BlogGetting Your Schedule Ready For Easter

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Published: February 25, 2022

Easter is nearly here; lambs are leaping, chicks are hatching, and Spring is in the air. With the first big school holiday of the year on the horizon it might just be time to think about spring cleaning your schedule

Sounds a bit daunting? Don’t worry; we’ve pulled some tips together to help you out.

blank page surrounded by spring flowers and painted eggs for Easter

Preparation

It’s never too early to start planning. If you have particular peak days when you’ll need a full staff, or days when you know you’ll be closed, make sure your team know well in advance. If you have scheduling software you should be able to block those days out, but if not then we’d recommend contacting your team now to make them aware and avoid any issues later on. Don’t forget, if any of your staff have children they may be looking to take leave over the Easter holiday, so it’s worth making your expectations known early.

We also recommend reviewing what happened last year. How many shifts did you have scheduled each day? Did you end up adding extra shifts at the last minute, or sending people home early when you were quieter than expected? Use this data to plan for this season; it will help you to identify potential peaks so that you can make sure that your schedule is as robust as possible. You’ll probably be looking at your visitor numbers in detail, so why not track how many visitors you had a certain times, to work out your pinch points? Do you have lots of visitors arriving at 11am, just when the café is getting hit for those morning coffees? If so, you’ll want to look at working your schedule around this and winding up shifts through the afternoon. Once that’s done, you’ll also want to keep an eye on any advance ticket sales and compare them to last year. If they’re looking high then chances are it’s going to be a busy one and you’ll want to schedule extra staff just in case!

Information

It’s pretty tricky managing a site that is likely to be busiest during the holidays when you have staff who want time off. We get that. Now you’ve made your preparations you’ll want to find out what your team are planning. Encouraging your team to log availability and preferred working days will give you the ability to schedule staff who actually want to be working, which is always worthwhile; having a team made up of happy staff will boost productivity as well as making for a better working environment! You may also find that you have employees who are quite happy to work over the Easter holidays, or even prefer it, which can be really useful when trying to cover gaps in the schedule. If so, having that information to hand will make your life far easier!

If you do have lots of staff competing for time off then you’re going to want to consider how you manage your leave. There are a few different options, ranging from first-come, first-served to giving employees with seniority priority. Communication is key here. Regardless of which you use it’s worth making sure your team understand it, as well as any limits on the number of employees off at once or days when leave is restricted, so that there aren’t any misunderstandings.

Organisation

Once everything’s prepped you’ll be ready to create the schedule itself and let your team know when they’re working. This is another task that you’ll want to do as early as possible so that you don’t run into problems with your team’s availability filling up nearer the time. It’s no use getting the schedule just right only to find out that it’s based on availability that went out of date three months ago. This is another instance where scheduling software can come in handy; with unavailability and shifts all stored in the same place you’ll be notified in real-time if shifts clash with unavailability, allowing you to build an accurate schedule in the first place rather than constantly having to adjust it.

You’ll also want to keep an eye on how well shifts are distributed across the team, avoiding scheduling the same few people for the key Easter dates unless they’ve specifically requested it. Sharing shifts between your employees helps to make sure that they all feel that they’re being treated fairly and that they’re not short of shifts when they need the money, or overwhelmed when they need a break. It can help to order your employees from most hours to least so that you can see what the distribution is like and make adjustments as needed, plus if you’re staff are contracted you’ll also be able to see if they're meeting their required hours. It’s also worthwhile asking your line managers to review the schedule, too; they may have additional insights into their teams and be able to advise on factors that you aren’t aware of.

And finally, you might want to check that your management shifts are distributed evenly too. Unless you have a policy that exempts them then nothing’s going to cause more trouble than the entire management team disappearing whenever an unpopular shift comes up (no matter how much you might want to!). Instead, it’s worth scheduling more than one duty manager for each shift so that your team have someone to consult if there are issues and so that they feel that you’re down in the trenches with them.

We can’t guarantee that your Easter will go smoothly, but if you’ve put the work in beforehand and have additional employees on call if you need them then you can at least be safe in the knowledge that you’ve done everything you can. And if you need a little extra help? Shiftie is always here if you need us.

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