End Times

   End Times are exactly what they sound like. For the benefit of you and your workers we have now implemented a feature that allows you to specify when a skillset’s shift ends. Every company is different, and the length of shifts can vary even inside the company. For example, let’s say that you run a business from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm with workers doing 6 hour shifts. This was always possible to set up previously with Schedulehead, but now there is a way to clarify the length of a shift to workers.

Quick Example:

   To continue the example, let’s make a Repeating Template (also a new feature you should check out) that repeats every Monday.

Employee Scheduling Software

   Assuming this business is a restaurant, let’s make skillsets for the different times you want employees working.

Employee Scheduling Software End Times

   Above, you’ll see that there are two server skillsets (beginning at 10:00am and another at 4:00pm). Check the box that says “Use End Time,” set the time, and you’re good to go! It really is that easy.

Employee Scheduling Software End Times

   Now, when your workers look for available shifts they will see both the start time and end time of the shift.

Employee Scheduling Software End Times

         Some Restrictions
• End times must be at least 1 hour after the start time of a skillset
• Workers cannot be on different shifts or skillsets on the same day even if times do not conflict.
• End times cannot be later than midnight

Shift Equalizer

    Awesome news: We’re rolling out Shift Equalizer! It’s an incredibly powerful new feature that helps to schedule workers just like a human does! Check it out:

What it does:

 

     Schedulehead looks at all of the data it has on every worker, such as star ranking and length of employment. If there are multiple shifts in one day, Schedulehead can distribute workers evenly so that senior staff are spread among multiple shifts. Balancing shifts this way ensures that each shift will have a good mix of high ranked and lower ranked staff.

    Essentially, the Shift Equalizer behaves how most human schedulers would. When you schedule staff, you want a worker where they will be the biggest benefit, and the Shift Equalizer is part of how Schedulehead achieves this. To enable or disable Shift Equalizer, visit the Configuration Menu. When ON, Schedulehead will only show a worker the one shift where they are needed most. When OFF, Schedulehead will allow workers to signup for any shift on a given day. Workers will then have the freedom to choose which shifts they would rather sign up for, rather than Schedulehead making the choice.

On or not on?

 

    That is the question. The default option is set to ON.  Research shows that 91% of companies that use Shift Equalizer are able to save between 2 and 4 hours per week by letting Schedulehead do the thinking.

    But we also recognize that there are a few reasons you may not want it and so we gave you the option to disable it. It’s our job is to reduce the time you spend scheduling your staff and make it as pain free as possible. Scheduling is not an efficient use of your time, so let Schedulehead do it for you with help of the Shift Equalizer!

   For more information, checkout our help desk over at schedulehead.zendesk.com.

Scales of Balance

Repeating Events

You spoke, we listened! Repeating events have arrived. What are Repeating events? Repeating events are events with multiple days that happen at regular periods, such as daily, weekly, every 2 days, etc.

How do you create repeating events?

Recurring Employee Scheduling
Recurring Scheduling Software

You create a repeating template, which creates the rest of the repeating events on all the desired days for you. The repeating template will allow you to place workers on all the associated open repeating events, as well as change times, location, comments, etc. from a central location. So if your workers on all of your associated repeating events need to start an hour earlier, you can change just the template and the rest will reflect the change. It is just simple and intuitive

How does it work?

Recurring Employee Scheduling

There is a great deal of robustness to the system. Let’s say a worker needs a day off from their repeating schedule. This is no problem. You go to the repeating event on that date and take them off. Boom the worker will be off that event, just like normal. What about the empty spot that has just appeared? Schedulehead automatically notices that and opens up the event to qualified workers to fill the spot.

Worker Signup

Worker Online Scheduling

As an extension of our mantra, “Let Schedulehead do the Work for You”, you can also allow workers to sign up for the template itself. This means that a worker can see the event and how often it happens, then decide to sign up for the event. When you set template signup, we will preferentially show the repeating template to workers to get them signed up for the repeating template rather than the individual repeating events. What if I don’t want a worker on a repeating template or I want to remove them? This is also very easy to do. You can go to the repeating template and remove them just like removing them from any other event. When you do this, it will go to all the associated repeating events and remove that worker from them. The simpler and more powerful a tool is the better it can be used.

What if a repeating template doesn’t get filled?

If you allowed template signup, Schedulehead will watch the repeating templates to make sure they get filled. Schedulehead will watch repeating events and make sure it gets filled with qualifying workers.

What about autotext and web check-in?

Both of these are still in place and work for individual repeating events. We only increase functionality.

What can’t it do?

Sadly, make me pancakes. I am working on it, but the ingredients just sit there at the moment. It might need an upgrade before it gets there.

Start making your daily schedules easy!

Autotext keeps Employee Scheduling Simple

Employee Scheduling

Employee Scheduling Autotext

    Employee scheduling can be very tiring and nerve wracking the closer to an event you get. Let’s say Ryan’s Event Staffing does not have enough people for the event in 2 days, a troublesome situation we have all seen before. The next step for most people is to start making phone calls to fill this slot. This is time consuming to look up employee’s numbers and call them one by one. If you are lucky, half of the time the employees will answer their phone. The rest of the time you are leaving messages which wastes more of your time. The event gets staffed, but in the end, way too much time was wasted.

We have a better method, and its called Autotext.

What is Autotext?

    Simple, yet Powerful – Autotext is like a robot that is constantly watching your shifts to make sure they are filled. When it notices that an upcoming job has some shifts that aren’t filled, it will automatically start texting your workers asking them if they’re available for that shift. Your workers can respond right there via text and get signed up right away.

Employee Scheduling autotext

How does it know?

    Schedulehead learns your business and your workers: it knows who is most qualified for every shift. It knows who was late last week and who is better at various skills. When Schedulehead notices a hole in your schedule, it will automatically reach out to the most qualified workers first, then work the list down from there.

How Useful is it?

    Our research shows that 99% of employees have access to a cell phone with texting while only 72% have access to mobile email. The ability to send text messages dramatically increases response from employees and saves your business’s bottom line.

Email Out Worker Schedule Updates

Worker Schedule Problems

   One of the most important parts of scheduling is keeping your workers up-to-date on schedule changes. Of course, we could just have it so that workers can only log in to see any changes to their schedule. This leads to some bad situations.

   Let’s say Amy from Right Catering changed the start time for a role to an hour later the night before, and the worker never logs on to check. You now have a worker waiting around, and either calling in to find out what happened or, the worst case scenario, just leaving. Even in the best case scenario, you have multiple negative implications. Of course, this situation is avoided by the worker double checking his schedule the day of the event, but this isn’t a perfect world and some people will go off what they saw several days beforehand.

Worker Schedule Updates

   Amy’s problems are avoided with emailing worker schedule updates. Schedulehead will collect changes made over a 20-30 minutes and email each individual worker on the event with their specific position updates. At the end, it will also send out a reviewer event summary which will show a summary of all the positions to the reviewer. This allows for a combination check of the daily summaries and event reviewer summaries to make sure everything is on track with your workers’ schedules. Below is an example of the worker update email:

  
Your schedule for the (Event Name) event may have been updated

Please review the event information:

Date: (Date of Event)

My start time: (shift start time)

Location: (location name)

Address: (address)

Comments: (any comments on event)

   This gives a nice quick breakdown of all the necessary information for any worker. This means that if you change the event the night before all your workers will get an email letting them know about their shift. This translates to less worker’s saying they didn’t see the update. Finally, there is the event reviewer summary email:

  
Your schedule for the (Event Name) event may have been updated

Please review the event information:

Staff:
    (skillset name 1) : (number filled) out of (number needed) staffed at (shift start time)
    (skillset name 2) : (number filled) out of (number needed) staffed at (shift start time)
    …
    (skillset name last) : (number filled) out of (number needed) staffed at (shift start time)

Date: (Date of Event)

Job Start Time: (Earliest Shift Start Time)

Location: (location name)

Address: (address)

Comments: (any comments on event)

   This email is similar to the daily summaries that Schedulehead sends out. The only difference between the two is that the reviewer summary email is completely focused on a single event and only goes to the reviewer. This is an easy way to let a team lead know of updates if he/she is the reviewer. Never worry about worker scheduling again!

Yelp to Add Video Reviews for Restaurant and Employees

   Imagine going into a restaurant. The first thing you notice is wallpaper peeling from the walls and bad lighting. Once you do get seated, you find that the tabletop is is dirty and sticky. You flag down a server and get a new table. Of course, you have to flag down another restaurant worker to get both refills and the bill. You find the entire experience bad all in all. Of course, the next step is to jump on Yelp to review the restaurant. You can describe the restaurant in a million different ways and people might say, “Oh, they were just being overly harsh.” Here is where Yelp Video reviews come in handy.

Will restaurant employees act differently when on video?

   If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a short video must be worth a million. Yelp is going to start rolling out video reviews this month for their elite users and later everyone else. The videos themselves can be anywhere between 3 and 12 seconds. Videos would solve many problems with Yelp reviews in the same way that pictures helped quite a bit. It allows people to back up their reviews with actual sight and sound proof. This reduces those moment where people say they are just being to harsh, while also helping to reduce the fraudulent reviews making up negative features that don’t exist.

   The example images below have been going around the internet and been in a couple articles. The whole process is relatively simple and straightforward. You hit the button to start recording a video. An indicator shows up showing how much time is left. When you are finished, you pick a cover image from the video and add a caption to it.

Yelp Video ReviewsYelp Video Reviews

Restaurant employees and mobile technology

   Of course, times are changing. People accessing the web through desktops and laptops is declining in favor of cellphones and tablets. This is a well known fact. Many business are following this change in general. Schedulehead is also following this trend by working on a mobile app for its employee scheduling software. Yelp is following this trend too. It may be doing it kicking and screaming just about, but it is following it. In general, business should follow this trend. It is not just cellphones and tablets that are part of the mobile trend, but also wearable tech such as google glass that is slowly but surely becoming normal. While google glass is going slow, there are a plethora of new wearable tech coming out from wristwatches connected to your phone to health monitoring equipment. Times are changing and business must change with them.

   Restaurants on the other hand are not pleased about the mobile and wearable tech revolution. There have been several restaurants that have banned google glass. This is the equivalent of fighting change, and it almost never goes well. The same reasoning that affects google glass can also affect yelp video reviews. People might have to hide taking video from the restaurant employees. While there are potentials for abuse, overall I think they will add more validity to to reviews. What do you think about the new Yelp video reviews? Would you use video reviews?

Schedulehead Keeps You on Top of Scheduling

   Staying on top of employee scheduling can be very frustrating and difficult. Think about this situation, Jill of Valentine Catering has an event to staff. She prepares a Google drive spreadsheet with all the event details and requirements. She does the initial call around and gets it half staffed as well as several people saying they will find out if they are available. Jill sets it aside and works on other projects that are pressing, while planning on taking care of it the next day. The next day, an event goes badly, and she is handling damage control the next two days. The spreadsheet sits silently, as it is just a spreadsheet.

Fast Forward a Week and a Half.

   Jill reviews the information on Google drive for an event happening in a couple of days. She is shocked to notice that this event is only half staffed. This event was set aside during a difficult period. She goes to work right away calling her employees for availability again. She tries her hardest, but is only able to get up to 15 out of the 20 required staff. Everyone else had made commitments that they couldn’t break off this late. She ends up having to outsource for staff and paying a hefty fee for each one.

This situation is avoidable, and we want to help you avoid it.

Schedulehead Daily Summaries

   Schedulehead provides the tools to avoid this problem. Schedulehead provides daily summaries of your events happening in the next 7 days to all staff with toolkit access. A spreadsheet cannot remind you of anything, but these summaries show you a great deal of information. Below is a basic layout of the Daily Summary Email.

Greetings!
Here is a summary for your (Number of Events) events over the next 7 days:

(Event Name) — (Date of Event) @ (Location Name) :

(Role 1 Name): (Current Number) of (Total Required) workers scheduled for (Shift Start Time)

(Role 2 Name): (Current Number) of (Total Required) workers scheduled for (Shift Start Time)

Total workers : (Current Number) scheduled out of (Total Required) requested

… (More Events)

The following people have not submitted their reviews:
(Reviewer) for the (Event Name) event that happened on the (Date of Event)

   As you can see from this template, daily summaries are incredibly useful for staying on top of employee scheduling. This gives you an event by event breakdown of your staff scheduling. It tells you how many workers you need and when you need them. If you notice at the bottom, there is also a reminder for event reviews. Worker reviews are an integral piece of Schedulehead’s process, but that is another article for another day. The main point of daily summary e-mails is to give you information and reminders, so that you can focus less on scheduling and more on business in general.

Time Saving Applications for Businesses

   Now everyone likes to save as much time as possible. Business owners like to save time even more because their day can be unbelievably busy 16 hour workdays at times. So, we made a list to really help people with managing their business. We use many of these applications ourselves and recommend them. Try not to thank us too much: 🙂

  • Microsoft Office 365Microsoft Outlook

    Micrsoft Office is a default go to for most businesses. Outlook is incredibly important and relatively hard to replace mostly due to its ease of use and wide range of features. Although other programs are encroaching on Microsoft Office, there is no current total package replacement for it.

    Pricing

    Small to medium sized businesses can expect to pay anywhere from $5.00 per user per month to $15.00 per user per month.

  • Google DriveGoogle Drive

    Google Drive is a rebranding of Google Docs with improvements. While not a complete replacement for Microsoft Office, Google Drive is heavy on the feature side. It allows you to store a large number of files within 15 GB of cloud storage. It can open an unbelievable number of files within the browser without requiring the associated viewer be installed. All in all it is a powerful tool that is getting better everyday. Many Schedulehead users used Google spreadsheets to do their employee scheduling before switching.

    Pricing

    Free!

  • OpenOfficeOpenOffice

    OpenOffice is one of those awesome tools from back in the day that is a great replacement for most of the features that Microsoft Office provided. It does not have an e-mail client included, which is its main drawback. If you are looking for MS Office package replacement, then this plus thunderbird with a google account is a great alternative.

    Pricing

    Free!

  • ThunderbirdThunderbird Email

    Thunderbird is well known as a feature powerful and free email client replacement for Outlook. If you do not want to pay for a MS Office, give this a look. It has many of the same features that makes Outlook great with a couple of features of its own.

    Pricing

    Free!

  • WordPressemployee-scheduling-software

    WordPress allows you to get up and running with a website quickly and effectively. There are an unbelievable number of plugins that allow for a great deal of customization and improvement in both design and capability. The plugins themselves install quickly while keeping track of the most up-to-date version. We use this for our website and love it.

    Pricing

    Free!

  • BasecampBasecamp Example

    Basecamp is an absolutely amazing collaboration tool especially for businesses that are spread out at times. It allows you to have discussions, create documents, create lists, and add any other files that you need. The entire site is laid out in a very open manner that allows people to see multiple categories at once on one page. It is more costly than google drive, but has a nice flow to it. In my opinion, the to-do lists are absolutely fantastic.

    Pricing

    It runs anywhere between $20 to $150 per month. Even the smallest package is enough for most small businesses.

  • HootSuiteHootSuite

    Managing your social media campaigns can often be very difficult. HootSuite allows all of your media platforms to be managed in a central location. Of course, the free version is very basic, but pro version has some great tools included to track effectiveness across all sites.

    Pricing

    Free option with enough options for a small business or startup, but for any good sized company the pro option might be needed. It allows 2 people with a variety of options for $8.99 per month.

  • MailChimpMailChimp

    MailChimp allows you to set up subscriber lists and send out mass e-mails with an intuitive, powerful interface. If you don’t know much about html, the supplied editor will fill all of your needs, while the statistics tools will allow you to see how effective your emails are being. If you have any need to send mass emails, I would highly recommend giving this a look.

    Pricing

    Free option with 2,000 subscribers and less with 12,000 emails a month or less. This is more than enough for most small-businesses. There are a variety of premium packages if you need more.

  • Quickbooks OnlineQuickbooks

    Quickbooks is another one of those de facto programs for many small businesses to use. The features range from custom invoices to managing finances to tracking inventory. There are not a lot of amazing replacements for this, as it is both well featured and has great support. It is an awesome tool when combined with an employee scheduling app like Schedulehead.

    Pricing

    The price ranges from $12.95 to $39.95 a month for online version depending on feature sets you require.

  • Scheduleheademployee-scheduling-software

    Schedulehead is an employee scheduling app that automates employee scheduling as much as possible, so that business owners do not have to waste time on it. It features a number of features such as email reminders to make sure that your workers are reminded about their upcoming shifts. Schedulehead’s Autotext feature will allow you to do workforce scheduling for a last minute job. The best part about Schedulehead is that it thinks like a person would. If someone bails out last minute, it will punish their star ranking for it. If workers does a good job overall, Schedulehead will present more shift opportunities to them. Not only does it have basic judgement that way, it will also balance your workforce between multiple events on the same day, so that you do not have all of your good employees scheduled to only one event. That situation is great for one event, but horrible for the rest of the events that day.

    Pricing

    Schedulehead Free for free or Schedulehead Premium for $15 per month.

Time to Lose Internet Explorer

   If any of you have been following the latest internet explorer bugs, you know there was a massive one just recently. IE recently had security vulnerability that allowed remote code to be executed on your computer. The vulnerability affected Internet Explorer 6 through the newest version, 11. This basically covers all versions of Internet Explorer that is in use today. The exploit that allows remote code to be executed specifically affects internet explorer 9 – 11 which are the mainstays of Microsoft’s market share. Certain versions of Internet Explorers 9 through 11 come standard on Windows xp, vista, 7, and 8. Microsoft released a security patch for this on May 1, 2014.

   This is not small error, but a relatively large one as it allowed others to gain complete control of your computer. Overall, this makes it the last straw for me. I have slowly over the last couple of years completely and utterly phased out IE out of any use. This isn’t that surprising. Microsoft’s market share on browsers has been dropping as people are adopting different browsers that offer more functionality and better performance. Web site design is often a large headache when trying to account for all the versions of Internet Explorer.

   The best alternatives to Internet Explorer are Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. I use a mixture of both browsers at different times. They each have awesome features derived mostly from addons and extensions that they can use. They handle extensions in a much more intuitive and accessible fashion than IE. I personally favor Chrome because of the sheer number of extensions that are available. I run quite a few extensions on Chrome such as:

  • Adblock plus – This is for blocking pesky ads.
  • Lastpass – It saves my passwords and logs me into sites a little more securely than me typing it in.
  • Sessionbuddy – This saves all tabs and windows in a session and allows me to load different sets whenever I want.
  • WolframAlpha – Basically, this is a more science-oriented Wikipedia.
  • SPOI Options – This allows you to adjust the layout of youtube as well as create global setting for youtube such as volume level, when to start playing, and

   Overall, Internet Explorer seems to be maintaining a market share more or less based on it being packaged with a Windows Operating System more than its performance or features. I advise to switch to an alternative such as Chrome or Firefox, especially when used with Schedulehead.

Let autotext and e-mail check-in work for you!

Now we all know that it is stressful making sure you have enough employees on a shift. Schedulehead has a couple tools that truly alleviate scheduling concerns thankfully. Our web based employee scheduling software is truly amazing!

E-mail Check-in

   You fill all of your shifts weeks ahead of time. You are relaxed and stress-free. Fast forward to the day of the event, you are missing several workers who either forgot or had something come up in the last couple of days before the event. You are now stressed. This is not a situation you want to be in.

   We don’t want this situation to ever happen to people as we understand just how frustrating it can be, so we included check-in emails into Schedulehead. Check-in emails are a simple system to severely reduce the occurrence of these unpleasant situations. 24 hours before the employee’s shift is going to start a check-in email goes out to the employee. This check-in email has a link that will check the employee in automatically when he follows it. This allows you, the boss, to replace those that don’t check-in or bail out after being reminded about the event. Of course those that bail out so late will be punished a bit, but that is a blog entry for another day. Currently, the e-mails go out 24 hours beforehand, but we are working on changing that to a custom time frame to better tie into our second method of alleviating your labor concerns with auto-replacing those that don’t check in within a reasonable time frame. The emails look something like this:

Are you ready to work?

You have an upcoming shift in 24 hours that you need to check in for: |shift or event name|.

Please use our Web Check-In system by clicking on the link below and entering the code below. Then you’ll be ready to work!

Web Check-In: https://yoursubdomain. schedulehead.com/ checkin/OUOH

If you do NOT check in, you will be considered ABSENT from the event and we will try to find a replacement for you. If you experience any problems please email or call at |company email| or |your company phone number|

Autotext

Online Employee Scheduling Tools

Another terrible situation, you are getting close to the event date and still have open slots to fill. You are calling all of your workers manually to try and fill the slot, while stressing out. This is another situation we do not want happening. Our Autotext service will take care of that for you.

We have an absolutely fantastic article on Autotext on our support site, but I will give the quick and dirty right here. When there is a opening on an event within a certain time frame you set, a text will go out to all of your workers that fit that role without conflicting shifts. This text will ask them if they are interested in working a shift with shift date and time. This gives you an automated method of filling or refilling open slots when the event gets close. No stress involved, at least not on the employee scheduling side of the event. 🙂