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Employee Scheduling Problems and Solutions

Employee Scheduling Problems and Solutions

Employee scheduling is one of the most challenging tasks for HR managers. For any organization or business, employees are the greatest assets. The challenges and nuances of efficient employee scheduling must be addressed to keep them happy and engaged at work.

There is much to deal with scheduling needs, leave and time-off requests, worker demands, and payroll requirements. When juggling many responsibilities, common employee scheduling problems are likely to occur. But as a manager, it is your responsibility to make it possible for workers to maintain a balanced work schedule.

The staff scheduling problem is much more common for organizations still managing everything manually. According to market research, manual scheduling is the most common reason for scheduling problems, errors, and employee dissatisfaction. Furthermore, the study found:

  • 20% of HR managers’ time is wasted creating work schedules 
  • 140 hours are lost annually on manual employee scheduling 
  • 174% more turnover occurs due to errors from manual schedule creation

It is evident that digitization of employee scheduling is mandatory now; there are some common employee scheduling problems you must be familiar with.

Here we are listing some commonly occurring scheduling problems and their solutions.

Pen and paper are no longer viable for managing the workforce. Even if you have a small business to operate, manual employee scheduling is prone to issues and miscommunication. It requires a lot of following up, back-and-forth calls, and messages which is incredibly time-consuming and inefficient.

There exist powerful and easy-to-use employee scheduling software like Truein that you can deploy to eradicate manual scheduling issues and streamline communication.

Truein is an AI-powered employee time and attendance management that allow managers to create schedules in minutes. You can create and share shift schedules with employees. Managers have complete oversight and can track employees in real-time from the dashboard.

Employees can install the Truein app on their smartphones and directly share their availability with managers. Shift schedule alerts and notifications ensure that workers know about any shift changes. Automated time and attendance systems have features and capabilities that improve workplace organization and prevent staff scheduling problems.

An investment in employee scheduling software like Truein is a must for workforce management streamlining and business success.

2. Shortage of employees

An employee scheduling problem will likely occur if your organization has a staff shortage. To keep things running smoothly, you need enough employees to cover all the shifts and also cover for employees who call in sick or are on vacation. Understaffed operations result in an overworked and unsatisfied workforce and poor customer service.

The solution to the problem is to hire more workers or optimize the existing workforce. The first option is relatively straightforward; you can fill the gap in the shifts by hiring full-time or part-time employees.

However, it’s an additional cost, and if the requirement is temporary, it can result in overstaffing later.

Optimizing the workforce with software like Truein can solve this issue. You can automate processes, maintain compliance, and always have real-time data of available workers. This will empower you to deal with staff shortages.

3. Unequal shift distribution

Playing favorites when employee scheduling might not be on your mind, but subconsciously you might pick certain workers for tasks you think best match their skills. However, putting them in a particular shift every time will send the wrong message.

Other workers will feel that you are favoring some workers over others. Again, automated employee scheduling software can help avoid such a staff scheduling problem. It can ensure that no employee gets a ‘good’ shift every time, and similarly, no worker is stuck with a ‘bad’ shift.

Furthermore, employee scheduling software can help you comply with federal, state, and local labor laws. Such optimization ensures that there is never unequal shift distribution.

4. Last-minute employee absences

Life is unpredictable, and no matter how well planned your shift schedule is, personal problems can get in the way of work anytime. Sick kids, illnesses, accidents, or unforeseen obstacles can result in last-minute employee absences. When such an event occurs, the worse thing is to panic.

The solution here is to identify the workers who can fill the shift. You can quickly look through Truein’s employee roster to find which employees are scheduled to work in that particular shift or before.

You can ask them if they can put in extra hours (overtime), suggest days off, or shorten the shifts for the rest of the days instead of covering for the absent worker. If no such employee is available, you can contact off-duty workers regarding shift change.

5. Overscheduling employees

The efficiency of the workforce depends on how well rested the workers are. If you expect 100% efficiency from them, you have to ensure that you are not overscheduling employees. Federal and state regulations make it mandatory that employees must be given eight hours between shifts; it is not an application for all employees, such as temporary staff.

Also, at times managers scrunch shifts together accidentally. In the real world, employees have to commute to and from work, take care of chores at home, and catch up with friends and family. This leaves them with less-than-optimal time to take rest if their shifts are scheduled for more than 8 hours.

The solution to this common employee scheduling problem is maintaining at least 12 hours gap between shifts. If it’s not possible in your organization to keep a difference of 12 hours, try to arrange staff scheduling so that workers get two days off together. The extended period will allow them to decrease their sleep deficit.

6. Vacations and time off

Every worker deserves time off from work to balance work and personal life. When too focused on productivity, revenue and profits, it is easy to not care for employees’ vacation time or time off. All employees must be given this incentive.

To cover for the employees who take time off, you can cross-train the workers such there is always staff available to take responsibility in the absence of other employees. You can also incentivize employees to cover for other workers by offering bonuses, increased pay rates, or more time off.


It may not be possible to avoid employee scheduling problems altogether, but they can be managed. It all depends on how effectively you manage your workforce. This guide will help you avoid the most common staff scheduling problems.

We recommend Truein for employee scheduling. You can create, change, and publish schedules almost instantly. No longer excel sheets or additional hardware is needed; you can deploy the best employee scheduling solution with this cloud-based employee time and attendance system.

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