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I am often asked the question, how do I start a brand new staff schedule? It can be daunting when you are given the task of creating a brand new manning operation, budgeting for it, and presenting it to management. I have prepared this page to illustrate how to start. It isn't hard to do, and the example given is based on an actual request.
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Budgeting is about knowing how much the operation will cost and then sticking to it. We can tell you how many people you will need, what overtime hours will be required and how to manage your resources throughout the year effectively.



HRM is about managing people to get the best out of them. To do this you need to employ the right people, with the right skills, in the right numbers. We can tell you how many people your operation needs and how to deploy them effectively to maximise their productivity or optimise your operation.

We use our software to set up different staff rotas for all types of shift

working arrangements. You can find more information at

www.oranalysts.com about the work we do and our software.

If you would like to discuss your operation, please call me.
book about how to calculate how many staff you need
Our book tells you how to calculate how many staff you need, and is available from Amazon.
The Basics Behind Efficient Staff Rostering Introduction
Specification I created a staff schedule for a call centre manned by 2 shifts over 7 days Morning(7am- 3pm) & Afternoon(1pm-9pm). Both are 8 hour shifts. Staffing 7 days a week. There is a 2 hour overlap in the afternoon when all staff are on duty. This could be a problem with equipment, etc., where we would need 8 desks, 8 phone lines, 8 computers, twice as much room space at a rental of $£xx etc., We will have 4 staff on each shift. Maths Part (it really is easy) Example 1 We need to have some idea of how many staff we need to schedule, so we do some calculations. At this time, we ignore staff holidays, sickness, training and requests. For 2 shifts/day x 4 staff = 8 shifts/day = 56 shifts/week. 56 shifts/week = 11 staff working 5 shifts & 1 shift left over.
a simple shift pattern using 7 shifts per week
A few more examples of this type of problem are; Example 2: For 7 day 24 hr cover using 8 hr shifts which have 6 staff on early, 3 on evenings & 2 on nights, we have, early shift = 6 staff x 7 days = 42 shifts, evening shift = 3 staff x 7 days = 21 shifts, night shift = 2 staff x 7 days = 14 shifts. Total number of shifts/week = 42 + 21 + 14 = 77 shifts. 77 shifts/week = 15 staff working 5 shifts/week & 2 shifts left over.
a simple shift pattern using 5 shifts per week
Above shows how to set up the shift pattern so they do 7 consecutive shifts. Below shows how to set up the shift pattern so they only do 5 shifts in a week.
a more complicated shift pattern using 7 shifts per week a more complicated shift pattern using 5 shifts per week
Example 3 For 7 day cover, where 6 am Monday-6am Saturday is covered 24hrs/day by 3 x 8 hr shifts, Saturday has 2 x 8 hr shifts 6am-10pm, and Sunday has one shift 9am-5pm. Shifts(earlies, evenings & nights) are variously manned depending on past experience, Monday to Friday Earlies, have 8 staff(=8x5=40 shifts), Monday evening has 4 staff=4 shifts, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday evening have 6 staff=18 shifts, Friday evening has 4 staff=4 shifts, Saturday early has 9 staff=9 shifts, Saturday evening has 4 staff=4 shifts, Sunday has 3 staff=3 shifts. For nights, Monday-Thursday have 3 staff=12 shifts, Friday has 2 staff=2 shifts
a complicated efficient shift pattern
The shift pattern for 19 staff as described above shows one possible way to staff the operation. There are, in fact, limitless possibilities in the number of ways we can arrange the shift pattern. We can ‘play around’ with the shifts making new ways of scheduling the staff until we are satisfied. Our software tracks the shifts, hours and many other factors. It colour codes the results so you can easily check if everything is going well, and points out where you haven’t done as well as required.
The maths can be extended over longer period if the work is cyclical or periodic. A cyclic period could be monthly, as in producing a monthly magazine. A periodic period could be seasonal, such as heating repairs reaching a max. in Autumn, or fruit and vegetable picking. The shift totals can be calculated whenever you have repeatable periods which can be estimates, or they can be based on last years shift scheduling. But sometimes your best guess just has to do.
Example 4 We use the same shift patterns and staffing levels as example 3 above, but as a policy we decide to have half the staff as part-timers working 3 shifts/week, the reasons for this are numerous, but at the heart of it is the ability for the staff to have more weekends off. So, if half the staff work 5 shifts and half the staff work 3 shifts a week, how many staff is that in all? Let's call it X, and we still have 96 shifts to cover. Therefore, (0.5X x 5) + (0.5X x 3) = 96, and by using a bit of algebra, X = 24 exactly. So we have 12 part time staff. This time when we put the employees names in, we separate the part timers out. We can call them PT1, PT2, etc., or we leave a few blank lines between the two groups. Then when we start allocating shifts, we do it just the same way, except that for the part timers we start by only giving them 3 shifts at first in each week. Calculating part time staff, this is quite complicated as there are several different types of part time staff. Some have fixed shifts each week and some have fixed reduced hours but are flexible regarding shifts. There are as many different ways of doing this as there are people, so it is not something we can plan for until the actual situation arrives.
Holidays Holidays and how they affect the roster is an extremely important aspect of Staff Rostering. In fact, most staff roster are centered around the staff holidays in one or another. Holidays should be neutral to the company, but they are never neutral to the staff. This important area is covered in our training program and our books. Click to our short video about the importance of holidays in designing a staff roster.
youtube film on holidays being important youtube film on holidays being important
Modelling shift operations just got easier!