Total number of employees, you need to manage and schedule shifts.
  3. Peak seasons where you may need more employees.

Having this information will help you identify the right schedule shifts for your team.

2. Start Scheduling with Scheduling Software

There are employee scheduling and dispatching software available in the market that makes the allocation process a breeze. By using such software, you can effortlessly plan from weekly to monthly schedules — in advance.

Wondering which software to pick? TrackoField’s field employee scheduling and dispatching software lets you seamlessly plan employee schedules with even last-minute schedule changes (Yes, even when client Sam reschedules an appointment to 2 hours early).

How TrackoField Helps Schedule Shifts for Employees (Like a Pro)

Shift Scheduling With TrackoField

This scaling software helps automate the manual process of shift scheduling.

➕ Seamlessly input field staff shift timings based on the field staff’s availability and preferred working hours into a unified system.

Effortless MatchingAllocate service providers for customer requests based on field staff’s availability, skillset, location, urgency, and more.

Real-Time Updates –  The scheduling system sends real-time updates to field service providers about available shifts or new job requests over an executive app. Schedules are decided and shared based on executives’ availability and skills.

This scaling platform offers a combination of technology-driven algorithms that lets you effortlessly match service providers with service requests —even when there are ad-hoc or last-minute requirements.

Best part? It considers various factors such as service technicians’ or field executives’ availability, skill set, and customer preferences to allocate, and dispatch executives. It bypasses employee scheduling issues very seamlessly.

3. Review & Evaluate Schedules

After successfully planning and implementing a shift schedule, make time to review it to find any deviations. Identify the good and the bad parts of scheduling during peak periods.

Use the total outputs as metrics to evaluate employees’ overall productivity. Based on this data, feel free to adjust or completely change the shift scheduling process as needed.

Here’s Your Final Takeaway!

Always remember that mastering shift worker scheduling requires a great balance of operational needs and end-user satisfaction. The benefits of scheduling shifts rightfully lie in the effective use of modern tools and technology.

It’s a best bet to choose a flexible employee shift scheduling system that accommodates executives’ availability, preferences, and skills to pair them with the right service requests.

If you haven’t given a thought about choosing a scheduling software, it’s high time you must. Effortlessly plan schedules for transportation and field service businesses you own! Prioritize the fair distribution of tasks while ensuring a productive and motivated workforce.

Thinking about where to find such software? You can try TrackoField’s 7-day free trial!

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FAQs on Shift Work Scheduling

  • Why Is shift scheduling important?

    Shift scheduling is important as it helps allocate staff according to fluctuating workloads or seasonal work requirements. Doing this helps maintain operational efficiency for businesses with field staff in the long haul.

  • How do you manage your schedule shifts?

    Here’s how you manage schedule shifts:
    - Create a clear plan
    - Balance workload
    - Consider employees’ preferences
    - Use shit scheduling tools like TrackoField
    - Communicate and share the same effectively with the team.

  • What is the best shift schedule?

    There is no best shift schedule, it all depends on the job demands, workplace needs, and individual preferences. However, here are some tips on how shifts should be scheduled:
    - Try minimizing shift changes as they disrupt the body clock.
    - Try to limit night shifts, as they can mess with field employees' health.
    - Keep shift of optimum time duration. 8-12 hour shifts are mostly preferred.
    - Go for clockwise rotations, like day to evening or night shifts.
    However, when planning any shift timing, make sure you plan times for breaks and meals.

  • How to schedule shifts in 2024?

    To schedule shifts in 2024, deploy a smart shift scheduling tool like TrackoField that offers a simple-to-use interface, wherein you can schedule shifts to multiple field staff. Best part? You can effortlessly drag and drop functionality and flexibility to accommodate end-minute schedule changes.

  • What are the examples of scheduling work shifts?

    Examples of scheduling work shifts include fixed shifts, rotating shifts, split shifts, on-call schedules, flexible schedules, and self-schedule shifts.

  • What Is the Best Shift Work Schedule Software?

    TrackoField is the best shift work scheduling software that simplifies scheduling for field employees. It offers drag-and-drop scheduling, real-time updates, rich real-time analytics, and options to adjust last-minute shift changes.

  • What is the goal of shift scheduling?

    The goal of shift scheduling is to assign work schedules to the right resources based on work demand fluctuations. Also, by considering factors like staff’s availability, skills, bandwidth, and preferences.

  • What are the main components of shift scheduling?

    Shift scheduling includes the following scheduling:
    - Workforce availability
    - Analysis of workload and demand patterns
    - Shift length
    - Rotation patterns
    - Fair shift schedule distribution
    - Skill sets for assignments

  • How can you easily shift work schedules?

    You can simplify and automate shift work schedules by using a scaling and compatible field employee scheduling and dispatching software like TrackoField.

  • What are the challenges in shift work scheduling?

    Employee scheduling challenges include
    - Work-life balance disruption.
    - Difficulty in managing preferences.
    - Maintaining fair and efficient schedules.

What Is Shift Schedule? How to Schedule Shifts for Field Employees

Nandita Gupta

Nandita is a Content Lead at TrackoBit. She is passionate about writing factual and thought-provoking pieces that help readers remove complexities from fleet management. When she’s not on her desk scribbling words, she’s either sipping tea, dancing, or heading toward gym.

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