How to Create a Schedule for Employees (9 best practices)

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Are you dreading your next scheduling session for your business? You’re not alone!

Creating a schedule that keeps both your employees and business thriving is crucial for a successful workflow. 

Whether you’re an experienced manager, business owner, or scheduling professional, learning practical scheduling tips can help you to navigate difficult scheduling decisions in the present or the future. 

In this article, we’ll look at the 9 best practices for scheduling employees which should simplify your current scheduling regime.

Additionally, we’ll discuss employee scheduling software and its benefits in the world of business.

By the end of this article, you’ll be well on your way to developing a highly efficient schedule for your organization.

The 9 best practices for scheduling employees

  1. Use employee scheduling software
  2. Create a list of all current employees
  3. Know your employee availability
  4. Identify schedule abuse
  5. Use a scheduling template
  6. Get feedback from employees
  7. Enforce time off request policies
  8. Make schedule easily accessible to employees
  9. Evaluate scheduling process for improvements

1. Use employee scheduling software

Employee scheduling software (EOS) programs integrate all employee and employer work preferences and generate a schedule. 

EOS programs automate the scheduling process, which removes the burden from employers and managers amidst all of the other work that has to be done. 

In EOS software programs, you can find employee availability monitoring, shift allocation, attendance records, and communication features.

There is a lot to take advantage of when it comes to scheduling.

HR Tip: When creating a schedule, you should always consider slightly overstaffing to cover issues such as employee call offs and unusually busy times. So, if your business needs a minimum of four people to cover one shift you should consider staffing a fifth employee in the event one employee calls off.


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2. Create a list of all current employees

Keep a list of all current and per diem employees that need to be scheduled. If you’re a business owner, you can also include yourself in the schedule.

This list should include employee names, employee ID numbers, and scheduling preferences.

3. Know your employee availability

When you hire a new employee, you should ask them to establish their availability for the next 3 months. 

Every 3 months, speak with your employee about scheduling to ensure that their schedule is adequate, as their availability may be changing without your knowledge if you don’t check in.

4. Identify scheduling abuse

If you have a worker that is clearly working well with the business, it can be tempting to schedule them more often than others. 

However, overscheduling can create conflict in the workplace and burnout in employees if not addressed and avoided. 

Also, under-scheduling employees can occur, which should be talked about with the employee. 

They may or may not be accepting of a reduction in hours, so open and regular communication about company availability is very important.

5. Use a scheduling template

Although your business niche may be unique, the style of your business (restaurant, retail store, office) has likely been done before.

Fortunately, this means that scheduling templates have been created for you to fill in with your own employees.

Employee scheduling templates can be downloaded into Excel or Google Sheets and filled in manually.

6. Get feedback from employees

During your quarterly or bi-weekly check-ins, ask your employees if the scheduling is working for them. 

The feedback that you receive from your employees is instrumental in creating a strong schedule that serves everyone in the company.

7. Enforce time off request policies

Within your schedule system, you should have a time-of-request policy that focuses on two main elements: advanced notice and honoring commitments. 

Your employees should give you advanced notice when they are hoping to take time off. Once the request is accepted, the employer is now responsible for honoring that time off request, regardless of need.

8. Make schedule easily accessible to employees

Your schedule should exist in an easily accessible document or software program that can be accessed at any time. 

This will deter late arrivals or no-shows as all employees will be able to read and adhere to the schedule.

9. Evaluate scheduling process for improvements

You should critically evaluate your scheduling process for improvements to identify inefficiencies and improve outcomes. 

Always make sure that your schedule is compliant with employee guidelines, as well as ensure that the schedule is benefiting everyone.

HR Tip: Using an employee scheduling software like Homebase

Homebase is an employee scheduling software that aims to help you take control of everyday work practices! 

With Homebase, you can integrate scheduling, payroll, and time clocks on one user interface – it’s really quick and simple to navigate. 

Homebase has assisted over 100,000 small businesses in schedule generation and employee management. 

If you’d like to learn more about employee scheduling software programs, head over to the Homebase website for additional information.


Simplify scheduling, time clocks and payroll all in one app for small businesses.

Get started for free

Scheduling Tips & Considerations

When creating a schedule for your business, you may want to treat the process like an ongoing conversation between you and your employees. 

Life is subject to changes regardless of employment status, so including your employees in a dialogue about their current and future scheduling is essential. 

Also, your schedule mismatches may give you insights into any updated hiring requirements for your business.

For example, if you find yourself running out of shifts to give to your employees, you may have to reduce your workforce. 

Overall, scheduling for your small business may require some tweaking, especially if your company is brand new.

You will get into the swing of things eventually.

Create the Perfect Work Schedule for Your Employees

After perusing the 9 best practices for employee scheduling, you may be wondering where to go from here. 

As mentioned, it’s a good idea to consider using an employee scheduling software like Homebase, where managing employee schedules is a seamless process. 

Continue to improve the scheduling process as time goes on and as your employee roster changes.

Make sure to regularly check in with your employees to see if the scheduling system needs improvement. 

As long as you follow the steps outlined above, you will be able to create a synergistic and successful schedule for you and your employees.


What is the best way to create an employee schedule?

The best way to create an employee schedule is to use scheduling software that can help you through the intricate parts of designing and implementing your schedule. 

Alternatively, you can manually input scheduling details using spreadsheet software. Just make sure that all of your employees have access to this schedule at all times.

What is an example of employee scheduling?

If you own a business that relies on shift work such as a retail store or restaurant, you may place your employees on different shifts. 

Additionally, many young people with other engagements (such as college students) may elect to work in a part-time, shift-based job. 

Employee scheduling considers everyone’s conflicts, vacations, employment contracts, and more.

How do you schedule a shift worker?

You can ask them if they prefer a certain shift (for example, morning or night shifts). 

Then, you can present them with a schedule that meets their hourly requirements (full-time or part-time) and honors their preferred shift request.

Ricky Torres mission is to help entrepreneurs and businesses receive the guidance and support they need so they can maximize their potential and achieve economic prosperity. He is a SHRM certified professional as well as a data analytics certified professional.